The Lakes

Buttermere Before Sunrise

Buttermere Before Sunrise – 15mm; ISO 100; 1/6 sec; f/8.0 (click image to view larger size)

I’ve recently returned from a trip to the Lake District. I spent a week in the Northern Lakes area, staying about a 15 minute drive north of Ullswater.

As I approached the lakes driving up the M6, I could see snow-capped mountains in the distance, and I could hardly contain myself with the anticipation of the week ahead.

Quickly checking in to my accommodation, I dumped my bags and headed straight out to Ullswater as there was only about 30 minutes until sunset. I wanted to grab a few shots and check out the location for sunrise the following morning.

Ullswater is a great location for sunset and sunrise as it is shaped like a crooked finger, so with a bit of planning you should always be able to find a good angle somewhere along the shore regardless of the season. And being surrounded by mountains, the view is always stunning.

click on the images above to view in a gallery


Weather during the week was mostly disappointing, being grey and dull quite often but at least it never poured down and the sun did put in an occasional appearance. Sunrises were the most disappointing, never getting any decent light so I had to go more for dark and moody, with the odd long exposure thrown in for good measure.

With several lakes in easy driving distance, after day one at Ullswater I spent the week visiting Derwent, Buttermere, Crummock & Thirlmere. I also went to Castlerigg, Ashness Bridge and a quiet little valley called Watendlath.

click on the images above to view in a gallery


Having to take care with a bad back, I wasn’t able to do much hill walking but I did manage the fairly gentle climb up to Bowscale Tarn on the only sunny day of the week. On the way up, the only person I met was a farmer out providing feed for his sheep. Arriving at the top, I was totally alone and it felt amazing (living near London, it’s difficult to get away from the crowds, so I love it whenever I have the chance). I struggled to find a wide composition at Bowscale Tarn, so focused on some details around the water’s edge and surrounding slopes.

click on the images above to view in a gallery


My last day out coincided with an eclipse, on the equinox and with a super moon. I returned to Thirlmere, where I had been the previous day scouting locations that faced the position of the sun at totality. Weather conditions were poor, with too much cloud to see any sun at all. Trying to be optimistic (I’m usually a pessimist), I set up my gear and waited. While leaning out to remove some obtrusive sticks from the water that were spoiling my composition, I lost my footing and slipped into the water! Luckily, only my hands got wet as I braced my fall and I had to leave my gloves out on the rocks to dry.

The weather worsened, with a light drizzle starting and I had to use an umbrella to shelter my gear. After being there for about an hour and fearing it was just going to get worse (pessimist!), I started to pack away my filters then looked up and caught a brief glimpse of the sun between gaps in the clouds. I hastily re-attached the filters and composed my shot, waiting for more gaps in the clouds. I eventually got lucky and managed one shot with the eclipse in view, although being a wide-angle shot you might need to zoom in to see it!

Equinox Supermoon Eclipse over Helvellyn from Thirlmere

Equinox Supermoon Eclipse over Helvellyn from Thirlmere

I just couldn’t resist the tongue in cheek title, probably my longest.

All in all, a very enjoyable week with just me and my camera. Next time I’ll have to get over to the southern lakes, if the missus will let me go!

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