Just Another Typical Week

I don’t normally shoot throughout the summer. But this year, because of lockdown, I have decided to carry on right through till autumn. And I am having a fantastic time. Mostly.

The summit of Low Rigg in the northern Lake District

Monday 6th July 2020

An early start this morning. My original plan had been head up the Kirkstone Pass to get a shot for my Hand of Man project.

As I drove passed Ullswater it started to rain. When I arrived at the top of the pass it was still raining.

I know from experience that just the conditions can vary hugely from one valley to the next. So I continued on towards Windermere and then north in the direction of Keswick in search of a break in the rain.

Eventually, as I approached Thirlmere, the rain eased. I love his place, it is one of my favourite locations to shoot. The view from the northern end of the reservoir is magic!

I have to limit the number of times I shoot here a year.

The valley is so steep sided that to stand on that beach almost feels claustrophobic. The perfect location for those moody, heavy skies.

The view of Helvellyn from the beach at the northern end of the Thirlmere Reservoir
The view from the beach at the northern end of the Thirlmere Reservoir – the perfect location for when conditions are moody

Tuesday 7th

I enjoyed last week’s shoot on Beda Fell so much that I was keen to return to Martindale as soon as possible. I made it to the top of Steel Knotts just in time to watch the sun rise over Ullswater.

On my way there I have to drive past 2 large campsites. I was surprised just how busy they seemed to be.

Normally I avoid the Lake District during the summer months. It is just a little too busy for my liking. But after the confinement lockdown I am taking every opportunity to shoot that I can.

Perhaps this is why the campsites seemed to be so busy to me. But it left me feeling very uneasy.

I am deeply concerned that the country is heading for another lockdown. If that happens and I loose the autumn (my busiest time) I am going to be screwed.

Taking in the view from the top of Steel Knotts in the far eastern Lake District
Could the selfie be making a comeback? What my mate Wayne refers to as ‘epic surveying’

Wednesday 8th

My third 02:30 start in a row and for once I wish I hadn’t bothered.

Wast Water is a 3 hour round trip for me but at this time of year the sun rises directly behind ‘Britain’s favourite view’. It is also a scene that I have yet to capture. The last time I was here the whole scene was shrouded in mist.

And once again I was to strike out.

The forecast was for no wind and a cloudy sky. The forecast was wrong. I arrived to clear skies and a howling wind.

Without the clouds the dynamic range in the scene was just too high to cope with. I took a couple of long exposures but the foreground was far too dark while the sky was burnt out.

That is just the way that it goes in landscape photography sometimes. You win some, you loose some.

Britain's favourite view on Wast Water shrouded in low cloud
A shot from my last visit to Wast Water in March 2019 – Britain’s favourite view is out there somewhere

Thursday 9th

I have had a few enquires about the first talk that I have written for camera clubs.

I haven’t actually started marketing it yet so I have found this very encouraging. So encouraging in fact that I have decided to write another one sharing my favourite locations in the Lake District.

As with ‘Living the Dream’ I am aiming for 90 minutes but I may trial a shorter version as a webinar. Let me know if you’d be interested.

Friday 10th

After wasting my time at Wast Water I haven’t felt particularly motivated for the past two mornings. Time to catch up on some sleep.

When I did eventually get into the office I spent a bit of time preparing for filming the next episode of On My Watch List.

This is still a very new thing for Jules and I and so it takes a little more work than my other videos. And it’s easier for me because it is Julian that has to pull the whole thing together in the edit!

Sam Bose was our guest presenter for episode 3 and I feel that the three of us gelled really well. I have high hopes.

Views for On My Watch List have been pretty low so far, about half of what my other videos get. But that is not why we are doing it. It is our attempt to give something back to the community that has given us so much.

Saturday 11th

After 2 days in the office it felt good to get back out with the camera this morning.

Well, it did for about 2 minutes!

As I drove passed Ullswater heading for Brothers Water I saw that all of the parking areas were crammed with cars and camper vans. And when I arrived at Brothers Water I was saddened to find some people had decided to camp beside the lake.

Wild camping is illegal in the UK but largely tolerated here in the Lake District if out of sight of the majority of people. This generally means up on the top of the fells.

It is something that really annoys me.

I am not someone that breaks the rules. I have too much respect for other people to do that. So when I see someone else doing it so blatantly it really pisses me off!

I had just enough time to make my way to back to Silver Bay on Ullswater for sunrise.

The view of Ullswater from Silver Point
The view of Ullswater from Silver Point – it’s hard to remain annoyed when watching the sun rise

Sunday 12th

When you work for yourself you don’t really get weekends off.

So I was out of the house again at 03:00 this morning; my destination, Low Rigg. At this time of year the sun rises between Blencathra and Clough Head.

What a morning for photography! I had a fantastic time.

Although low cloud snuffed out the sun rise I still had some beautiful light once the sun was a little higher in the sky.

I took the opportunity to test out some new grads that I have been given by the folks at Zero Filters.

They are 2/3rds of the price of my Lee Filters grads and are supposed to be more colour neutral. My first impressions are pretty good.

The view towards Skiddaw from Low Rigg in the northern Lake District
The view from Low Rigg towards Skiddaw on a wonderful morning for photography

16 thoughts on “Just Another Typical Week”

  1. Hi Chris, you have had some ups and downs lately but nice to see you out and about again, lets hope you don’t get a 2nd lockdown. really enjoying your new format and you have managed to grab some very nice images. Good luck for the Autumn.

    1. Hi Ross – Sometimes it feels like my whole photography journey has been full of up and downs. I think they are a bit more obvious these days because I am more prepared to share my experiences with other people.

  2. Hello Chris. My hope with visitors is that it is just an initial spike, and that visitor numbers will start to level out and become manageable. This is what has happened here in the South West, especially after the well publicised overcrowding at Bournemouth. Visitor numbers here have dropped quite sharply, and in my experience most people are respectful of the social distancing guidance. There are always though that ignore it, and when I encounter it I always make a scene and make sure that that person is aware of their stupidity. Doesn’t always work, and I’ve had a few “F off you old codger” responses too. Be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. Like you sir, if we’re locked down again, then I am sunk too. I have a role the pays the bills in the catering food distribution sector which has been hit very hard by the impact on hospitality. My role is secure as long as there are the margins to help pay for it. Those margins right now are seriously eroded, and if they are eroded further then I’m done for. Let us both keep everything crossed though eh 🙂 Btw I’m still looking good for my trip your way in July 🙂 Hopefully there Tue 28th through to Friday 31st (although need to head back South around 12:30). My guesthouse in Ambleside is open and operating, so as long as the weather is not blue skies for the week then it is Go! Go! Go! All the best chap.

    1. At the moment my diary is clear for the week that you are in the Lakes. It would be good to meet up. I’ll keep my distance I promise. 🙂

    2. Hi Chris,
      Glad things are getting back to normal for you in these strange times.
      I really liked the Ullswater from Silver Point and the Low Rigg towards Skidaw photo’s.
      Hope the rest of the year goes well for you.

  3. Hi Chris,

    The first image is really nice, I like the leading line in the rock at the bottom in the centre lined up with the tiny peak in the distance, it gives great depth, and it’s a lovely colour pallette. I also love the warmth of the final image, and obviously the image itself. Is this a side effect of the new filters, or your post procesing? Like you ,I’ve not got Britains favourite view as a really good image yet – but I’ll keep trying as it’s a great place away from the crowds generally.

    Fingers crossed for you for the Autumn, hopefully you’ll be really busy.

    1. Hi Mark – I think the warmth of the final image comes from the wonderful side light that I had on Low Rigg on Sunday morning. I had a wonderful shoot and came away with some images that I am really happy with (they feature in tonight’s video). At the moment I am trying to decide if any of them are portfolio quality.

  4. Chris – the 2:30 am internal clock must be set by now!
    Here in NY, I tend not to go out on weekends anymore given the disregard for rules and guidelines. Even in the of best times, there are always people who ignore regulations meant to preserve and protect the environment we all to enjoy.
    I’d certainly be interested in a preview webinar so put me down as a yes. Last image was my favorite of the bunch – beautiful morning light and view.

    1. Hey Miguel – that internal clock certainly is set now. I seem to wake up at 02:30 no matter what these days! 🙂 I would generally avoid weekends too but I am just loving shooting at the moment and so am taking every opportunity that I can to get out. Because sun rise is so early at the moment I am generally back home again before anyone else is up. I will post details of the webinar once I have finalised them.

  5. Beautiful light on your photo “The view from Low Rigg towards Skiddaw”. Great scene captured at just the right time. Reading your, and others, comments about people following the rules and guides. I have pretty much continued in lock down mode and only going out once every week or 10 days. I live in Florida. We opened up too soon. When we did open people didn’t follow the rules on masks and social distancing. We quickly jumped within a couple of weeks to having over 5,000 cases a day. Then we hit 10,000. And, this past weekend we hit 15,000 cases in a single day. So, Chris and anyone else who reads this, it may be hard to keep the rules of masks and social distancing but it is really something we have to bite the bullet and do. Stay safe, keep shooting, and support each other in every good way! Peace.

    1. Hi Marvin, it really is terrible what is going on at the moment in the US. We watch from afar in horror. I am doing everything that I can to avoid contact with other people at the moment. Next week I have a couple of 1-2-1s which I am looking forward to – but I am determined to remain socially distanced at all times.

  6. As always, thanks for the update. It looks like you made the most out of some less than ideal conditions. The image from Thirlmere Reservoir is great.
    Add me to the list of “Yes” for your possible webinar on your favorite locations in the Lake District.
    When will your next episode of On My Watch List be aired?
    Pity about the visitors and their lack of respect for others. I agree with Huw’s comment. I tend to remind people that they are not entitled or better than the rest of us.
    Let’s hope in the coming weeks the weather and tourist are more accommodating.

    1. Hi John – the next episode of On My Watch List will be premiered on Wednesday 22nd July. We just filmed episode 4 (the last in this series) this morning featuring Mali Davies as the guest host. We’ll be taking a short break before starting work on series 2.

  7. Hi Chris, you managed to capture some lovely images I particularly liked the Ullswater from Silver Point and the Low Rigg towards Skidaw ones. It’s also encourging that your 121’s are returning, I always admire your honesty both in your vlogs and blogs, it is this attribute which means that I feel you deserve a positive break.

    1. Thanks Neil – I am in a bit of a ‘purple patch’ at the moment. I have seen a definite improvement in my work recently and that has given my confidence a necessary boost. So far it has been the most productive summer for me ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *