Photography tips by Mark Gilligan - Derwentwater
PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 September 2013 | UPDATED: 16:27 15 April 2016
Mark Gilligan heads to Derwent Water to take pictures at a very special time of year
As we approach the darker nights (yes, I know its hard but you have to let go!) and the end of the year begins its approach, we are treated to a time photographers love. Autumn.
It’s not just the wonderful, rich colours that suddenly seem to appear but the light is different. As the sun begins its lower ‘dip’ crossing the sky, we are given opportunities that don’t present themselves during the rest of the calendar.
We always know its coming, but the sudden change in the leaves often surprise us with a kaleidoscope of hues that can illuminate the landscape. As a professional, I work many seasons ahead because that’s how magazine editors work. During the writing of this piece, I am sitting right in the middle of our best heat wave in years.
However, as I put the ‘Pimms’ down and begin looking through the files, it reinforces my opening statement - the time is fast approaching to take images we can’t obtain any other time of year with colours that can’t be matched. Coupled with the cooler air and impending frosts, I know that most of my fellow pros love the opportunities on offer.
This particular photograph was taken one mid-autumn morning whilst walking up to the summit of Cat Bells. I present it because there is a myth that you have to get up early to catch the best light and most dramatic scenes. You can take interesting and worthwhile photographs most of the time.
As the majority plodded on to join the throng at the top, I constantly stopped and turned around to see what was unfolding behind us. The sun was ahead over Borrowdale, so I knew as it rose and warmed up that it would eventually yield something of note.
It is so easy when ‘on a mission’ to just keep looking ahead but with Bassenthwaite, Skiddaw and Derwent Water trailing in our wake and the sun doing its best to break free, you just know that eventually, something magical will be created that can go as quickly as it came.
The sun was very slow to burn off the mist but when it did, the rich colours of the tree tops appeared. My lovely wife, Irene, will tell you that I only ‘click’ on the camera when its necessary and on this particular full day’s walk I only shot six photographs. Three looking at this scene and three looking down the Newlands Valley. It is something I teach on my workshops. It’s not about quantity, it’s quality. And there is nothing worse then getting back home and wading through hundreds of shots that will head for the ‘bin’.
It’s a great time of year so make sure you get out there and see what nature can conjure up for you to capture!
Let’s get technical
Camera Canon 5dmk2
Canon 17-40 L series lens
F7.1 @ 1/125th sec,
Lee Mid soft Graduated Filter
Giottos Carbon Tripod
Mark Gilligan, along with TV personality and researcher from the ‘Wainwright Walks’ series, David Powell Thompson run one day walks ‘A View, a Camera and You’ in the Lake District. Full details about those and their photographic workshops can be found at www.wastwaterphotography.co.uk and on Twitter at @wastwater1