Autumn colors in the Lake District. Something on my wish list for a long time. The Lake District is a popular place and for me it is one of my favorite areas in England to go to. Not only is it fabulous for landscape photography but it also is great for all kind of outdoor activities. A combination that I like. This is my second visit to the Lakes. Last visit was in the summer, but now I chose autumn for the fall colors. Regarding the time of year and given the fact that the weather can be quit unpredictable, I chose for some comfort of a B&B this time in stead of a tent. That was a wise choice. It turned out that the remains of hurricane Gonzalo chose to visit England’s east coast during my week stay, bringing a lot of wind and rain.
For a Dutch photographer who is used to flat 2 dimensional landscapes it is a real treat to photograph the lakes with the mountains as background. When planning this trip I had a lot of locations on the agenda to visit with in the back of my mind anticipating on the type of weather to expect. Naturally hoping for some calm tranquil sunrises. But as said, the weather dominated the agenda. So early morning dawn patrols were skipped. I decided to take a walk in the hills when the predictions were not that bad. From my base camp in Keswick I took a tour around Catbells in the afternoon, hoping that at sunset there would be some nice light. After a 2 hour walk I ended up on the top of Catbells. As the temperature wasn’t even that low, the strong wind made it uncomfortably cold. Besides that the wind brought in rain and hail. Some advice there.. when going into the mountains always take waterproofs, gloves and a hat. I chose to wait the rain out and it paid of. A period of quickly change of rain, hail and sun appeared giving beautiful light over the Newlands Valley below Catbells.
So the game was on. I tried to find some sturdy point for my tripod a little sheltered from the wind and stabilized it with my backpack. For the right composition of the valley with the mountains as backdrop I chose for a long lens, a 70-200mm. A wide angle lens wouldn’t work because this would take out the mountains as a substantial part of my composition. By using a long lens I chose to raise the ISO to 400 and have an aperture of around 9 to 11. This would give me a reasonable short shutter speed, because I did not trust my tripod to be that stable in this winds. The light in the valley was coming from the side. Dark clouds in the background, perfect.
At another early morning wake up it was clouded and raining. But I chose to go out. On my list was a visit to Blea Tarn. If the weather would not be good for photography I could take a walk in the area. It was still pitch black when I left. The maps showed a car park near Blea Tarn, but it has no address. I did set the satnav to the location I hoped would be the right one. In total darkness I drove for three quarter of an hour over small country roads in a total unfamiliar area. A strange experience, not knowing where the satnav would take me, not being able to see further than the light from the headlights of the car. More and more I got the idea I would end up somewhere on a dead end road. But as it was becoming a little brighter I surprisingly arrived at Blea Tarn.
I had done my research upfront so I knew where to go. Up the hills above Blea Tarn. As I was taking my backpack I noticed the grey clouds gaining up some pink. The sun was coming up behind the hills, there must be a gap in the clouds somewhere over there. I would have to hurry. I turned running up the hill on a small sheep track, jumping through the brush, constantly looking back to see if I was high enough for the vantage point I imagined. Finally I reached a point I was satisfied with and installed my tripod. The light was very special. Somewhere behind me the sun was shining on the clouds above the valley, turning from pink to a warm orange. Now I could see the mountains of Little Langdale. The light was superb and the fall colors couldn’t be better. This was what I came for, I praised myself for coming here. It is always so easy not to go out in the early morning to decide if the weather looks appalling. This was marvelous and I worked on taking images. As beautiful as the light was it only lasted for about 15 minutes. Just as quick as it has arrived it was gone and now the clouds where all in the dull grey again. I took the path down the hill again and went down to Blea Tarn and took some images along the shore, more out of habit than with a clear vision in mind. After a while it started to rain which would go on all day. But I was happy, I had my image!
Please take a look at my United Kingdom Gallery for more images of the Lake District.