Just When You thought It Was Safe....

There is an old saying, "Never cast a clout till May is out".

How true, as one day I am in short sleeves for the first time this year and then a deluge of snow falls!!

I was running a workshop over near Coniston enjoying a spring day that was glorious. Wake up the next day and 3-4 inches of white stuff paint the landscape. It was wet and freezing cold. Crazy. Still, it is the lakes.......

It always proves too that we should always prepare for all eventualities to cope with the quick changes in the weather as we walk the fells. I carry a large camera rucksack that allows me sufficient room to take various items of clothing with me.

I am grateful to BERGHAUS for their support as I undertake my work and I can honestly say that their kit has never let me down. The regular industry awards that their clothing receives is testimony to that.

The past few weeks have been a mixture of workshops, writing, processing images and a bit of a jolly by making a trip to Birmingham for The Photography Show. Meeting new people and reacquainting with old friends is always a pleasure. 

Prior to that, I ran a second workshop for writer Andy North and he is a delight to be with. We share the same sense of humour and he and his wife Debs are a real inspiration for people who face adversity. I was originally 'hired' to teach him the rudiments of landscape photography so that they can utilise his images in the books he writes with her. I wont go into too much detail here but I would recommend following the link to see what they are currently involved in.

Andy by 'That Tree' at Buttermere.

Andy by 'That Tree' at Buttermere.

Inspirational stuff. Long may it continue. Good people too and proud to call them friends.

I went from there to Birmingham for the Photography Show and met up with a few friends.

The weather didn't disappoint. It was hammering down as I arrived......all we needed was a flock of Herdwicks in the car park.......

The show is always worth a visit but you do need time. Its a mixture of selling and networking. I cant ever recall buying anything there but its a good place to link up with folk. Dave Kai Piper is an excellent Fashion and Portrait photographer and it was great to finally meet him. We have chatted online for over three years and although he was busy on one of the stands we made time for a catch up.  

I also had an impromptu link up with world renowned Charlie Waite too. It is always nice to have recognition from your peers and Charlie was more than kind about my work. His words mean a lot to me and I should be with him as the TAKE A VIEW exhibition arrives at Piccadilly Station on the 10th April where it will run till the 22nd April. I will keep you posted about that.

Julie and Jenny enjoying a 'sunshine break' by Blea Tarn. Didn't last long....

Julie and Jenny enjoying a 'sunshine break' by Blea Tarn. Didn't last long....

I returned to the lakes to undertake a two day workshop with Julie and Jenny. I had never met them before but it was evident that they were two good friends. Never daunted, we had an excellent couple of days. It was an abject lesson in working with the conditions and as we worked around Blea Tarn, we all but experienced four seasons ha ha. I was grateful that they approached the workshop with good humour and they produced some stunning results.

Was it worth it......

Was it worth it......

One of the locations we visited was the fabulous Skelwith Falls. It was in spate as the heavens had not ceased in its quest to drench us for days! Couple that with snow melt and it literally raised the safety bar to very dangerous. I know this location very well and we trod carefully into our shooting position  because the rocks were a little lively. I hasten to add that we were never in any danger as I would not allow that to ever become part of the workshop. When the river is like that you respect it. Actually you never lose that respect even if its a trickle but placing yourself in danger is not an option. Ever.. To put others who are in your care and trust does not enter my head and is another set of circumstances. I NEVER take chances. A photograph is NOT worth risking that. Sadly as we were setting up, a grown man strode passed us and it was evident that he did NOT share those views. We watched as he demonstrated a complete disregard for his own safety and was 'gungho' about the way he was going to take a 'snap' of the falls in spate. In fact he told us so! I could not believe the arrogance and sheer stupidity of his actions. The picture is him from behind standing no more than a foot away from the edge of drop into what would have been a certain drowning. The roar of the falls was deafening. Both Jenny and Julie were stunned at his arrogance and the speed of the water would have tumbled him around in the pool like a shirt in a washing machine, then spun him out to wherever. I am amazed but not surprised at the stupidity of a minority. His friends simply looked on in horror as he got his photograph. The looks on their faces said it all.

Before I sign off, just another word about your friends who may be considering venturing out onto the fells, hills and mountains for the first time. As the weather gets warmer and the sun actually gives a little bit more of its time, many 'newcomers' to this wonderful past time will decide to go on the journey we are already on.

I am always happy to impart gentle advice. I feel very strongly about getting the most from our experiences as we walk the countryside. It is not only a beautiful place but in the main someones working environment. My message is simple. Whilst we need to be respectful at all times, please tell them that Spring is special and is also known as lambing time. Signs will adorn gateposts and entrances to farms and sadly I have seen at first hand the devastating result of a sheep savaged by a dog. It is horrendous and must have been harrowing for the animal.

Some folk who arrive in the lakes don't quite have that understanding. As the drivers pull up to admire the scenery,  their dog leaps from car, off onto the fells scattering sheep as they go. It is natural for the animal to behave that way, so we have to remind ourselves of our responsibilities to others. The farmer will rightly take drastic action to protect his flock. It is his livelihood.

I am not preaching. However, it is a reminder for us to spread the word to those who will be beginning their journey in the countryside.

As I write this it is very pleasant out and the most spring like we have had put before us. I hope it lasts.

However, I haven't removed any of that extra clothing from my bag just yet....