Derwent valley reservoirs in the Peak District.

Cold and misty morning in the Peak District.

The Derwent valley reservoirs in the Peak District have become a favorite place to visit. Joined to Ladybower reservoir it makes a great walking area. The paths are well maintained and make fairly easy walking. There are much more difficult paths if you want to tackle them. You can find them here. 

The first image is one that I took en route to the reservoir. It was a grab shot which on a cold misty morning where there was a little color in the sky. A long lens was used to compress the image. It is more about shape and form than getting too much detail.  

In the winter I prefer easier routes and leave the more difficult routes for summer. There are numerous parking spots along the reservoirs but I chose the visitor center park, mainly so that I could get a coffee and snack after my walk.  

It was beautifully sunny day as I set to walk along the side of the upper reservoir. My B&W polarizing filter was fitted to take some of the glare from the water. This in turn allows you to get great reflections and deep rich colors. The second image is a general shot of the reservoir but does let you see what lovely day it was and the scenery that I was walking in. Don’t think you could ever regret walking in this area.

Derwent valley reservoir.

The walk was on a wide path, it is quite muddy in places so wear waterproof boots.  It is probably much better in summer. My route was about 8km there and back along the reservoir. You can do circular routes over the hills. Because of a poor winter of walking I need to build my endurance back up so its best to take it fairly easy to start.

When I am walking I will always look for something a little different. The image that I came across on this trip was of a tree. It was in the water and had a perfect reflection. There was very limited space to work in. It would have been great to shoot from a bit further back but you don’t always get to choose. I felt the image was too lovely to miss and decided that the shot would look great in sepia so just took it. It is my favorite shot of the day.

Go out and be creative my friends.

Tree art.

 

Reflections and future plans.

 

Reflections and future plans is really a catch up post and a little about plans for this year. My blog has moved on dramatically over the last year. I have added lots of new posts to it, this has brought lots of new readers and moved up the rankings. A contact form has been added, a subscribe from has been added, a gallery page has been put on the blog. The blog gallery is a bit limited at the moment but will be expanded this year. 

The improvement that I love most is the link to my Instagram page. This shows a constant updating of images that I take and some fun ones. Now I know some of you who love technology will find all this easy stuff but takes me quite a while to work out how to get things working. 

My move to landscape photography began after a dark period in my life. I hold a Licenciateship in wedding photography. This year is the last time that I will cover a wedding. I will still do some portrait photography. They will only be natural portraits rather than studio shots.

My focus will be on improving as a landscape photographer. I will make mistakes along the way but hopefully even at 60 I will look to improve. 

Over the last couple of years I have learned to see the world differently. You see things that other people don’t notice. I have found that I love reflections and long exposures so will work on these. 

Because I am of the older generation we had to do things in the camera. This works for me as I prefer to be out in the countryside than sat in front of a computer. The computer side of things will continue to be a learning curve for me, there are plenty of great tutorials on You tube.

Whereas with portrait and wedding photography I would shoot hundreds of images in a day, now I happy to come away with a dozen.

Most of my shots now are done on a tripod, I still use filters rather than relying on lightroom or photoshop. Its not just about being old fashioned but about enjoying time out in the countryside. 

This year my main target is the Scotland 500 trip which I will do over 2 to 3 weeks. This will be so that I have the time to spend on areas and shots. I have yet to decide whether I will use a campervan or buy a big 4×4 to sleep in.

There will be more places covered in the UK this year. I will do a trip abroad though not sure as yet where it will be.  

I will be moving more into vlogging this year and intend to buy a go pro camera. More on this later.

 

 

A winters stroll at Ladybower.

Reflections at Ladybower in the Peak district.

I decided to take winters stroll at Ladybower reservoir in the Peak district because we had a light covering of snow. You will find it here. It was a beautifully sunny day with a little snow laying on the ground. Now please be patient as here in England 25 mm of snow can bring our country to a standstill!!

There are a few places to park around Ladybower reservoir and you have plenty of options where to go. There are paths around the reservoir to walk that make walking easy. You walk through beautiful pine trees that always make me feel elated.

The countryside was looking stunning and the colors were vibrant. The reflections were just divine. This turned into one of those days that dreams are made of. Rather than relying on luck for those dream days plan to have them. Look at the weather forecast. Look at the direction where the sun will come from to get the type of shots that you want. Do not underestimate the amount of planning that goes into making your images successful.   

Vibrant colors do make me feel happy. To get the colors that I got here, I picked a sunny day where I knew that I would get great reflections. A graduated neutral density filter was used to balance the exposure between the land and sky. 

An exposure of 1/100 th sec at f22 and iso 400 were my camera settings. Because I like plenty of depth of field in my landscapes I use F22 a lot. The shutter speed of 1/100th gives me a sharp hand held image. Much slower than this I will use a monopod or tripod.

Rather than trying to see too much of this reservoir in one go plan a few trips. It is a large reservoir and has the Derwent and Howden reservoirs linked to it.

 

Ladybower, Peak district.

River Duddon in the Lake District.

river duddon, lake district
River Duddon.

I came across the river Duddon in the Lake District almost by accident. I had set off to photograph at one place and slightly lost my way. The drive led me over the Wrynose pass. It had spectacular scenery and wild countryside. 

Never be afraid just to follow your instinct, it can lead you to some amazing things in life.

Stopping often along the route to take photo’s allowed me to take in the beauty of this quiet corner of the Lake District. It is wild, it rugged and often breathtaking in its beauty.

As I headed over the pass I came across the river Duddon. The river has beautiful bridges, waterfalls gushing through rocks and bumbling along gently. It really is a quiet corner of the Lake District worth visiting.

There are places you can pull over to explore the river. As you move along the river you will find a constant changing view of the river. Do maker a few stops to explore.

Wordsworth himself wrote extensively about the river Duddon. He wrote a series of sonnets about the river. If it can inspire this man it should inspire other mortals.

Go out, explore and be inspired.

bridge, river duddon
Stone bridge over the River Duddon.

 

 

 

Sunset at Yeadon tarn.

Yeadon Tarn.
Yeadon Tarn.

It was forecast for a lovely day so I decided to try capture a lovely sunset at Yeadon Tarn. It is in North Leeds in Yorkshire. I knew of it through a friend. She lives close to it and photographs it regularly so I knew you could get great shots there. 

I had spent most of the day out walking on Ilkley moor and decided to call at Yeadon tarn on the way back home. Arrive about a hour before sunset, this will allow a variety of shots as the sun was setting.

It is a small lake used for sailing and many people walk round the lake. It is on high ground so you do capture the sun setting low over it. There is an airport close by so expect a few planes landing and taking off.

There is a decent car park. The path round the tarn is good and walking is easy. The sun was setting over the sailing part of the tarn so I did stay towards the far end to photograph into the sun.

As with most landscape shots you should use a small aperture f16 to f22. You should have some foreground detail to give depth to the image. You should focus on this detail and have enough depth of field to keep the sky sharp.  Use a tripod if you have too a slow shutter speed for hand holding. My favourite 2 stop graduated neutral density filter was used to get better detail in the sky.

yeadon tarn, Yorkshire
Yeadon Tarn

 

Outdoor portraits with children.

Going outdoors to shoot portraits of children seems much more natural to me than being in a studio. I like to fit portraits into a scene. With a little planning you can create beautiful images. People have beautiful gardens that can be used or try local parks.

Look for nice even lighting, open shade is ideal. Under trees, arches in the shadow side of buildings. 

I particularly look to reflect seasons, the first photograph was taken in a 068local park. You need to have good communications with the family to organize the shoot and type of clothes. The autumnal colors of the leaves in the foreground is reflected in the child’s clothes.

Rather than leave shots to chance, plan to get the child in the right place you want to shoot. Then let them be children. Let them behave naturally.

They only have a short attention span so get the shots quickly and move on to the next spot. Make the shoot as much about play as the photography as you can.

Make sure that you take a variety of shots from full length to close ups of the face. Remember that you are satisfying not only the parents but grandparents. All will like different shots so offer variety particularly if you are looking to sell and maximize sales.

The shot below is one from a walk through a park. Not traditional as the little girl is facing away from the camera. Nevertheless it is endearing as you see her face as she carries her dog. It would make a lovely piece of wall art for people rather than a close up of a face.

6435

 

Plumpton rocks in Yorkshire.

Plumpton rocks in Yorkshire is a beautiful 30 acre parkland. The opening times are limited so it is best to check the web site here if you plan to visit. Plumpton rocks can be found between Wetherby and Harrogate.

It has had a lot of restoration work done in recent years to restore it to its former glories. It does come with great credentials, Queen Mary described it as Heaven on earth and Turner painted it. A recent version of Swallows and Amazons was filmed there. 

Choose from a variety paths to walk. The focus of walking is round the lake. 6400 The lake is man made with a dam at one end. You will walk through woodland and between the impressive grit stone rocks. The rocks around the lake are beautiful and have wonderful names such as Lovers leap and Lions den. Finding your way round the paths seems like walking through a maze. 

Some of the Yew trees growing are just beautiful and seem to grow through any gap in the rocks.

Rather than having too much of a plan, it is best just to go and explore. 

The lake isn’t big but is a beautiful setting and the rocks look magnificent.  Go there for a lovely day out and explore.

6401

 

 

Bronte country near Haworth.

Bronte country near Haworth is one place that should inspire your creativity. Some of the worlds greatest literature was written and inspired by this area. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte certainly left their mark on the literary world. A map of the area is here

I wanted to make a good walk so parked up in Howarth and walked to the falls. There are places to park nearer if you don’t want to walk too far. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Howarth about the Bronte family. My main focus was to get to the waterfalls. 

The walk takes you through the village, along a path at the side of the

Bronte, waterfalls
Bronte country.

road. After about a mile you join a track. It’s a good walking track. You follow the path past the Lower Laithe reservoir, across beautiful moorland to  the falls. It is classed as an area on outstanding natural beauty. You can see why when you look at the views. 

When you arrive at South Dean Beck there is small bridge. This is known as the Bronte bridge. It was rebuilt a few years ago after being destroyed by flash floods. 

The fist image is of the small falls to the left as you approach the bridge. The water cascades down the beck. I used a long exposure on the shot to get that smooth feeling in the water. 

The falls themselves are not spectacular but in beautiful surroundings. The second shot is another long exposure shot. It gave me that smooth water with the sky reflected in the water. It does the image a great feeling of depth to the image.

Be inspired and pay this area a visit, you won’t be disappointed. 

Bronte, Haworth
South Dean Beck.

 

 

 

 

Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire.

Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire is run by the National trust. The Shropshire hills are lovely for walkers. Beautiful heather clad rolling hills. When you arrive you park by the stream.

The path up the valley is rocky so be careful walking. The walk follows the 6490stream  up the valley. As you walk up you will see the small but pretty Lightspout waterfall. It’s a lovely place to take a break. Just be a little careful climbing down to it. There are plenty of big rocks to sit and have a drink from your flask.

From the waterfall you can carry on walking up the valley taking a route to the right or to the left. Either way will take you to the hill tops. There is a big circular route to follow. The walking is fairly easy though obviously you are climbing up.

On a good day the scenery is amazing as you follow the route along the top of the hills. It is worth stopping a couple of times to take in the views.

As you follow the path round it will take you back to the valley past the waterfall. When you get back to the valley there is a cafe waiting for you. Something I like to take advantage of.

The main photo shows the stream that you follow up the valley. I set the camera to f22 to give a large depth of field. You must get as much in focus as possible on a shot like this. Having something to lead the eye and give depth to an image. The stream does this perfectly.  

Pick a lovely day and you will have great experience. Go get some great images. 

carding mill valley, shropshire
Carding Mill Valley.

 

 

Get planning for the photo trips.

It is the time of year that I get planning for future photography trips. The first item on the agenda is to sort the clothing for the winter. When you are out in the landscape you need to be prepared. 

My walking boots are solid and waterproof so good for winter. Make sure your boots have enough room for 2 pairs of socks,  a thin layer next to skin. A thick pair of wool is the best for the thick outer  pair. I have purchased some heavy weight walking trousers. When you are stood about setting up camera equipment or waiting for the light, you can get very cold. When very cold a pair of thermal long johns will be needed as well. Stood about in freezing weather conditions is not about fashion. 

Layers are what you need up top so start with a thermal vest. A good long sleeved shirt. On top of this should be a fleece. For the outer layer is a good insulated coat. Though I have a good waterproof coat I am adding an insulated down jacket. You do need to retain heat as much as possible.

Hats and gloves are a necessity as well. Most of your body heat is lost through your head, keep it covered. You need to keep the hands warm to work the camera.  

Extra survival equipment is always kept in my photography rucksack which has been talked about previously. 

I am in the early stages of planning a major photography trip for next year. The trip will be  in April next year. My plan is to do what is called the Scotland 500, starting and finishing at Inverness. The plan is to buy a camper van before this trip as wild camping is possible in the area. The route could change a bit by April but I will fill you in on details as plans progress.  

Scxotland, map.
Scotland 500