Favourite Places

We all have them. The ‘somewhere’ that makes you want to return, no matter what the weather, the season or time of day. We just have to go back and look at ‘that view’ or be in ‘that place’.

I personally have several that I love. Wast Water is a gimme but the one that has captivated me just as much is the Esk valley.

It doesn’t possess a large body of water, (well not one that hasn’t dripped in from the sky…) but it has a fabulous river that has carved out this valley. The magnificent Bow Fell towers imperiously above the rivers source, watching as it flows towards the sea with the Scafells and Hard Knott adding their own dimension to this view.

Whether I walk its length or observe from one of the surrounding fells it never fails to lift my spirits.

There have been occasions when I have looked over from Birker Fell where you can see ‘chunks of three valleys: The Esk, Mitredale and Wasdale.

It has been raining heavily over Wast Water yet bright sunshine has been illuminating the Esk.

These ‘neighbours’ provide you with great contrasts and just like people, they affect us with their moods.

If I have time and am running three day workshop, I always ensure we visit the Esk. In the lowlands, the beauty of the river as it wends its way towards Ravenglass provides fabulous, easy walking but if you want drama and majesty, a trundle over to Lingcove Bridge will put you deep into ‘proper’ mountain country.

I have made several visits there over the past few weeks on workshops and both of my ‘students’ loved their visits.

As you stand on the side of Hard Knott and look down and across? WOW!!

We have been fortunate to have witnessed such weather variations taking place before us and been lucky enough to photograph them.

Capturing moments. The essence of photography.

The weather in the past two weeks was so different but isn’t that typical of the lakes?? The wind has been unrelenting and whilst I know it can change in a heartbeat that has been a consistency that hampered us at times.

The first weeks workshop with Andy was blighted by horrendous gale force winds that literally knocked us off our feet at times. He did well to take some cracking photographs and retain composure. No pun intended of course…….

Andy at a very windswept Ennerdale. It was coming right at us and as strong as I can recall.

Andy at a very windswept Ennerdale. It was coming right at us and as strong as I can recall.

After I had finished Andy’s workshop I dashed across the country to talk to Durham Photographic Society. I am grateful to Vicki Procter for giving her time to top off the day with Andy as I had to leave at 4pm.

The drive over the spine of the country is always a goody and I was treated to some awesome light that made me want to stop and take snaps. if only time would allow….

When I arrived at the hall, they gave me a lovely warm welcome again and I was pleased, not only how the night went but it was good to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Even better for me as I was asked back to give my third talk in the series, ‘IN HIS ELEMENT’ That will be booked for 2020.

I returned home on the Friday, for a day in the office, then off to Bingley to talk to the Yorkshire Monochrome Group.

Again a fabulous reception and a pleasure to make new acquaintances. They also made an immediate booking for me to return in 2020.

It is always a humbling experience to be asked to go and present to clubs and I am happy to travel to wherever I am asked.

I then returned to the lakes for a four day workshop with Brian and what a fantastic time he had.

The weather was a little kinder and as well as hitting some great places we managed a couple of sunsets and a sunrise.

Brian above the Esk. Great light for great photographs!

Brian above the Esk. Great light for great photographs!

Brian at Dalegarth Falls

Brian at Dalegarth Falls

The latter didn’t really produce anything spectacular but the rest of the day did. A trip over to Ennerdale, Crummock Water and Buttermere gave him some fabulous opportunities to work and he took full advantage.

Brian by Buttermere on a still day

Brian by Buttermere on a still day

Happy to listen and learn in any circumstance, I watched as his abilities grew and he delivered.

We spent the last of the four days walking uptown the Emerald Pools under Great End and that allowed him to shoot a variety of subjects.

Photographing the Emerald Pools.

Photographing the Emerald Pools.

The rain came in when the forecast was a for a dry day (what they got it wrong again…..) and so we aborted a little earlier than expected.

As we parted he said, ‘taking home great photographs is a bonus on a workshop.’ All he expected to do was learn techniques. That is what workshops are about. Learning and taking away techniques.

So after a whirlwind fourteen days, I am now back home and will set off again tomorrow for another workshop.

Cant beat making new friends who share your passion and seeing them develop.

Long may it continue.