Keswick

I recently had a well earned break in Keswick in the Lake District, it was a family occasion to celebrate me turning 30 and our 8 month old daughter’s first holiday so photography wasn’t top of the agenda, but I knew I could squeeze in a couple of outings with the camera and was hoping to make the most of this to bank a few shots with the amazing scenery that we don’t have here in Nottingham.

We stopped with my parents in Yorkshire on the way there and back and on the first of these I suggested a drive to West Burton as I wanted to check out the well known waterfall there. The weather wasn’t brilliant but there was still good potential and I spent a while trying some different angles, it was also my first use of the new Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod in the field which did a great job. I’ve seen some beautiful autumnal shots of these falls so tried something different with a dark black and white take on the scene.

Dark Falls
Dark Falls

I didn’t waste any time having arrived in Keswick and with the little one ready for bed I headed out on the first evening to visit a couple of the well known local spots for sunset. The first port of call was a fairly famous jetty on Derwent Water which is probably one of the most photographed locations in the Lake District. As with West Burton Falls above I’ve seen loads of incredible renditions of this scene so I was a bit apprehensive about putting my stamp on it but the sky was kind to me and I’m actually really happy with the result.

The Jetty
The Jetty

A few of my shots turned out quite blurry, I tried hanging my bag off the tripod to give extra stability and standing very still during the exposure but still struggled a bit which I put down to the wind and slightly wobbly jetty. Once I’d left I realised that it was likely due to stabilisation being left on, this is something I’ve not long had on my wide zoom and I also don’t often use a tripod so completely forgot to check, but an important lesson learned for long exposure work.

Fairly certain I had a decent frame and still with a bit of light left I carried on up the road over Ashness Bridge to a point called Surprise View which gives you this fantastic vista taking in most of the lake, looking towards Bassenthwaite in the distance.

Viewpoint
Viewpoint

It’s a highly recommended place to watch a sunset and the cloud did me a favour letting the last bit of light break through before it disappeared behind the mountains. I spent a little time with my longer lens on whilst up there to pick out some detail and try a bit of ICM work like the abstract below of the three peaks you can see to the right of the wide angle shot.

New Horizons
New Horizons

The next time the camera came out was a daytime visit to Castlerigg stone circle with my wife and daughter, I set up the tripod with a 10 stop ND filter to try and get a nice mono shot of the stones with some cloud movement but the sky was a little bland and before I got anything some people walked into frame. My heart wasn’t really in the composition anyway so I swapped lenses again and looked around for interesting detail in the surrounding mountains. The light was slightly disappointing but I tried to make the most of it with some simple mono work.

On a Slope
On a Slope
Peak
Peak

The final proper camera outing was on the last evening in Keswick, again I didn’t go too far, just parking at the Theatre By The Lake and spent a couple of hours along the lakeside between there and Strandshag Bay hoping for some good light. It was a little flat when I arrived so worried that the sort of shot I had in mind wouldn’t work out I had a look around for something different to keep me busy until sunset.

In Reeds
In Reeds

The first thing that caught my eye was a bank of reeds with a tree right on the water’s edge, I’d seen some good ICM work done with reeds so had a good idea what I wanted to do and after a good few attempts I had something I was fairly happy with. While getting this shot I’d noticed a classic lone tree nearby so set up for photo number two. I’ve realised recently that I don’t spend enough time really thinking about composition so it’s something I wanted to concentrate on here, placing the lower branches of the tree in the gap between hills so nothing got lost. I used a 10 stop ND to get a small amount of movement in the sky.

Alone
Alone

I’d all but given up on any light breaking through and was walking back to my car along the lake, taking a couple of snaps on route but knowing none of them were anything special, the sun was below the horizon now so I was prepared to call it a day. I bumped into another photographer going the opposite way and had a bit of a chat about the disappointing light when suddenly a last glimpse of sun lit the cloud up a vibrant pink. We rushed off in different directions and by the time I had this shot ready the colours had softened down a bit which suited me perfectly.

Two
Two

This was taken with a polariser to control reflections which also gave me a shutter speed long enough to smooth the foreground without losing the texture of the ripples on the far side of the lake. This light finished as quickly as it started but I spent a little more time enjoying the scenery at dusk and came away with one more I was happy with.

Wire
Wire

Overall very pleased with my efforts given limited time and really enjoyed getting out in the beautiful scenery of the Lake District, we’re already talking about a return trip to Keswick.

Prints are available for these photos by clicking on each image.

Finally, one of the best things about the week was spending time with my family and our daughter enjoying her first holiday, she really seemed to love being out in the Lakes and a fantastic thing about being a photographer is the ability to capture these moments.

Taking in the View
Taking in the View

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