Saturday, 27 June 2009

New Web Site Final Edits

Well it's nearly complete! My new web site is fully operational on its test server. All images are loaded. The gallery is driven by keywords to make it more manageable, particularly when I have much larger numbers of images available. I am still hoping to almost double the number by the end of this year. Adding new images has been put on hold while the new site was being developed but will resume in the next few weeks.

I'm in the darkroom today making prints to fill web orders. Hoping to go for a walk tomorrow for a bit of light relief.

Still 2 places on the July 11th landscape photography course if you are interested. Either book at or call me and I can take details and payment over the telephone.

Keep an eye on this week, it should change over to the new one on Tuesday, or possibly Monday or Wednesday!

Dave Butcher

Thursday, 18 June 2009

New Web Site Progress Report

The structure of the new site has been finished for a while and we are now working to add everything, and more, from the site before it goes live. There will be so many pictures on it within a short while that it uses a database to manage the organisation and retrieval using keywords. Right now we are editing every one of the 1000 or more current images to make sure they have the right keywords associated with them. A couple of more days should see this completed.

Then a bit of checking to make sure everything still works after everything has been added and it should be live sometime next week.

Am keeping fingers crossed while I type this that all goes well and you can soon see the new site!

I walked to Buxton today for a stint in the Gallery in the Gardens in beautiful weather in both directions. Now it is raining heavily just 3 hours or so since I reached home. Quite a contrast.

Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Landscape Photography Courses Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June

This is short notice, but if you want to learn how to take stunning black and white landscapes in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park then there are places available for my courses this coming weekend, Friday 12th and Saturday 13th June. You will receive more attention than on a fully booked course with just 3 places booked on Friday and 2 on Saturday. It's a good time to come here too with sunny warm spells forecast for both days.
The courses are suitable for both film and digital camera users or any ability. You will receive 1-to-1 tuition at each of the 3 or 4 locations that we will visit with 2 tutors (me and my wife Jan)looking after the group.
Booking is easy, either online at or by telephone directly to me on 01663 733771.
Hope to see you at the weekend!
Dave Butcher

Monday, 8 June 2009

Lake District - Photo Trip

We returned from the Lakes yesterday evening. I had intended to update this blog in the evenings during our trip but there was no mobile phone signal in Eskdale so it had to wait until today, Monday 8th June.

This trip was planned specifically around taking photographs for my new book on the Lake District, due out in March 2010. I needed to fill a few gaps in the south west and southern parts of the Lakes so we based ourselves in Eskdale. The trip also coincided with the Boot Beer Festival and our excellent accommodation (Stanley House b&b) was within easy walking distance (10 minutes) of this.

We arrived in the Lakes to sunshine on Thursday afternoon. We drove in over the Ulpha Fell road and stopped at the end of the lane to Devoke Water. This is just a mile from the road and has fells coming down from 2 sides and a partly ruined boat house to put in the foreground to set off my photographs. A beautiful spot. Then around to the Hardknott Pass for some late afternoon shots across to the Scafell range from Hard Knott. This has to be one of the best viewpoints across and has the added bonus of a small pool of water just beyond the summit for some foreground interest. No chance of a reflection on this occassion as it was quite breezy.

Friday was fine to start with and then closed in with heavy rain for a few hours. We went up Black Combe in the far south west of the Lakes, near Millom. I managed a few shots before the weather closed in. Then we returned to the car and drove around to the coast, near Bootle and just south of Ravenglass, for some photographs as the sun returned, of the only coastal area within the Lake District National Park. Impressive clouds hanging over most of the Lake District tops though, including Black Combe just a couple of miles away. Then on to Hall Walberthwaite for shots to the northwest fells. Then around to Ravenglass and a few estuary photos as the light began to go. It was obviously time to go back to the Boot Beer Festival!

Saturday was very wet until the afternoon. We walked along the shore of Windermere from the ferry near Far Sawrey north until level with Hawshead. Fortunately, this was mainly through woods so we were sheltered from the worst of the rain. We turned inland and returned via the tarns just north of Near Sawrey. There was a great view to the Langdales with a tarn in the foreground as the rain was sweeping in again. Had to set up the camera and tripod under some trees so that my gear wasn't completely waterlogged before taking the photos. Continuing on we found a hostelry, the Sawrey Hotel, offering temporary shelter from the rain (and 7 real ales on hand pumps!). Then back to the car. From here we drove across to near Torver and found a single track road most of the way up a small hill that faced the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag. The rain had now cleared and it was sunny on and off so it was just a matter of waiting for the sun to illuminate a suitable part of the scene to make my photographs. A good end to the photographic part of the day. Then down to Torver for some food at the Wilson Arms before driving back to Boot for the beer festival. On walking in to the Brook House Inn it was a nice surprise to trip over some friends, including Mark from my ski mountaineering days. We spent rather longer in the pub as a result catching up on the year since we last met (but still managed an early breakfast the next day!).

Sunday started cloudy but thankfully dry. Quite a breeze blowing though, had to keep hold of the camera on the tripod on more than 1 occassion. This started at the southern end of Windermere. We went up the little hill called Gummer's How. This gives uninterrupted views over the Lake to north and south, as well as to all other points of the compass. The sun tried to come out for a while before closing in for a brief shower of rain. From here we walked over to Cartmel Fell and Ravens Barrow for views to the Lyth Valley and the main Lakeland peaks to the north. The sun was out for most of our time here although a lot of the big peaks stayed in shadow the whole time. These turned out to be the last shots of the trip since we decided to give Whitbarrow Scar a miss, the last place on the location list for this trip.

So despite the changeable weather, which I'm sure many people would describe as bad weather, working in black and white means that I have lots of dramatic photographs and stunning cloud formations that wouldn't have been possible without this sort of weather.

It will take me a few weeks to process and print the films from this trip but keep an eye out on the new web site ( for them coming along in the weeks to come.

Dave Butcher

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Lake District - Eskdale Photo Trip

We are off to Eskdale in the English Lake District Thursday 4th June (later today!). I need some more photographs for my next book (out March 2010). Fingers crossed that the weather is better than forecast. Looks like heavy rain Friday and Saturday at moment. A bit disappointing after the fantastic weather we have had here recently. At least the trip coincides with the Boot Beer Festival so if the weather turns really bad there will always be a suitable pub to retire to until the sun comes out again!

Will try and add to blog if there is a mobile signal for my Blackberry, otherwise there will be a temporary communication blackout until Monday!

Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hot & Sunny Peak District

Yet another hot and sunny day in the Peak District. Blue sky and very few clouds. Still good water levels in streams and rivers so a good time to visit the Peaks. I took a few shots yesterday in Buxton and should be out again today but still working on my new web site and filling orders so no time for that today.

If you are able to drop what you are doing and get out taking photos then do it while it lasts! Black and white film users should use a dark yellow or orange filter to darken the sky. Foliage is great at this time too - lots of shades of green, in a few weeks they will mostly be a similar shade of dark green and less interesting as a result. For digital users, take in colour RAW, transfer to PC as a tiff file, and make your adjustments in Photoshop, etc. to convert to black and white and mimic filters on a film camera lens.

Off to Eskdale in the Lake District on Thursday to take some more photographs for my next next book (due out March 2010). Have had several trips in last 2 years but mostly in bad weather so hoping for big views. There's a limit to the number of waterfalls that I can go put in my book (waterfalls can be taken even in heavy rain and often look best under such conditions!).

There are still places available on my landscape photography courses Friday 12th and Saturday 13th June. If you are interested you can book online at or just give me a call on 01663 733771.

Whatever you do, enjoy yourselves!

Dave Butcher