I can feel the chaos abating in my new life in the UK and I’m starting to become more productive in terms of new photographs. Some of you will have seen the beginnings of my new project work in the slate mining areas of North Wales and I am now thinking of where else I will spend time in 2017. A recent ‘weekend away’ trip to the Lake District with my girlfriend definitely helped. It’s beautiful; more so than I’d expected. Here’s a short commentary on the trip and some unprocessed photos to give those who’ve not been an idea of what it looks like!
Before I drove the two hours to the Lake District, I had a peek at various locations and tried to get a feel for the various bodies of water. Naturally, I did this by looking at tourists’ and photographers’ photographs, many of which were stunning. However, when I visited, I did not see the landscape in the same way. I have a propensity for darker imagery and I also try to avoid locations and views that have been well-worn by other photographers (unless I feel I can bring a different interpretation). I enjoy the sense of exploration and discovery that comes with not having a detailed idea of what any of my photographs will end up looking like. That’s where the richness lies, for me.
We arrived during relatively calm, but dark weather. The sun was nowhere to be seen and dingy light levels made hand-held shooting quite a challenge, but this was not a photography trip. It was a few days away with my partner before returning home to Christmas. On the first day we just contoured Rydal Water and enjoyed the scenery and solitude. I previously visited the Lake District about six years ago, but spent my time hiking up peaks rather than walking around lakes, so this was a completely new ‘watery’ experience and I’m smitten!
The weather was so poor on the second day (strong winds, rain and very dark) that we didn’t do any walking. Instead, we just enjoyed warmth and relaxation. Nonetheless, just taking in views from the campervan (where we spent the first night) and the hotel (where we spent the second) were enough to maintain that itch.
The Lake District is probably something many British photographers take for granted as a location, but for me it’s fresh. I have yet to develop a full relationship with its landscape, but initial impressions are very powerful indeed. It is much less harsh than North Wales and has a gentler, prettier and more open quality reminiscent of (a more southern version of) parts of Scotland. Importantly, I feel that my thoughts and feelings on the area are not especially well reflected in the photography I have seen to date, which is encouraging. It’s undoubtedly a ‘pretty’ location, but that’s a perspective I think one needs to be careful of. There are enough pretty photographs of The Lakes.
Some landscapes we look at and marvel at. We admire them. This one I felt right in my core and I can’t think of a better start than that. I can feel the imagery I think I will produce, without yet being able to any of my future photographs. Maybe that will make sense to some of you.
As for the camper van I mentioned a while ago, I’m loving it. Not only does it provide very comfortable sleeping, but it gives me a fairly spacious base camp, from which to enjoy warmth, food and copious amounts of tea. Being able to spread out maps on the table and generally relax really helps recuperate between forays. When I’m spending a few days in a region, it completely changes the experience.
I can’t wait to get stuck into 2017! I’ll be spending as much time as I possibly can in the field during Jan-April and may try to whizz up to Scotland, given half a chance….
P.S. The 85mm Batis is really impressing me, but more on that another time.