Friday, October 25, 2013

Lake District Day 1 - Part 1

I had arrived early afternoon the previous day, but thanks to the boisterous weather there was no chance of getting out with the camera. The visibility was next to nothing and the rain was relentless, so I didn’t fancy standing next to a lake and getting soaked. So I went into Keswick town and got soaked instead.

I met up with Sarah from Image Seen, who was running a photography workshop over the weekend, and with whom I had agreed to ferry some of the participants around for one of the days, while dispensing general advice on photography and Photoshop, whether they asked for it or not. And we repaired ourselves to Java & Chocolate where the coffee is always never less than decent.

After guzzling down our respective cuppas we headed out into the rain and made our way to Booths, that most resplendent of supermarkets, and one I have waxed lyrical about before, to pick up a bounty of grub for the workshop the next day. And as usual I was suitably impressed enough with their operation that they remained at the top of my favourite supermarkets list. While I realise that having a favourite supermarkets list is, let’s not beat around the bush here, tragic, I am in no doubt that the owners of Booths would be pleased as punch to know they lead it, and rightly so.

I spent the remainder of the day sprawled out on a sofa, suffering the gruesome and harrowing repercussions of an ongoing cold as it developed within my face, whilst hoping the next day would bring a more pleasing climate.

My hopes were answered, as when I looked out the window at 6am the next morning there wasn’t a rain drop in sight. I couldn’t tell if it was going to be a good sunrise or not, as it was still pitch black, but it was worth a shot.

So we headed down to Derwentwater to see what we could find. Sarah decided to stay by the boats, while I took a walk up to Friars Crag to see if the sunrise would throw me any morsels. It was still dark as walked through the woods, and I remember thinking what a good idea a torch would have been.

Friars Crag is a promontory jutting into Derwentwater on a stretch of shore about half a mile from the boat landing stages, it achieved its name because it was believed to be the embarkation point for monks making a pilgrimage to St Herbert’s Island, located south west of the crag.

Ruskin described the view across the lake as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe, but that morning he could keep it. I was more interested in looking east, towards the rising sun, and using a couple of half submerged rocks for a bit of foreground interest. But to get that shot I first had to negotiate a small but steep decent to the shoreline over tree roots and rocks. 

Looking out at the traditional view from Friars Crag 

Now, if I had a torch with me, I might, just might have noticed that the small purchase points afforded by the rocks were rather wet, and I might, just might have taken things a bit steadier. As it was of course I did neither of these things and it wasn’t long before I fell decisively, and with very little fuss, straight on my arse.

So with a practiced curse, I gingerly regained what meagre composure I could muster, and slowly negotiated my way down to more stable footing. Luckily no permanent damage was done, although I am still sporting quite an impressive scab on the back of my leg, where a particularly strident piece of rock made an impression, in more ways than one. To be honest, it’s usually a case of when rather than if, I fall over when out and about, so on the plus side, at least I had got it over and done with.

By the time I had found a suitable spot and set up, the light was just beginning to appear over the hills, and was reflecting nicely in the water below. So I took a few shots, as although it wasn’t amazing, I didn’t know how long it would last, and as it turned out it didn’t last long at all.

A long exposure captures the movement in the clouds
Looking along the shoreline of Friars Crag onto the main body of the water as it got greyer.

I waited around for a little bit longer to see if anything would develop, but it just got greyer, so I packed up and strolled back towards the car. Once I had emerged from the woods the sky had, from out of nowhere it seemed, blossomed into a lovely rumpus of colour. I looked back to where I had come from and the clouds were a tangerine orange, to say I was miffed at myself was a bit of an understatement. Basic rule of landscape photography: always stay at a scene that little bit longer, as you never know what will happen.

I had ignored it to my cost, and I knew if I started back, even at a run, it would be gone by the time I arrived, plus of course, I don’t run. So feeling a bit irked, and knowing had to get back to the house with some urgency, as there was a photography group expecting a pickup in the not too distant future, I trudged onwards.

When I reached the boats though, I couldn’t in all good conscience just walk past the glorious display on offer without taking some pictures, I owed it to nature, I told myself, as I tried to quickly get some shots of the splendid parade. In the end I got back with minutes to spare, and after a whirlwind of eating some breakfast, drinking some coffee and brushing some teeth all at the same time, spit spot, I was ready to go.

Here's a few of those extremely accommodating boats. They have probably been photographed more
than they've been sailed.

These two images are looking over towards Keswick with the fells behind

But it was worth it for a couple of reasons, firstly, the morning had turned out far better than had been anticipated so I was fortunate in that respect, and secondly, Sarah had left earlier than me to get things ready, so I could smugly tell her how she had missed all the decent light, and I had not. This went down as well as would be expected and I was under strict instructions to keep it to myself, as the group had decided against a sunrise shoot that morning.

So after picking everyone up we headed over the Honister Pass to Buttermere, and what a picture it looked. This scenic patch of water is always a treat, but this day, under the beautiful morning sunlight, it seemed particularly lovely.

These were taken on the path towards the mere, the light was too good to pass up an opportunity to
capture the beautiful landscape

And these were taken looking into Buttermere itself

These pine trees line the western shore and I just quite liked the look of them in the sunshine.

I wasn't quite finished with Butteremere but that's your lot for the moment. Part two can be found right here.

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