I started off 2017 with a New Years Day trip to the Lake district on the promise of some clear and settled weather. Approaching Keswick from the East late in the afternoon, the light was fabulous. Low winter sunshine and a mixed sky of light cloud was producing some fast changing but striking patterns across the fells. I couldn’t resist pulling over into a layby and firing off a few shots of the distant mountains in that buttery light produced by the extended golden hour.
Once in Keswick I headed directly for Crow Park. This is an ideal spot from which to explore angles of Derwentater lake and the fells to the South and West, or to turn north for view of the mighty Skiddaw as it looms over the town. That spectacular yellow light I had spotted on the way in had begun to pale into a more washed out and harsher light. I managed to set up my tripod in time to catch some dramatic sunrays strobing across the end of the lake before the sun dropped below the fell tops.
Below are those first few images in that special golden light:
I then made my way down the lakeside path towards Friars Crag. This is always a popular viewpoint and with such easy access along the flat pathways it was very crowded on New Years Day. This made it difficult to get a clear shot without including passing tourists, prams, splashing dogs or at one point a stone skimming child in the middle of a 60 second exposure!
With a choppy lake and fast moving clouds I made a few attempts at a long exposure which turned out ok in the end, (60 seconds with a Cokin ND10 filter). It helped that the clouds were racing away from me and towards the fells which I think gave a sense of dynamism and drama to the shot. I have published both the mono and colour versions here. My preference is for the drama of the mono.
As I stripped down my long exposure set up the clouds began to break again creating a very interesting pebbly effect in both the sky and the lake. Switching between my wideangle and my 140mm zoom I managed to catch the effect in both lake and sky, before the final decent shot of the day was just in time for a rare splash of golden light on the trees at Friars Crag, with a gorgeous pastel sunset evident over the lake in the distant Coledale Valley.
Within moments of this, a blanket of drizzle and mist rolled in from the direction of Skiddaw and that was the end of the photography.
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