- Chris Nowell
As Peak District and Derbyshire landscape photographers the return of the blossoming Heather is always exciting. From the wonderful smells of Stanton Moore or high up on the colourful views of Upper Owler as landscape photographers August and September as our time to shine. This year has been especially great due to the early flowering after the perfect weather for the heather. Dry spells of course hasn't been great for the majority of the country and threat of hosepipe bans and drought but just for the heather it's been the perfect weather.
I have enjoyed a number of adventures out with friends and fellow landscape photographers. The odd wild camp always being respectful with no fires or any stupidity and here you can look at the results and enjoy a few views for yourself.
Before this photograph I had one adventure up to win Hill. Although I was fairly happy with the photograph the cloudless sky was slightly disappointing therefore resulting in very little atmosphere in the photograph. It is not the hardest walk in the world but definitely not the easiest at the same time therefore it is a lot of effort with very little gain.
Not like this location however this was much more exciting.
I visited this location on my own however I knew I was going to meet fellow Pete district landscape photographer James pictures later on in the evening. And at which point we would then complete a wild camp and hopefully get some luck for sunrise as well.
On arrival about two hours before sunset I was the only photographer there, I believe there was one or two walkers that went past me but it wasn't until the last hour before sunset another photographer arrived. At which point it actually became quite funny how many landscape photographers were there. Although everyone was friendly and of course the Peak District is for everyone it just became a little bit difficult due to the fact I think there was about seven landscape photographers at one point all trying to get the same composition. Very funny really due to the fact that this location is not one of the most popular in the peak district National Park normally a fairly quiet composition but not on this occasion everyone had the same idea it seemed.
I have captured it a few times over the years but never with a Heather and never with decent cloud like this just adding more elements to the photograph. It wasn't long before James arrived adding one more photographer to the small location but like I mentioned everyone was friendly and before long James and I moved on stopped off at the pub for a drink before setting up the tents quickly I'm calling it a night. I had hoped for some mist or fog in the morning but really it wasn't going to happen and I knew that due to the dry weather.
I climbed out of my mosquito net the next morning at about 5 am one hour before sunrise ready to pack everything away and hopefully get some nice colour and light in the morning. As I stood up putting on my boots along a fence line for support I noticed no more than 5 feet away from me the silhouette of a white barn owl looking left and right very quickly. I did not bother trying to photograph it due to the fact it was far too dark and if I got my camera out I know it would've flown away, instead I just enjoyed the experience as it stayed on the fence post for almost a minute and silently flew away. 10 minutes later everything was packed away and we made our way a few feet down the hill.
To check out the work of James pictures see the link below
I first photographed this tree it would seem about six years ago when I was a little bit smaller but still good enough to photograph. It stands proudly just off the path with almost everything needed in the best photograph positioning. Good for ground positioning followed by a nice fall out into the distance before a decent amount of horizon in the very far distance. Of course it could be better but it is a good composition for easy project perhaps in years to come.
As the light and colour improved James and I positioned ourselves in our preferred composition and captured our moments.
Although I did not have the mist or atmosphere I wanted it was still good positioning with the Sun being perfect sidelight. Of course I wanted to capture this however before the sunrise otherwise it would've been quite washed out too bright and almost impossible due to the bright sun. Instead I'm much more happier we got this image before the Sun rose and the fact that no other photographer was there was a bonus we had the whole place to ourselves and I captured something I'm quite happy with.
Using my previous camera changing the ratio was achievable but I had to do it on the computer. Therefore this takes away some of the pixels and makes it all just a little bit awkward. This is not having a go at any brand it is completely up to the photographer which ever Camera you use I am only pointing this out due to my sight limitations making anything easier for me is a dream come true. Being able to change the photo ratio in camera and retaining all the information in the photograph out on the field is fantastic and so easy to do with a bit of practice. I can easily change from a wide landscape photograph to a nice 1x1 square image such as this. So think that was just a lot more difficult in the past and I had to wait until I got back home.
I am quite lucky where I live being on the Dronfield border it means I can get to a few small woodland areas in the Peak District which also have pockets of Heather around. I've never actually photographed them but this year it was the same location I captured my first photograph using the new Fuji system so I wanted to return and see it differently in summer.
Not a hugely popular location in fact there is one path from the side of the road and even that runs out after a few miles but it was quiet and it just had enough have a minute to explore. Also as I previously mentioned this was the same area I visited back in February and March I really got a feel to the ground.
Sadly that did not happen it was still very good with good lighting conditions and everything I wanted from before I just did not have that morning mist or fog. After photographing the tree I captured this, an old composition I captured a few years ago on a frosty March morning very different to this warm trip.
No Owl this time although to be honest I wasn't actually looking the only reason I saw it last time is because it was sitting next to me otherwise with my site limitations I would never see it. Instead just a pleasant image of the Sun beaming through the silver birch tree with the flowering Heather out on the moorland.
Before this as I mentioned I position myself back at that lone Silverbirch tree and captured some images however the first trip was much better so I didn't get overly excited just a nice pleasant morning out.
The first morning was much better however it's a great way to finish this blog