Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lake District - Day 4

Yet again, with an embarrassed sun rising behind a thick smog of grey cloud, the morning weather looked ridiculous. I headed over to the Borrowdale Hotel, to deliver some choice words on the subject of Photoshop techniques to the lucky people who were part of the Lake District Image Seen workshop group. And by the time I had enlightened all with my sparkling presentation, the weather was looking a lot better, so I took the short drive up to Ashness Bridge with an idea to get some images of this most resplendent of Cumbria’s icons. 

As it happens so had quite a few other people, all of whom it seems, were taking part in some kind of bizarre contest to see who could wear the most garishly coloured cagoule. So I tried my best to get some photos of the bridge and lake beyond, while at the same time doing my best to exclude the rabid pack of flamboyantly hued hunchbacks crawling all over my view.

I was aware that I too was probably featuring heavily in their photos, standing right in front of the bridge as I was. So I could well imagine that they had similar misgivings about my presence there, although to make one thing absolutely clear, my jacket was a pleasantly tasteful neutral colour, so they could have no reason to suffer distress on that regard. But the thought of them taking issue with my attendance made me curse them doubly, and I vowed to fight them and all their kind to my last breath. 

After a bit of judicious waiting around on the day and a small amount of tinkering
on the computer I managed to make this a cagoule free zone

In the end though I’d had enough of appearing in other people’s pictures, I figured they’d all got my best side by now, and who knows, maybe I taught them a valuable lesson. Not quite sure about what, but a lesson none the less. So I trudged up to Ashness Fell, the hill that climbs up beyond the bridge and its hordes of bothersome photographers, which doesn’t include me of course, to see what I could find.

I did find a nice wooden bridge and spent bloody ages trying to get a decent shot of it, but discovered nothing but frustration at every turn. As that inspirational photography pioneer and visionary Ansel Adams once said – “Sometimes there are times when the photograph can’t be got, and there are probably other times it can, be got” And those wise, beautiful words presented themselves to me as I struggled with my mission, spurring me on to ever greater creative exertions. 

This was the best of the bunch, but it was a far cry from what I had
envisaged before I took any shots
After wrestling with the bridge concept, I had a bash at a fallen branch concept. These were big ideas I was grappling with and my creative striving was beginning to take its toll on my mental vigour. In the end though, and as I always manage to do, I dragged myself out of the whirlpool of turmoil I had immersed myself in, and did what I do best. I settled for adequate, doing just enough but no more has seen me through some tough situations before, and today was to be no exception. I’m sure you have heard of the Shakespeare line ‘some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them’. That may be fine for the average man, but by thunder I was cut from a different cloth! I strive for all I am to be passably sufficient, and as God is my witness, I attain it! 

The adequateness continued with this branch inspired composition 
So with a satisfied smile fluttering over my face, I uttered ‘that will have to do’ in a self congratulatory way, while I strode back down the fell, returning to my car. Then I drove back to the flat where upon I made a rather middling sandwich for lunch and a tolerable flask of coffee for the afternoon ahead. I had a mind to return to the rain soaked location from yesterday, now that the weather was behaving itself more to my satisfaction.

Spent the next 3-4 hours strolling along the wind whipped western banks of Derwentwater, stopping here and there to direct my camera at the views offered to me from this fine vantage point. The lake gets its name from the river Derwent that flows through it from Scaffell Pike then on towards Bassenthwaite beyond, and quite interestingly, the name Derwent derives from the Celtic word for oak trees. 

This was taken in the woods behind the lake, there were quite a few fallen trees about
and endless creaking of branches
Again, taken in the woods. In fact this very tree helped shelter me from an impudent shower
I liked the movement in the reeds from this long exposure shot
For some bizarre reason this tree was doing its best to grow into the lake.
You can see the wind buffeting the leaves
Thanks to the torrential rain the day before, the lake had become very swollen.
A slightly more serene picture of the same jetty
And another in moody black & white
Once I had completed my operations I walked uphill back to the car with the idea of heading to Tewet Tarn for sunset. Located near Castlerigg Stone Circle it is an easy walk from the northern end of St John's in the Vale and offers some stunning views. As it happened though, the weather turned, as they say up here, to total shit. 

Taken on my phone, from the car, the weather starts to close in...
Had a bit of a drive round the area, killing time in the hope that it would clear, but it didn’t look hopeful. In the end I parked up on the side of a lane just to make sure I wasn’t going to be missing anything spectacular, but after an hour of watching the rain getting heavier and the surrounding hills getting fainter behind the ever increasing cloud I decided enough was enough and buggered off back to Keswick.


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