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THE HIDDEN LAKES

I am reasonably familiar with the Lake District however an Aspect2i workshop called “The Hidden Lakes” offered the possibility of exploring locations more remote from the crowds. Another USP was the opportunity to meet “Landscape Photographer of the Year 2014” winner, Mark Littlejohn, a wonderful creative who lives locally and has extensive knowledge of this beautiful part of the world.

When it came to the bit, travelling south to the Lakes on the M74 / M6 was the most challenging driving I have yet met; a dangerous cocktail of strong gusts of wind, blinding spray from lorries and surface water made it a nightmare journey. Regrettably these conditions were a foretaste of what transpired over the following days of the workshop. The forecast from the Mountain Weather Information Service was ominously succinct, “INCESSANT RAIN”. In mutual assistance, photographers would hold umbrellas while their fellows strove to compose and capture their images. And with black humour the phrase “Hidden Lakes” soon came to mean that we literally could not see the Lakes for the precipitation, although we did at least have one morning of dry weather; however all credit to Mark ably assisted by his co-leader, Michael Pilkington, for their efforts over four difficult days.

Here are my short-listed favourites from the workshop; by the way, all the images annotated “Infrared” were shot using a Nikon D3 camera body specially converted for IR capture.

tumbling water | Aira Beck | Ullswater | Cumbria

tumbling water | Aira Beck | Ullswater | Cumbria

By inadvertently taking a wrong fork on a path, I arrived downstream of the Aira Force waterfall only to discover this delightful scene of “tumbling” water; IR capture gives it a slightly surreal look.
1/5 sec @ f/16  ISO 800  Nikon D3 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 120mm  Infrared

 

saturated woodland |Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

saturated woodland |Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Penny Rock is woodland lying just north of Grasmere village; everything was saturated after the heavy rain, resulting in these amazing colours of moss-covered roots and fallen leaves.
2 sec @ f/16  ISO 100  Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 lens @ 16mm

 

intentional camera movement | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

intentional camera movement | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

This and the following image give a “painterly” vision of the lovely woodland by use of  I.C.M. technique combined with a longish exposure; I’m well chuffed with both “visions”.
2 sec @ f/16  ISO 200  Nikon D800 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 125mm  Hand held

 

intentional camera movement | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

intentional camera movement | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

2 sec @ f/16  ISO 200  Nikon D800 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 125mm  Hand held

 

saturated leaves | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

saturated leaves | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

No, I didn’t place that yellow leaf into place but instead isolated the same by careful cropping; one can almost feel the texture of these saturated leaves, the detail is amazing. I love my 45mm tilt-shift lens for its sharp, close focusing ability.
6 sec @ f/16  ISO 400  Nikon D800 with 45mm f/2.8 Tilt + Shift lens

 

woodland floor | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

woodland floor | Penny Rock Wood | Cumbria

Shapes amid the fallen leaves.
3 sec @ f/16  ISO 400  Nikon D800 with 45mm f/2.8 Tilt + Shift lens

 

precipitation over Ullswater | Cumbria

precipitation over Ullswater | Cumbria

Love the composition here aided by the recession of seemingly monochromatic tones, although it’s actually a colour photograph; just an indication of the abysmal weather conditions at the time. Within minutes of this exposure, the clarity of the dark island had vanished completely.
30 sec @ f/8  ISO 100  Nikon D800 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 98mm

 

woodland | Ullswater | Cumbria

woodland| Ullswater | Cumbria

Water, water, water everywhere; another stream runs through woodland on its journey to Ullswater.
0.6 sec @ f/11  ISO 640  Nikon D800 with 45mm f/2.8 Tilt + Shift lens

 

westside morning | Derwentwater | Cumbria

westside morning | Derwentwater | Cumbria

By the fourth morning of the workshop it had stopped raining …… for a wee while at least!
0.4 sec @ f/5  ISO 160  Nikon D800 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 95mm

 

roots | Derwentwater | Cumbria

roots | Derwentwater | Cumbria

Spectacular tentacle-like roots by the shore of Derwentwater, emphasised by the use of an ultra wide-angle 20mm setting on the zoom lens.
5 sec @ f/16  ISO 160  Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 lens @ 20mm

 

Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

I’ve often seen mention of Hodge Close in Facebook posts but this was my first experience of the slate quarry; an interesting place to photograph with silver birch trees, aspects to the surrounding mountains and …… slate! By standing well back from the foreground and using a medium telephoto zoom setting I was able to include subject foreground interest together with the majestic mountains in the background and their birch covered lower slopes.
1/50 sec @ f/16  ISO 200  Nikon D3 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 102mm  Infrared

 

silver birches | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

silver birches | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

1/200 sec @ f/8  ISO 200  Nikon D3 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 140mm  Infrared

 

silver birch | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

silver birch | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

Post processing of the Infrared file really helps bring out texture in the trunk of this slender, silver birch tree.
1/640 sec @ f/4.5  ISO 200  Nikon D3 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 125mm  Infrared

 

shack | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

slate shack | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

I had hoped to find prominent lead-in lines to guide the eye towards the slate shack but the angles just weren’t right and this was the best I could do; however the shack, trees and cloud formation all command some attention.
1/40 sec @ f/16  ISO 200  Nikon D3 with 45mm f/2.8 Tilt + Shift lens  Infrared

 

slate and silver birch | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

slate and silver birch | Hodge Close Quarry | Cumbria

I like the idea of Nature struggling, pushing and growing through inert material, in this case slate. Ironically, I would have appreciated a bit of rain on the slate to give it more depth otherwise I’m pleased with this simple composition.
1/100 sec @ f/16  ISO 800  Nikon D3 with 16-35mm f/4 lens @ 24mm  Infrared

 

Rydal Falls | Rydal | Cumbria

Rydal Falls | Rydal | Cumbria

Rydal Falls is a lovely waterfall located close to Rydal Mount, the one time home of poet Wordsworth; as the heavens were about to open once again, this was a fairly quickly composed and taken shot to show just the right amount of movement in the water, in this case half a second.
0.5 sec @ f/16  ISO 200  Nikon D800 with 45mm f/2.8 Tilt + Shift lens

 

Ashness Jetty | storm over Derwentwater | Cumbria

Ashness Jetty | storm over Derwentwater | Cumbria

This image won’t be to everyone’s liking (tough) but to me it means a great deal and exudes atmosphere as all good photographs should; it is not simply being a record shot of what was in front of the lens. This I.C.M. image holds so much more emotion than the “straight” tripod-mounted 30-second exposures which followed and will forever remind me of the battering wind and the lashing rain Mark Littlejohn and I endured whilst standing on the flooded jetty. My thanks to Mark and his umbrella for helping shield my gear from the worst of the elements.
1.3 sec @ f/16  ISO 50  Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 lens @ 21mm  Hand held

  • Michaelpilkington - Fabulous set of images here Sandy! Great work in some challenging conditions. Well done.02/12/2015 – 8:23 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you very much Michael; and as you say some challenging conditions which made us all work a bit harder. Perhaps that’s no bad thing as I’m quite chuffed with some of these shots; less is more, if you know what I mean. Best wishes as ever. Sandy03/12/2015 – 8:16 amReplyCancel

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