Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Image of the Week - Cheesewring, Bodmin Moor

The events of last week at Cockermouth and the surrounding area makes my complaining about the rain and getting wet feet in the Lake District at the start of the month seem rather pathetic. I wish those affected well and hope they can quickly put their homes and businesses back in order.

I have been going through the transparencies from my Lakes visit and will be putting many those up on my web site and writing about a few here in due course too. In the meantime, back to better times this summer.

Here is my favourite image from the Cheesewring at Minions on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall from my August visits.


While I came back with many images of this group of granite stacks, this one stuck in my mind. Partially because of the lovely light that literally lasted only a few moments but also because it is a more unusual image from this location. Most images you find from here are of the more dramatic looking structures and my earlier images this day were no exception.

In fact I had been photographing one of the more popular stacks in the light of the setting sun when I turned around to locate my ringing phone - I really should turn it off - and saw this scene forming. The clouds were drifting into position over the jumble of rocks and were starting to turn pink which in turn was turning the rocks themselves pink.

While telling my daughter that whatever the crisis at home it would have to wait for a few minutes, I grabbed my tripod and ran towards the rocks. Fortunately the scene wasn't too tricky and focusing the view camera was a relatively simple affair. I then played a game of chicken with the light and waited for the main cloud to drift directly over the rocks. With the cloud in place, I had enough time to expose one sheet before the colour started to fade. I love these moments!


Monday, 9 November 2009

Return from the Lake District

I've just returned from two weeks working in the Lake District. I say working, but with my family joining me for the first week little photographic work was done until the second week.

The weather was overcast for most of the first week, and very wet the second. I must have spent most of my time in the second week sheltering under my umbrella waiting for interesting light. My average wait was been around one and a half hours, but there were at least two occasions when I stood in the rain waiting for over three hours. A leak in my left walking boot didn't help lift spirits during the waiting!

However, the long waits were worth it and I was treated to some wonderful, albeit brief, moments at various locations throughout my stay.

My best decision of the trip was to bring along recently acquired clamps for fitting my umbrella to my tripod, see below, and my worst was not bringing my wellies, or possibly not waterproofing my boots.


The Ebony performed well, although the damp weather did cause a little swelling of the wood and focussing steadily became stiffer as a result. Still, I took solace when a fellow photographer I met explained his digital SLR had just packed up as a consequence of getting wet in the previous days rain.

Oddly, despite packing a huge box of 4x5 Velvia sheet film, most of the pictures I made were panoramics using my 6x17 roll film back. I've not used this back much since the spring and only packed it and a few boxes of 120 film as an afterthought. My brain just seemed to switch into panoramic mode the moment I arrived. I'm not really sure why.

Was it the wide vistas just cried out for the panoramic format or was it the simple act of putting the panoramic back into my kit bag that subconsciously flicked that particular switch? I just don't know. At each location I almost always started with a panoramic and while waiting for the light I would plan a 4x5 picture, but more often than not the light did not last long enough for the 4x5.

I do love a well executed panoramic but I am left feeling I need to return to most of the locations I visited without the panoramic back and concentrate on creating pictures in just the 4x5 format. A return in the new year for some snow on the fells is a tempting thought.

Assuming they pass the lightbox viewing, I promise to post some examples from the Lakes in the coming weeks.

Finally, if Bob is reading this, I hope you managed to make the most of the brief respite in the rain on Friday evening at sunset. Derwent Water was lovely.