Of all my landscape photographs that I've put into the public domain, this one probably draws the most comment and it remains one of my favourite ever shots. It’s a photograph that I keep revisiting time and again and was among the first ‘definite’ choices when it came to selecting images for the landscape gallery on this website.
I was recently reminded that it was four years ago this month that I, along with a group of friends, took a trip to the Lake District for a short break – the location of this shot. Feeling all nostalgic, I have decided to write the first in a mini-series of posts about some of my favourite photographs that I have taken over the years and shed some light on the context of the image and what it took to get the shot.
Where and When?
March 2012, on the eastern edge of Derwent Water in the Lake District.
The Background Story
As with most landscape photography, it was an early start – but this time with the added bonus of being the day after a six hour drive up to the lakes and a late night. I reckon I was up at about 5am. To say it was a struggle is an understatement…
I knew I wanted to get some shots of Derwent Water but I did not have any particular scene in mind. With only a few days at the lakes it was pot luck with the weather and, fortunately, I was blessed with a beautiful, clear first morning. As I walked along the shoreline this jetty presented itself as the ideal location. My aim was to capture the stillness of the morning and the gentle warmth of those first rays of the morning.
Shot shortly before 7am
How it Came Together
This was a relatively simple shot to capture; I arrived in good time so I wasn’t rushed in setting up. Arguably the greatest challenge was getting the composition as accurate and as level as possible. I cropped the image slightly in post-processing to have the edges of the jetty run through the corners of the image. I ensured I had sufficient depth of field and waited for the sun, which was rising directly behind me. As it slowly peaked over the trees the colours on the water, the sky, and the mountains in the background just got better and better. It’s difficult to describe just how terrific the light was, other than to say it was exceptionally clear and gentle – a perfect accompaniment to the quietness of the morning.
Why is it a Favourite?
Because it is a rare example of a landscape photograph coming together in, quite literally, a matter of minutes from the moment of finding a desirable location to pressing the shutter. Patience is a vital tool when it comes to landscape photography. Scouting locations ahead of time and coinciding your trip with particular weather conditions are all part of careful strategic planning. The final image you see doesn’t betray the fact it was possibly weeks, months, or even years in the making. To achieve a result that I am so pleased with – and one that other people seemingly enjoy too – on a chance outing is a very satisfying feeling. I assure you it doesn’t happen that often. For that reason, this photo always brings back fond memories.