As I drove to Cumbria yesterday, through banks of heavy rain, I asked myself what possessed me to accept a gig in late November - surely June would have been a better bet! However, having driven almost three hundred miles I wasn't going to let a bit of weather get in the way of my photography. It was snowing as I ate my breakfast and the forecast for the rest of the day was for heavy showers so I togged up in thermals and waterproofs and set off to find some waterfalls. At least the rain could only help make them more dramatic! My first port of call was Skelwith Force, near Ambleside.
I walked from the car park, photographing the beautiful landscape en-route, and the roar of the river made it quite evident when I was getting close. There was a handy flight of steps and metal walkway down to the top of the waterfall, which gave me a close up view of the sheer force of nature at work.
It's easy to forget how powerful water can be but I was under no illusions that, should I fall in, I'd be swept away in an instant. Fortunately, I had a large, flattish area of rock to work from and I kept well away from the edge. I used a six stop neutral density filter to blur the water passing around the me and I rather like the contrast of textures this creates.
My next stop was Colwith Force, another waterfall upstream from Skelwith, and I decided to walk there as there wasn't a suitable spot to park my car. By this stage the weather was no longer feeling quite so benign, and I walked through rain, sleet, hailstones and even saw the occasional glimpse of the sun - truly four seasons in one day! My route took me through some fairly dense woodland and involved a degree of scrambling over rocks too. It was worth the effort though when I reached the waterfall. It was altogether bigger than Skelwith Force and the small building at its base just emphasised its drama.
As I walked back through the woods (finding a slightly less arduous path this time) I took some more photos of the trees which were, remarkably, still clad in much of their autumnal colour.
I was struck by the richness of the greens I saw too - the moist atmosphere in this area encourages the growth of moss. The combination of vivid greens and rich russets was irresistible.
I finally made it back to Skelwith Bridge in time for a late lunch at the cafe by the river before walking back to my car. I was weary from six miles of hiking but content that I'd made the most of the photographic opportunities the weather had offered me.
18 November 2016