Any day can be a special one. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve walked along this road, and the view changes every time. This particular day was a special one, not just because of the view, but because it was the first one after surgery. Just creeping along at a snails pace allows you the time to observe what’s around you. In this case Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England, with a slight sprinkling of snow highlighted in the evening sun. A truly wonderful evening, a fantastic view, and the experience of allowing the outdoors to facilitate healing.
One of the great things about the flowers coming out is the increase in the number of insects and animals that rely on them. Despite national decline in bees, it’s great to see them out and about here in Cumbria. There is also a small colony of tree bumble bees that have taken over a disused bird box in our garden. This one was certainly going flat out to stuff its pollen sacks from every flower it could find.
One of the best things about Spring is the rush of colours that burst out from the drabness of winter. Some of these colours come in the most unexpected of places. We all expect flowers to be brightly coloured. After all, it’s their job to attract insects to aid with pollination. When their job is over they fade and fall leaving only memories. This strange flower last much longer than you would expect. This female flower from the Larch (Larix decidua) turns into a cone. The wonder of the world around never ceases to amaze me. Who would think that that a beautiful gentle bloom like this would turn into something so hard and brown that is capable of hanging on trees for years.
Despite its title, the Lake District is so much more than just lakes. We also have some amazing coastline. Cliffs with nesting sea birds and miles of sand, along with salt marshes and everything in between. They all provide the ideal environment, whatever your chosen pastime.
Walking around in the Lake District it can be all too easy to be over awed by the amazing views. I sometimes get the opportunity to lead walks and never cease to be amazed at the two general groups of walking methods employed. There are those who continually stare at the ground. They have been so used to walking on flat, well made pavements, that they are out of practice when it comes to balancing on less than ideal surfaces. They have to divert energy and effort into ensuring a safe foot placement that they can only take in the views around when they stand still. There is the second group who are so amazed at the views they spend the whole day staring into the distance. Miraculously they don’t tend to stumble or fall. They may be aware of the general terrain under their feet, but they don’t tend to pay it any attention.
The danger with both of these methods is that we neglect the middle ground. There is so much to admire in that middle distance and it goes completely unnoticed. For instance, I’ve no idea who HB was. All I can know for sure is that in 1799 he build this gate post and was proud enough of it that he engraved his initials in it. More importantly, it’s still around today, a testament to his enduring workmanship.
Lets spend more time admiring the things that are near us, those people and things that enrich our lives day by day. Not overawed by the immensity of the world around, or the uncertainty that lies beneath our feet. But the small things that enrich the world around us, and in many cases the result of the skill and work from long ago.
Sometimes you just have to hang around until the sun appears in the right place. Or you can have a conversation and then turn round and have to dive for the camera because you weren’t paying attention. I’ll leave you to guess which one of the two this photo was down to. It’s a picture of King’s How and Jopplety How in Borrowdale
It’s good from time to time to experiment outside your comfort zone. You only develop your skills and abilities if you actually try them. So this weeks challenge was to try and get photos using minimal light. How close can you get to “dark” and still get a photo? Here are my efforts.
The Lake District is full of so many familiar views. You may not know where they are from, but you know you’ve seen it before. For instance, this view of the “jaws of Borrowdale” not only features in thousands of tourist photos each year, but also appears in Star Wars the force awakens. It’s one thing to expect to see it on a tin of Lake District biscuits, but something completely different to see it as the background for a major Sci-Fi movie. It’s amazing how your impressions of a place can change simply by looking at things from another point of view.
To take this picture I moved away from the “traditional” shooting locations (Keswick boat landings, Friar’s Crag or Hope Park) to somewhere more inaccessible. Well that’s not quite true, if you have a canoe then you too could get there. Even the shooting conditions aren’t what they seem. At the time I was coaching a group of Explorer scouts on a water sports session. Just out of shot there is carnage and mayhem as 14 teenagers engage in a version of kayak polo providing a surreal contrast to the serenity portrayed in the photo. I’m also aware that there have been several occassions where the perfect sunset has been ruined by a small flotilla of brightly coloured boats. If you are one of those frustrated photographers then I apologise. Maybe it’s time to think out of the box and try shooting from an unexpected place. I think it’s time to try original views, rather than copies of ones we’ve seen before. Maybe that way we will see the world around us in a new way.