Summer has come to an end. It lingered on far longer than any of us might have expected but overnight rain and a marked drop in temperature signified that it is actually autumn. I can't remember when we last had such a long spell of dry warm weather in September, in fact, I don't think we ever had. The Pike of Stickle
Fortunately I managed a day out in the beautiful lake district on an equally beautiful autumn day last week before the weather broke.
Heading away from the Yorkshire Dales towards the Lake District and up Great Langdale. Negotiating the steep, narrow, winding road at the head of the valley up to Blea Tarn, I find the National Trust car park quiet. After a quick coffee and sandwich to lighten the load, Polly (the dog) & I head a short distance back down the road towards Blea Tarn House before following the path climbing steeply upwards towards the high point on Lingmoor Fell, Brown How. It is a steep climb, Polly makes short work of it, waiting patiently as I puff slowly upwards. Oh to have four legs.
The views from the top are worth the effort. I can see all the way back to Ingleborough from here, far beyond Windermere. The views closer to hand are no less impressive, most of the heather has finished flowering apart from the odd small cluster of purple flowers here and there. The moorland grasses are turning a rusty orange at their tips. Autumn has worked its magic, the mixture of contrasting and complementary colours all make for a wonderful sight. It is nice to just sit and take in the views for a while in the warm sun. Polly has found a nice soft patch of dry mosses and grass to lie down on. Her nose is in the air twitching as she takes in the sights sounds and smells of our surroundings. She loves to be in the great outdoors.
Across the valley of Great Langdale are the impressive Langdale Pikes. Harrison Stickle is the higher of the two at 736m, the wonderfully named Pike of Stickle is slightly lower at 703m.
There's some nice high cirrus clouds streaked across the blue sky which add additional interest to the scene. They also help to soften the light slightly as they drift across the face of the sun.
Having had the chance to sit and rest it gives me opportunity to see potential compositions in amongst the grasses, rocks and heather. I start by trying a bit of close up photography using the extension tube and the 70-200mm lens. I'm looking for details on an around the rocks, small mosses and lichen tucked in small pockets and fissures, inclusions of quartz and other minerals. Grass & Heather on Lakeland RockSmall tuft of grass and heather take root in a small pocket formed on a lakeland rock, Lingmoor Fell, Great Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria.
The geology here is very different from the Yorkshire Dales. Where the dales has an abundance of limestone, the rocks of the lake district include slates and shales as well as those of ancient volcanic origin.
Polly watches as the occasional walker passes on the path over the fell as I try photographing various rocks and plants.
I then turn my attention to the wider landscape, then sun has moved further around to the west giving a little more cross lighting bringing out a little more depth to the hills and crags.
Autumn, Lake District - 2The view across Lingmoor Fell to the high peaks forming the end of Great Langdale. The high moorland heather has just finished flowering and the tussock grasses are tinged with bronzed tips marking the arrival of autumn.
The air is wonderfully clear, the colour and definition of the surrounding hills is crystal clear. I pick a low view point beside some rocks. They are surrounded by clumps of heather and tussock.
The view looks out across the upper reaches of Great Langdale.
Using the Canon 17mmT-SE lens I set the camera up on the tripod and get it level. Then I shift the lens downwards and use a small amount of downward tilt to angle the plane of focus. I use 10 times magnification in live view and scroll around the screen while I adjust the focus and tilt to maximise the depth of field.
I like the colours and textures of the grasses and heather, the various shades of greens, yellows, and orange.
After a couple of hours on the higher fells Polly and I descend back down to the level of Blea Tarn. It is a favourite place for photographers providing glassy reflections of the surrounding hills on still days. It's too windy today so we walk around back towards the car park after Polly has a cool off in the water. One final scene catches my eye and is best captured with a panoramic shot. i use a 50mm prime lens and shoot a number of frames in portrait mode to stich together back at home.
The weather is forecast to get colder and wetter towards the end of the week so it has been good to get out and make the most of the fine settled conditions.
Photos are all in the Lake District gallery.