The Calm Before the Storm

I am about to enter a very busy period with numerous workshops and 1-2-1s. But before then I had the opportunity to hang out with a good friend and spend a little time on my own photography.

The view of Helvellyn from the beach at the southern end of the Thirlmere Reservoir

Monday 17th February 2020

Today I have a good friend of mine from California joining me for a week of photography.

Jeff and I first met at a workshop that I ran around this time last year. I have been looking forward to his visit for a long time.

Tuesday 18th

For Jeff’s first full day in the Lake District we decided to head into the centre of the National Park.

The weather was extremely challenging with strong winds and heavy showers. But this did not dampen our spirits.

After visiting a number of locations and a rather excellent lunch we found ourselves at the southern end of Thirlmere Reservoir. The rain stopped for just long enough for me to grab a long exposure look up towards Helvellyn.

The view of Helvellyn from the beach at the southern end of the Thirlmere Reservoir
Shot of the day – the rain stopped just long enough for me to get this shot looking up towards Helvellyn

✓ – Simple composition with a little interest in the foreground to add some depth

✓ – Limited colour palette of orange and white is unusual and quite eye catching

✕ – Although I like it the milky water created by the long exposure will not be to everyone’s tastes

Wednesday 19th

Jeff and I were at Buttermere this morning.

We started with the lone tree (yawn) before looking for a few other compositions.

We had a right laugh together and Jeff even had a go a vlogging. I think he was excellent but you will be able to see for yourself when the video is released at 18:00 on Tuesday 25th February.

The north shore of Buttermere


✓ – A variation on the lone tree shot

✓ – Fleetwith Pike provides context (it is clearly a shot of Buttermere)

✕ – Not a particularly exciting image

Thursday 20th

Despite the rain Jeff and I still made the effort to get out.

While it was raining I drove him to the end of the Haweswater Reservoir to show him one of my favourite views in the Lake District.

The weather started to improve and after spending some time photographing the area around Lowther Castle we made our way to Brothers Water.

The level of the lake was so high I was unable to get to the areas where I would normally shoot which made things difficult as did the hail storm which eventually chased us away.

Jeff Ogden on the Cow Bridge close to Brothers Water
Jeff working a composition from the Cow Bridge near Brothers Water

Friday 21st

Jeff moved out today. Not wanting to outstay his welcome he has checked into a hotel down the road.

Mrs Sale and I are missing him already. 🙁

To keep myself occupied I had a Skype call with photographer in the US.

David has been a keen photographer for many years and I looking to start running workshops in his local area. On the call I explained how I arranged mine and what I did to market them.

I really enjoyed speaking to David and am looking forward to seeing how things develop for him.

For me Skype is a wonderful thing that allows me to interact with photographers from all over the world. It will be the basis for my brand new mentoring programme which I will be starting next month.

Saturday 22nd

Today was the start of my busiest period since starting my business. Over the next two weeks I have:

  • 3 workshops
  • 6 1-2-1s
  • 2 Skype sessions

I started this morning with a workshop at Rydal Water which I was co-hosting with James Burns. Jeff and I were reunited and we were joined by Gordon, John and Thilak.

The weather was reasonably kind and we did not get half as wet as I thought we might.

However, because of all of the rain that we have had the lake was 1 metre higher than normal. This meant that we were unable to shoot 2 of the 4 scenes that I had prepared.

James and I were forced to adapt which I think we did quite well and everyone in the group seemed to have a good time.

Sunday 23rd

My workshop at Rydal Water sold out very quickly after it was announced at the start of the year. In truth James and I could have added 2 additional dates.

Unfortunately James cannot commit to too many workshops and I have to run this morning’s on my own.

I was joined by Mike and David and we had a fantastic time. This was at least in part because the level of the lake had dropped considerably over night and we could reach all of the vantage points that I had prepared.

As I never shoot myself when on 1-2-1s or workshops I was able to observe what Mike and David were doing. They picked up a couple of compositions that I had never considered and with a little input from me were able to get so very interesting shots.

I feel inspired to return and have a go for myself first chance that I get.

Conditions this week have been challenging to say the least. Heavy rain, high winds and even hail.

Having Jeff with us encouraged me to get out in weather that would normally have me retreating to the comfort of my office. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself as a result.

9 thoughts on “The Calm Before the Storm”

  1. Thanks Chris. My assumption is that activities for you will only get busier as warmer months are on the horizon. I guess that can be a great thing and a challenge at the same time. As for me, can’t wait for Spring. Winter here has been more ice than snow. Congrats on your busy calendar. Don’t know how you’re getting it all done but keep at it!

    1. Hi Miguel, I have no idea if things are going to get busier, I guess we will just have to wait and see. I’m also looking forward to the spring but I am already knackered, not sure the earlier starts are going to help that! 🙂

  2. I just want clearer skies. We had a solid 80 days with a grey wall in the sky, then two days of some sun and we’re back to the wall. Really glad things are going so well for you and your business.

    1. Oh no Theresa, that sucks! Have you considered trying other types of photography? I have been working on my intimate landscapes recently in preparation for the summer.

      1. The lesson I’m just finishing for my course requires 3 images of animals in their environment, 3 images of domestic animals, 3 images of zoo animals, 3 images of birds, 3 landscapes, and 4 floral/botanical images, so I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff. Plus I’m starting to try to sort out what goes with us in the van, what goes into storage in the studio, and what goes away one way or another. Oh, and did I mention that I’ve taken up beading again?

        Still, I really want a halfway interesting sky so I can get back to landscapes.

  3. The Skype mentoring program sounds like an excellent idea to expand your business. It’s quite exciting to watch how the business is growing, Chris. You’ve made some great progress since you went full time.

    1. Thanks Linden – yeah, I hope that mentoring via Skype will allow me to help more people. Progress has been encouraging so far but I am starting to learn just how much work is involved in running your own business.

  4. Hey Chris, I just re-lived the week by reading your blog entry! I had such a great time hanging out with you and and watching you work behind the scenes. As we explored the Lake District I was so impressed by your knowledge of the area. Not only do you know the area, roads, shortcuts, and locations–you know the best places to park as well! Lest anyone think that commitments to your projects and work schedule is easy because it is not. You are a tireless worker and I’m amazed at your seemingly endless supply of ideas and creativity. I have no idea how busy you will be this summer, but I suspect that you are underestimating demand.

    Thanks again to you and Mrs. Sale for hosting me on a very memorable stay. I shall return someday soon!

    1. Thanks mate, it was great to see you and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together. Things have been very busy since you left hence I am only just getting round to replying. 🙂

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