Mono in the Mountains


Location: Barrow and Outerside, Lake District

Posted: 26th May 2019

This session started in the afternoon following a visit to the Northern Photography show held annually at Rheged centre near Penrith. It was a very tiring hike from the moment it started from the small village of Braithwaite. Although Barrow and Outerside were relatively small fells at 455 metres and 568 metres respectively, it was still a challenging walk as I was both tired and the fell was warm and sticky. The clouds however were very interesting and broody. My waterproofs were at the ready. It had been a while since I had focused on black and white photography so this was a good opportunity with so much mood in the skies.

With black and photography, there are different approaches to be taken. One is to decide to convert to black and white once in post and Two, go out intentionally to shoot black and white photography. The former is no doubt the option that the majority of landscape photographers take. The latter helps to focus on what works and what doesn’t and is helped by the changing of my camera profile to monochrome.

Contrast is key in a good black and white photography which includes blacks, whites and mid tones. A good range of tones therefore often leads to success. Shapes as with all landscape photography plays an important role but in a mono image can really add more impact. Post processing is key here. The afternoon delivered minimal direct light so I had to add increased exposure to the areas of the image that mimicked side light. All but one of the images shot in the session were subject to a light dusting of the adjustment brush and radial filter. I find that I have more fun in post processing with black and white photography. I always aim to increase the black and whites with minimal clipping. This helps to achieve a good tonal range.

I was thankful that afternoon and evening that the rain didn’t arrive. It was a long and tiring day and one that added a couple of new fells to my list of Wainwrights ‘bagged’ If you reading this and black and white photography doesn’t interest you then I beg you to rethink. Mono photography has a certain timelessness about it and is a good genre to focus on if the creative juices have dried up. I will always have that passion and will no doubt continue to add black and white images to my portfolio.

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Your time will come


Location: Near Skipton, Yorkshire Dales & Kirkstone Pass, Lake District

Published: 12th May 2019

Patience is a gift and also a very important attribute to have in landscape photography. There are many times when I have been disappointed but this has been balanced with the few occasions that I have been pleased. Happiness comes in all forms but for me in landscape photography, that feeling of elation is when the conditions and composition fall into place at the right time. I do believe I shot my favourite image of the year.

En route to the Lake District, my eye brows raised as a scene was developing in the corner of my eye, through the front passenger window to be exact. The mist was rolling over the hills and on those hills stood faint outlines of trees, a landscape photographers favourite models. To my astonishment a lay by appeared at the side of the road. A hard foot on the break and with a swift steer of the driving wheel later, I pulled up and assessed the scene in front of me. I had made the right decision but what’s this? The clad was rolling in and my hopes were being rubbed out as if it was a pencil sketch in front of me. Could it be happening again? I was hearing a faint voice in my head saying ‘maybe another time’ Surely not.

My adventure continued from my next destination, a lay by off Kirkstone pass in the Lake District. Misty moody conditions were all around me and distant silhouettes of our favourite models could still be scene. Another moody day. I needed to find a composition and again, hope the misty mood would hang on until my conquest is complete. The journey continues.

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