New year’s eve wander

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Well happy new year to you. My new year will be largely taken up with restocking after a bumper set of Christmas markets and starting to think about moving house, which means decluttering, DIY and such like to make our current house look as desirable and saleable as possible. Hopefully I’ll still have time for some photography in between.

In the meantime here are a few shots I took on a local wander around the back lanes where I live on new year’s eve. I put my Olympus OMD-EM10 into JPEG mode and black and white, just to see what would happen. As usual when I do such things I was surprised that I got several quite nice shots.

Torver grey

Finally deciding it was time to move on from my obsession with Holme Fell I tried a new area for the first time. Driving north alongside Coniston Water in the Lake District I had several times thought it was worth a look and today was the day. Just to have a look. The weather wasn’t promising and I didn’t know the area well. Continue reading

First shots with my new lens

Langdale Pikes
Langdale Pikes

This was the first day’s shooting with my new Panasonic lens for my Olympus OMD-EM10 and I was excited by it. Also the first time I’ve been able to try using my Lee neutral density graduated filters with the Olympus and I was interested to see how that would work ( here’s how it worked) .

The weather turned out fantastically well and I went back to my current-favourite place – Holme Fell again. I hope you’re not bored with shots of the Langdale Pikes and Fairfield.

The sunset was glorious, though lacking any clouds to add drama, but the larch trees were lit up in flame. After the sun had gone I kept shooting to get some of the lovely mauve colours on the landscape.

Fairfield and Helvellyn
Fairfield and Helvellyn

I’m impressed by the quality of the new lens. Better than my Pentax, more consistent than the old Olympus lens I had on the OMD. Not bad for £80. I also took some shots with the Pentax, which have quite a different look to them though whether you’ll notice is doubtful.

Man-made landscapes

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Here are a few more shots from Holme Fell, the location I’ve been visiting so much recently.

I’ve been asked to give a talk to a local natural history society (they’re booking well in advance – this is scheduled for February 2021!). For my subject I’ve decided to talk about how our supposedly natural landscapes are actually man-made. This was prompted by a TV programme I saw recently about some part of the countryside where a woman was asked why she helped out with the local grouse shoot when she was a vegetarian. She said these pastimes help to conserve the landscape that we love. I couldn’t help wondering what would happen to that landscape if it were left to its own devices. It wouldn’t spontaneously cover itself in concrete.

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However, it is a fact that most of the pretty countryside we like so much in England and Wales is entirely the work of humans. Holme Fell is a very good example. The tarn you see in two of the shots, Yew Tree tarn, was created in the 1930s when the landowner decided to dam the river. The wider fell area is full of old mine workings, now abandoned (very beautifully) to silver birch and larch. Most of the cumbrian fells are generally denuded of trees because of hundreds of years of sheep grazing.

This is the countryside we love, but we have made it that way.

Wharfedale overnight – the next morning

I just found this post in my Drafts folder in WordPress and realised it had been there since early summer and never posted. I think I held it back because the trip hadn’t fully worked out and I didn’t get many shots from the morning sunrise. Looking at it now though, there aren’t many shots here but they’re nice ones so here’s the post, to remind me of summer wild camping trips.
Wharfedale

After a good night’s sleep in warm, calm weather I eventually awoke to my alarm from a deep sleep at 4:15 am. The sky looked very promising and there was an almost-full moon on the other side of the valley. I got up and got ready and hid my camping stuff out of sight so they wouldn’t be seen in any shots I took.

I got increasingly excited as the clouds started to catch with orange light. However it was clear that the sun was going to come up right behind the highest part of the hill beside me – something I could have found out easily if I’d checked my compass. More to the point there were enough clouds in the way that the initial promise soon fizzled out. Just like my Eskdale trip of a few days before the sunrise was to disappoint and leave me with unfinished business. So – not many shots in this post but hopefully I’ll be back.

Holme Fell part three

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I’m still catching up processing the shots of Holme Fell I’ve been taking over the last few weeks. The autumn colour is now largely gone and we’re getting into winter scenery but in these shots there is still plenty of orange and gold.

On this trip I started at the quarry. There is a lookout on the edge of all things with a great view of the Langdale Pikes, those hills of unmistakable shape. Then I explored upwards, going out onto the open fell for more spectacular views. This was when I realised the panorama that was available, taking in the Pikes, Fairfield and Helvellyn, Coniston Water, and in the distance the Howgill Fells.

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I still have more shots to come from this place and I’m sure I’ll be back as the season changes, especially if snow comes. For now I hope you enjoy this latest batch.