The Lakes

Autumn In The Lake District


It’s not often that myself and my partner Nicola manage to get a child free weekend, but last weekend, with the help of Grandparents, we were able to pack the car up and head over to the Lake District, and what a great weekend it was. Baring in mind that this wasn’t a ‘photographic’ weekend away, there was still time a grab a few shots here and there.

We arrived on Saturday to glorious sunshine and blue skies, although it was freezing cold! After checking into our lovely little guest house The Coppice in Windermere, we grabbed a coffee and headed out on a late afternoon walk to Bowness-On-Windermere.

Autumn colours are just hitting their peak in The Lakes and it was stunning, oranges, yellows and greens the leaves lit up by the late afternoon sun, heavy shadows and light cutting through the trees. A beautiful start to the weekend.

I made my decision at this point that with the sunny weather, and cold temperatures that I would head out the following morning down to Lake Windermere, hoping for a good sunrise and some still waters to catch some reflections on the lake. So I set my alarm for the morning.

It wasn’t the easiest getting up the following morning, after a lovely evening meal and a few beers, the clocks going going back helped a little and I was off out before breakfast.

I drove down past Bowness and managed to find a spot to set up nestled between the large and quite grand properties that adorn the south west side of the lake.

I knew as soon as I’d set out that the wind was a little high, so the chances of any reflections were slim, although I held out a little hope that it would calm a bit as the sun came up. It didn’t, but the sunrise didn’t disappoint, great colours and just enough low lying cloud sweeping over the tops of surrounding mountains to create a bit of atmosphere.

I grabbed the Formatt-hitech filters out of my bag and set up to do some Long Exposure Panoramic shots, giving the exposures about 1 min each to flatten out the water and give the clouds a sense of movement.

So not quite what I had planned for the morning, but nothing new there, we can’t control the conditions so we just have to go with what we are presented with. And all things considered I was quite happy with the results.

We spent the rest of the day with with a visit to Wray Castle, and some lovely Autumn woodland walks, with some visits to a few of the local towns like Ambleside. It was on the way to Ambleside that I spotted a different location to shoot the following morning at the Northern end of Windermere.

So, with a good forecast for the morning I headed out before breakfast again, which, after another lovely meal and a few more beers(this was theme for most of the weekend), was even harder than the morning before. After scraping and defrosting the car I set of in search of the locations

I’d seen the day before. This is where things got a little tricky, there was absolutely nowhere to park or pull the car over. It was on the stretch of the A591 that runs directly along the side of the lake. I drove up and down the road several times and eventually I managed to find a gateway that didn’t seem to be in use(i could have been wrong).

I grabbed my gear and headed quickly down to the waters edge, and this morning didn’t disappoint. Calm reflective water, some cloud in the sky, beautiful orange glow of the rising sun and glorious Autumn colours.

I was spoilt for choice for things to shoot, where to start first. I took a breath, slowed things down and took a moment to take in the beautiful scenery I was surround by. I set up, took the Formatt-hitech filters out, Long Exposure photography not only creates a beautiful serenity to photographs but also makes you slow down a bit and

and take your time, giving you more time to think about the subject you’re shooting.

I wanted to give the clouds a bit of movement but also flatten out any ripples that were appearing on the water. I used the Firecrest Ultra 10 stop ND on these, which was giving me an exposure time of just under one minute, coupled with the Firecrest circular polariser to remove and harsh light reflections from the surface of the water.

A fantastic weekend in a beautiful part of the world. Autumn has to be one of the best times of the year to visit The Lakes, and likewise one of the best places to visit in Autumn. The colours are increadable, the lakes surrounded by the mountains give such a great backdrop for photography. Already planning a longer visit next Autumn!

Recommended:

The Coppice Guest House, Windermere

The Crafty Baa, micro pub, Windermere

The Hole in t‘Wall pub, Bowness

Gear links:

Formatt-Hitech filters, use code WOOD10 for a 10% discount

Sony Cameras

Gitzo Tripods

Peak Design Straps

WW2 Storage bunker pt 2

Ater my first visit to this Second World War bomb storage bunker in Llanberis several months ago, it was time to go back and have a look inside...with some company this time!

  On a disused quarry site near Llanberis.

On a disused quarry site near Llanberis.

Heading back there with Andy, a seasoned veteran of disused abandoned dark places felt a little more comfortable, plus he had all the right gear for this sort of thing, mainly torches....and lots of them!!

Entering through a door where the train would have come in, you find yourself greeted by darkness with just a small amount of light cast by the open door, this is as far as I got on my last visit due to a lack of suitable lighting and there is no way you could go any further without any, it is absolutely pitch black in there.

As you make your way in there is a series of openings on either side. To the right of the tracks is one room with platforms, the left leads to a further five large storage areas, this is where we headed.

  Entrance to the bunker where the train would have come in to offload and load huge amounts of the RAF's explosives.

Entrance to the bunker where the train would have come in to offload and load huge amounts of the RAF's explosives.

  Staircase to the upper level.

Staircase to the upper level.

The rooms are large, empty spaces with damp floors, signs of previous visitors are clear to see with graffiti on the walls and the odd empty beer can lying around. The first room you come across has an old lift shaft in the centre which would have taken the bombs up to the upper level, and at the back there is a staircase.

  One of the storage rooms on the upper level.

One of the storage rooms on the upper level.

Once upstairs there are seven of these large storage area's. The picture above was taken about a third of the way down so you can see just how far these rooms go on for. The rooms go on and on, one after another separated by arch ways, it's difficult to imagine the scale of the operation here and the amount of bombs that were stored here.

  Archways separating the rooms on the upper level.

Archways separating the rooms on the upper level.

It's so dark on the upper level that you can barely see your hand in front of your face and there's a chill to the air. We had torches, off camera flash and some smoke bomb and played around trying out dramatic shots.

  Dramatic shot taken by Andy Hargreaves.

Dramatic shot taken by Andy Hargreaves.

After awhile we headed back to the ground level for a last look around and at the back of one the rooms we came across a big steel door that someone had conveniently cut a small hole in, unfortunately too small to get through(as someone pointed out by writing in marker pen above the hole 'can you please make this bigger before my next visit'!). Looking through the hole is a tunnel cut into the rock with a stone floor that looked to have tracks where a cart might have carried something somewhere, where and what is unknown, the tunnel bares off to the left and you barely see 10ft into it. It's a shame the hole is so small because this looks it needs further investigating. 

  Tunnel cut into the rock, destination unknown!

Tunnel cut into the rock, destination unknown!

A great day out and hopefully will get back again sometime before it's inaccessible and being used for something else(rumoured). And maybe the hole leading to the tunnel will have been made bigger! 

*I don't recommend that anybody visits this site, it is dangerous and could lead to injury or harm. Anyone who does venture there does so at their own risk*