One Year On....Finding Gold

This has been a cracking week so far.  

A scheduled photography meeting that went well Monday daytime, was then followed by a warm reception and response from the Eden Valley Camera Club that evening as I delivered my current talk, 'A BIT OF A JOURNEY'. A good nights sleep then preceded an early morning drive from Penrith to Wasdale to meet and enjoy a very productive workshop with a lovely group of people. 

It is always a pleasure to meet folk who share the passion of photography. No matter where on this planet they are from or whatever their background. The enthusiasm is always the same. From my perspective, it is always pleasing to see them gain positive results in such a short time. Just as importantly, it is always nice to make new friends. 

The weather was typical lakes as it went from sunshine to rain then back again when one of the group pointed to the heavens and remarked,  'So what are the chances of one today then 'Mr Rainbow?'

 Helen, Judith, John and Mark. All 'togged up' in the rain on their workshop. Nicely summed up in their own words, 'learnt a lot and what a great day'.

Helen, Judith, John and Mark. All 'togged up' in the rain on their workshop. Nicely summed up in their own words, 'learnt a lot and what a great day'.

It had to happen! As long as I am not called Zippy or Bungle, I can live with that lol.

I am very lucky that over the years I have managed to enjoy a living out of taking photographs, writing articles and making TV programmes but the rainbow image is very special.

It is one year ago this week that I happened upon capturing that image. I may have over 60K photographs in hard drives and the cloud, (I had to get a good one eventually) but 'that one' will always stay with me. Whilst I am an old romantic and Valentines day is nearly upon us, I think the 10th February will always be the months 'other' special day. Oh yes and shrove Tuesday...

Photography has a habit of throwing views and situations in front of us that we as photographers need to capture. Wether it is with a phone or a camera, a simple memory shot or something you have been actively searching and looking for. One thing is certain, the latter can prove to be a little harder to achieve.

Just as all landscape photographers are considered in their approach to capturing an image, I am more than aware that for 'that one', I was in the right place at the right time. I could never have created anything so perfect as it appeared that evening. Whilst some situations can be predicted as you begin to understand the lakes and its weather, some will never come together as we want.

It was not by design or prediction. 

After a cracking days workshop with Andy Carlisle, we were about to call it a day when I said, "No lets just nip down to the shoreline and watch the final light show. See if anything happens." As we arrived, a car rolled up and it was Martin Lawrence and his wife. I knew of his work but we had never spoken. Glad to say that we got on instantly and were talking about 'our world' . The banter was going well when I noticed he was distracted. I had my back to Great Gable and before I could turn around to see what was causing his eyes to widen, he literally ran off, camera in hand shouting, "look at that. Just look at that!" As I spun around I could see the arc of the rainbow forming. I had my camera in hand but knew the 24-105 would be too big so I quickly took it off and put on the 17-40 along with a LEE 0.6 soft grad. As I lifted the camera up to my eyes, I could the shape was as near perfect as could be. I thought 'better get this right.' The colours suddenly seemed to brighten. Martin was shuffling around and I knew he had to be pin sharp. I shot four images off quickly before it then began to fade.

And then it was gone.....fading as quickly as it came.

It all happened in a matter of seconds and I think that had Martin Lawrence, a fine professional photographer in his own right, not run into view so excitedly to take his version of the phenomenon before us, then the photograph would not have been so impactive. Ordinarily, I would shoot landscapes with out people in them but it just felt right as he was stood there. Anyhow who was I to tell him to shift ha ha.

I posted it on social media that night and the response was very good so much so that several editors who saw it asked me to remove it as they wanted to utilise it so I did.

'Lake district Life' and 'Lancashire Life' both ran the image in an article.

I don't usually enter competitions but a friend of mine and a great photographer, Colin Bell contacted me and said, "You should enter that in the Sunday Times Awards". I did and then I hid it away for four months.

In early August some two months prior to me finding out that it had won the Sunday Times #OMGB Landscape Photographer Of The Year Award, I received an email via Downing Street from the Visit Britain team who wanted to utilise the photograph promoting Britain across the world. I initially thought it was a joke. 

It wasn't. I now know that it is being used world wide by them and am very proud.

When the awards were announced in October, Martin had the good grace to wrote me an email, 'from the man in the red jacket'. Mark of a true professional.

Another note I received stated that, 'the stars were all in alignment at that moment'. I agree but nothing could have prepared me for the marvellous and heartfelt response that I received and still continue to do so since its release into the public domain. I am truly grateful for all those messages of goodwill. I thank everyone who took their time and trouble to do so.

As the winning images were released, I subsequently received notification from 'The Guardian' newspaper that it was listed as one of the worlds greatest 20 photographs. 

It felt like the ball just kept on rolling and in truth it hasn't stopped.

The phone continued to ring with messages of congratulations from people I had never met. There were those who wanted to tell me how much the photograph had touched them, reminding them of a loved one who had passed or rekindling memories of a place that will always be special. These were coming in from all over the world and at different times of day and night.

It was extremely humbling.

Newspaper articles, magazines and television features followed and I have just finished arranging with Granada TV to be part of a short piece with them in the Spring.

So I am now one year on and I titled that photograph 'Finding Gold'. In one way it has done that for me. However, like all photographers I am never satisfied and I will still continue to haunt the shorelines and peaks of the fells because you never know what nature might throw up at us.

Photography eh? What a great way to capture the magnificent lands we live in...