Returning from my first trip to the Lake District in May I had not been home long before I knew that wherever else I went during the next few months I must return. The place had got under my skin but I had barely scratched the surface. Trips to London, Suffolk, North Wales, York & Cheshire all followed but the big one was still to come.
The Lake District is so far away it is not the sort of place I can just pop off to when it suits me so I have to plan ahead and hope that conditions will be suitable. Some hope! Nevertheless as departure day approached the area was enjoying a long period of settled and mostly sunny weather and the immediate forecast was for more of the same. Setting off from home at 0445 on a recent Sunday morning I was full of hope and anticipation. I did wonder why there were so many white vans out at that time on a Sunday morning....car boot sales I think!
The long drive up the A1 was done in drizzly conditions as was forecast, no surprise there; in fact my only surprise was that Costa Coffee at Wetherby Services really did not know how to make a Macchiato! Bit like a photographer not knowing which way to point a camera. I digress.
Not much further beyond Wetherby me and my beloved Rav4 headed west fully expecting to break out in to the forecast clear weather. Alas, not to be, dull and dreary. Never mind, I had planned the afternoon as a recce anyway and the forecast for the following day was bright and clear. Of course one thing you can always get in the lakes are fast flowing streams. Yes. No! Untypical low rainfall had left them not much more than a trickle and having eventually found my way to Birk's Bridge in the Duddon Valley I have to be satisfied with a snap of a not fast flowing torrent. Disappointing as at this spot the river has cut in to the rock creating deep pools where the water swirls around in a manner beloved by landscape photographers. Upwards and onwards I thought, time to head for base in Cockermouth. It had been that sort of day. I went to bed high on anticipation.
Imagine my surprise when I woke the next day to rain! Surely a passing shower from somewhere? No. It did relent eventually but my planned dawn shoot was abandoned. It never really cleared all day apart from when I was driving from D to E. Gnashing of teeth. Of course at times like this the tenacity and improvisation we landscape photographers are renowned for kicks-in, or at least it is supposed to. Well it did. A suitably dark and dank waterfall near Ullswater, a melancholy Blea Tarn over looked by the magnificent Langdales, Hardknott Pass (not for the faint-hearted) and finally arriving at mean and moody Wastwater and Wasdale. Even in the drizzle and low cloud Wastwater has a menacing air to it. Time for some monochrome work.
With day 2 sort of ruined it meant a rethink for my last full day in the area. Careful planning, a good weather forecast and fingers crossed I set out early for my dawn shooting. Leaving Cockermouth the sky was clear and optimism was rising but of course I was not yet used to the vagaries of the local climate and the dramatic effect the high fells and mountains have on airflow and clouds....but I did feel it was to be a good day and indeed it was. I managed to get to the 5 or 6 locations I had planned and got good work from them all. Here is a selection.....
The weather forecast for my leaving day was dire, rain, rain and more rain. Should I set off immediately and assume that no photography would be possible or follow a hunch? On Sunday I had gone to an abandoned slate quarry near Coniston but disappointed with the flat light I did not get the images I had hoped for but I did wonder if it was to rain they would be low cloud and perhaps some atmospheric conditions would mean I might get what I wanted. It would have been stupid for me to leave the area without hoping for a second chance. By the time I had got near Rydal Water the rain, forecast for most of the day, had relented and I had time for a few detail shots by the lake. Continuing towards the quarry I even saw a glimpse of the sun. High hopes!
Well glory be, no low cloud just blustery passing showers and a sign! That sign was a magnificent rainbow timed to greet my arrival. There followed a joyous couple of hours with me making the best of the conditions and giving thanks for following my hunch. Captivated by the quarry and surrounding area I now have an additional gallery showing my pick of images, Titled 'On the Edge'. You'll see why when you view the pictures.
So, 4 days travelling, (almost 1000 miles), and shooting followed by almost 5 days of post-processing, uploading to my web site and Alamy, writing a blog, deciding which pictures I will print for THE MADE IN ESSEX SHOW at RHS Hyde Hall, 7th & 8th of November, followed 3 days later by another Spitalfields adventure. I say adventure because quite frankly I have no idea what will happen, it is that sort of event. Full of hope......
Trust that my ramblings have given a bit of an insight to just what is involved in capturing images that will stand out.
I am taking picture orders now for Christmas; realistically no later than 13th December. If the size or media you prefer is not listed please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do my utmost to accommodate your requirements.
Thank you for reading, hope you may get to Hyde Hall or Spitalfields. The Hyde Hall event promises to be the best of it's kind in Essex and beyond I expect. The team from Essex Design & Craft never fail to disappoint with their organisation and selection of qualify artists.