A Challenging Week

There is a theory that in order to be successful you need to keep going no matter what obstacles you face. This week I got the opportunity to put that to the test. 🙂

Belstone Tor on Dartmoor

Monday 17th August 2020

I had a 1-2-1 today with another photographer that lives in the same village as me.

It would seem that not only does YouTube help me to reach people that live on the other side of the globe but also those that live just around the corner.

As Sarah lives close by and was initially looking for help operating her camera I got to spend a happy couple of hours at Shap Abbey just down the road.

The ruins of Shap Abbey
Shap Abbey – a convenient location for a 1-2-1 when both parties live in the same village.

Tuesday 18th

I was supposed to have another 1-2-1 today but it was cancelled at the last minute. It was the 3rd 1-2-1 that has been cancelled in the past week. It is all very frustrating.

I understand that sometimes life gets in the way and that this is just part of the business. It is just unfortunate to have so many so close together.

Wednesday 19th

A disastrous shoot this morning.

As the weather has been so changeable this week I decided that I didn’t want to risk hiking up into the higher fells. Instead I decided to visit Hugh’s Laithes Pike overlooking Haweswater.

It was pretty enough as the heather is now in full bloom but I could find a composition that I liked.

Not that I got much of a chance. My presence seemed to attract a swarm of flies. Not midges you understand but big, black flies.

Horrible things.

I tried to shoo them off but eventually gave in and retreated.

Hugh's Laithes Pike
The summit cairn on Hugh’s Laithes Pike overlooking the Haweswater Reservoir.

Sometimes, just when you think the world is against you something wonderful happens.

That afternoon while I was working away at my desk an email landed in my inbox. It was an automated email informing me that someone had placed an order for one of my prints.

And it wasn’t for just one print, it was for six! The biggest ever print order I have ever received.

It is the most wonderful thing when someone spends their hard earned money to buy something that you have created.

Thursday 20th

I spent all day in the office today working on my next webinar. I have decided to run one sharing my approach to black and white landscape photography.

Webinars have become an essential part of my business. They are a wonderful way for me to connect with other photographers and to share my knowledge and experience.

If you would like to attend please register using the form on my events page.

Black and White Landscape Photography
My next webinar will be on black and white landscape photography.

Friday 21st

Another early start for me. This time it wasn’t to catch the sunrise but to drive from Cumbria to Cornwall for a workshop that I am hosting tomorrow.

As we headed south the weather worsened. Apparently we were heading into a storm. When we arrived the wind was howling. I hope it calms down or the workshop will be ‘interesting’.

Saturday 22nd

This morning I met up with my good friend Julian Baird for a shoot on Belstone Tor on Dartmoor.

Jules and I have been good friends since meeting for the first time nearly three years ago. The support that he has given me since going full-time has meant that we have grown closer over the past year.

Of the friends that I made when I started YouTube he’s pretty much the only one I am in regular contact with today.

Dartmoor is a challenging place to shoot.

Belstone Tor is full of potential, more so than most other places I have shot. The rock formations that rise up out of the earth make wonderful subjects for a photograph.

But the foreground is very chaotic. The rocks that litter the summit of the tor create lines that lead off in many different directions so framing a shot is tricky.

The howling wind, left over from yesterday’s storm, didn’t make things any easier. I was scared to let go of my camera, if only for a moment. That just slows you down.

But the most challenging aspect of shooting on Dartmoor is also its greatest strength. The light here can be wonderful. But it changes very quickly.

React to the light and chances are you will mess up the composition. Spend too long framing up the shot (as I did) and you will miss the light.

Dartmoor, the perfect antidote to my over inflated ego! 🙂

Belstone Tor on Dartmoor
Dartmoor has to be one of the most challenging and rewarding places to shoot in the UK. This was the best that I could do in difficult conditions.

The high winds that had battered me on Belstone Tor had not finished me yet. This evening I was at Bude for the long exposure workshop that I was running with Tom Peters.

The workshop had been originally planned for the spring but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. I have to be honest that the rescheduled date was less than ideal.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves despite the strong winds. But in future I will avoid running workshops in Cornwall during the school holidays.

A wonky pole in Bude, Cornwall
The shot that while demonstrating how I take long exposures on my workshop with Tom Peters. I don’t remember the pole being that wonky at the time…

Sunday 23rd

Got up early this morning for a sunrise shoot. To add to the winds which hadn’t died down overnight it was now raining.

So I went back to bed. Lovely.

15 thoughts on “A Challenging Week”

  1. So pleased for you with regard to the prints order! Totally agree about your comment regarding Dartmoor. I love the place especially as it has such a wide range of landscapes from Whistman’s Wood to raging rivers to bleak tors. However, the weather can change in an instant.

  2. Hello Chris, a challenging week to be sure. I guess that we are all going to have to become more accustomed to taking the rough with the smooth. The recent, more frequent behavior, of last minute cancellations and “no shows” clearly is not restricted to restaurants and all types of arranged event. I’ve been hearing from camera clubs that are also suffering from speakers and presenters doing the same, even in a virtual setting. All we can do Chris is plow forward and make the best of the good news, e.g. your excellent print sales, and maybe workshop deposits have to become non-refundable? I’ve tried to encourage my own participants not to cancel but to arrange an alternative date in the future instead, but that isn’t going to work for everyone. Keep the faith Chris. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road whilst we all adjust to a new normal. All the best.

    1. Hi Hugh – I think that some cancellations cannot be avoided, it’s just part of our business. For 1-2-1s it isn’t the end of the world, you can always reschedule. For workshops it is obviously a different story because you then have the problem of having to resell the space. I might have to put some form of cancellation policy in place.

  3. Mate, so glad you enjoyed your Dartmoor experience. It was a pleasure to show you one of my favourite locations. You got what I might call an authentic Dartmoor experience! All those things you experienced, both personally, and photographically, are for me what make Dartmoor such a wonderful place to go.

    As you’ve described you had to work hard for your shot but what a shot mate. Great work and I hope to take you back there one day.

    1. Thanks mate, it was a great morning and I really enjoyed myself, particularly catching up. Dartmoor has to be the ultimate challenge for a landscape photographer here in the UK. So much potential but often with so many challenges that need to be over come. Let’s see how I fair next time I am there, see if I am getting better! 🙂

  4. The weather has been somewhat challenging in Norfolk as well Chris. A neighbours gazebo went for a fly around the local area, and trees down all over the place.

    Looking forward to the webinar, stay safe and well.

    1. Hi Tony – the weather this week hasn’t been much of an improvement has it! We’ve had our fair share of rain here in Cumbria. Thanks for joining me on the webinar, I hope that you enjoyed it.

  5. Love the photo of Dartmoor Chris. It must be very frustrating for you when people cancel for whatever reason and then trying to fill that time with something constructive. Watching your youtube channel and reading the blogs it is a pleasure to follow this journey of yours, and just how much of a passion you have for the lakes and fells of your part of the country. Just recently i have started to explore the moors closest to me which is Bodmin Moor an hours drive, and the smaller area around Zennor and Rosemegy in West Penwith 45 minutes away and finding a real love for this type of landscape. You only have to look at the OS maps of the areas to see the amount of ancient settlements, standing stones, quoits and hut circles that abound the landscape, i certainly will be spending more time in these moor areas. Really hoping to be able to join you on one of your workshops in Cornwall next year being as i have been one of those who have had to cancel in the past through ill health. Keep up the great work.

    1. Tim! How are you? It is so good to hear from you. I hope you are well and that your health is improving. I am so pleased that you are enjoying my videos and are getting out to shoot in the Bodmin area. Not somewhere that I know very well, despite it being so close to where Mum lives. Perhaps I’ll check it out next time I am down.

      1. Yes not too bad at the moment Chris thank you. As you know it takes time to to learn and understand a new area, but am looking forward to the challenge. I think it is a place you would enjoy not unlike Dartmoor really, keep well.

  6. Thanks to Chris and Tom for a great workshop on Saturday.I would encourage Anyone who needs help with there photography should definitely consider it with these two.
    This was my second,and was very informative with a feeling of mates doing some long exposures.Thanks again Chris and Tom

    1. Thanks Owen, and thanks again for making the trip down to join Tom and I. Well done for battling the elements. I haven’t seen your images yet, have you posted them anywhere?

  7. Hi Chris.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Belstone Tor on Dartmoor.
    It’s a shame that the weather was not on your side but that is Dartmoor for you, but hopefully the next time you go there the weather will be on your side.
    Nice photo you have taken.

    1. Thanks Tim – I was quite happy with the shot that I got on Belstone Tor. The composition isn’t my best but I was so lucky with the light that morning. I look forward to joining Jules again for another go at some point in the future. 🙂

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