So we move through to Spring and Summer at my retrospective look back at my favourite images of 2023. Spring is possibly my favourite time of year for Landscape photography for a number of good reasons. The main one being the colour palette within the landscape is beautiful and filled with vibrancy and freshness. The summer deep greens haven't set in and the some times bleak look of winter, when it's not presented in its wintery finery, haven't taken hold. It is a highly photogenic time of the year. It also becomes a time that signals an increase in my activity with the longer evenings being perfect for getting out after work for exploration. This year spring and summers was rather kind to me and I managed to grab some images I very pleased with indeed. So here are my favourites from the two seasons.
This was definitely a very special evening however it was very nearly not. I was hoping to hike up to Esk Pike but the weather had other ideas with an abundance of low cloud clinging the fell tops. So I sat in the clag for around an hour in the hope that it may clear. I was about to head down when I saw a break in the cloud above. So I made a dash for it to get a higher vantage point and was rewarded with the most stunning view. The tops of the Southern Fells a wash with glorious golden light just peeking above the clearing low cloud. I had no time for composition, so a sweeping 11 shot panorama was the only way to capture the scene in front of me and the magnitude of the conditions and view. I like to think I've managed this.
A spring in my step.....well not really:
I've visited Tom Heights on many occasions over the years hoping for a particular shot of a certain collection of trees. Well I finally managed it this year. I'd love to say it was an enjoyable experience however I was nursing a badly pulled calf muscle and it was quite frankly agony. I literally crawled up the fellside, every step producing a sharp shooting pain up my lower leg, but it was worth it. With two minutes of arriving and setting up the light came and perfectly illuminated the silver birch and really made the fresh lime green leaves shine against the darker back drop. Really pleased with the composition here, as it think its perfectly balanced and great layering through the scene. Definitely worth the pain to bag this one.
First Time Lucky:
Usually as landscape photographers, when visiting new locations, we don't always get lucky first time and we end up going back multiple times. However there are occasions that we just get darn lucky. This was definitely the case with this image from Wise Een Tarn. A location I've wanted to visit for years, but strangely never actually managed to get around to it. Anyway lady luck was definitely on my side with the most wonderful conditions to accompany the quite frankly awe inspiring view. I actually think this was my first shot on arrival and arguably the best I got from the whole session. I'm amazed this location hasn't been shot more because its an absolute little gem, definitely on I will return to in the future.
Uncommon Views and Interesting perspectives:
I'm always keen to find new and interesting views as it is very stimulating creatively. It can be difficult to find originality in the Lakes at many of the classic locations but sometimes if you search hard enough you can find something a little different. This image was taken from Goats Hawse, between Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man looking down towards Goats Water. The weather was superb, this was the tail end of a mega inversion over the Coniston Fells. I found this really interesting set of rocks, which snaked off towards Goats water. The clearing cloud and breaking light, combined with the interesting composition made for a really striking image, and one I'm really pleased with.
Summer walks on quieter paths:
Another location which is, again, one that I haven't seen photographed before and one from extensive scouting out a remote area of the Lakes. I've been a fair few times over the course of the last few years and one I will return to, hopefully with a touch of snow on the fells. Its one of my favourite views in the lakes looking towards the big boys of Scafell and Scafell Pike. The stone wall acts as a fantastic leading line and also breaks up the grassy landscape, which can be a little dull at times. I don't think I've quite got the optimum conditions as yet or time of year, I'm thinking a Winters evening. Anyway just an excuse to go back. Great conditions on this particular shoot, mood, light and a sublime view. A very pleasing image.
Hmmmm wasn't expecting that:
There are many things which make a compelling image, Subject and light being the most important. I also like to throw in mood, atmosphere and experience. This shot probably represents all of those elements. It was a lovely evening with gorgeous sun and a touch of mood on the sky. Well it turned out to be a little more than I bargained for. Shortly after taking this image of this wonderful scene in Dunnerdale, the thunderstorm, torrential rain, hail and winds kicked in. I had to hide in a small woodland until the storm subsided. I love stuff like this and you simply don't get dramatic images if you don't put yourself in these types of conditions, where your likely to get an absolute soaking but the rewards and images can be spectacular.
Taking a chance and exploring:
Sometimes instead of sticking with the obvious locations, why not go to these place but have a little wander and see what else you can find. If there are a group of photographers with Tripods shooting a scene, then pick up yours and take a stroll and find something different. I was on Grange Fell, a lovely location but I had seen a lot of similar images from this place and I wanted to find something I hadn't seen before. So off I trotted and I'm so glad I did, as I found some gorgeous locations and compositions. You've just got to take a risk sometimes, it doesn't always work but on occasion it can really pay off. I love this image, its a great views, superb light and these trees are wonderful. One for a return in spring I reckon.
So that's Spring and the Summer months. I will conclude my favourite images of 2023 with Autumn and Winter.