Summer...

I have enjoyed a very productive few months undertaking a lot of varied photographic work. That is always pleasing but as we have moved further into the year, a few words about our national obsession.

Weather...

After a mild winter of snow and ice, (certainly down in England) followed by our eagerly awaited move into the spring, April proved to be a false dawn.

Again...

The driest month promised so much as the birds busied themselves nest building and woodpeckers could be heard hammering away.

 First Light

First Light

On a plus side, I managed to undertake a few sunset and sunrise shoots and although the chill in the air was always present, you feel honoured to witness the ends and beginnings of days, as they play out their light shows. Its a magical time and referred to as 'The Golden hour.'

 Serene

Serene

The days grew longer and our clothing thinner but it soon became a distant memory as the gales, snow and horrendous winds hit our shores with a vengeance as that month waved and said goodbye.

During those 'heady' April days, I recall walking the fells and commenting on the number of used portable BBQ's that had been left laying around along with dangerous broken bottles. They were strewn across the landscape or just abandoned in scrapes on open farmland.

Unfortunately a bi-product of the dry weather is that it entices some of the 'non appreciative' out into the hills and valleys. Whilst I did my bit and removed what I could see, their legacy of rubbish is still sadly evident. It has now been washed by the rains.

Clean rubbish doesn't make it any more palatable.

Whilst we have never been able to accurately predict our weather, it is gradually getting better and as I work  mainly on the fells nothing ever surprises me. It twists and turns so quickly. I am used to it and so are the majority of you who will read this.

Whilst my first love are the fells and photographing them, I also enjoy many other types of photographic work that I am fortunate to employed to do.

I know a lot of pros won't touch weddings but I actually enjoy being asked to undertake them for couples. They put so much into their days and you are there to capture it for them.

However, spare a thought for one of the lovely couples who commissioned me to deliver a Landscape wedding for them in early May. 

I only shoot around half a dozen Landscape weddings each year and am proud that people seek me out to do that for them. The mixture of 'fly on the wall' reportage allied with Landscape, is very prescriptive and makes for a a juxtaposition of styles that I love to work in.

 Windy but no damp spirits as the rain began to take hold

Windy but no damp spirits as the rain began to take hold

Adam and Natasha had been planning for over two years and as part of their day, wanted some of their shots taken in the grandest of settings near Grassmore and Mellbreak.

So, by now you know where this is heading. It didn't rain. It absolutely poured down as the light drizzle that began at 12.30 then became a torrent. Amazonian is an understatement.

 

We managed to salvage the day and they had a wonderful time with great folk to support them so in that respect it worked. I felt so sorry for them though as we had arranged to do so much externally. Yes you've guessed it, the next day was completely dry with the fell tops exposed. It is the lakes...

 All smiles as 'The First dance' for Adam and Amy takes place on their rain affected day

All smiles as 'The First dance' for Adam and Amy takes place on their rain affected day

In complete contrast, I undertook another wedding that week. A smaller affair on the following Thursday (election day) which was in total contrast. Lovely warm sunshine bathed us all and their Landscape shots taken above Wast Water were exactly what they wanted.

 A beautiful and memorable day overlooking Wast Water

A beautiful and memorable day overlooking Wast Water

Since then it has been a very mixed bag with the cold being a feature. I have been wearing my BERGHAUS winter garb constantly and still take out my flask. Not a sign of age but necessity.

A few weeks back I was delighted to open the Adventure TIPI talks at the Keswick Mountain Festival with Jon Sparks on the subject of outdoor photography. We were representing the OUTDOOR WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS GUILD and it was a pleasure to do so. His work is outstanding and whilst we both work in the 'fresh air', his remit is totally different from mine. I am pleased to say that it went well and we are looking at developing it for future presentations.

 1st June. Really???

1st June. Really???

ts now early June and yesterday I delivered a workshop in weather that was akin to mid winter. It was freezing and as hardy as I am, the chill was biting. I was only at ground level and had read that the tops would be at least -3. On the 1st June...

Whilst we can't control this we do what we always do. Get on with it.

Weather apart, I have been privileged to meet some fantastic people over the past few months and am lucky that I am entrusted to deliver workshops for them. It is very humbling when you are 'chosen' and I have always loved teaching and seeing the looks on peoples faces when the 'penny drops' and they begin to control the camera that has been a nemesis for them.

The rest of the year will see me working across Cumbria delivering many more as well writing articles for various magazines. At some point I hope to be able to get out there and 'do' some for myself too!

I was very proud to be chosen by Lee as their Masterclass feature in Xposure Magazine and I hope you enjoy reading the article that was written about my work.

As May is traditionally the time of Bluebells, I made a trip over to Rannerdale over by Crummock water early in the month. The woodlands in the lakes were showing early signs and promise that the 'show' would be good and when I arrived there It was ok.

Unusually the flowers are not displaying beneath woodland canopies but totally exposed in the valley behind Rannerdale Knott. They appeared to be low and flat this year and hadn't really come out. Talking to one of the to the wardens there, it seemed they would need another few weeks. I did take a few shots but wasn't completely satisfied with them so returned right at the back end of May with my wife Irene.

What a difference a few weeks makes! They were now 'up and running' and looked fantastic. if you have never been to see them it should be on your list of places to visit. Social media normally indicates when they are at their best.

We moved from there over to the Kirkstile Inn and met our good friends Dave and Gina Pennington. Always good company, we finished a stroll by Loweswater, where Gina practised her photographic skills, with a well earned jar in the pub!

I have just looked out of the window and the gales haven't abated but its sunny and the rain has stopped. Its a start.

Majorca for me at the weekend as I mix a 'jolly' with a shoot for Monarch Airlines.

I hope the summer does finally arrive for us all and that you enjoy whatever you manage to get up to.

After all its the first year in ages where I haven't as yet managed to get out and about in my shorts and sandals. I know you can't wait to see the pictures...

Thanks for reading.