THE PROCLAIMERS AND ME.......well sort of....


I love the autumnal time of year as it leads us nicely into the christmas period. The vibrant hues of colour that are unique to this season never disappoint. Of course it heralds the sad demise of the foliage that has been so pleasing to witness but its rebirth isn't too far away. The next question being a cautious, "wonder what type of winter we will get?"

As a professional photographer, the images I gather are generally for use twelve months hence because magazines generally utilise them seasonally.

Over the past month or so, I have been busy with various projects but virtually dedicated myself to one specific commission. Seasonally prescriptive the work I would deliver would not be published until next autumn.

The brief was very prescriptive and detailed. Upwards of a hundred images were required and as well as the usual directives, they had to be taken in, "bright sunny weather with rich autumnal colours". Sounds simple enough and it would have been had that been all but it was so very specific as far as image content was concerned, involving people who had been interviewed for an article. My images where to support the writers words. That is an unusual thing for me, as I normally write the piece so can envisage what I personally want as I am supporting my own writing. This brief differs because you have to also understand where the writer is coming from and what he/she wants to be portrayed in the shots not forgetting the editor! 

One specific feature in an image is usual but a number of factors to make each picture work, is not but creates a cracking challenge. I always see working this way as a test of my photographic skills because simply capturing an image that is presented to you, is vastly different from one where you have to obtain it exactly. There is no room for manoeuvre.

Land and people permissions also need to be obtained and so the process begins to take more time. Pleasingly, this introduces me to people I might never have met and creates a bigger network for me to work with in future. I enjoy meeting new folk and this commission has certainly done that.

The majority of the shots were easy enough to obtain. We had a nice autumn but sadly the vibrant colours that would give the photographs a real punch did not come out to play until much much later in October and by then my window of opportunity to deliver was beginning to slip away as the weather began to turn.

I had them all done bar one and what a dance I was lead to get it!

An autumnal shot of Ravenglass village, early afternoon, with the tide in and sunny.

Again it sounds so easy but you would not believe that aligning all features up together could prove so difficult. 

Weather watching became the byword as I appraised the editor as the country was now beset with dense fog!

After a week of dodgy skies and mist, the final sunday in October looked perfect. Weather forecast was good and the tide would be in around 1.30. The sun, when it made its entrance, would be just about right. Any earlier in the day, it sits too much behind the village, thus rendering the sky almost white or at best, a very weak blue.

My wife and I made our way up to the lakes through thick fog but we expected that. The met office said it would be the case but 'they' assured us the coast would be lovely and clear. Sure enough, as we reached Penny Bridge, it began to recede and a gorgeous blue sky greeted us. Looking at the coast towards Millom confirmed the forecast as it bathed in a rich, blue sky. My mood was elevated as the end was in sight!

It was just before 12 noon when we arrived at Muncaster Castle (that had also been a part of the commission) and so we went of a cuppa before driving the short hop to Ravenglass.

Time to relax and after a nice brew we got back in the car and made our way over the fell.


The pictures above tell their own story ....Ravenglass was completely engulfed in fog!!!

Like Victor Meldrew, I could not believe it. For those of you that know the area you'll be aware that the two places are literally separated by a few hundred yards by the fell but it ws like a world apart. I had spoken to friends in the village in the morning and it was cloudless, they even sent me pictures but of course the sun was in the wrong position and the tide was out at its furthest. it would appear the fog rolled in as the tide advanced.

Not to be daunted, I stood out patiently for over an hour, on the rail bridge the spans across the River Irt with my cable release poised at the ready. However, it was all in vain as the density increased. Sunday walkers crossing the bridge passed me with a smile and almost all uttered the same phrase, "I don't think you'll get many pictures today".

You think?

The journey home was quite quiet but on the plus side no one got hurt. It happens so all in all, it was just one of those things.

When we arrived home I checked the forecast for the following day and it was full of promise.

I made my way back up and this time I just managed to get what I wanted as the fog banks began to roll back in again.

Oh and if you'd like to see the image, you'll have to wait till next autumn and buy LandScape Magazine!

I didn't walk but The Proclaimers aren't the only ones who would go 500 miles.....!