Location: Buttermere/Derwent Fells, Lake District
Posted: 5th May 2019
Intricate planning of photography sessions has never been important to me and probably never will be. The location and time of day is all I want to know as I am a great believer that in-depth plans do not always come together and is often more exciting to witness all the elements fall into place unexpectedly. What is frustrating however is where the elements fall into place when not prepared. This is especially annoying when those elements consist of low lying clouds and swirling mists, ingredients of mood and atmosphere.
I set off from the conveniently positioned Honister Pass in the North Western region of the Lake District and headed up to Dale Head. The mist was rolling in through the valley at some pace and the clouds were hugging the crags. As a videographer I was keen to film the changing conditions and I knew straight away that my next vlog was going to have a theme of mood. I was confident that this was going to be a winner. I love the atmospheric conditions of mist and low lying clouds as they often create a sense of mystery by shrouding what lies behind. To have mood in landscape photography is for me having sugar in your coffee. Mood can be brought into your image in many ways but more often than not, it is the conditions that help. I came away with some pleasing footage and time lapses. Time for a photograph. On reflection now, that is where it went wrong. I put video before photography. By the time I had finally found a composition I was pleased with, the mood had escaped me and was left with remnants of mist and the clouds no longer hugging the valley walls.
I continued up to my first fell of the day, Dale Head. I had visited here before but this time instead of heading East, I walked West and onto the fells of Hindscarth and then Robinson. There is no denying that Dale Head summit has for me one of the best views in the Lake District and one I highly recommend. The conditions were not ideal and taking a photograph did not interest me. This was a time for reflection, a drink of coffee and a moment to enjoy my corned beef sandwhich. The mood and atmospheric conditions did not present themselves until later. For now, I had to do with flat, hazy and uninteresting light. My spirits were still high however. I was walking a mountain ridge in the Lake District with wonderful views surrounding me. This is a place I will never get tired of and the practice of mindfulness is highly recommended in such locations. Live for the moment.
The light improved as I ventured on towards Robinson after an uninspiring summit of Hindscarth. My attention was caught by the vivid greens and shapes of the crags and rocks that overlooked the valley looking towards Buttermere. This was a time of long lens abstracts using the diagonals and contrasting light. I had attempted a wider angle scene but nothing fell into place at the time. A telephoto often comes to my rescue. Robinson was looming. Robinson came and Robinson uninspired me. Looking towards the Southern fells however brought a sense of excitement and the mood was brewing. The clouds were forming some wonderful shapes.
As I often do on my walks, I looked around the scene and a 360 degrees survey presented clouds rolling over the West and Robinson. They were moving at a pace where excitement was turning in panic. The mist was also moving in from the South and dancing over Dale Head where I was heading next. I successfully captured these moments on video but I am predominantly a photographer and a composition was surely priority. I will leave it there and recommend you watch the video as to what happened next. Looking back now, I have learnt that capturing the moment is one of the most important aspects of landscape photography. The conditions change quickly, especially in the Lake District. Finding a composition does not come quickly however and that is why luck is a major factor. We are often lucky to be in the right place at the right time. No camera shop to this date and to my knowledge sells luck