September 2011 - a weekend in the Lake District
For the past few years my best mate, Duncan, and I have had a long weekend in September in the Lake District. Our families have holidayed together in the Lakes on a number of occasions but now both sets of kids have got to the age where they need something different, and hillwalking is now impossible. So Duncan and I now go on our own, with the ladies having a shopping weekend later in the year.
Duncan is not a photographer so I try and take the Friday off for photography, leaving the rest of the weekend for walking. As always, this kind of pre-booked photography day is very much weather dependent. This year the weather was not on my side.
Ullswater and Aira Force
Our weekend base was the Brothers Water Inn (highly recommended) and the weekend was focussed on Ullswater. My plan for Friday was to start at Hallin Fell, travel round to Aira Force and maybe, if the weather was good, travel over to Keswick for sunset. The weather was not good!
I started at Hallin Fell. I had seen pictures from Hallin Fell but this was my first visit. Because Hallin Fell is on the eastern side of Ullswater it is reached down a long dead end road and is therefore relatively quiet. However, once you have travelled down the side of the lake and reached Martindale it is only a short walk up the side of a hill to get to the summit. It has to rate as one of the best views you can get in the Lakes for minimal effort!!
Unfortunately the weather soon closed in. Despite an hour's wait sat contemplating life in the pooring rain, I only managed one or two images.
After a while it was apparent that the weather wasn't going to clear (the forecast was for it to only get worse). After getting some lunch at Pooley Bridge I drove around the lake to Aira Force. Maybe the woodland around the waterfall might shelter me from the elements?
It was a dull but dry start to the afternoon. On route to the waterfall I photographed some Yellow Stagshorn fungi on a dead tree trunk.
Aira Force is a well know and well photographed waterfall. The traditional shot is of the main fall as it passes under a bridge and crashes down to a pool below. However, I have always found this a tricky shot and this occasion was no different. The light was so poor that the sky looked washed out. After taking this shot I then concentrated on different sections of the falls.
By changing focal length you can get a variety of images without having to move much at all.
Poor light led to slow shutter speeds - again a like the effect on the water at the foot of the falls.
The falls themselves produce a lot of spray meaning you have to constantly wipe your camera and lens. But it was soon clear that the spray was not the only cause of moisture in the air. As forecast, it then proceeded to poor with rain for about an hour and a half. I made my way upstream and had another session contemplating life!!
Eventually the rain stopped and I managed a few photos. Aira Beck was obviously swollen by the rain from the past few days. It would have been nice to take the following shot a few weeks later, when all the green will have turned to orange and brown!
The rain delays meant that Keswsick was out of the question! However, as the sun set, the light did pick up and I managed a couple of shots from the water's edge near Glencoyne Bridge, before heading off to the pub and a well earned pint!! I think Hallin Fell is the middle hill of three you can see.