There are few sounds as accomplished at transporting me to a place than rain on a tent canvas… Unfortunately when you are actually under that tent canvas, the sound of rain is less comforting!
I woke up at around 6 am, the natural light of day filling my tent and waking me gently. Sadly the natural light of day then buggered off and left a bunch of rain in its place! Oh well, I thought to myself, might as well get on with it!
I got into my waterproofs inside the tent, then set about preparing my breakfast – a boil in the bag full English, which I must say was actually rather good! Also, there is something very special about drinking a cup of tea in the rain. Something along the lines of being hardcore, and quintessentially English in one stroke!
I was determined to ignore the rain, so packed up, wrapping my camera in a dry bag, and storing that in my backpack, and set off into the day. Now, the problem I find with waterproofs, even GoreTex ones like mine, is that they make you so hot, you sweat like crazy and end up soaked anyway! On top of which you’re also overheating! So, not long into my walk I stopped under a small copse of birch trees and took off all my waterproofs, and carried on with my normal walking trousers, and a dryflow shirt. I got very wet very fast, but it was a very effective way of staying cool. The climb up Grindsbrook clough is quite long and requires scrambling – essentially light climbing where you have to use your hands to keep moving forward. It isn’t a difficult climb by any measure, but it is hot work! About two-thirds of the way up, the intrepid photographer-hiker is rewarded with a small waterfall. Nothing huge, or impressive, but quite pretty.
Due to the nature of the day, I felt that black and white was going to be the best option, but because I shoot in RAW the image was taken in full colour. I always convert to black and white later – better to capture as much information from a scene while you are there!
I’ve seen this waterfall quite a few times, but this is the first time I’ve been happy with my results:
The day was overcast, but even so to get the water to go milky I had to use an ISO of 100 at f29! I got a speed of 0.6 s which was enough to give the effect here, but only just. It always amazes me how sometimes I think there is no light, and my camera thinks there is lots, or more often the other way round!
I love the photo because of the juxtaposition of the soft, milky, cloudy white water flowing over the hard, dark sharp rocks, and I feel black and white works much better here, because although there was colour in this scene, it added nothing, and I really wanted to enhance the white of the water and black of the rocks.
I carried on pushing up to climb and made my way up through the ever steepening gully. Reaching the plateau, I turned to see a very grey, moody day. I set up the tripod on a large, flat rock, sitting behind the setup because the wind was blowing hard onto me, and I was worried about the camera falling over. I used the 7D (MK2)’s HDR settings, because the sky was very bright, but the hills were dark and moody. I know a lot of people dislike the technique, but I find it works well some times, and as long as it achieves what the photographer needs, I use it. Like all things, moderation works wonders, I think.
I wanted to capture the feel of the day – grey, gloomy, quite intense. It really was a day only a hiker could love! Evidenced by the fact that it wasn’t until a long time later that I saw anyone else!
I converted both images to black and white in Lightroom. I am very pleased with them both, because they capture the feel of the day. Stunning scenery and wild weather! Its days like this that you earn your right to be on the hills, that’s what I think anyway. You have to go out on days like this because otherwise you only see the landscape in one tone, and you miss how deep and dark and stunning it can be.
The rest of my day was fairly uneventful, the mist rolled in almost immediately after taking this photo, so I was reduced to compass bearings. When I got to the Pennine Way I felt that returning to Edale was the best option, Kinder Scout couldn’t offer me much in the mist, and the chances of getting lost were of course, much higher. So I made my way down Jacob’s ladder and back to the campsite (after another quick pint in The Old Nag’s Head, of course…).
I had an amazing sleep that night, well earned, and even though my inflatable pillow deflated and left me sleeping without a pillow at all (ever tried that? It’s very strange) I woke feeling the best I have for a long time!
Then I tried to stand up…