My Week of Photography

Most of us would like to be able to spend more time taking photographs. What would you do if you had a week dedicate to your photography? Here’s what I got up to when I was given just that opportunity.

My Week of Photography

As an amateur photographer I consider it a luxury to have a whole week to dedicate to photography. I recently took the week off of work so that I could spend more time taking photographs. This is what I got up to.

Sunday

The Photography Show

My week of photography began at the Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

For me the Photography Show is a great opportunity for networking. I spent most of my time chatting with the people that I have met through photography. Renewing acquaintances and catching up with old friends.

The highlight for me was meeting Chris. He told me the inspirational story of how he developed an interest in photography from watching YouTube videos. I hope to persuade him to come on to my channel to tell his story.

I also met Joe Cornish. Joe has been one of the UK’s leading landscape photographers for many years. I have been a fan for a long time and it was a pleasure to chat to him.

Monday

Angle Tarn

I rose late on Monday and as I drove the Brothers Water I wondered if I had already missed the best sunrise of the week.

I had decided to photograph Angle Tarn in order to complete my Location Guide to the Eastern Lake District. It was already 10:00 by the time that I reached the edge of the tarn. The 3 mile long route from the Cow Bridge car park took 90 minutes to complete, the 400m ascent giving both my legs and my lungs a well overdue workout.

The conditions at the tarn made photography difficult. With heavy cloud and a strong breeze a long exposure was my only real option but the drizzle rendered exposures of over a second pointless.

It was nearly six hours before a break in the rain allowed me to get one shot that was not ruined by water droplets on my filters. Landscape photography is difficult and we don’t always come away with the image that we wanted. This was one of those occasions.

Angle Tarn in the eastern Lake District
I waited for 6 hours for a break in the rain in order to get this long exposure of Angle Tarn.

Tuesday

Elterwater

It wasn’t so much the conditions at Elterwater that caused me problems the following day but the absence of my 24-70mm lens.

Although it was still raining the wind had dropped overnight and there were reflections on both Elterwater and the River Brathay. I was just about able to operate my camera with one hand whilst sheltering it using an umbrella that I held in the other.

When shooting reflections I like to shoot at around 50mm so as to eliminate any distracting foreground. However, with without my favourite lens I was left with a gaping hole between 40 and 70mm.

In the end I opted to shoot panoramas using my telephoto lens in portrait orientation that I could then crop later in Lightroom. This was a technique that I had discussed with Gary Norman at the Photography Show a couple of days earlier and it worked a treat!

River Brathay in the central Lake District
This shot of the trees on the River Brathay is a stitched panorama that I cropped.

Lens Update

Once I had finished at Elterwater I headed to Kendal to collect my ill fated 24-70mm lens.

My favourite lens has been away for repair for 3 months and I have already had to return it once because the focusing had not been calibrated.

As I arrived at Wilkinson Cameras I had a funny feeling that all was not well. My intuition proved to be correct as upon inspection it was obvious that the barrel guide was way out, a sign that the focusing had still not been calibrated properly.

The lens had to be returned to the repairer for a second time leaving me with a dilemma. As I was going to be without it for even longer was it time to shell out for a 16-35mm lens?

The answer was yes.

Wednesday

Rydal Water

On Wednesday morning I traveled to Rydal Water in the Central Lake District.

Despite there being very little light (I wouldn’t see the sun until Saturday afternoon) it was still wonderful conditions for photography. With very little wind the reflections were near perfect and mist that clung to the lake provided a wonderful atmosphere.

I spend a couple of hours making my way around the lake and came away with 3 pretty decent shots.

Rydal Water in the central Lake District
The lone tree at Rydal Water, one of three images that I got in just over 2 hours.

Administration

With a couple of successful shoots under my belt and at least 2 portfolio images in the can I decided to I could afford to spend a bit of time at home.

I had a number of boring admin tasks on my to do list. By far the most pressing was to move part of my Lightroom catalog to an external harddrive in order to free up some space on my Macbook.

Hardly exciting but I guess it’s all part of being a photographer.

Thursday

Wast Water

I was awake at 03:00 on Thursday morning and made the on the spot decision to drive to Wast Water in the western Lake District.

It took me 1 hour 45 minutes to drive the 70 miles from my home but when I arrived the low cloud completely obscured the view I had come to photograph. Bugger.

Voted in 2007 as Britain’s Favourite View the view of the Scafell Range is a notable absence from from my portfolio. And it remains so.

Undeterred I tried a few different things eventually walking away with one of my favourite shots of 2019 so far.

Wast Water in the western Lake District
Britain’s favourite view shrouded in cloud. My favourite image from 2019 so far.

Derwent Water

That afternoon I had arranged to meet up with Jeff Ogden who was up for a few days to attend the workshop that I was running with James Burns on Saturday.

Jeff is someone that I have gotten to know through my YouTube channel. He has been incredibly supportive and is still the only person to purchase a print from my website.

We spent a few hours exploring the western shore of Derwent Water chatting like old friends as we went.

Starting at the Centennial Stone we eventually moved on to Ashness Jetty where I was able to help Jeff to get a nice long exposure.

Derwent Water in the northern Lake District
The Centennial Stone on Derwent Water.

Friday

Tarn Hows

The previous night over dinner I offered to take Jeff to Tarn Hows for a bit of a 1-2-1 session.

Tarn Hows is perfect for that sort of thing. There are so many shots to be had that if you can’t find a composition at Tarn Hows then you just aren’t trying.

We took the path that runs around the perimeter of the tarn checking out compositions on our phones as we went. I explained to Jeff what I look for in a subject and how I try to work a scene in order to show it at it’s best.

As we were walking Jeff spotted the moss covered roots of a tree. I allowed Jeff to have a go first before showing him how I would tackle it. I was reminded of the old adage that “if your photos are not good enough then you’re not close enough”.

Tree roots covered in moss
Moss covered tree roots at Tarn Hows. Jeff spotted the potential here from 100 metres away!

New Lens

When we had finished at Tarn Hows Jeff and I headed to Kendel to collect my new lens. I splashed out over £700 on a Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L without really trying it out, so much is my confidence in Wilkinson Cameras and my audience on YouTube who had insisted it was a better bet than the 17-40mm I had been using.

Once the deal was done we met up with Ian Spicer who was also  attending the workshop on Saturday. I had already met Ian at the Photography Show and the 3 of us enjoyed an excellent lunch as we chatted about photography.

Ian is a fascinating guy with so many stories to share and he kept us all well entertained for most of the weekend. He lives in the very same village in Buckinghamshire where my wife went to school proving once again what a small world it is.

Lightroom

Jeff and I finished off our day together with a couple of hours in front of the computer back in my office.

I took him through my post processing workflow in Lightroom, something that I have never done before.

At the end I handed control to Jeff and he processed his image of Ashness Bridge. I think he did an excellent job.

Ashness Jetty on Derwent Water by Jeff Ogden
Jeff edited his shot of Ashness Jetty himself after I shared with him my post processing workflow. I think he did a great job. © Jeff Ogden 2019

Saturday

Workshop

I was up early on Saturday. I wanted to make sure that I was the first to arrive. And I was, a whole hour before everyone else.

Eventually Jeff and Ian arrived and we were joined by Cat Ding. The fourth member of the gang still hadn’t arrived so we decided to start with him. Unfortunately we learned afterwards that Brian had gone to another Blea Tarn.

We started by shooting the view across the tarn towards Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes. There was no light but we tried a number of different compositions with and without the rocks in the foreground. It was pretty windy and so we all opted for long exposures.

When my fellow co-host James Burns arrived he led Jeff and Ian around to the eastern side of the tarn. I took Cat to the western side and for a few moments the wind died down and we were both able to get a shot with reflections.

We then led the group to the top of Side Pike to photograph the view of the Langdale Pikes. The plan had been to end the workshop there but no one was ready to go home. We unanimously voted to climb to the summit of Lingmoor Fell.

Blea Tarn, Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes in the central Lake District
Blea Tarn, Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes. The wind died down just long enough to get a shot of the reflections.

I thoroughly enjoyed my week of photography. I got some images that I am pleased with and I made some new friends.

Despite being a little lonely at times it has made me more determined to find a way to be able to spend more time on my photography.

16 thoughts on “My Week of Photography”

  1. What a week you had Chris! The closest I’ve come to spending a week on photography was last year when I went to Harris and Lewis. That was just magical. Just being able to immerse myself in photography was a real treat.

    Looks like you had a challenging week though. However, I can see why that shot of Wast Water is your favourite of the year so far. A very strong composition for sure. Nice work mate. 🙂

    With the clocks changing this weekend, and more daylight hours becoming available after work hours, hopefully we’ll both start finding more time for our photography.

    1. Cheers Jules, I loved my week of photography even if I didn’t have the best conditions. I certainly didn’t get anything as good as your shots from Harris. With the longer evenings I hope to start a new mid-week project photographing the Pentland Hills close to where I work in Scotland. I want to spend as much time out with the camera as possible this year and I didn’t really make the most of 2018.

  2. Well done Chris. I am off to Assynt for a long weekend of photography in May. Having the time to devote to the camera without all of life’s normal pressures is a good thing. Just hope the weather cooperates. You made the best of what nature threw at you and did it rather well. Congratulations on the workshop too, sounds like it was a great success.

    1. Thanks Steve, yeah I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, it was great to spend some time with other photographers and to help them to improve their photography. It has made me determined to do more in the future. Enjoy Assynt; I hear it is amazing up there, if not a little wild at times.

  3. A week of photography is something I’ve not done; mine like many others are day trips. However, I do have a 2-3 day planned in May to photograph a series of waterfalls in Northwest NY after the Winter thaw. If I did have a week, and depending on the season, I’d ride up the New England coastline. Yup, that would be heaven. Congrats on the lens!

    1. If you do get a week off and head to New England give me a shout. It is one of my ambitions to photograph the autumn colours there. I hope you have a fantastic time on your trip and I will keep an eye out for the images on Instagram.

  4. Wow, what I would give to have had a week like that, all to myself to shoot for myself! It was a pity I couldn’t make it to the Photography Show to catch up Chris, but hope to be passing through the Lakes soon, so will drop you a note to see if you can come out to play. Looking forward to seeing what you produce with that 16-35mm, it’s a great focal range for landscapes.

    1. Definitely mate. Ping me some dates and I will do my best to make sure I am free. April is already looking busy. To be honest I am a little nervous about using the 16-35mm, it doesn’t really suit my style. I guess it is going to be fun figuring out how to get the most out of it.

  5. Last year I spent a week (10 days with traveling) on a Photog Adventures Listeners’ Adventures on the Oregon coast. I was the oldest person there and found it rather grueling to try to keep up with the much younger guys. The schedule went something like this: hike down to the sunrise location, breakfast, traveling to the sunset location, hiking to the sunset location, sunset, Milky Way, finding a camping spot (only once was there time for this before sunset), downloading images, and finally getting a few hours sleep. It took two weeks to recover, but I came home with at least a dozen of my favorite shots. I’m currently working on getting into better shape for this year’s Listeners’ Adventure.

    1. Hi Theresa. That does sound like a lot of hard work – fun, but hard nevertheless. I am not sure I would have been able to cope, I am not much of a camper and after a couple of days with very little sleep I can be quite grumpy. I found having a week to focus on my photography really helped me create great images. I reckon I got somewhere between 3 and 5 portfolio images last week. Not bad when you consider I didn’t see the sun until the last day.

  6. Hey Chris, I’m really glad you enjoyed your week of photography. I love your Wast Water shot. Simple, beautiful symmetry and nicely edited. Nice to see a different take of that view.

    As you know, I just completed my own week of photography and I managed to squeeze a whole week into just five days. At least that’s what it feels like after so many days of leaving the house at 0400 and arriving home around 2100!

    I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to read and post on your blog. I returned late last night and spent most of the day editing. Thanks to your excellent coaching I came away with about 10-12 images that I am really pleased with—which is an unprecedented number of hits for me. It was so great to meet you and James at the workshop and I enjoyed Ian and Kat as well.

    For me, the highlight of the week was the very unexpected opportunity to join you at Tarn Hows. I learned so much from you that morning and the LR editing in the afternoon. It was an invaluable experience and I’ll always remember that day. Thank you ever so much for the generous donation of your time. It is very much appreciated! Cheers 😊

    1. Hi Jeff, it was great to finally meet you after all this time. I really enjoyed our shoot at Tarn Hows even if conditions were a little difficult. As you can see I have added the your shot of Ashness Jetty to this article. I think it looks great. Nice job mate.

  7. Mate what a fantastic article!. Happy you finally got the 16-35mm I’m sure you will be nailing some wide shots ASAP! Lovely dramatic shots throughout the week.

    1. Cheers mate – how about you? Have you bought a new lens yet? I’m very much looking forward to our workshop in June. When are you announcing it?

  8. Hi Chris,
    I note that much of your work till now has been done on a 24-70, this is also my preferred lens range. I have tried wider lenses, but I always come back to the 24-70. I’ve never been impressed with the standard 3×2 format, hard to say why, but somehow it doesn’t look quite right, your crop to 16×9’s work well.
    I’ve been watching your vlogs for a while now. I really like your style of photography & video presentation. Your Lake District content is second to none & your work has inspired me to come over next month to the UK for a week’s visit to photograph the Lakes. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find your Week of Photography article. Now I’m really looking forward to my visit!
    Kind regards
    Alan

    1. Hi Alan – I love my 24-70, the range is perfect for my style of photography and I tend to shoot at 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. I have been without it for a while now (it is off being repaired) so I am left with just my 16-35 and my 70-200. I 16:9 format is something that has come out of being on YouTube and has really become a feature of my photography on the last 2 years. I am glad you enjoyed this article. You might also be interested in my Lake District location guide. https://chrissale.co.uk/wp/category/lake-district-location-guide/ It might help you to figure out the best locations to visit. I have the southern and eastern regions covered and hope to publish the article on the northern region this week. I hope you enjoy your trip and if there is anything that I can do in the meantime please just shout.

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