We have another great blog post from the talented Alex from http://www.alexwrigleyphotography.com/ . As you are all probably aware, we have had some lovely snow last weekend and it’s been the perfect opportunity it to get out and take some great seasonal photographs of our wonderful Lake District.
“The snow began on Wednesday afternoon, my Facebook feed was filled with photos of the snow falling in locations more inland than our coastal village of Silecroft. Instantly I decided it was time for a dawn patrol. But where to?
Wastwater is a place that I’ve been meaning to go and shoot for months, but the snow was falling heavily around Grasmere; a favoured location of mine. I decided to set my alarm and make my decision in the morning.
6:50am and my alarm buzzed. I was out of bed in an instant despite the lack of sleep. Sunrise expeditions are always exciting times. A quick browse through Facebook with my morning coffee made my decision for me – Ambleside was nigh impassable, so Wastwater it was!
To get to Wastwater I drive down the A595, a coastal road that runs all the way up to Carlisle. No snow there: Too close to the shoreline. But within a two miles of turning off that main road the fields started to turn, and the slush on the roads indicated that snow had been falling. Excellent.
I arrived at Wastwater just before sunrise, so had yet to see the beauty that lay before my eyes. As the light slowly grew it became apparent just how incredible this place looks in the winter. The steely lake is completely dominated by the famous scree slopes on the opposite bank, and following the line of those screes brings your eyes to one of the best views you will ever see. Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Scafell, Scafell Pike. They are all ominous presences that seem to rise straight out of the Eastern shore of Waswater. Covered in snow they become glorious. There were clear skies as well, something we haven’t seen in the Lake District for about a month!
Then the light came. It takes an hour or so before the sun’s rays begin to hit parts of Wasdale, and the first light hit the right hand side of Yewbarrow. That was the focus of much of my landscape photography that morning. It was a light with stunning clarity and cast a beautiful colour on the side of the mountain, and the contrast with the snow and the shaded side of the fell was amazing.
My original plan was to spend a couple of hours around Wastwater before heading off to Grasmere for a few more hours. This plan went the same way as so many of my photography related plans: Out of the window. I spent six hours wandering around Wastwater.
I slipped over, my gloves got wet, my feet got wet, it was very close to freezing and I injured my elbow after slipping on ice. Worst of all, on my last shot of the day I leant down to get some filters out of my bag and a freak gust of wind toppled my tripod, camera and all, straight into the lake. On a normal day all these would have accumulated into a disastrous trip out, but a wintry wonderland in Wastwater that had brought me so much joy outweighed the negatives. It was one of the best mornings of my life. Fortunately, the camera survived as well after 36 hours sitting in a bowl of rice by the fire. A lesson well learned: Always use spike feet on my tripod.
The price I could have paid for a wonderful morning of walking and photographing could have been very high. If it had been it would still have been worth it. I came away with one of my favourite ever images, a huge panorama that I can print over three metres long, and memories of that view ingrained in my mind forever more.
This wasn’t my only trip of the week either. I went on another lovely dawn patrol up Caw in Ulpha on Saturday morning and did some night photography around Silecroft when the snow finally started settling. Sign up to my email newsletter if you want to be notified when that post is live!
PS: If you want a huge piece of wall art get in touch about the panorama. It’s not complete yet but it will be on my Facebook page when it is. It’s a view of the three mountains at the end of Wastwater, comprised of 98 separate shots and containing an extraordinary amount of detail.”