Windermere: A Misty Morning
4th March 2016
Alex Wrigley, a Lake District local, writes some excellent blogs about the Lake District and takes wonderful photos too.
“The forecast showed that a clear morning was on the cards. 25% cloud cover and very little wind: Perfect conditions for a sunrise shoot. Now I just needed to decide where to go, the options being another visit to Rydal and Grasmere or my first shoot along the often overlooked west shore of Windermere.
I decided to make the decision on the way in the morning, so with my alarm set for 5am I headed to bed. As a side note, it seems insane to many people to wake up at 5am (or, in the summer, as early as 2am) to go out and take photos, but if you were alone in nature as the sun rose you would understand.
A passing thought on the recent weather conditions went through my head as I was getting ready for bed. It had been raining all day, was clear at the moment, and was forecast clear for the morning. Mist could be on the cards.
Anyone that has read previous blog posts of mine will know how much I love mist.
Everything went to plan as I got ready for my shoot, and after a quick defrost of the car I headed out, still unsure as to where I would end up.
A short way into my journey I made the decision to head towards Windermere’s west shore, but little did I know that I would have to stop multiple times en route as opportunities presented themselves.
The first stop was heading towards Torver from Broughton-in-Furness. There were some beautiful cloud inversions in the distance and thick banks of mist scattered about the landscape. I pulled over and spent ten minutes or so with my tripod set up on a wall, and in the end got one of my favourite shots of the whole morning.
The low lying mist and cloud inversions hanging over the landscape was absolutely breath taking, and somehow the sheep managed to stay still for the duration of the 25 second exposure.
The next stop was at the other end of Coniston Water. On my way past I could see that there was mist lying over the entirety of the lake, which would make for some stunning minimalist photographs. I spent about 20 minutes patrolling the edge of the lake, shooting the Monk Coniston landing and the snow covered peak of the Old Man. The stillness in the air provided perfect reflections and the lack of visibility was adding mystery into every shot. This was going to be a good morning.
The stillness in the air made for perfect reflections of the snow covered Old Man of Coniston.
I pulled over a few more times en route, but the low light situations and the high walls meant that I missed out on a few shots that I think would have been great. Eventually, shortly before the 7:30am sunrise, I arrived at Windermere.
Windermere’s West Shore
Parking up near Claife Heights I decided I would wander the edge of the lake before venturing into some of the woodland that banks this side of the water.
The west shore of Windermere is often overlooked by tourists in favour of the hustle and bustle of Bowness and the surrounding areas on the eastern shore. Big mistake in my opinion, that is unless you are determined to see Beatrix Potter memorabilia every which way you turn.
Bowness seemed a hundred miles away where I was that morning. The thick mist covering Windermere rendered the busy town invisible from the western shores, and the almost eerie quietness and stillness was about as far removed from the busy Bowness as you can possibly get. The boats lining the shore were a reminder of the popularity of this body of water, and they also made for fantastic photographic opportunities.
Low visibility and woodland go together like bacon and bread! The mist adds such an imposing sense of mystery.
I set off wandering the shores, deciding against heading up to Claife Heights Viewing Station. I couldn’t see 10 metres in front of me, let along utilise a viewing platform!
The boats dropping off into the mist and the small isles near the shoreline became my focus for the morning. My goal was to create some misty, atmospheric landscape images along with a few minimalist and abstract photographs and I think I achieved my goal.
The small isles that dot Windermere are perfect in these conditions, looking stranded and alone in the mist.
After my stroll along the shore was completed I climbed up into the woodland. The sun was finally starting to pierce through the mist so I was aiming for some nicely backlit trees. I saw a roe deer on my way up into the forest, but unfortunately the sound of a nearby car scared it away before I could get a photo of her. There’s always a hint of disappointment even in the best of expeditions!
These abstract photographs are created using a technique called Intentional Camera Movement. Contrary to the usual style of photography, you move the camera whilst the shutter is still open.
It was time for a short break to drink my coffee, and then the slippery climb back down to lakeside level, a few shots of Ashness Landing and it was time to go. Just before I was set to leave Windermere the mist started to clear revealing a hint of the distant Bowness.
I was to meet up with my Grandma and brother in Ambleside to go and explore one of my Grandma’s childhood memories: Stock Ghyll Force. After grabbing something to eat we headed up there.
My Grandma used to climb this walk every day to reach school back when she lived here and you couldn’t really hope for a more scenic school run. But that’s a post for another day…”
If you enjoyed this blog you can read more here when we publish them and also see more on Alex’s web site along with his photography on his web site Alex Wrigley