At the beginning of Last November I went on a photography trip with my father to the Lake District. While we were there we stayed at Lakeland photography holidays run by John Gravett. My father goes there pretty much every year and he asked if I would like to join him this time. John Gravett is an interesting fellow. He is very much an in your face type of guy. He has strong views and won’t be changing them in the near future but he also knows the Lakes like the back of his hand, has an incredible eye for detail and he has taken the odd good photograph. Although I’m not a great fan of his style of image I learnt a great deal about the Lakes, quite a few good Photoshop tips and maybe to be a little more careful with my technique, while on the trip.
The first week of November was probably the last bit of good weather the Lakes have seen since. The first day had probably some of the most spectacular conditions for photography I have ever seen. We had mist and sun throughout the day. It was truly gorgeous. Over the week things moved towards the uniform grey and rain but we still had plenty of moments when the sun poked through the clouds, or mist rolled across the landscape. On that first day we spent most of the time around Derwent Water, with most of the afternoon in the woods catching sun rays.
On the Tuesday we were left to our own devices and we spent the early morning up at Castlerigg and then driving down to Rydal. Weather was nowhere near as glorious as the previous day but the light was quite gentle and there was still a fair amount of mist before breakfast.
Wednesday produced the highlight of the trip for me, a very popular place among many landscapes photographers: Hodge Close. Before that though we drove via Red bank, where the mist was more like fog and you could hardly see anything. I spent time trying to capture images of the locals (herdwick sheep). Then we moved onto Yew Tree Tarn. I was starting to get itchy feet waiting for everyone else as I was really keen to get to Hodge Close. Once there though it did not disappoint although I felt we didn’t have enough time. As well as spending time in the quarry taking photos of the birch trees we climbed up to one of the tarns above the quarry, where the mist was so heavy you could hardly see the other side of the small tarn for quite some time. When it did clear just a little there was opportunity for some atmospheric shots.
The final two days were frequented by much rain. The success rate for images was a lot lower and on the Friday which was really wet and windy it was quite frustrating. We spent the Thursday in the Great Wood next to Derwent water and then Friday was spent in woodland next to Crummock, stopping off at Moss force on the way to be blown about.
Throughout the week I took a lot of colour digital classic landscape images. In general I have moved away from this style of imagery. I prefer to get to know a subject a little better, create a coherent project around what I am doing and also I like a lot of black and white images and use quite a bit of film. But I was in an area I don’t know that well, someone else was choosing where to go and I was happy just to takes some images and learn a bit about the area. Next time I visit the Lakes I will probably look to chase the kind of images and subject matter that is more down my alley.
Since this trip to the Lake District, it has been ravaged by floods. Many roads have sections washed away, bridges are either destroyed or in a state of major disrepair and communities have been devastated. This will have saddened many a landscape photographer. A group of the key landscape photographers from the UK have setup a series of informal photowalks and a print auction to raise money for the Flood Appeal for the Cumbria Community Foundation. All the photowalk tickets have sold out but there are still tickets available for the buffet, auction and talks. You can get these here.