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First Landscape Photography of 2017

Where has January gone! Ive no idea… its gone that fast its February already and its time I wrote a quick article from my First Landscape Photography of 2017. Ive been lucky the last 2 years picking great weather conditions to head out for my first shoot and 2017 was no different.

On a side note I have decided in 2017 to start walking more and try and build some fitness levels back into my life. I started this website with a love for walking and exploring new places close to home and landscape photography kind of took over my love for walking and exploring, because it was so addictive and also a great way to learn new skill-sets.

As a result of this I don’t mind leaving my heavy camera gear at home and opt for a portable solution and get exploring again! With that in mind I did head out on the 2nd January for a walk around Goyt Valley and took a few “Happy Snaps” from the car on my way home.

First Happy Snap of the Year

Peak Distric Grouse
I thought I would include an image of a red grouse. As a photographer waiting for the right conditions I encounter these birds all the time and are part and parcel of the stunning landscape. Love hearing there distinctive cackle!

Not a bad shot but not my genre! This was taken on the 2nd January and I didn’t get out then till mid month when had some light snow. I decided to get motivated and grab a shot id been after for some time. I tend not to venture to the Dark Peak District to often but on predictable good weather I will make the required effort.

On this occasion I wanted to get up onto Kinder and shoot Upper Tor. Its a shot that id admired for some time and I have made the trip a few times now to be disappointed with the outcome so never shared the images.

I worked out that it would be a super early wake up call of 4am with 15 minutes to get out of the house and just over an hours drive to Edale car park, where I would walk up via Grindsbrook Clough which I have never done before always opting to go up via Ringing Roger.

Sunrise was just after 8am so as long as I was on the move by 6am I was leaving myself enough time to get up into situation. I was a little naive to think it would be that easy and it was hard going at the top of Grindsbrook Clough, with no path to follow and in the dark I was switching from side to side of the brook. I stopped for a breather at this small waterfall and took a 5 second long exposure and as you can see there is no footpath to follow to get to the top… it was hard going.

Grindsbrook Clough Waterfall

Grindsbrook Clough Waterfall
Grindsbrook Clough Waterfall snow covered on my way up to Kinder Scout

Once up on top I was relieved that the hard work was over and could concentrate on getting into my planned position for sunrise, but the weather had other ideas for me.

I struggled in the low cloud to get my bearings and I can see why people get lost as I got slightly disorientated and ended up briefly on the kinder plateau and up to my thighs in snow drifts at times, hard going in some places.

Kinder Scout Plateau

Kinder Scout Plateau
Low cloud and snow covered Kinder Scout Plateau

I would consider myself to be an extremely proficient Map & Compass user with over 14yrs in the Infantry, Map & Compass was my bread and butter I decided to back track and found the snow covered path and then contoured around towards Upper Tor. By this time I realized that i wasn’t going to witness a great sunrise so I slowed down, I was still in the low cloud and it didn’t look like it was going to lift anytime soon.

Arriving just after 8am at Upper Tor I made a quick plan. I decided to give it an hour at location so I put my warm gear on and waited to see if the clouds would lift. I had to keep moving it was really cold and the wind was bitterly biting Id occasionally crouch down out of the wind behind a frozen rock which gave me some protection from the elements whilst I waited.

Upper Tor

First Landscape Photography of 2017
Waiting at Upper Tor for the low cloud to lift

After a good hour of waiting at Upper Tor I decided to move on and would revisit again in favorable conditions, I carried on my course towards Ringing Roger.

I walked the short 20 minutes, it started to snow again and I kind of wrote the morning off for photography but enjoyed the walk and solitude for the few hours. I was ready to head on back down to Edale, but as I reached Ringing Roger I had a rest and drink and took a few shots for reference and then suddenly the light started to make an appearance in the Edale Valley and I quickly had a brief window to catch some handheld shots which is unlike me! as I always use a tripod.

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Ringing Roger

Ringing Roger
The Vale of Edale from Ringing Roger in The Peak District

I was then privileged enough to watch some lovely light transition over valley and behind me looking up Grindsbrook Clough where I walked in the dark a few hours previously.

Grindsbrook Clough
Looking back up Grindsbrook Clough with some great conditions, sleet and snow moving towards me as the light moves across Grindsbrook Knoll

And just when I thought the light was all but gone it decided to give myself and Ringing Roger some great light in the foreground.

Edale Valley in the Peak District
Looking over Edale Valley as the light moves across the land lighting it up

I walked down to Edale passing plenty of walkers & families heading up as I headed down, which is often the case for us Landscape Photographers, heading home as normal people are just arriving!

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