Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
|Category:||Landscape and Travel|
A Photo walk in the hills - What should you photograph in our hilly national parks? John Gravett finds out.
I run around 40 weeks of photographic workshops in the Lake District every year, and the biggest mistake keen walkers make is trying to mix serious walking with serious photography. Whilst these two disciplines do mix to some extent, favouring one will always be slightly to the detriment of the other.
Photo Gear needed:
Will depend on the severity of the walk:
Short, easy walk:
- Wide angle zoom – 10–20mm or 16–35mm for full frame
- Standard zoom - 24-70mm
- Tele zoom – 70–200mm or 70–300mm (useful for picking out details in the landscape)
- Tripod – preferably fairly light (carbon fibre). Take a look at Manfrotto's range of Carbon fibre tripods which includes the Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre Q90 3-section tripod.
As above, but I'd change the standard and tele zooms for an 18-200mm (DX sensor) or a 28–200mm or 28-300mm for an FX sensor.
I wrote a page on planning a scenic walk in April, which covers what to carry and general preparation in more detail.
Planning the route.
Deciding where to go to take pictures has never been so easy, although I would always encourage people to look for their own photos and angles, to see pictures by other photographers of almost any location is a cinch. Many photographic magazines go as far as to give specific locations for photographs, enabling their readers to go out and emulate the published photographs. The internet is full of photographs via both Google Earth and Paramino so an overview of any potential location could give you ideas for many photographs.
Don't be too ambitious on distance – I am known for saying: "If it's more than 4 miles, you'll need a tent" as a photographer, it doesn't matter where I go, I see pictures within a few yards of the car, and a few 15 minute photo stops in a day eats into your available time. At least don't look at the 10 mile + walks. I usually choose routes of around 3 miles for less experienced walkers, and up to 5 miles for those more used to walking in the hills. They often question the "shortness" of the walks, until they start taking photographs and the time simply slips away.
For routes, within the Lake District, Lakeland Walker lists a number of walks each month, but often too long for photographers, I have a great collection of walk books, and often work out routes by combining different sections of different walks. Some software applications such as Memory Map include 3D views of maps, which give a better indication of terrain.
For our guests and Facebook followers, I upload a few pictures most days on the Lakeland Photographic Holidays Facebook fan page – so you can see not only the pictures, but current colours, weather, water levels etc.
We only do our higher level walks on our Active walking week but I've detailed one below that's one of my favourites:
My Route in the Hills: Haystacks length – about 4.5 miles, height gain, 1800 feet, Grade: Strenuous.
Parking in a pay-and-display car park at Gatescarth farm (£3) at the bottom of the Honister Pass, the route starts round the bottom of Fleetwith Pike (this fell can be included in a longer version of the walk, but it adds more distance and considerably more altitude) taking the old packhorse route up the valley means you have to keep stopping every now and again to admire the view behind you and to get your breath back!
After a few hundred feet of vertical gain, you come across some interesting waterfalls, and a ¼ mile beyond that to Dubs quarry and hut. Forming part of the large, sprawling Honister slate quarry, the hut remains in good repair, and the sight of it, surrounded by piles of slate spoil, with a magnificent backdrop of mountains, is a great subject, working well in both Black & white and colour.
Continuing on towards the summit of Haystacks gives views down the valley to Buttermere and Crummock water, and to the south-west to Great Gable and Green Gable. This whole area is covered in heather, so if you are doing this walk in late August / early September, the heather should be in flower. The route passes firstly Blackbeck tarn, and then Inominate tarn (which was a Wainwright, the famous walk book author's favourite location), both of these tarns offer wonderful photographic opportunities, with imposing mountains as a backdrop. An optional detour to climb the final few metres to the summit cairn offers high level views across both Buttermere valley, and Ennerdale water to the west, giving an ideal view point to take a panorama.
The descent back to Buttermere is steep, gravelly and tiring on the legs, but the view back to Haystacks is both spectacular and gives you a great sense of achievement. When you finally regain the valley floor, the path along the end of the lake back to the car park offers still more photographic opportunities.
A truly wonderful walk, but not to be taken lightly. It is a high fell walk, so suitable care, clothing, water etc. must be taken. It will leave you tired, but elated; and with a selection of photographs that you simply can't get from your car window. I did this walk with guests last week, and we completed it by around 6pm. Bear in mind that in the summer – that's not a problem, but try the same walk in the late autumn, and it gets dark by 4.00.
Find the tripod to suit your needs at www.manfrotto.co.uk.
Don't forget to enter our exclusive competition where you can win one of six Manfrotto 190XPROB tripods!
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.