The Easter weekend has just zoomed by and for many it is the first real chance that they have had for an extended few days away.
The weather has been mixed to say the least but I am well aware that as we cant change that we just 'get on with it'.
Personally I rarely venture off out onto the fells during that weekend as I like it a little less crowded and am luck enough to be there throughout the year but hope all that do have an enjoyable time.
For some, it will be their first time out and about into wide open spaces. Buoyed by TV programmes that are deliberately screened on dark nights to lessen the winter blues, they will set off and find themselves in a place that is literally a world away. In this day and age we can hit most of the honeypots within and hour or two but the change in scenery and culture can be very different.
For me, this season represents the rebirth of a year. Longer, warmer days (they will come....) signal new beginnings and the atmosphere, like our choice of clothing will change. There is an uplift everywhere.
It is a notable mood change.
We have woken up.
For the past six months we have dressed ourselves in muted colours and now replace them with brighter, sometimes garish ones to say the least. The fells take on a completely different look as the dying bracken replenishes itself with lush new life and the green gown of summer begins its journey, repainting the landscape slowly. All around us we see new life popping through the ground, adding to the landscape.
It becomes a totally different place.
As we have been working away in 'our world' there are others who depend upon the land, that very land that we now use as a playground. Of course I am referring to the farmers, the shepherds that work there everyday.
I never forget that it is their working land and always treat it with the respect it deserves. Currently, we are right in the middle of lambing time with new borns very visible on the fells and open countryside.
I never preach and you can probably see where this is going but if you have friends who are thinking of going out to try a new venture in the outdoors then please have a 'quiet word'.
I say this because every year I have witnessed incidents caused through ignorance and I use that word not in an aggressive way. They simply are excited to be in such grand surroundings but do not realise that they walk out onto someones working environment and need to respect it. Gateposts and signs are everywhere but sadly I have seen them disregarded or unheeded.
I have lost count of the number of dogs off leads I have seen or gates just left open. I have also seen the effect of a dog attack on a sheep and it makes for awful viewing. Having spoken with a few who have inadvertently crossed a line, they are remorseful and apologetic. One or two others? We very nearly came to blows. Honestly.
My other concern at present is the potential for people to have seen the favourite walks programme and think they would like to 'have a go' at undertaking a few of them.
Admirable but again needs total respect. This time for the natural surroundings they will find themselves in.
Many years back I became friends with a writer called Bob Maslen-Jones. In his spare time he was a warden on Snowdon. Bob was a very caring person who actually introduced the search and rescue dogs to Snowdonia. He had a passion for the mountains, coupled with tremendous respect. He saw the best and the worse of peoples behaviour and documented many of those instances in his best seller 'COUNTDOWN TO DANGER. Sir Edmund Hillary wrote the foreword and the book recanted tales of folly and in some cases sheer stupidity. Many of us who walk the hills will have seen people making there way up who are ill prepared and ill equipped. Flip flops, no additional clothing and a general lack of appreciation of the elements.
Most of you reading this will know exactly what I mean. Your friends may not. When I venture out I have clothing with me for every conceivable situation. I tell folk where i am going and what time i should be back.
I love the mountains, the views, the feeling of being a part of whats around me but for all its beauty it can be a very dangerous playground.
i never forget that. No one should.
This was not a rant but a gentle, quiet word to act as a reminder to keep spreading 'the word'.
I regularly have to pinch myself as I witness the spectacular views that nature throws at us.
Surprisingly enough I don't get anywhere near as much time to simply go out and photograph just for me but i managed a couple of sessions last week.
I love the little coastal village of Ravenglass and spent a nice evening snapping away on the shoreline. Although it didn't produce one of its gorgeous sunsets it did provide me with enough to make a few nice pictures as dusk turned into night.
Hard Knott, above the Esk is one of my favourite places and I enjoyed a cracking afternoon there watching three seasons play out in front of me. If I wasn't a photographer I would simply stand and watch in awe but having witnessed the sun fighting for a place as swathes of sleet, rain and snow rushed over Bow Fell I felt duty bound to do my best with the camera.
A great view to witness. Even better to photograph and be reminded of nature at its best..
Last week I ran a three day workshop for Dave Chisholm who had been at one of my talks to the Durham Photo Society and decided to book me for a workshop.
Not only was he a pleasure to be with but we experienced several seasons over the duration of the workshop. Irrespective, he threw himself into it and produced a series of images that he was purring over.
One of the things I love about the workshops is that people entrust me to teach them. I never forget that and give all I can to ensure that they make the most of of this fantastic way to record what they see.
One of the features I love about the great outdoors is the ability for it to change so quickly. A murky start to the day can suddenly be bathed in glorious sunshine, followed by dark clouds that are then pierced and illuminated by the 'god light' or 'celestial torch' as I often refer.
Uplifting doesn't begin to explain the feelings it engenders.
I just hope that as we strive to capture it with our cameras that we can do it justice.
Enjoy this wonderful land we have to explore and look after it.
It is priceless and always respect it.