The Lake District is a hotspot for UK landscape photographers. We look at the story behind three great images
Nikon D750, 24-120mm, 1/800sec at f/11, ISO 125
I had been up in the Lake District for most of the week and was about to set off on a very misty morning, when suddenly the sun came out above the mist and created a beautiful atmosphere.
I immediately got in my car and drove down to Ullswater, about 5 miles away to try and capture the atmospheric conditions. Initially, I took some shots of the old jetty and then moved round to The Duke of Portland’s boathouse. The sun by now was just starting to burn the mist away. My intention was to take long-exposure shots with my new Lee Super Stopper as I felt this showed off the conditions as I wanted. But then, after taking a couple of shots, a swan glided into the scene.
For a while I just waited for it to go away so I could continue with my camera as I had set it up. However, the swan had other ideas and was determined to be my main subject, so I decided to take the super stopper off and recompose with just a 3-stop ND grad to hold back the sun as it was now, by this time, really starting to show. On reaching home and processing the images I realised how lucky I had been.
Canon EOS 7D, 18mm, 1/40sec at f/5, ISO 100
It was cold; it was wet; it was early December – but I was feeling good. My wife and I were away for a very rare weekend on our own, without the children. We had no responsibilities to be anywhere else, or at anyone's beck and call. Just us, our car, and a picnic lunch.
The Lake District in Cumbria, Northern England, is a stunning place, full of mountains, valleys, and narrow windy roads over high passes (this is English high passes – 400m elevations – not Alpine, Rockies, or Himalayan). If you go there anytime between spring and autumn, however, you will be stuck in long frustrating queues behind slow drivers. In winter though, you virtually have the place to yourself.
Unless you are extremely lucky, you will not have glorious sunrises and sunsets, or clear blue skies: this region is one of the wettest in England. Once you get over that, then you find there is much beauty to be found in wet grass and dead bracken.
We had driven over Wrynose Pass and were starting up Hardknot Pass, when I saw more or less this view in my rear-view mirror. I pulled over and got the camera out. Even with a wide-angle lens I was struggling to get a sense of the scale of the place. The only option was to take half a dozen photos across the vista with the aim of stitching them together in Photoshop later.
Because I'm not a natural landscape photographer – people are my speciality – they spent several years untouched, hidden in a folder on my computer, until earlier this year when Photocrowd created a Lake District-themed challenge. I started rummaging around in my archives and came across the original images, and pulled them into Photoshop to see if I could create anything from them. A little bit of playing with curves and contrasts and this photo emerged from the screen.
Apple iPhone X, 4mm, 1/787sec at f/1.8, ISO 20
The tranquil surroundings at Buttermere make this one of my favourite locations in the Lake District. The stunning views across the water and the beauty of imposing Haystacks make it a great place to be. There are many classic views at Buttermere, ones that are favourites with photographers who travel far and wide to be in this amazing location.
I relocated to Cumbria last year and am extremely lucky to be able to combine my hobbies of walking and photography. I took this photo in February while I was out walking my dogs on a crisp winter morning, and was once again in awe of the amazing scenes all around. The sentinel pines and the whitewashed bothy on the lakeshore, together with the imposing fells behind made for a perfect image. On this occasion, I did not have my camera with me. However, I did have my iPhone X.
The camera on this phone is truly amazing, the images are always crisp and true to life. Just goes to show that taking a great image is not about having lots of fancy kit, nothing can replace a stunning location and an eye for a great composition.