A couple of weekends ago I met up with a pair of Darrens (Darren Rose and Darren Ciolli-Leach) over in the Peak District for a sunrise photography session. We decided to start off at Surprise View and Over Owler Tor, to see if there would be anything exciting going on at dawn, before heading down to Bolehill Quarry as the light came up.
I was at a bit of a loss initially, with a wide landscape view in front of me, it’s not something I’m used to shooting, the horizon was fairly flat and there wasn’t much detail in the sky, so my only real shot from sunrise was looking right down at a puddle of water in the rock at my feet.
After that we headed down to a small stand of silver birch trees that were being picked out by the early Autumn sunlight, I was much happier here but still struggled to make many images I was happy with as it was still quite open – most of my photography these days has no sky in the frame at all. My favourite was a simple detail of the back-lit golden leaves, making use of a newly acquired 2x extender on the 70-200mm lens.
I really started enjoying myself when we wandered back down past the cars and on to Bolehill Quarry, somewhere I’d never explored before but had been wanting to visit for ages, having seen shots of it from others and knowing it was full of characterful trees and little details – my sort of place.
There are endless abandoned millstones and twisty silver birch, but the first thing I got the camera out for was a pool of water at the bottom of a rock face, the sunlight catching the rock was making some fantastic reflections in the water, and especially mixed with some leaves floating on the surface it made for some interesting compositions.
A few individual little scenes took my fancy as we wondered slowly round, it’s the sort of place I could happily spend hours finding details to photograph and I don’t think you could ever run out of images to make there, whilst still avoiding the ‘obvious’ of the millstones etc.
My favourite images from the morning were this trio of dark black and whites taken of the rock face above the pool of water that featured earlier on. I took these with the intention of putting together a triptych and focusing on contrasts of sunlight to create little abstract landscapes.
A fantastic morning exploring some locations I hadn’t visited before, with good company, and lots of potential to revisit in the future.