No Rest for the Wicked

After the challenges of lockdown it finally feels as though things are starting to slowly return to normal. With back to back 1-2-1s it feels good to be back out in the field sharing my passion for both photography and the Lake District.

The summit of Sheffield Pike high above Ullswater in the eastern Lake District

Monday 20th July 2020

This morning I met with Alan Crossland for a 1-2-1 in the hills above Ullswater.

Alan is here for the week for a family holiday and was looking for ‘a view from the fells’. So that is why I found myself huffing and puffing up Sheffield Pike in the dark.

Conditions at the top were ‘sub-optimal’ to say the least. It was windy and extremely cold bearing in mind that this is supposed to be the summer! But at least we stayed dry.

Alan Crossland at the summit of Sheffield Pike
Alan wanted a view from the fells – I think you could say that Sheffield Pike didn’t disappoint.

I do not like to shoot myself while on 1-2-1s preferring to remain focused on the needs of my ‘client’ (I still don’t like that word).

However, when discussing compositions I often find it easier to grab a quick shot with the M50 to illustrate my point.

I don’t know if it is because I have been shooting a lot handheld recently but some of these shots actually turn out to be rather good. When I got home I was rather surprised at just how much I liked a quick snapshot that I grabbed of the carved stone that crowns the summit cairn.

The summit of Sheffield Pike high above Ullswater in the eastern Lake District
The summit of Sheffield Pike above Ullswater – the moody conditions were perfect for black and white

Tuesday 21st

On of the things that I enjoy most about landscape photography is that it often rewards you for making the effort to be out on location at the right time of day.

This morning I was treated to a wonderful sky that I was fortunate enough to observe from the summit of Sour Howes.

Unfortunately I found it extremely difficult to find anything to build a photograph around. The summit is largely devoid of features and has one of the most pathetic ‘cairns’ that I have ever encountered.

Flaming red sky over the far eastern fells in the Lake District
Tuesday morning’s ‘fire sky’ – The summit of Sour Howes is largely devoid of features. This was the best that I could manage.

In the afternoon I made my way to Blea Tarn for a 1-2-1 with Greg Terefenko.

I don’t go into the National Park much at this time of year as it is so busy. I am reasonably placid but having to work my way through twisting single track roads, constantly having to make way for tourists that don’t know the width of their own cars is enough test even my patience.

But I am glad that I made the effort as I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon with Greg.

A relatively in-experienced photographer he is an extremely fast learner. At the end of our session I was both delighted and surprised at the progress that he had made in such a short amount of time.

Greg Terefenko on the shores of Blea Tarn
Greg beside Blea Tarn – one of the fastest learners that I have worked with so far

Wednesday 22nd

Things certainly have picked up since lockdown ended, thankfully.

This morning I met up with Chris Bell for my third 1-2-1 in as many days. We spent the morning exploring Elterwater and the River Brathay before eventually making our way to Loughrigg Tarn.

Chris was even less experienced than Greg but just as quick to learn. But what impressed me the most was his eye for composition. He’s a natural.

Chris Bell on the shores of Loughrigg Tarn
Chris Bell proving that if his career as a maths teacher doesn’t work out there is always catalogue modelling to fall back on.

I feel so lucky to be given the chance to share my passions for landscape photography and the Lake District with other people.

Helping others to get more pleasure from their photography, either by guiding them to locations they would never have been able to find on their own or by helping them to improve their skills behind the camera, is so rewarding.

Thursday 23rd

Had to stay home today as we were having some of the timbers in our old barn treated for woodworm.

It was an opportunity to put the finishing touches to my webinar about my favourite locations in the Lake District.

If you would like to attend please register here.

My Lake District Webinar
My next webinar (all about my favourite locations in the Lake District) will replace my first exhibition which was due to be held on the 29th July but had to be cancelled because of the ongoing pandemic.

Friday 24th

An early hike up Barrow this morning.

Conditions didn’t play ball and the images that I captured are pretty poor. I did film a video but I don’t think I will release it. It’s a shame because I think it would have been a good one.

It’s good to have bad days like this. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that I am not half as good as I think I am. 🙂

The view south west from the summit of Barrow
The best of a bad job, the view south west from the summit of Barrow.
Kase Filters

My main reason for heading up Barrow (although it wasn’t the subject of the video) was to test some filters that I’d been sent by Kase UK. I’d heard good things from some of my mates so I had high expectations.

I was to be disappointed.

I didn’t get on with the system at all. My main problem was the magnetic polariser. I found it to be really fiddly to attach and remove. I can imagine it would be almost impossible to fit with fingers numbed by the Cumbrian winter.

Another thing that I couldn’t get used to was that the CPL attaches to the filter ring rather than the holder, as in the case of the Lee system that I currently use.

On one occasion I thought I had lost it when changing lenses. After a few minutes of frantic searching I eventually found it still attached to the lens I had just removed from my camera!

This is a huge disappointment for me. The guys at Kase UK are a great bunch and I was excited by the prospect of working with them. But unfortunately it seems that it is not to be.

Saturday 25th

Spoke to Andrew Yu at Kase UK this morning. He took my feedback about the system with good grace.

He suggested that even though the filter holder might not be for me that I still might like to consider the ND and ND grad filters.

First chance that I get I am going to test them alongside my Lee and Zero filters.

9 thoughts on “No Rest for the Wicked”

  1. Ah, Barrow, Causey Pike, Grassmoor and all. I love that part of the Lakes, even though it was the place my old Zenith SLR died in the best snow conditions I had ever experienced. After a few tears and expletives, I enjoyed the rest of my non-photographic walk. Good to know business has picked up for you Chris, my work is lagging behind as the input that generates it is only re-starting next week, so it will be another few weeks before I see any paid work again – not a crisis as the pension keeps rolling no matter what (I am very lucky in that respect). I like your Sheffield Pike snap very much, your Sour Howes is a nice fresh image of a place not often visited and your view from Barrow brought back some fantastic memories, it’s a decent shot that. Blea Tarn and River Brathay too – you really are living the dream!

  2. Really nice shot from summit of Sheffield Pike. It goes to show that shooting hand held can work well. I rarely ever shoot without a tripod. I need some practice that’s for sure.
    Very pleased to see that you are back to running 1-2-1 workshops. I’m sure are as well.
    I’m surprised by your negative experience with the Kase system. I’ve tried several filters and systems including Lee and Nisi and I find Kase to be best for me. The magnetic CPL is my favorite part! It’s quite different for the Lee system, but since I leave the CPL on the lens most of the time, I don’t find the process of removing it to be an issue. As for the ND filters, they are far superior to Lee. No colour cast whatsoever. My opinion, worth price charged. Take care mate!

    1. I’d have to agree with Jeff, I moved form Lee to Kase too & love the magnetic CPL especially as it means you can use it with just the adapter ring if you don’t need the holder for grads. And speaking of the grads, they’re glass so don’t scratch and are super easy to clean…

    2. I’d have to agree with Jeff, I moved from Lee to Kase too & love the magnetic CPL especially as it means you can use it with just the adapter ring if you don’t need the holder for grads. And speaking of the grads, they’re glass so don’t scratch and are super easy to clean…

  3. Love that Sheffield Pike pic. just bought myself an M50 so will have it with me in September when we meet up, (hopefully).
    I must say, River Brathay looks very tasty especially with some morning or evening light.
    I have the Nisi system, the CPL “screws” to the front of the holder. You have to remember to turn the adjusters anti clockwise otherwise it unscrews and falls off!

  4. Jealous of the chaps who were able to enjoy the views there. I’m also glad to see new photographers learning about their new craft. What a classroom to have! I’ll look forward to the webinar this Wednesday. See you soon!

  5. Hi Chris,

    What a great few hours i had on your workshop. It was truly liberating to go to full manual mode, including manual focusing! It came somewhat as a surprise just how relaxed i felt (despite what it may have looked like dropping my filters so many times!)

    Keep up the great blog Chris, thoroughly enjoyable read

  6. Love the B&W image from Sheffield Pike, can we see the Webinar at another time as 19.00hrs in England is 4am in Australia (1 hr Nth of Sydney ) where I live and its Winter here.

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