Back in 2006 I spent a few days in the English Lake District. As I recall now, it wasn’t the most successful of trips as the weather didn’t generally play ball. One rainy day the weather was forecast to break late in the afternoon so, to kill a few hours, I took a drive along the small mountain roads across the Hardknott and Rhinos passes to Wasdale on the Western side of the Lake District. So it was that I found myself on the banks of Wastwater about an hour before sunset.
It’s easy to be complacent, or perhaps I was fully occupied on the photography, but at the time I didn’t realise how special the conditions were. The setting sun was peeking through a gap in the hills, the sky was filled with a mix of small grey clouds, the type so often found as rainy weather clears and there was a lovely warm light illuminating the rocks and hills from the setting sun. One of the images captured that evening continues to be a favourite to this day another included a small tree which, sadly, now seems to have gone.
Those images were captured using my first digital camera, a Canon EOS 5D. Yes, the first model 🙂 Since that time technology has advanced and despite several subsequent trips those special conditions have never repeated. This year I decided I was going to make an effort and see what could be achieved with my current camera, an EOS 5DsR.
Towards the end of April a high pressure weather system was forecast to settle over most of England for a few days with its edge somewhere close to the Lake District so there was a good chance the weather could do something interesting. That was sufficient to throw the gear in the truck and head North.
As readers will know, I prefer to camp if I can. Mainly because plans can be made, cancelled or changed with speed and ease. There is no booking hotel rooms and cancelling them when the weather doesn’t perform. Camping keeps you connected with the environment, with the weather and its quick and easy to get out should the weather offer a good window of opportunity.
Wastwater, like any other location in the English Lake District has been photographed many, many times. I’m particularly interested in what is called the Screes. Its the side of the hill that runs alongside and drops off steeply into the lake. The Screes have some lovely shapes and colours given good evening light. Most other photographs are from the lakeside; fewer from further back and including more of the lake and the Screes.
On previous trips, I’ve explored the area around the lake quite extensively and so had a good idea from where I wanted to photograph. Scouting locations really does save precious time that is otherwise wasted when the light is at its best. So, top-tip: On those days when the light doesn’t do something interesting, go explore and take a snap just as a reminder of a locations potential 🙂
It was a wet, rainy day when I drove from Bristol but the forecast was for much better weather over the following days. The evening I arrived clouds covered the mountains and the camp site was very wet even waterlogged. Things definitely didn’t look hopeful and I went to bed that night hoping I’d made the right decision coming North. The next morning wasn’t much better but as the day progressed the clouds started to break and by sunset things were looking much, much better. 🙂
I’ve never really thought about the level of the water in the lake, but compare the photograph above with that at the top of this post… Many of the smaller rocks in the photograph above are covered by water in the in the first photograph making for a simpler image which I like. The 2006 photograph was made during the Autumn so the lake may have contained water from the summer rain. It was only when writing this post that I realised the 2006 photograph and that above where taken from almost identical positions 🙂 Its tempting to suggest this is pure coincidence but the more I think about it, the more I believe there is something special about the composition which is eye-catching 🙂
I stayed at Wastwater for several days and the conditions of that one evening didn’t repeat. I did get other nice photographs but those from that evening are my favourites. Whilst I do like the colours in the above photograph, I also really like black & white landscapes too. They simplify the image removing the distraction of colour. Actually, the more I view the black and white version the more I think I prefer it to its colour counterpart.
The 2018 photographs were captured using a Sigma 50mm or Zeiss 21mm lens attached to an EOS 5DsR body. The detail captured by a 50M pixel sensor cannot really be appreciated until the images are seen at a good proportion of their full size. So, I urge readers to click on the images and view a larger, but still pretty small, version.
After spending a productive few days at Wastwater, there is still some photographs that I’d like to make but those need to wait until the Autumn when the setting sun again returns to an azimuth angle suitable for what I have in mind. 🙂 Below are a couple of further photographs.