Mountain landscapes – Place Fell, Lake District 

Place Fell

Back in spring we promised ourselves that the summer would be filled with wild camping trips to remote, beautiful places, where long evenings would be spent exploring deserted mountain tops and photographing spectacular golden sunsets.  Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way of such plans, and with autumn approaching we were failing dismally.  The problem is that on a Friday evening after a busy week in the studio or out shooting, its far easier to chill in front of the TV with a glass of wine than make the effort to pack a rucksack, sort through camera gear, drive for a couple of hours and walk for another few hours, before pitching a tent just in time for sunset.

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But a few weeks back when faced with a perfect weather forecast and a free weekend we decided to leave the paperwork behind to get back to the mountains  and doing what we really  love.  So on Friday afternoon we headed west to the Lake District and the shores of Ullswater.  Starting from Patterdale  we left the crowds of tourists behind as we climbed against the flow of walkers who were returning to the valley and the comfort of their hotels.

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High above the lake we found the perfect camping spot on the grassy summit of Place Fell with fabulous views in all directions.  The best thing about being in the mountains at night is the solitude and complete sense of calm; aside from a couple of evening fell runners we had the summit to ourselves.

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Dusk soon approached with its warm light and lengthening shadows, and as the valley was engulfed by shade we watched lights come on in the villages far below.  The mountain tops were still bathed in light though,  and it was warm enough to stay outside until sunset. With mugs of hot chocolate and homemade flapjacks, we watched the sun dip behind Glenridding, bathing the mountains in a peachy, red light.

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We had a reasonable night’s sleep, or as good a you can expect when two people and an excited dog share a small tent, and woke early to a chilly dawn.  By 8 o’clock we were walking again, downwards along Scalehow Beck to the shores of Ullswater.

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The day soon warmed up and we took our time, enjoying the peace of the early morning as we passed the first groups of walkers heading out for the day.  The path wound it’s way along the lakeshore back to Patterdale past trickling streams and through lush damp woodland,  giving  superb views across the still water as the paddle steamer headed out for its first trip of the day.

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Photographs taken from the mountain summits give a different perspective on the landscape and allow you to convey its expanse and beauty in a unique way.

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Reach For The Skye Cycling Event


When first approached about photographing and filming this event, I jumped at the chance to be involved. It sounded like a great project to be involved with, a lot of fun while presenting plenty of challenges to overcome. A 24 hour cycling event riding from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, nearly 400 miles (643km) with approximately 6000 metres of ascent, and to make things even harder a lot of this ascent comes in the final third of the ride. Rather them than me!

The six riders had a number of charities that they were keen to support and this seemed a fantastic way to collect some money for these great causes.

Reach for the Skye

Shooting an event like this takes careful planning and attention to detail, as I’m sure the riders wouldn’t have thanked me for asking them to repeat a section of the route because a shot was missed. It had to be right first time or not at all, and that was not an option after all the training and effort that had been put in. The guys and their support team did a terrific job in planning out the route, stops and timings, so we were able to plan the filming around this. Prime roadside locations were identified in advance, so we were able to get sufficiently ahead of the riders to set up in time to capture them speeding by.

The most important thing for me was to capture the atmosphere and changing emotions, and for the film to portray the journey from start to finish. Although technically challenging the night time footage was key in getting across the camaraderie of the team, as well as the hardships suffered in the early hours when temperatures dropped and the heavens opened. Castle Eilean Donan is always beautiful, but arriving there as day dawned was an extra special experience.

Reach for the Skye

A lot of the filming was done from the car boot where I was harnessed to the framework, with everything I needed clamped, tied or strung up around me. All equipment had to be secured, even lens filters. I found that attaching Velcro to filter cases and sticking them to the roof of the car worked well, the same with Power Banks. Of course, any 24 hour event cannot take place without plenty of cans of high energy drink. We were lucky, we nearly had 2 hours of sleep in the front seat of the car….the riders had none!

Reach for the Skye

Gear wise, the DJI Osmo held up well for a lot of the action footage. Attaching the extension arm gave some great perspectives of the riders, who a lot of the time were traveling at a fair pace. Roadside and night shots were handled by a Sony A7r mkii with the Loxia 21mm f/2.8. For stills I used a combination of the Sony A7r mkii & a Sony A6300 with a Batis 85mm f/1.8 and Sony’s 70-200 f/4. All handled well, even when the roads turned nasty with sizeable potholes to contend with.

Overall, this was a fantastic project to work on, a great bunch of lads and a lot of fun….. well, apart from the midges! They were horrific and the worst I’ve seen them in a long while, but not enough to spoil what was a terrific event and one which everyone involved should be very proud of.

If you’re organising an event and would like a video or photography of the occasion, get in touch. We will be more than happy to talk through your plans and offer suggestions on how we could capture it for you.

Reach for the Skye

Mountain Photography – the great outdoors

Mountain Photography, Hiking in the Scottish Highlands
Being based in Newcastle I’m somewhat spoilt when it comes to Mountain Photography. Venues such as the Lake District, Scottish Highlands and the more local Cheviot Hills are all within easy reach. Luckily for me, Rebecca and Barney the dog also love being out in the mountains and most weekends that’s where we’ll be. Along with my cameras of course.

There’s something very special about being out in the mountains, the freedom and natural beauty of these remote corners of the UK is something I’ll never tire of. Scotland in particular is a special place for me and the car can nearly drive itself to the Cairngorms, Skye and the Torridon mountains. I just love the West Coast of Scotland.

The Lake District however is a close second to the Highlands and is only a couple of hours drive away. Easy to get to for walking, scrambling and climbing trips at the weekend. Below is a shot of Rebecca climbing Cam Crag Ridge below Glaramara in the Lake District.

Climbing in the Lake District

The shots below were taken last weekend in the Lake District. The route was the ridge, Hartsop Above How that leads to Hart Crag & Fairfield. It was a great day for Mountain Photography but unfortunately it had to be cut short. Barney with his short legs kept falling through the snow that hadn’t been consolidated at all. Being 15 inches tall is a distinct disadvantage when there are drifts of 2-3 foot of powder snow in places. He had snow balls where no dog should have them, poor fella! So, a couple of hundred metres from the top we had to turn around, but that didn’t stop us from from having a great day out. Of course, I managed to pick up a few images along the way as well.

Mountain Photography. A photograph of a hiker and their dog resting on the summit of a mountain.

Winter Mountains

A hiker making their way up a snow covered ridge.

Lake District Mountains in Winter.

Single Malt Whisky, a day shooting shots!

Single Malt Whiskey
Photographing some of Scotland’s finest single malt whisky sounds like it should be a fun day out in the studio and it was, creatively that is. As with most food and drink photography though, the produce is not necessarily at it’s best by the time we have fiddled around with it in order to make it look at it’s best for the client.

To photograph Scotland’s finest spirit, I was using the Sony A7rii along with the Sony FE 90mm Macro lens with various Strobes, Yongnuo flashes and remote triggers. The Sony FE90mm macro lens is incredibly sharp and is superb at picking out the detail in the ice.
Tumbler of single malt whisky
Lighting was handled by a strobe that was positioned to shoot through a 2 1/2 inch hole cut into the table top. This results in the single malt drink becoming the light source with minimal light spill to the surroundings. Some shots required some additional feathering of light which came from another strobe on a very low setting with a snoot attached pointing directly at the single malt whisky.

The Sony A7rii was attached to a Manfrotto Magic arm that was itself mounted to a rig that comes down from the ceiling. This helps keep floor space clear and allow quick and easy repositioning of the camera. If you’re looking to buy one yourself, go for the friction version, Manfrotto 244N, rather than the lever 143A version. It’s more reliable and easier to maintain.
Pouring a single malt whisky
Using the right equipment is essential to getting the right shot. I find being able to get around the subject quickly and freely is just as important as the camera and lens you use. It not only makes our job easier, it also saves time and that saves our clients money. Always a good thing I believe!

Lake District – High Street & Pasture Beck

Hiking in the Lake District, UK.
A series of photographs taken in the Lake District while on a circuit of Hayeswater, The Knott, High Street, Thornthwaite and back down Pasture Beck. It was a nice bright day for landscape and outdoor photography, as well as hiking of course! This view is of Rebecca and Barney as they drop down from the summit of Thornthwaite towards Threshwaite before dropping down into the valley to Pasture Beck. I was carrying two cameras that day, as is often the case. The Sony A7rii with the Sony FE 16-35 f/4 & a Fuji X-T1 with the 50-140 f/2.8. All the shots attached here were taken with the Sony. It was a wide angle lens day!

Hayeswater Gill, Lake District, UK.
Looking down the track that leads up Hayeswater Gill from the carpark at Hartsop. You have to get there early for a space, but I guess that applies to most places in the Lake District.

Fell running in the Lake District, UK.
A fell runner descending The Knott and heading towards High Street. Thankfully Barney resisted the urge to chase him! The amount of detail the Sony A7rii is picking up on that stone track with the 16-35 lens is incredible. I just wish it was as weatherproof as the Fuji X-T1 I also carry. If it was, it would nearly be the perfect camera. Hopefully the A7riii will be!

Hiking in the Lake District, UK.
A hiker, Rebecca, making their way to towards High Street & Mardale Ill Bell. For some reason, we took the trail to the right instead of the left. If we’d taken the left one there’d have been some lovely views of Haweswater & Blea Water. Like this shot of Rebecca descending towards Blea Water.

Hiking in the Lake District, UK.
Here we are hiking through the boulder field that’s halfway along Pasture Beck and not long before we’re back at the car and the 1.5 hour drive home again! Worth every minute of it!

Hiker on Littledale Edge in the Lake District

Hiker descending Robinson along Littledale Edge in the Lake District.