Landscape Photography – Not as planned


I wasn’t working on Friday 18th October so I planned to head up to what has become my second home, the Lake District. My intention was to start the day exploring Borrowdale, hoping to video and photograph the early Autumn colours and then hike up to Glaramara and Allen Crags. My days often include a hike as I am currently on a mission to complete all the Wainwright fells by next year. Based in Yorkshire, the drive is usually around two to three hours so I wanted to make the most of my visits.

The weather plays a big part and the forecast was favourable, cloudy with light rain. I had visions of trees clothed in their Autumnal hues in a moody, misty environment. As often is the case though, this vision didn’t present itself. The sun was out and the visibility was good. I didn’t want the sun to be out and I didn’t want the visibility good. I quickly changed my plans.

Lakeside start

I arrived in the Borrowdale area and stopped off at Derwent Water, off the Borrowdale road. There is something appealing with this lake side location. The reflections were beautiful. A colourful display of the trees across the lake, mirrored in the glass like lake. An excellent picture post card shot was on the cards but I resisted or so I thought. I wanted to capture something different and not the obvious. This however has been my downfall lately. The need to get something that is not the obvious and coming away with an image which later down the line I am not keen on. Thankfully, I decided to take a reflection shot. This was more about the atmospheric mist and the splashes of light. It was sort of different;

Woodland walk

I moved on down the road and into the heart of Borrowdale. I had not found what I had intended from the day. I wanted to make a video focusing on the Autumn colours and fancied myself with a bit of woodland magic. The light was not on my side. It was getting harsh and the friendly mist had decided to visit another day. The key was to adapt to what presented itself. I had found an interesting patch of woodland which soon became popular with other photographers as the morning progressed. This location was made even more popular apparently by a previous nights photography talk so I was told when speaking to another chap who had obviously liked the same composition as me. His ever nearing presence lead to a short exchange of pleasantries.

The scene was very worthy of a good hour, searching for the right batch of bracken against a backdrop of Silver Birch. Separation of the Silver Birch was easy, finding the foreground was the most testing. I was fairly pleased with the shots I took using both my 50mm lens, handheld and my Wide Angle lens;

The sun was reflecting harsh light off the bracken and an early morning start, together with the thought of a hike to come was hindering my concentration to work the area more so I moved on to my next destination.

The Hike

I parked at Seatoller and grabbed my walking sticks after a quick lunch in my car. It was hike time. By this time the weather had become more favourable for fell walking with a hint of rain and overcast skies. It was much later than my usual starting times to head out for a hike. I was conscious of the sunset times but confident that I would make it to the summit of Glaramara and back before dark. I did have my head torch as I always do but given the option, hiking back in daylight is always preferable.

It soon became apparent that this was no easy walk. The distance was around 3 kilometres but the ascent was testing. Glaramara was certainly not the tallest of the Lakeland Fells at 783 metres but it was not the smallest. Tiredness was soon setting in and I was reminded by a passing walker that my backpack was rather on the large side with 2 fairly large tripods protruding from either side. I decided to stop and record a piece to camera, giving me some outlet to share my pains. It was time to reconsider my payload if I was to manage all the Wainwrights by next year. I am currently contemplating a lighter option for the shorter hikes. Time will see if it works.

Time was not on my side. I wanted to grab at least one more shot for the video. Yes, the vlogging had taken over but that’s another article to be debated later. It was getting late and the sun was due to set in around 2 hours and I was around a kilometre away from my destination. Thankfully a scene developed behind me and my telephoto was again put to good use. The depth, layers, shapes and mood had yet again delivered;

I made it to the summit of Glaramara with around an hour to spare. The visibility was minimal and evoked a sense of eeriness and solitude. I love these moments. I was exhausted which had been proven through taking three small tumbles. Thankfully I wasn’t injured. With a few mouthfuls of coffee and a handful of Jelly babies, I made it back to my car in good time. I often say it in my vlogs but adapting and making the most of what you have got is key to landscape photography. It gains experience and improves chances to get it right when Mother Nature occasionally provides the near perfect canvas.

Watch the video

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