Category Archives: Autumn

To Plan Or Not To Plan?

Sometimes it pays to have a plan, others times it proves best to just go with the flow and see what catches your eye on the day, but there’s definitely no substitute for getting out there. It’s no good just sitting at home waiting for those “perfect” conditions, you’ve got to be out there waiting for that elusive piece of light and don’t be afraid of coming home empty handed.

Last Tuesday was just such a day, the forecast promised frost and mist, but clear skies, which was less than ideal, but I decided to get up early and go to Castle Howard anyway. I’ve had an image of mist at sunrise over the mausoleum for a couple years, but come home empty handed on many occasions, so this might just be the opportunity I was looking for.

Winter sunrises occur at remarkably social hours, so I could get myself organised in good time and even arrived well before my planned time of 7.15. As I parked up the conditions looked very promising, so I had a coffee and waited patiently for the light to strengthen, then about 7.20 I had the shot I was looking for!

800-1-14327-rFeeling pleased with my mornings work, I headed back to the Great Lake. The sight that greeted me there was amazing, with literally thousands of waterfowl roosting on the lake, then gradually flying off in large flocks. A wonderful sight and enough on its own to make it worthwhile being there that morning.

800-1-14358-rbBy now I was feeling in need of a warm up, so a bracing walk in Hovingham woods fitted the bill. Hovingham woods is a lovely place, but especially so on the bright, frosty, crisp morning like this. Once back to the car for another coffee, the only thing missing from a perfect morning out was a bacon butty!

800-1-14395-rBut is it better to plan, or go with the flow? Well I think you can do both, the important thing is to find the time and the motivation to get out there.

Seeing The Wood For The Trees

Sunday afternoon saw me head over to the Wolds to join Paul Moon for a gentle walk around Millington woods. Millington is a lovely place, but a pretty dense piece of woodland, so separating any feature was always going to be a challenge. Though I was heartened when Paul mentioned that over the years he’s been coming to Millington, he’s only produced a handful of images he was happy with.

As we wandered up the valley I have to admit I struggled to see anything that really captured my imagination. Anyone one who knows me will know that I rarely shoot a scene that has more than three trees in it, so I was always going to be out of my comfort zone in this dense woodland. Whilst the weather was fine, the light levels in the woods were low, so even shooting details of leaves proved to be difficult hand held, so it was a case of having to use the tripod at all times.800-1-13973-rb

By the time we reached the head of the valley I was feeling pretty un-inspired, then I finally spotted a tree I liked the look of lit by the soft light of the late afternoon. As we headed towards the high path I spotted another tree I could separate from the tangle of trees, so my enthusiasm levels were definitely growing at last. Was I finally seeing the wood from the trees?

800-1-13978-rbAs we progressed back down towards the bottom of the valley Paul kept saying, “have a look in there Richard, there’s a nice beech tree”. So I was duly despatched into the thick undergrowth to explore. At first I was un-convinced, then I spotted a tree that was a nice contrasting colour to the trees around it, but I was left wondering how to capture it when I spotted a different angle to approach it from. Bingo a tree nicely separated by it’s colouration rather than physically and a great foreground too! Finally, I could come home happy that I had a nice image in the bag.

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Thanks to Paul for organising what proved to be an enjoyable and satisfying trip out to such a challenging location.

Gullibles Travels to Loch Ard

Blog entries for us are like busses, you don’t get one for ages, then two come along together.

After the success of our autumn trip to Loch Lomond a couple of years ago, we were really looking forward to heading off to Scotland once again, this time to Loch Ard to shoot lochs and autumn colour. Loch Ard is a new destination for us, but having researched it on the internet it looked a really beautiful place.

The trip was a bit of a late decision, so we had to be content with what accommodation we could get and as it turned out the cottage was good, but it would have been much better if we could have booked something a bit nearer the loch. We arrived early afternoon, giving us time to explore the area which was to prove useful for the following morning.

Sunday

We set the alarm for early and set off for Kinlochard at the east end of loch in the hope of getting a nice misty sunrise. We were aware that Loch Ard was popular, but nothing prepared us for the scene that greeted us that morning! As we pulled into the car park in the remote village of Kinlochard, we were amazed to see 9 other cars parked and 15 photographers at the end of the pier, with many more dotted around. I reckon there must have been at least 24 photographers there that morning! Most stood around grumbling about the fog, but we were in our element and got to work with the minimal conditions on offer

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The fog persisted so we adjourned for some lunch, then as the fog lifted we went for a bike ride in the woods on the north edge of the loch. Then as we headed back towards the cottage, the skies cleared giving us exquisite soft afternoon light, so I donned my backpack and tripod and retraced my route along the loch side taking photos as I went.

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As afternoon turned to early evening the crowds subsided, but I still kept meeting the occasional walker. The sun was shining, the stags on the hillside were baying and everyone just wanted to stop and talk about the wonder of the scene. No I-pods, no I-phones, no I-pads, just people just wanting to soak up and express the splendour of the real world.

Call me old fashioned, but I found this rather refreshing.

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Monday

Monday morning saw us up at 6.30 again to a very cold morning with a clear sky, but heavy mist over the loch. We headed back up to Kinlochard to find a completely empty car park this time and not a single other photographer to be seen! The sunrise promised much, but ultimately failed to deliver.

We were standing talking when Janet’s tripod inexplicably keeled over as if in slow motion, landing her camera in the loch! On close inspection it had trashed the filter and lens won’t retract, but fortunately the camera has survived intact. The rate we are going at the moment, we are probably on the Christmas card list from the Nikon repair department!

Once the sun was up, we spent the morning working back down the loch and I got a nice shot of the boat in the reeds at Kinlochard and some nice shots of the boats houses at the Milton basin. Arriving back at the cottage around 11 in glorious sunshine for a coffee plus a late breakfast sat outside in the sun!

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Tuesday

Janet had a fancy for shooting the lone tree at Milarrochy Bay on Loch Lomond, so we set off early and arrived on a fairly un-inspiring looking morning. I left Janet at the tree and in the absence of any mist on the water, went off in search of inspiration. As the light strengthened towards sunrise, a hint of pink appeared in an otherwise fairly blank sky. This strengthened as time drew on, then suddenly some gorgeous rim light appeared on the hills above Luss, then the rising sun finally lit up the whole range of hills. What a wonderful sight! Hungry after our early start, we had lunch sitting in the sun at 9.30, before heading back to base for a second lunch!

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In the afternoon, we took a ride up Glen Arklet to Inversnaid, marvelling at the autumn colour on the way and shooting the waterfall near the Inversnaid hotel.

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Travelling back down Glen Chon, I spotted an animal crossing the road. I pulled up and grabbed the compact camera and headed off to investigate what turned out to be a herd of wild goats grazing in the thick undergrowth. They were quite tame and let me get fairly close, so I spent a happy ½ hour trying to gets some clear shots of them.

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Wednesday

Wednesday morning promised to be cloudy again, but we headed back to Kinlochard again just in case and were rewarded with a reasonable sunrise. Then after another 2nd breakfast we had a lovely ride over the Dukes Pass to Loch Katrine. A quick explore convinced us the colour was superb round the side of the Loch so we stayed to take some stock autumn shots, before moving on to Loch Drunkie where we managed to shoot some more stock colour in nice late afternoon light.

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We even managed to get a reasonable sunset at Loch Ard that evening, but the weather was due to deteriorate overnight, so that was about it for photography.

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All in all a successful and productive trip to a really picturesque area and one we can highly recommend.

 

 

Castle Howard Dawn

One of the skills you need as a landscape photographer is to become a good amateur weather forecaster. So it was with mounting frustration that I watched the weather forecast predict 90% cloud cover only for me to miss several amazing sunrises and sunsets on days I wasn’t expecting them to happen!

Come Saturday evening the sky looked slightly pink again, but I decided it wouldn’t come to much only for the sky to light up like it was on fire moments later! There is a photographers saying that all the best sunsets are seen from the supermarket car park and I couldn’t agree more. Needles to say I went to bed on Saturday night in poor humour, but tomorrow’s always another day……..

We set the alarm for early and woke up well before dawn on a clear, frosty morning, so headed for Castle Howard. As we walked round the lake, the wild fowl were just waking up and making an amazing row. We were slightly disappointed by the lack of mist and colour in the sky, but still a beautiful frosty bright morning and a joy to out in the landscape.

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Once we finished at Castle Howard, we decided to have one last go at shooting stock autumn colour, so headed off via Terrington woods to Hovingham woods. The colours were still vibrant in the woods and the light on the frosty grasses was wonderful, so we were not short of subject matter. By the time we’d got the shots we were looking for, the sky clouded over so we headed home happy knowing we had a few good shots in the bag.

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Bridestones

As the autumn colour gradually increases along with the chances of getting mist in the valleys, I set my mind to thinking of a good location for capturing autumn colour. I’d tried both Newtondale from New Bridge and also further north at Levisham, but neither location had started to turn yet. I’d been to the lake at Dalby the previous week to shoot the dawn light and noticed that the trees were turning nicely there, so I decided to take a trip to the Bridestones to see if I could get both autumn colour and mist in the valley.

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I got up before dawn on what looked like a most un-promising dull, foggy morning in the hope that I would get above the fog higher up past Dalby. As I made my way through the forest drive, the fog persisted, but I pressed on and hiked up to the Bridestones. I spent an industrious hour shooting dew on the cobwebs and berries whilst I waited for the light to come. As the sun rose higher in the sky the light improved, so I tried a shot of the Bridestones with a bracken fern in the foreground, then eventually I spotted the first signs of blue sky above me, so I changed my location to shoot the clearing mist in the valley.

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As the sun rose even higher, the light started to illuminate the bushes in the foreground and the light turned beautifully warm on the surrounding area, giving me the type of scene I was looking for.

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Wolds Autumn Shoot

A couple of weeks ago saw us return to the Wolds to try and capture some autumn colour. We intentionally arrived well after sunrise to allow time for the light to get into the deep valley, but when we arrived onsite the dale was covered in a thick blanket of cloud, which meant we spent a cold couple of hours pacing around waiting for the fog to lift.

By the time the fog lifted, the sun had moved too far round for the shot I had in mind, so I had to revise my plans and move to another vantage point and shoot with the light. In the end we came away with some misty atmospheric shots plus a few reasonable “stock” type shots, so all in all a worthwhile mornings work.