Embracing Summer

The summer is a difficult time for landscape photographers. The early starts and late finishes. The clear skies, harsh light and lack of colour contrast. Normally I would take a break around this time of year. But having lost so much time to the coronavirus pandemic I an determined to make the most of it this year.

The run rising over the Pennines viewed from Low Kop in the Far Eastern Lake District

Monday 22nd June 2020

Another Monday in front of the computer editing video.

Typically around this time of year I would take a break from both photography and YouTube. Landscape photography is difficult during the summer months and a rest usually means I am fresh for the start of the autumn season

However, this year I am determined to make the most of summer. This is almost certainly due to the time lost during lockdown.

Tuesday 23rd

03:00 starts are not easy at the best of times. It pays to check and recheck the weather forecast before committing.

The problem is that the forecast is often wrong.

My plan for this morning had been to climb up Arthur’s Pike to photograph the sun rising over Penrith. But upon arriving at Helton Fell it became clear very quickly that the only thing that I would be photographing would be the driving rain.

Keen not to waste my early start I decided to scout out a few locations getting thoroughly soaked in the process.

Sometimes you just have to accept defeat.

Wednesday 24th

Next week I have my first camera club talk with the Holmes Chapel Photographic Society so I spent the morning putting the finishing touches to my presentation.

After 4 and a half days without taking a photograph of note I just had to get out.

Conditions were far from ideal. Clear blues skies and the harsh midday sun. Even looking for black and white compositions didn’t work and I inevitably returned home empty handed.

However, this evening there was some good news. As of the 4th July hotels and campsites can re-open. Hopefully this means that it won’t be long before I can get back to something resembling normality.

Thursday 25th

Keen to get out and take some photographs this morning I found myself on top of Low Kop for sunrise. It was wonderful to be able to watch the sun peak out over the Pennines in the distance and difficult not to reflect on my decision to leave my old job.

Once the sun had risen I made my way to Wether Hill.

I am enjoying exploring the Far Eastern Fells. It is providing me with some interesting photographic challenges.

But perhaps Low Kop/Wether Hill was a step too far. Both are largely devoid of any features to build a photograph around. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable morning.

The small tarn close to the summit of Wether Hill in the Far Eastern Lake District
My favourite image from Wether Hill – the landscape is largely featureless and I struggled to find anything interesting to photograph

Friday 26th

Some good news!

Following the announcement earlier in the week I have started to receive a few bookings for 1-2-1s. It is now time to think very carefully about how to make these as safe as possible.

On a slightly sadder note I was disappointed (if not surprised) to hear that Olympus are pulling out of the camera market.

As mobile phones continue to eat into the market it is becoming smaller and smaller. I fear this is won’t be the only camera manufacturer we will loose.

I am particularly sad for some of my friends that use their cameras. It seems to me that Olympus enjoys a brand loyalty rivalled only by Fuji.

Saturday 27th

My image of Otter Island has been causing quite a stir on Instagram. There has been much debate concerning the inclusion of the rock.

Initially I was unsure. But as time has passed I have started to lean towards leaving it in. I feel it adds a little extra interest and depth to the image.

Not everyone agrees with me.

Most people argue that it is distracting but I feel that the island carries enough visual weight to compete for the viewer’s attention. I thought I might put it to the vote and go with the consensus.

It then occurred to me that this was HUGE cop out.

As a photographer it is my job to present my vision of the world. To share the world as I see it. By listening too much to others I risk diluting what I put of myself into my own work.

There is no place for democracy.

Otter Island, with and without the rock in the foreground
Should it stay or should it go? Otter Island and its controversial rock. Art is not a democracy – the rock stays!

Sunday 28th

This weekend would normally be the Glastonbury festival. Over the years it has become a bit of a tradition to try to catch at least the headline acts over the weekend.

As this year’s event has been cancelled due for obvious reasons we have found ourselves watching some of the highlights from years gone by on the BBC.

Last year’s set by the Killers was one of the best I have ever seen but my personal favourite has to be Coldplay in 2016 which coincided with their ‘Head Full of Dreams’ tour.

Packed full of modern day classics the technicolour extravaganza was both uplifting and poignant as they paid tribute to up and coming band Viola Beach who had been killed in an accident earlier in the year.

It was so well received that the NME even described it as “the most brilliant, batsh*t crazy Pyramid Stage set ever”.

I was therefore surprised to read this morning that Chris Martin has been put off a Glastonbury return by hurtful comments on the internet.

As creatives it seems that no matter how successful we are or how much acclaim we receive it is often eclipsed by criticism from people who are (in the grand scheme of things) completely irrelevant.

It seems so silly that someone like Chris should be impacted in this way. But as he says… “Sometimes these things hurt me because I’m human.”



10 thoughts on “Embracing Summer”

  1. I like both images of Otter Island equally as I think they both have strong enough elements to stand alone, however, my wife, my strongest critic and photographic assistant has decidedly come down on the side of the ‘rock has to go’
    What does Mrs S have to say on this?

    1. Hey Rob – Mrs Sale said to keep the rock in. She made a very good point that it was part of the vision when I was on location and therefore should remain in the final image. That shot has now been added to my portfolio and I am very proud of it. 🙂

  2. Thanks Chris. Well could 2020 get any worse!? Yup, sad about Olympus. I do like their cameras and find them great kit for day trips and mobility. Luckily, I’m good with my current set up for a few years, plus my FF kit as well. However, needless to say, I probably won’t be purchasing additional 4/3 lenses going forward. A shame. The current situation has accelerated the demise of these iconic brands. I’ve owned a few Oly film cameras over the years, and they were really at the cutting edge back in the 70s and 80s. Excellent engineering. The camera industry is taking a major hit . Only time will tell how the market changes. Glad you’re able to start your 1-2-1s. I’m sure it’s been frustrating. Finally, I’ve been off IG so I missed the rock debate! I like the “no rock” – but I don’t think it’s distracting, I just like the minimalism of the other. But as you say, you need to follow your own bliss ; ) Stay safe, be well.

    1. In the debate rock x no rock in the foreground I wonder how harmonious the image would like with the horizon line right in the middle of the frame and obviously no rock in the foreground. The ‘rule of thirds’ has to go! lol.

      1. Hey Flavio – an excellent observation. without the rock the image would definitely work better with the horizon in the middle of the frame to exaggerate the symmetry. This is generally one of the occasions when I would ignore the rule of thirds.

    2. Hey Miguel – I did think of you immediately after hearing the announcement from Olympus. Such a shame. I was starting to think that they enjoyed the sort of brand loyalty that can only be rivalled by Fuji. I was even considering them myself because a few of my friends use them and speak very highly of them.

  3. Totally agree about Coldplay! I stayed up to watch it from 2016. Which then made the 3.15am alarm even harder to deal with. No one wants hurtful comments. It must be a sign of success? If people spend time giving you grief it could be a sign of jealousy! I think in America they say if you don’t get a death threat in a presidential campaign it’s not a good campaign! Ok that’s a bit extreme but you get my point.

    Ian hull.

    1. Hi Ian – the first day that BBC were running repeats of Glastonbury it wasn’t listed. I was gutted! Still I had the Killers set from last year to console myself. Regarding the haters, I never will never understand the mentality of people who set out to make someone else feel bad. I don’t get what they are trying to achieve. Fortunately the vast majority of people are much kinder than that.

  4. The video demonstrated the frustrations that can be experienced in summer. I was wondering about another potential project, you’ve referenced the Wainwright guides/fells a couple of times recently – has a photographic survey been undertaken of them? Could this be something thinking about?

    1. Hi Neil – I am referring to Book 2 of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells throughout this series. My intention is to spend a year photographing the far eastern fells. I was going to start with book 1, the eastern fells but as because of lockdown starting with book 2 felt like the right thing to do as they are much closer to me a far less busy.

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