1-2-1 Lake District Landscape Photography Workshop

I thought I’d write a little blog about my recent 1-2-1 landscape photography workshop in the Wasdale Valley Lake District, to give a little more insight into what you can expect when booking on one of my mountain landscape photography workshops.

Paul who was my client for the day had contacted me through Facebook to arrange a workshop in The Lake District. He couldn’t make any of the dates on my prearranged events, so we worked out a date he was available and I designed a bespoke 1-2-1 workshop for him. A keen photographer and wanting to learn more about landscape photography Paul had told me he would like help with composing images, focusing correctly, getting the correct exposure and exposure bracketing, he also wanted help with the post processing side of things. Paul Lives in West Cumbria just outside the national park, so I chose the Wasdale Valley as the location for the day, home to Wastwater the deepest lake in England at 258 feet, and Scafell Pike the tallest mountain 978m, 3,209 feet. Paul had also said that being a competent hill walker he would like to venture up into the fells to capture some mountain landscape images from high up, so I planned a route from Wasdale Head which would take us to the top of Lingmell looking down over Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley.

Looking down over Wastwater from Lingmell.

We met in the morning at 10:30 outside the Wasdale Head Inn, a great little pub and hotel located at the head of the valley, which is a haven for all outdoor folk after their day in the mountains. At the start of all my photography workshops I begin with a half hour theory lesson, talking about the exposure triangle, composition, focusing techniques, white balance and certain camera settings to use for certain situations. I also try and gauge how competent the client is at using their camera and changing settings such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, Paul had a good grasp on this already and knew how to use his camera functions well.

We started with a short drive down onto the shores of Wastwater so we could go through some of the techniques learnt in the theory lesson before we headed up into the fells. There are some great spots along the shore line with interesting foreground features, but the main subject is the mountains in the background, including Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Lingmell and Scafell Pike.

We spent around 45 minutes here enabling Paul to get a few compositions using the rocks as foreground interest, and practicing the focusing techniques I had taught him. As we were going to be on the hill until around 6.30pm I had decided to include the post processing crash course over a drink at the Wasdale Head before we headed into the fells. Here Paul learnt a quick and easy workflow to naturally edit a Raw file using Lightroom, but this workflow will work on any other post processing software that can handle Raw files.

We headed off on our intended route following Lingmell Beck around to the start of Piers Gill, Just before heading up we stopped off at some nice little waterfalls to practice some long exposure photography.

I advised Paul how to stretch the shutter speed slightly to capture some movement in the water.

Now we started the steep climb up the side of Piers Gill, a steep sided gully leading up to Lingmell Coll at 740m which sits between Scafell Pike and Lingmell itself. With a couple of nice scrambles on the way up it’s also a quieter route up to the highest point in England. We stopped at a little plateau about three quarters of the way up to take some shots looking across to Great Gable and Kirk Fell.

Panorama of Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Sty Head Tarn.

Once at the top of Piers Gill we took some shots looking down into the deep ravine and beyond.

Looking down Piers Gill with Kirk Fell center and Great Gable on the right.

From here it’s a short easy walk to the col where we would head north up the last steep ascent to the 807 meter summit of Lingmell. From here you get some great panoramic views of the Lakeland fells and beyond, we ticked off the summit cairn as this is a Wainwright that Paul hadn’t done.

Paul at the summit cairn

From here we would set up at the last and arguably the best photographic view point of the day, looking down over Wastwater and the Wasdale Valley. We had some nice but tricky conditions to shoot in at this point with some moody skies, a weather system rapidly approaching and the sun trying to creep out between the cloud. I advised Paul that at this point he might want to try exposure bracketing to enable him to get the most dynamic range out of the highlights and shadows.

Paul setting up a composition looking down over Wastwater and the Wasdale valley.

Just after this shot was taken the weather system that had evaded us all day was now right over our heads and the heavens opened with huge hail stones, luckily Paul had got the shots he needed and we packed up and made our way down getting hammered by the hail.

So all in all we had a great day out on the hill with Paul coming away having learnt a lot and now more confident about capturing a great landscape image.