Waiting for Autmun Part Three 26th oCTOBER 2019

Following my previous post ‘Waiting for Autumn part One and Two’ it was about time I finished the last part about my time in the Lake District that autumn.

Lake District Landscapes 2018

A late October trip was planned with friends George and Elliot hoping we would catch some nice autumn colour. Unfortunately the weather was too good, it’s not often you get the chance to say that about the Lake District! We had wall to wall sunshine for the whole trip. This was in the total opposite to our previous trip a few years earlier where we got to test out our wet weather equipment. Whilst all day sunshine initially sounds ideal it worked out to be quite difficult photographically. The problem is that it gets bright far too fast.

Tarn Hows

We arrived in the Lake District late afternoon having negotiated both the M1 and M6. A quick stop off in Windermere to pick up the keys to our accommodation in Ambleside we were soon off to our chosen sunset location. With little time on the first night we decided to visit Tarn Hows due to its easy access and smaller size.

Tarn Hows is a small tarn located between Ambleside and Coniston. As it’s owned by the National Trust there is good car parking but also toilets too. The weather was very good but not good for photography. I find clear skies quite hard conditions for landscape photography. Due to the clear cloudless skies I tried to keep the sky out of the photos where possible.

Towards sunset we took the path up to a viewpoint looking north with the tarns below. The tarn itself was cast in shadow before the sunset occurred.

The Great Intake

We decided that our sunrise location would be The Great Intake. It was a location Elliot had visited previously so we had an idea where we were going.

The path up to the Great Intake takes in 250m ascent and its around one mile from the car parking at the bottom to the view point that we were heading towards. Whilst I had expected the ascent it was harder than I thought it would be (the ascent graph made it look easier than it was). I had also got my layers wrong and was starting to get far too warm. I stopped to remove my thermal legs part way up whilst Elliott and George carried on as I didn’t want them to miss sunrise.

I got up the top just in time to see the sun starting to appear on Lingmoor Fell on the opposite side of the valley.

From the view point you had great views of Little Langdale Tarn below, across to Lingmoor Fell and up the valley towards Blea Tarn.

Looking eastwards the sunlight created some fantastic landscape layers. There was also some fantastic light over the disused quarry and what I think was Ambleside in the distance.

This was my favourite image from the morning. The clouds and shadows in the landscape are what make it my favourite image.

Loughrigg Fell

Our evening trip to Loughrigg fell for sunset was in overcast conditions. The sunset didn’t really happen. There were the occasional break in the clouds where the sun broke through.

Due to the poor light I decided to take a walk up to the trig point and hoped to see what the view from the top was like. The view towards Grasmere and up the valley towards Thirlmere looked nice but it was mostly in shade hence a phone record photo.

Hodge Close Quarry

The sunrise location was decided to be Hodge Close Quarry and Holme Fell. Whilst I planned to stay around Hodge Close Quarry George and Elliot took a walk up Holme Fell. These were locations we had visited on a previous trip to the lakes, although that day was a rather wet affair. Very different different to the cold but relatively clear start to this visit.

The biggest draw of Hodge Close Quarry is the deep grey slate excavations. In autumn the golden brown colour of the trees contrasts nicely against the slate. I wandered around the top of two main quarry excavations, taking care of not going near the edge as it’s a quite a drop, looking for some nice compositions.

After exploring the two main Quarry excavations from the top I went for a walk around the slate working on the opposite side of the car park. By this time the light had reached the fells opposite as some interesting clouds passed over them. I’m always on the lookout for interesting ridges that are suitable for a longer focal length.

Having been to Hodge Close Quarry before I’ve never been down to the water level. I had previously read about the quarry on diving websites as it’s a well known diving site. The water is quite deep (reportedly 30m) and the water very cold. It wasn’t a place I would go on my own because of those risks so I waited until George and Elliot were back from Holme Fell. The walk down to the water is via a loose surfaced track then through the arch at the bottom to the water side. The water was perfectly still so ideal for reflections. As a mid morning location it was ideal as no sunlight was getting to water level. The slate was a fantastic colour and there were touches of autumn colour due to fallen leaves resting amongst the slate. It’s a geat location for exploring slate and it’s structure. It’s one I would visit again a ‘during the day’ location.

Blea Tarn

The evening location was decided to be Blea Tarn. Whilst George and Elliot took a walk up Lingmoor Fell and onto Side Pike I decided to try my luck around Blea Tarn. Initially I took a walk up the footpath towards Lingmoor Fell to get some height for a view point over looking Blea Tarn. Whilst the view was great from this point the early evening light wasn’t right and sadly it just wasn’t working. I walked back down to Blea Tarn to try to find some compositions around the tarn. By now the Tarn had started to be covered in shade of the surrounding fells as the sun got lower in the sky. The trees on the opposite side of the Tarn, whilst in shade, still made some nice reflections in the still water.

I was trying to look out for George and Elliot whilst speaking to them on handheld two way radios we had with us (many spots in the lakes don’t have good phone signal so short distance handheld two way radio turned out to work quite well). I spotted them at the top of Side Peak when its was illuminated quite well by the late evening light.

After meeting back up with George and Elliot at the tarn we tried some further photos from the edge of the tarn. The problem was the area was now in deep shade and the clear sky meant compositions had to keep out the sky.

This year’s trip to the lakes was difficult both photographically and personnally. The beautiful weather, whilst a nice change, made photography difficult and we struggled deciding on th best locations taking the conditions into account. I can’t be the only one that stands in a location and sometimes think I would have been better somewhere else.

Having suffered anxiety issues on a few previous trips they once again surfaced making the trip difficult for myself, and to an extent for George and Elliot. I’ve read other photographers experience similar anixiety symptoms to myself, but in different ways, so I know I’m not alone. Many photographers talk about photography, especially landscape photography, as a means of therapy because you spend time in the landscape away from modern life. I would love to just enjoy the time out with the camera. I guess it’s something I need to learn to manage better. Sometimes it feels like it would be best if I just avoided these situations but that may just make things worse. For the last year I’ve been working on some points to hopefully make trips easier in the future.

Looking towards Autumn 2019

Like most autumns I had a rough plan of what I would be up to and what I would like to try to get. This year was no different. My plan was pretty much similar to last year- deer rut, red squirrels at Forest How and a few days in the Lake District trying to capture some landscapes. Another subject I’ve been thinking of revisiting for a while are the Seals on the Norfolk coast. I haven’t been for several years now, mainly due to trying to avoiding the pupping season. Maybe this year will be the year I manage to revisit? I’ve also had an idea for a project, perhaps its time i actually started that project.