Sunday 27th October 2019
The weather forecast looked promising this morning so I rose early.
Exactly 2 years ago today I took one of my most successful images. I decided to head to Loughrigg Fell to see if I could improve upon it.
Unfortunately the forecast was wrong.
Instead of being clear, dry and still it was overcast, wet and windy. I got soaked and returned empty handed.
Worst of all I aggravated an old back injury in the process.
In landscape photography there are failures and then there are abject disasters!
My back was still sore this morning and so I was forced to take the day off.
I spent the day doing exercises to loosen the muscles in my back and swallowing anti-inflammatories.
The day off gave me time to think and to reflect on how things were going. After a bit of soul-searching I came to the conclusion that I am seriously lacking in confidence.
I have not been producing the level of work that I would like and this has caused me to question whether or not I have what it takes to be successful in this field.
That much was obvious but what could I do about it?
In the end I could only come up with one solution. To play to my strengths.
As a photographer my approach is to work a scene over many months or even years, returning time after time in order to perfect my composition or in the hope of better conditions.
And so I hatched a plan.
After a day on the sidelines I was keen to get back out with my camera.
My plan was to revisit two locations that I know well with the aim of improving on shots that I had taken previously.
First up was the Duke of Portland Boathouse on Ullswater.
In the past I felt that the primary subject (the boathouse itself) was too small in the frame and that I had shot too far too the right, thus not showing enough of the front of the boathouse.
✓ – Beautiful autumn colours, perfect reflections and even some low cloud in the background. It is hard to imagine better conditions for this scene
✓ – Significantly better composition than previous attempts; the boathouse is larger in the frame and the front is more visible
✕ – The railings at the front of the boathouse are a little too orange, next time ease off on the polariser a little!
Once I had finished at the boathouse I headed for Aira Force.
I wanted to get the classic shot of the waterfall from the viewing platform and to make the most of the autumn colours.
When I arrived I was a little disappointed to find that the colour was not as developed as I would have liked.
No matter. Nothing that a little liberal use of the HSL sliders in Lightroom cannot fix!
✓ – Wider composition makes the most of the autumn colours high up in the canopy above
✓ – The waterfall is almost a secondary subject after the tree which has more visual weight in the scene
✕ – The autumn colours are not as developed as I would have liked, particularly around the bottom of the waterfall
Today I got to spend the day with Sander Groenendijk who was visiting from the Netherlands.
Sander had hired me for a 1-2-1 and asked that I find a specific view of Loughrigg Tarn from Loughrigg Fell.
I collected him from the YHA in Borrowdale at 05:00 this morning and drove through the blackness to Grasmere.
We then climbed up to the summit of Loughrigg Fell before dropping down to the view point that I have located a few weeks ago.
To some this might seem like an awful lot of effort but boy was it worth it!
✓ – Wonderful combination of frosty fields and autumn colours; teal and orange is a classic combination!
✓ – Nice simple composition focuses on the tarn and the hills in the distance
✕ – Next time I return I would like to experiment with a wider composition that includes Elterwater to the right of the tarn
I had a really wonderful morning with Sander. He is a fascinating guy and great fun to chat to.
I have really enjoyed all of the 1-2-1s I have had so far since going full-time. It is great to share my passion for the Lake District and for photography with others.
In the New Year I would like to focus on promoting this side of my business.
This morning I headed for Tarn Hows. I wanted to try and get the classic shot overlooking the tarn from hill to the south east.
It is not a composition that I have tried before and inevitably I wasn’t happy with the shot. So I cut my losses and headed down to the tarn and my favourite composition.
It was another beautiful, still, clear morning and the reflections on the tarn were as good as I have seen then.
This was playing to my strengths. I was in a location I know well in near perfect conditions. This is what all the hard work has been for.
✓ – Perfect reflections create a mirror image of the pine trees
✓ – The rising sun has illuminated the trunks of the pine trees perfectly making them pop! They really grab the viewers attention.
✓ – Bright sky will not be to everyone’s taste but for me it compliments the scene perfectly; are more ‘interesting’ sky would compete for attention drawing focus away from the primary subject
Friday 1st November
The weather was not great today but with 4 good images in the bag the pressure was off.
I chose to spend the day in the office getting ready for my first paid workshop tomorrow on Holme Fell.
Saturday 2nd November
This morning was my first ever paid workshop with my good friend and fellow YouTube photographer James Burns.
James and I spent a wonderful morning on Holme Fell with Wajid, Andy, Ajit and David.
The forecast for this morning was mixed and I was expecting rain. However, we could not have been more lucky with the weather. Not only was it dry but at times we also had some gorgeous light!
Because we have such different approaches to photography James and I worked well as a team. I took everyone through the composition that I had research thoroughly and James spent time sharing how he picks out details in the landscape.
As usual the feedback that James and I received was extremely encouraging. It was such a success that we have agreed to run more workshops in the new year.
After weeks when nothing seemed to go right finally I feel as though things are starting to come together.
My approach to photography seems to have paid off right at the point when the Lake District is looking its very best.
I have produced four images that I am very proud of. They are a good representation of my ability as a photographer.
I can feel my confidence starting to return. 🙂