It’s about the Light (and the weather)

How often do you hear the phrase “I only shoot in the golden hour”, or alternately “I won’t shoot in the middle of the day”?

I’m constantly surprised by these remarks, because, if you think about it, it only leaves a few scant hours to shoot in the Winter, and it must knock at least 12 hours off your Summer schedule too.

Life goes on, and light goes on, even during the day – and at mid-day too.

I grant you that good light is great, and when it happens, and you are there – the images, you just know, are going to be amazing. The caveat is, that this great light, has to have something great on which to fall.  No subject equates to no picture.

This week, (early in February) the weather in the UK has been pretty grim.  The folks down South seem to have had the worst of it, but up here in the micro climate that is the East Coast of Lincolnshire – we didn’t get a lot of weather as such.  What we did get was a blast of freezing fog, grey sky, sleet, and as I type a smattering of snow.  ( And even as I finish that sentence – the snow stops and the sun comes out)……..

However, I digress – I had to go out – I had an appointment that I was not able to change, or postpone, I had to go.  The roads were icy (I’m three miles from the nearest main gritted road), the fog was thick and patchy, and if I hadn’t had to get out, I’d have stayed in and watched the fog!

So, when I did get the car out, I thought I’d take the camera….. just in case.  turns out it was a good thing I did.

Appointment finished about 10am, and the fog was still freezing – the car said -5 but I thought I’d head out to the coast.

First impressions were not thrilling, and the cold air took my breath away.

_DSF1966-Edit
None the less, I enjoyed the lead lines fading away into the distance.

It was heading up to 11am by the time I arrived at my next location – which I swung into on impulse.  It’s the Country park, which is usually chock full of dog walkers and joggers.  The paths were OK, but the car park itself was lethal.

The hoar frost made everything look much more beautiful, and the low light gave everything an air of peace.

_DSF1985

By changing the white balance on the camera from sunny to cloudy, it warmed the pictures up a little but still allowed for that feeling of cold.

Moving around the lake to the jetty I found that by shooting low – (this means sitting in the frosty grass by the way), I was able to get my favourite shot of the day.

_DSF1978-Edit-Edit

A tweak or two in photoshop, add a vignette, and I’m done.  It’s lunchtime.  The light is directly overhead, it would be harsh but for the fog (now lifting) – it’s revealed the textures in the icy water and in the wooden stumps.  There’s no cloud, so I’ve not shown much of the sky.

All in all, I’m glad of the appointment – I’m glad I shot in the worst part of the day – chose the wrong weather, got cold, and wet.  It was worth it.

Get out in the ‘weather’, whatever it may be.  You just don’t know what will be revealed.

Where East meets West – Part 6

It’s Sunday – January 20th – it’s minus 4 outside – it’s frosty, and the light I know is going to be fabulous.  I drag my other half out of bed and announce that we’re going out.  “Where?” he says…. “To the Meridian of course”.

I’m retracing some of the route I took the other week, but taking in the village of Hagworthingham.  This historic village nestles on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The important and beautiful Snipe Dales Country Park is adjacent and Hagworthingham is situated approximately equidistant from the market towns of Horncastle, Alford and Spilsby.

Snipe Dales is right on the Meridian, and I’ll be visiting there another time.  We had to stop at the ford though just outside Hagworthingham, and the cold seeped into my hands and feet – out of the sun, and near water, the temperature plummeted and we got a move on quickly…

Next – was Stockwith Mill and Bridge.  The 17th Century Mill was run for over 30 years as a tea room, but recently it has closed, and the property has been sold.  I would have loved to have photographed the mill and included the overshot waterwheel (which was last used in the 1950’s).  As it is, I had to make do with images from the main road.


The mill used to have a small museum which included artifacts which belonged to Alfred Lord Tennyson.  I have seen some beautiful photographs of this house, but sadly it’s all marked as private now, and I could get no closer.

On the route back, I decided to stop again at Somersby – as I’d seen a lovely tree lined road, which I didn’t photograph last time, as the light was dull and flat – today was much better, and having got the trees – I looked around where I had parked the car.


I’d parked in what looked like a small quarry – though very overgrown – and I clambered up the rocks to see the view from the top – what I didn’t notice on the way up was all the carvings in the rock face – and because the sun was low still, it highlighted the names engraved there.  It didn’t seem to be random graffiti.  You would have had to have taken tools to inscribe your name so deeply in the rock.


It has obviously been going on for generations, and I wondered why, and how it came that people travelled to this really out of the way place to carve their names on the rocks.

Next time, a bit further South still, to  Bolingbroke and East Kirby.


You can follow the tour on Google by clicking this link

Snow is falling

A trip into the Peak District this week showed just how cold it’s been.  No real snow where I live, but a mere few miles, and a touch of elevation, and the temperature has dropped like a stone.

First Snows
First Snows

It’s been good to get out though, after so much work on this month – and though this post is brief…. it’s made me remember why I love photography so much.  It’s the getting out and doing it.  I could never be an ‘armchair photographer’, one of those who say, “I’d love to get a shot like that” – well the answer to that is, you can….. you just have to get off your backside, and get out and shoot it….  Enjoy the weather………

Higger Tor

More Winter Landscape

It’s been a fabulous week weatherwise….. I’ve been able to get out and about with the camera whilst on a weeks holiday.  The snow has been perfect, and though we’re predicted lots more this weekend, so far there has been just enough to make things interesting.

I Had to go out towards New Mills in the Peaks, and so whilst I was there, carried on up to Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain) the tops were beautiful, with enough snow for effect, but not too much to make things difficult.  We walked up the cycle track at the back of the Tor, and came back down the steps to the car park.  Right up on the trig point were some hang glider folk, waiting for the wind to drop before they set up to fly.

For me it was hard enough getting the camera stuff to the top of the Tor, never mind all the gear that this chap had with him.  He said he was off back down the hill to wait for the wind to lessen.  This means – from my point of view, that he’d have to lug it all back up again later if he wanted the chance to get airborne; and with the temperatures hovering around -5 it must have been much colder up there….. I wished him good luck and went for hot chocolate – much more civilised.

Winter Landscapes

It’s been a while since my last proper blog post, mostly due to workload, and then as usual home life took over in the gaps in between.  My trusty 24-105 lens failed, but thanks to the Canon CPS service, the repair was done, and the lens returned to me within 6 days, which included a weekend.

So yesterday – and just before a major shoot, for one of my clients, I decided to head out and give it a road test.  We headed out to the Peak District, and one of my favourite locations – Higger Tor, which is not far from Stanage Edge.  The rugged landscape is beautiful, and with a bit of winter sunshine in late afternoon it was superb.

The grouse were constantly calling, and the wind was fierce, which resulted in some images being a little blurred – I wanted to keep the ISO low, but it was impossible to shoot more than a handful of shots at lower shutter speeds.  However, the long shadows, and golden glow more than made up for it.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

I made what I think will be my last foray to the Peak District this year – though if it does snow again, I might just venture back if I can.

With a whole week to myself, I’m looking forward to sharing some great photography with some great photo friends.  On Sunday – we ventured forth to Curbar Edge, which is in the heart of the Peak District – we arrived just before sunrise, and just before the snow flurries blew in.

Having sheltered from the snow under rocky crags, we waited for the wind to blow the cloud cover over, and were rewarded for our patience with a bit of blue sky, and tiny shafts of sunshine.  We could have shot all day, the light changed so fast, and so we stayed on the tops till nearly 11am, which was about 3 hours from sunrise, and almost 4 from when we first arrived.

Although Curbar Edge is easy to get to, and fairly easy to walk along, the high winds, snow (and some fog) can make it treacherous – so if you do venture up there – make sure you are well equipped with waterproofs, a good OS map, and a compass.  It’s easy to climb up to places, but there are 364 different ways down.  Some of them sheer drops.

We were rewarded back at the car park with hot Earl Grey Tea. And although we were wet through with the snow and very cold, it was a worthwhile treck.

More images will be uploaded to my Personal gallery/landscapes in the next day or two.

In the meantime, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year…. take care.