5 December 2014

In the frame!

National Trust, Mickleden and the Pike o Stickle
The Langdale Valley looking over Mickleden.
The Pike 'o' Stickle is on the right. See point 2,3 and
4 below with regards to lighting, and composition
I consider myself to be quite fortunate at times with the amount of travelling I do when patrolling the South lakes. I get to see some of the most iconic views of this beautiful landscape from the gentle rolling fells on the western shore of Windermere and Claife, to the carved out valley of the Langdales where the pike 'o' stickle’s dome like obilisque can be seen rising out of the ground.

The other day I was stopped by a gentleman at Blea Tarn, after the initial startle of being approached from behind in one of the quietest spots in our portfolio he went on to ask me how to get to hard knot pass and Wasdale. I gave him his directions and inquired what his journey entailed? ‘photography’ he replied.

As you can imagine, the Lake District is a photography location for professionals and amateurs alike. However this gentleman went on to tell me stories of his past, and how he was hired by popular magazines and newspapers to ‘camp out’ in the wild and get some iconic and moody photos for publication -- A dream job for many. In contrast however, his career went in a different way and now some 20 years or so later he is looking to reinvigorate his interest in landscape photography.

National Trust Tarn Hows near Coniston
The stunning Tarn Hows, #NTtarnhows I used this
strip of bedrock to add foreground interest
to my photo. See point 4 below.
I too have a photography background, and like him I was studio trained using 35mm and medium format cameras. Back then, if you was planning a shoot of any kind your kitbag would have comprised of more than one camera, several lens’s and as much film you could carry (you only had 32 go’s at taking a picture back then kids).

Times have moved on, and now good quality digital cameras are affordable and in many cases come complete with your mobile phone. So what I would like to do is give you some basic observations on taking a memorable picture. I’ve included some of my own photos I have taken whilst on my journey, I don't by any means claim that they are perfect, but they should highlight some of the points I've outlined here. I have also provided links which go into more detail of what I describe here …. And yes, I am very lucky to live and work here.

Get off the track - Look at where you are, don’t take your photograph from the standard point of view on a footpath. If it’s safe, and OK to do so, move closer to your intended target, or maybe get higher, or lower to the ground for some depth.

Lighting - You’ll always get a better lit photograph when the sun is behind you, for more dramatic photography head out early, for what is called the ‘golden hour’, this is the first hour after sunrise, or before sunset. Maybe stay at one of our campsites, to make sure you can get up and out for the sunrise.

Composition - Remember the rule of thirds, in simple terms look at breaking your photograph into 3’s this gives you a much more balanced photo, and is more pleasing to the eye. Click here to learn more about this subject.

Break the rules - Landscape photos don’t need to be taken in a landscape format. Try breaking the rules a little, taking a photo of the fells in portrait gives you a sense of drama and scale. In the square, it gives you a much tighter shot. Most importantly, think about having foreground interest, such as a rock formation, or a dry stone wall maybe?

National Trust, View over Windermere from Claife
And finally, don’t rush! - I see so many people taking photos out of car windows, (The origin of this blog) or running from their car to a fence and back again. To truly say you’ve been there you need to absorb what’s around you, and really feel the connection. Sometimes, I like to keep some moments to myself and not take a picture at all.

I use an Iphone to take my photos, and I make use of the filters that are available. These vary from adding a vignette, increasing the saturation or the brightness and the contrast.

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting information here. I must admit that I'm guilty of 'rushing' my shots. I see a view and take it without much attention to composition. I feel that it's very difficult to take a bad picture in the Lake District! I'm not likely to take a picture just after sunrise as I'm allergic to mornings, but just before sunset is in with a good chance. I'll definitely take some of the pointers on board and get even better pictures. Lucky you having all that on your doorstep.