What a difference a day could make.
Photography can be a very hit and miss affair, or if you like, there's an element of luck involved in capturing that amazing image that you're after. First there's knowing that location, how to find it and what's the best time to visit (month, morning, daytime or evening).
There's some wonderful books out there that can give you some great ideas (I have a couple from "The Photographers Guide" which I find very useful). You can trawl through online images on sites like 500px or Flickr and mark these as favourites. Personally I've been working with SNAPP Guides creating an App which covers the Lake District (available from the App Store) which is one of many world wide locations available.
Even then though, you've really got to visit a location several times, before you can truly understand how the light works for that place. This should be at different times of day and even the months will make a difference, does it work best in Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn.
I had an overnight trip out last week which gave me the idea for this blog, What a difference a day could make. On my way to Blea Tarn I stopped off at Mossdale Bay, Ullswater just to check out the water levels in the lake for the following morning. Although the Tree stump that I was interested in was almost out of the water, the lake looked lovely and calm with some interesting cloud cover. The decision was easily made, get the camera out of the van.
I must admit to removing some of the gravel from around the base of the stump, just so that it was surrounded by water. When I first started the lake was relatively calm but it soon became choppy after the passing of one of Ullswater Steamers finest (a trip on one of these is highly recommended) and the wind picking up. I always take several shots especially when doing long exposures as this one is. This is because the changing cloud makes such a difference to the finished shot and it can sometimes make the choosing difficult.
ISO 50, 121 sec, 17mm, f11 - Lee Big Stopper, 0.9 ND Soft Grad + 0.6 ND Hard Grad
All in all, I was pleased with the shot. I liked the cloud movement and milky water gained from the long shutter speed.
In many ways this was a snatch and grab shot as 30 minutes earlier when I'd looked, there was nothing but blue sky over the lake. The Campervan was ready for bedtime and the glass of red wine I happened to be partaking in, was almost nothing but a distant memory. Looking out of the van window I saw some cloud creeping over from the West and went to investigate. With the last of the days sun on the high fells and a slight tinge to the clouds I managed this long exposure which was used to take away the few ripples on Ullswater's surface.
ISO100, 30 sec, 18mm, f11 - Lee Little Stopper, 0.9 ND Soft Grad + 0.6 ND Hard Grad Wednesday 20:20
I don't find blue skies very interesting so to get this late cloud appearing gave me a challenge that was gratefully accepted. Speed was the essence here with fast disappearing light which makes the finished shot so much more enjoyable (something for nothing).
My favourite time of day, not long after sunrise and with the first of the days rays picking out the fell tops. I do have an unprocessed shot with slight pinks from nearer sunrise but thought that 3 would be enough to show What a difference a day could make. This view in my opinion is always stunning but when you get conditions like this where could be better.
ISO100, 20 sec, 20mm, f11 - Lee Little Stopper, 0.9 ND Soft Grad + 0.6 ND Hard Grad
By far, my favourite of the day with the soft fluffy clouds from the long exposure and the clear water showing the lake bed off at its best.
And just to show you should always look around your location... I started packing up as it was now snowing and saw the following shot.
A quick change of lens and a few steps into the lake to capture Norfolk Island with Gowbarrow Fell behind in the middle of a snow shower/storm.
ISO50, 1/50 sec, 135mm, f11 - No filters
Well if you've got this far, thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you've enjoyed it. For me it just goes to show that you need to visit a location again and again to get the best out of it, unless of course you're a very lucky photographer and only need that one visit.