Making the Best of Things

With England being placed under lockdown restrictions in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-9 I have suddenly found myself with some time on my hands. Time that I am keen to make the most of.

The view of the Langdale Pikes from Elterwater

Monday 2nd November 2020

In the spirit of leaving everything to the last moment Monday is becoming the day that I edit my videos.

Having started the “Premiere Pro Bootcamp” laid on by the good folks at Adobe today was my first attempt at editing a video with Premiere Pro. I was delighted to find it all relatively straight forward. Better yet PP seems to run without issue on my ageing laptop. πŸ™‚

This week’s bootcamp lesson focused on titles, motion graphics and branding. As I had no idea what my channel was to become when I set it up this is not something that I have ever given much thought to before. I now have a few ideas for how to make my videos look a little more professional.

But I am cautious not to try to look too professional.

Tuesday 3rd

Today was my last chance to get out to shoot in the Lake District before lockdown so I headed to Skelwith Bridge.

My plan was to get a shot of the Skelwith Force waterfall. However, following the rain that we have had recently the waterfall was in full flow and I could not get to the vantage point from where I would normally shoot.

Eventually I moved on and spent a wonderful couple of hours photographing the views across Elterwater towards the Langdale Pikes. It is one of my favourite views in the Lake District but I have always struggled to capture it. Somehow the photographs never quite have the same impact as being there in person.

On the way back to the car I stopped beside the River Brathay to attempt a new composition that I have had my eye on for some time.

The view of the Langdale Pikes from the River Brathay
I have had my eye on this composition for a while. I like how the cottage provides a strong focal point as well as providing a sense of scale.

Wednesday 4th

This morning I accompanied Charles Conner on a 1-2-1 at Derwent Water. Despite an extremely positive forecast conditions were against us and I returned home feeling a disappointed for him.

Our original plan was to shoot the Otterbield Tree at sunrise but the high water levels put paid to that.

After grabbing a shot of the jetty at Brandelhow we made the decision to move to the other side of the lake. As we drove to the Lakeside car park the sun briefly peaked out from behind the clouds. It was to be the only bit of light that we were to see all morning. It had all but gone by the time that we reached Crow Park.

Landscape photography can be extremely frustrating at times.

Derwent Isle on Derwent Water
The only bit of light that Charles and I saw all morning at Derwent Water on what was my most frustrating 1-2-1 to date. πŸ™

This evening was the premiere of the documentary about my life as a landscape photographer produced by Julian Baird.

The film was extremely well received and I was delighted for all of the praise that Jules received in the comments section. He put in an awful lot of hard work and produced something that I think he should be very proud of.

If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend that you take 30 minutes to watch it. It really does give a great insight into what it is like to be me. πŸ™‚

Thursday 5th

Day 1 of Lockdown 2.0.

England has been placed under lockdown restrictions for the next 4 weeks in an attempt to restrict the spread of Covid-19. With my diary cleared of 1-2-1s and workshops I find myself with more time on my hands than I otherwise would have.

I don’t expect this lockdown to be as bad as the first one back in April. For a start we are allowed outside of unlimited exercise.

Last time I decided to work on improving my black and white photography. This time I have made the decision to practice my intimate compositions.

If there is one thing I have learned about working on my weaknesses it is not to get too ambitious too soon. That generally only leads to disappointment and disillusionment. With that in mind I started with a simple shot of one of the drystone walls close to the village.

One the dry stone walls close to the village of Shap
I started working on my intimate compositions with this simple shot of a dry stone wall. I was drawn to the patterns of the stones and the lichen.
5×5 Challenge

While out with the camera this afternoon I finally made a start on the 5×5 challenge that I will be working on with my friend John in Pennsylvania.

The aim is to capture 25 shots based on a single theme that can be arranged in a 5×5 grid. I have decided to focus on find interesting details within the boundaries of the village where I will live. The closest I am likely to get to taking up street photography.

The first shot in my 5x5 challenge
The first image in my 5×5 challenge, shot and edited in my mobile phone.

Go here find out more about my 5×5 challenge.

Friday 6th

Oh what a glorious morning!

I was up and out with the camera before sunrise to continue working on my intimate photographs. While I was out I recorded a short video about my plans for lockdown. You can see it by clicking the image below.

During lockdown I will be concentrating on intimate compositions.
Click the image to watch the video.

In the afternoon Mrs Sale and I went for a walk around Lowther Park. It was another chance to practice my intimate shots.

I have to be honest this photo was her idea but I think it works quite well.

A maple leaf on a background of beech leaves
Helen set up this shot – even Mrs Sale is better at intimate photos than I am!

Saturday 7th

It has been another glorious day. This afternoon I spent 3 hours out with camera. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

I am starting to feel a little more creative and decided to experiment with foreground and background elements in my intimate shots.

I am not entirely sure that the experiment was successful. I feel that the results are a bit of a halfway house between my normal wide vistas and something more intimate. Neither one thing nor the other.

But that is the point of this whole exercise. To figure out what works and what does not.

Attempting to use both foreground and background in an intimate photograph
My attempts to include both foreground and background elements in my intimate shots were unsuccessful. But it was a lot of fun trying!

Sunday 8th

It was a dirty, grey day today with no light at all. Perfect conditions for photographing fine details!

Following yesterday’s failed experiment I decided to revert back to what I know in order to keep my confidence up. I settled on a shot of some wild geums (I am reliably informed by Mrs Sale that’s what they are, I thought they were wild strawberries if I am honest).

A simple shot of some wild Geums beside the road
This small patch of Geums beside the road caught my eye while out on my daily walk.

13 thoughts on “Making the Best of Things”

  1. Hey, regarding the documentary film, I couldn’t have done it without you mate. So, thanks again for your trust and support in making it happen. I’m really pleased the way it has turned out and been received.

    I think I might have to do another….;-)

    1. Just checked the number of views. 2.5K in just under a week. I am very impressed by that for such a long video. Congratulations mate, I am so pleased for you.

  2. A good time to experiment and work on other skills Chris. It must be frustrating I’m sure. But as today is Sunday afternoon, your post has inspired me to grab my bag and head out to enjoy the day – I don’t want to ever take getting out for granted. Stay safe!

    1. Hey Miguel, how did you get on? I have been out shooting everyday since lockdown was introduced, that is something that I NEVER do and I am really enjoying it. Also, the exercise is doing me no harm at all! πŸ™‚

      1. It’s been a mixed bag Chris. I’ve been getting out early to catch the sunrise but no luck with the color πŸ™
        Waiting on the snow πŸ‘

  3. Watched the video with interest. Enjoyed it and it was fun to watch and learn what goes on behind the camera. You certainly work hard. Wish you the best of luck particularly with the lockdown.

    1. Thanks Mike – I certainly seem to be working harder than I did before I went full-time. I feel I am in a really privileged position and I want to make the most of it.

  4. Chris – you’re a great role model on how to make the best out of lockdown. Thank you for the inspiration.

    The documentary was very interesting and entertaining. Excellent work on both sides of the camera.

  5. That was a great doc Julian made about you. Hey, nothing wrong with looking professional, it leads to professional clients and professional fees πŸ‘ 😎 Stay safe, have fun.

    1. You are absolutely spot on of course Simon. I do however find myself wondering if it suits some projects more that others. I have other projects in the pipeline where looking super professional might fit better… I am probably over thinking things.

      1. Chris, certainly if you are looking to work with brands, DMOs, and publications, it is beneficial to come across as super professional and slick. Photographers more often than not get hired based on their level of professionalism, as this translates to giving a degree of peace of mind to the client for working with you. For working directly with the public though, 1-on-1s, workshops etc., it’s a different situation. At this level, you just being a nice friendly chatty bloke who knows the area is enough. This “brand perception” has already been established through people watching you on Youtube etc.

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