Friday, 31 December 2010

Boulder Breweries

Today was a rest day, just the 8 miles in snow storms! Jan and I started the day picking up our skis from being serviced. Then Rob and I made our way to the Avery Brewery just outside Boulder. The weather was not good - about 8 inches of snow fell during the day and temperatures were about -10C.

At Avery the Out of Bounds cask-conditioned Stout was good but the Out of Sight coffee flavoured Stout was even better. Just the 20 beers on tap. From here we made our way through the blizzard the 2 miles to the Boulder Beer Co., a brewery on the outskirts of Boulder. There was a chocolate flavoured brewers choice Porter which was very nice but a bit sickly for a session beer.

The last port of call was the Mountain Sun Brewery in the centre of Boulder. This has one of my all time favourite beers - Java Porter, so we stayed long enough so that I could have two. Had a long chat with a couple of locals about getting up at 3am so that you could have a couple of hours ski touring before going to work!

I don't think I will be doing this any time soon! A little different to what I'm used to in the Peak District.

From the Mountain Sun we staggered back the half mile to Rob's house for a very nice meal.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Snowshoeing in Colorado

Having flown into Denver Airport at 5.30pm Monday we decided to have an easy day Tuesday snowshoeing the 13235 foot peak, Mount Sniktau. This wasn't the most sensible thing as Jan was quite ill from altitude sickness for the first time in her life. Despite this we made it to the south summit at 13185 feet but turned back as in addition the wind was strong and the temperature was bitterly cold (way below zero) and we feared frost-nipped faces.

Today we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and snowshoed around Sprague Lake. Tried to go to Dream and Emerald Lakes but weather too wild so retreated to forests lower down valley. Brightened up later and took some shots of raised snow footsteps on surface of icy lake as sky cleared slightly. Stopped at Lily Lake for snow pattern pictures then on to Brainard Lake area. Here I snowshoed with friend Rob to Red Rocks Lake for more pattern pictures of the frozen lake surface. The muted sun was reflected in the icy surface of the lake for something a bit different.

So despite the bad weather up high it was possible to find places to take interesting photos. Not the big views I had hoped for but lots of pattern pictures which always look good in black and white.

Monday, 27 December 2010

it's Heathrow Again!

I'm just sitting in the BA lounge at London Heathrow airport waiting for the flight to Denver. Jan has worryingly gone off to the shops with her credit card.

This is our annual ski trip and for the 3rd year running we are visiting our best friends Rob and Annie in Boulder, Colorado. The intention is to ski and snowshoe every day possible until our return on 15th January.

Am keeping fingers crossed for really cold temperatures to give frosted trees, and blue skies with white fluffy clouds. Not that I'm fussy or anything!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Tunstead Milton Gallery Refurbishment Part 1

The gallery at our house in Tunstead Milton has been refurbished. with an extension, new lighting, new gallery hanging system and simple white decoration. Here are a few images to give you an idea of what it looks like and there are more on the new Tunstead Milton Gallery web page. Now that we have completed the refurbishment of the main gallery area we plan to upgrade the other 2 display areas next year. If you would like to visit just telephone or email to make an appointment - I'm not here all the time.

There is usually a display of around 140 framed photographs and another 500 or so in browsers. In addition to this there are my 3 books, course information and the darkroom, where all the hand prints are made, can be viewed.






December Newsletter

I have just sent out a newsletter by email. If you are not on the distribution list you can find it here:
iContact Community.
If you would like your own copy sent directly to your inbox you can click on one of the links at the bottom of the page to set this up. It has all of our latest news and I hope you find it interesting.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Icy Peak District

Today I was in the Gallery in Buxton Pavilion Gardens. It was a cold clear day, about -6C, and I walked there and back (about 12 miles). It started with good views of the lunar eclipse which covered 3/4 of the moon as I left at 7.15am. Just a dusting of snow across the hills but at the green lane that runs around Ladder Hill (opposite our house) there was so much ice, 2 or 3 inches thick across the entire track making it difficult to walk down the lane. Looked like it had been rain water running off the hill which then froze. I came across more ice on the route to Buxton than I have ever seen before. Slowed me down a bit picking my way around it. Came back the same way this evening so that I could remember where the ice was rather than try a different route. It was dark all the way so it was good to have a bright headlamp picking out the track and the ice ahead. It took about 20 minutes longer than normal, including a detour over a snowy hill rather than along part of the track where I know it would be seriously icy. Had to tread carefully on the way home as I had bought a couple of bottles of Buxton Brewery Kinder Stout - didn't want to break them!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Orders Finished

All Christmas orders are now printed. The last few will be shipped by Royal Mail Special Delivery or DHL on Monday. Have despatched quite a few since Thursday. It was quite busy this Christmas because we were away for 4 weeks the orders built up then more Christmas orders came in and it has taken until now to clear all of them.

Hope to find time to make the contact prints from the New Zealand trip soon so that I can see what I have.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bronchitis - Orders Shipping

I've had a bit of a cough and felt quite ill for a couple of weeks now. The doctor said it was a bit of bronchitis, he didn't say which bit though. Just finished a week of Penicillin which has helped but hasn't removed the cough completely, but I feel much better. I lost quite a few days but am pretty much on top of all the orders. I will ship several later today and make the prints for the last orders received today or tomorrow. So don't panic, if you ordered something you should receive it by early next week.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

RHS Wisley Contemporary Craft and Art Fair

We have a stand at the Contemporary Craft and Art Fair at RHS Wisley near Guildford and Woking in Surrey (GU23 6QB for sat nav). Jan is there on her own as I should have doing a show in Buxton which illness has prevented me from doing. There are about 250 of my original photos on display as well as books and posters. If you are interested in photography courses then Jan has all the details and can talk to you about these too. Hope you can drop in and have a chat.

Buxton Artist and Designer's Fair

It is the Buxton Artist and Designer's Fair in Buxton this weekend. Unfortunately, I am unable to be there as I have a bad cough and chest infection. If you were planning on visiting me on my stand please consider coming to our gallery in Tunstead Milton. I should be alright in a few days, hopefully.

Still snow across the Peak District and sunny spells but I haven't been able to get out and take any photos. Jolly frustrating.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Heavy Snow in the Peak District

We were hearing about heavy snow in the east of the UK and Scotland but next to nothing here. Then yesterday we had an inch or so. Should have been in the Gallery in Buxton but received an early phone call from Louise offering to cover for me. This also saved me 4 hours of walking to and from Buxton in bad weather. I accepted her kind offer and stayed at home all day.

Today we woke to 6 inches of snow and heavy snow showers have added another couple of inches. Most of the roads seemed to be blocked this morning but they soon cleared the main ones that didn't go over the tops.

Now, if only the sun would come out tomorrow I could get some photos. Maybe use the snowshoes to help move around the hills if it's any deeper.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Film Processing

After a couple of hours printing in the darkroom and a few odd jobs I found time to drive over to Harman Technology at Mobberley to drop off for processing my 96 rolls of Ilford FP4 from New Zealand plus another 3 rolls from before we left. Should have them back early next week. Look forward to seeing what I have from some important locations for me and my picture library.

Lovely Day in the Peak District

It's a couple of degrees below freezing here in the Peak District today and we have blue sky and sunshine! Everything frosty would be great for pictures but today is a darkroom printing day - catching up on orders that came in while in New Zealand.

Walked to Buxton yesterday for a day in the Gallery in Pavilion Gardens. It was a dry cold day but not bright like today. It was a good day for walking though, even enjoyed walking back over the tops in the dark.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Home Sweet Home

Finally, we made it home yesterday morning at 11am. I lasted about an hour before going to bed to catch up on sleep - I can't sleep on planes. Apart from a few hours yesterday evening I slept through to this morning.

We left our hotel in Christchurch at 11am on Wednesday so it took 2 days to return, except that New Zealand is 13 hours ahead  so if you add that into the mix it actually took 2.5 days to return. It was a long way and most of that time was spent flying (over 25 hours) or hanging around at airports!

I don't understand why when you get off a plane for less than an hour while they clean and refill it you have to go through another security check, which means another hand-check of my film. On the whole trip the only place that would not do a hand-check of my film was London Heathrow. Sydney and New Zealand do checks both going in and out of the country, so that meant 6 hand-checks plus 2 at Hong Kong making 8 in total for my film.

I took 123 rolls with me from the UK, Ilford kindly had another 100 rolls delivered to my hotel in Sydney to avoid some of the possible x-ray scans. Of these, 195 were exposed and the remaining 28 rolls were unused; 99 rolls were processed in Wellington in New Zealand to avoid any possible x-ray damage on the return trip. I would have liked to have had another 80-odd rolls processed but the timings didn't work out.

Unfortunately, staff at the scanners think they know better than anyone what the effects of x-rays on film are. I know differently, having worked for Ilford for 21 years, including running the department that saw a lot of the customer enquiries after x-ray damage to their film, and I have seen x-ray fogging on my FP4 120 after just 3 passes through x-ray machines.

Now I'm wading through the 1648 emails that were waiting for me on my pc, about 80% were spam. I had kept up with most while away using my Blackberry but I have to go through the whole lot again once I return. We also shipped all the book orders today and revived my Amazon shop.

The builders have finished the work on the house. This included extending the gallery so most of today was spent putting things back and hanging pictures on the walls. It looks good now though. Just the computers to move back and it's pretty much sorted.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sydney Airport

We are in the airport lounge at Sydney sipping a cold glass of white wine. Summer has arrived in the 3 weeks since we were last here on the way to New Zealand. Temperatures are top 20's here today so it was jolly warm walking around taking photos.

I didn't have blue sky images of the Opera House so that was the only thing on my hit list for this morning. We had an early breakfast and left the hotel at 8 O'clock for the 40 minute walk. We kept to the shady side of the street and then through parkland.

Very few people around at the Opera House so clear for views but sun high in sky and reflecting off the roof tiles so had to be careful on viewpoints.

Mainly blue sky with high wispy clouds so just what I needed. After several rolls we headed back along Pitt Street as I spotted a few shots last night that I wanted in daylight. We stumbled over The Strand arcade, it looked Victorian with 3 levels and all freshly decorated for Christmas and full of individual shops, no big chains. I don't usually take photos indoors but I couldn't resist.

Then it was straight back to the hotel to pack and shower before coming here to the airport. We fly out of here in a couple of hours if Jan can be prised out of the airport shops.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

One Night in Sydney

Just settling down after some night-time photography in Sydney. It's is almost full moon so took a few photos using this - above Opera House, in some building shots, etc. Quite a warm evening wandering around.

The day started in Christchurch with a walk around the Botanical Gardens, very dull though so no pictures. Then had to return hire car, we had driven over 4000km in 3 weeks, mostly by our good friend Rob and a few by Jan.

Then to Christchurch airport. Managed a hand-search of my film here and a sniffer-dog on the way into Australia so no x-rays again.

We had to say our goodbyes to Rob and Annie in Sydney, which seemed strange after almost 4 weeks together. We will miss them as they live in Colorado but we had a great time with them and saw some fantastic sights along the way. Lots of photos too - 189 rolls so far and I have tomorrow morning still to go. Tried a double exposure with the Monorail Train that runs above the street - one exposure with the train standing at the station (end on) and the other with the train moving across the picture; both about 10secs. Wonder if it will be any good!

Fly out of Sydney tomorrow afternoon and arrive home in Derbyshire Friday sometime.

Returning Home

Just at the gate waiting for our flight to Sydney at the start of our journey home from Christchurch in South Island, New Zealand.

Picked up my 99 processed films on Monday from ImageLab after a day around the Banks Peninsula. Very pretty area and coastline, especially Akaroa. Films look fine, thankfully. Didn't get them to do 2nd batch, as originally planned, as very tight on time. Have another 86 rolls Ilford FP4 for processing.

just want to click my fingers and be home, so much wasted time at airports and in planes!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Wet Travel Day

Today was a travel day. We left our chalet in Aoraki Mount Cook by 9am in the rain. Clouds were way down on the tops and it was still windy.

No sunshine and no views as we moved closer to Christchurch. Couldn't even see the small hills close to the road. We pressed on and checked into our hotel early before walking the mile or so into the city centre. I took a couple of photos of the punts on the River Avon, reminded me of Cambridge. Then it was a quick whizz around the Botanical Gardens for some exercise. There were some spectacular plants and trees but in dull light I resisted taking many shots. A bit of brightness was needed to separate the tones (shades of grey) - a bit of sunshine can spread this range and really add to a picture.

I took a few night shots tonight but not much lit up at night. The Cathedral square and an illuminated sculpture looked good though.

Tomorrow we go to the Banks Peninsula and Akaroa, about 50 miles from Christchurch. Hope we see some sunshine and a few small clouds.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Mount Cook and Mount Sefton Photos

We awoke to a blue sky day. A few odd clouds came and went through the morning. We had decided to walk the Hooker Valley trail from Mount Cook village, a round trip of about 11 miles.

No clouds at all to start with. First shots were of Mount Sefton reflected in the lake at the foot of the Mueller Glacier. Then over 2 suspension bridges and a couple more miles to the lake at the bottom of the Hooker Glacier right below Mount Cook. The views were spectacular and I found a stream running into the lake for a bit of foreground interest. A low viewpoint helped to exaggerate the foreground water and reduce the blank section of lake water. I took lots of variations on a theme with various waterfalls in the foreground and Mount Cook in the background.

What a hot day! There was a breeze every now and then otherwise we would have fried. At last I have some clear shots of Mount Cook and the summit snowfields.

The day ended with drinks in the Alpine Bar at the hotel on the balcony looking out at both Mounts Cook and Sefton. The wind was gusting strongly here, so much so that one gust caught the sun umbrella which moved the table and spilled some of my beer, a cardinal sin!

Tomorrow we drive to Christchurch for 3 days before flying out on Wednesday. I collect my 99 rolls of processed Ilford FP4 Monday afternoon from Image Lab, hope they did them well as there were lots of good shots on them! Can't wait to see what I have. Lots of night shots in Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington and you're never sure what you have until you see the negatives. Night photography is a bit of a lottery as I don't have a light meter that works at low enough light levels.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Mount Cook Reflections - Almost

Today we headed walked up to Sealy Tarns above Mount Cook village for reflection photos of Mount Cook. It was a very pleasant walk, about 3 miles each way and 400m of ascent and we reached the tarns at 10.15am.

The tarns were small puddles of water still with snow at one end; any English Lakeland tarn would easily put them to shame. The only other problems were the wind which meant very poor reflections and clouds which hid the top of Mount Cook all day (except the few hours before we started, it clouded over just as we left).

Sounds like all was lost but not so! The clouds were spectacular - lots of shapely lenticular clouds over other peaks in the valley. Nice light in the valley on and off too. I took 33 images and have maybe 8 images to use with the rest being exposure variations and different clouds for the same view.

In all I spent over 3 hours waiting for Mount Cook to come out of the clouds before calling it a day and descending to the valley for an early beer with our very patient friends Rob and Annie from Boulder, Colorado who have been with us since Sydney. Rob has done most of the driving and carried spare kit for me that my bad back wouldn't let me carry myself. Jan is carrying some of my kit too.

Mount Cook came out of the clouds at 9pm tonight and looked spectacular (from the bar!) with Alpenglow on the summit snow fields but all around was dark.

Tomorrow we go the Hooker Glacier for some close-up shots of Mount Cook. Fingers crossed we get the sunshine that they forecast for tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Mount Cook New Zealand

This morning we had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to Moeraki headland. Some nice rocky coves on one side and the fishing village harbour on the other.

A seal performed for us amongst the kelp. We watched it for 20 minutes or so before we moved on.

Today we hoped for our first views of Mount Cook since there were no views from the west side when we were there.

As we approached the town of Twizel we had our first glimpse of Mt Cook. This is still 40 miles south. It was clear, just a few thin clouds around the tops. Peaks on the west side were in thick cloud. Although I couldn't reach the best viewpoints I took quite a few images from near the car and Mount Cook village, just in case we never see it again!

Hoping weather is kind tomorrow and we can head to Sealy Tarns for some reflection images. Limited beer choice here in Mount Cook village - be warned!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Moeraki Boulders

Travelled from Milford Sound today and arrived at Moeraki late afternoon. Went straight to the boulders on the beach for pictures. Fortunately, it was high tide and the water was gushing over the large spheres on the beach. They really are huge, up to 5 feet across, and round. There are several groups of them as well as different sizes and stages of decay. I took quite a few shots from various angles and managed to avoid getting my feet wet!

This evening we ate at Fleurs Restaurant in Moeraki. The fresh fish was excellent, as was the Creme Brulee. This was recommended by Pauline at our accommodation, Noahs Boutique b&b in Moeraki. It was also recommended independently by people that we met in Wanaka and Queenstown. Worth a visit if you are in the area.

Tomorrow it is more boulders on the beach, the harbour here and then over to Mount Cook village for 3 nights. Fingers crossed for clear views of the top of Mount Cook but the forecast isn't good.

Gitzo Tripod Fault

Forgot to mention in last blog that one of my carbon fibre tripods developed a fault yesterday. I was using my small Gitzo 1028, since we had been walking, holding it by the head when the legs fell on the ground and I was left holding the head alone.

The top plate, which the head screws onto, had come adrift from the centre column. It should be glued on, permanently. Pushing it back on is a temporary but unreliable fix; it is not as stable as it should be and can come apart at any time.

This is the second time that this has happened with my 1028 and the UK Gitzo distributor, Bogen Imaging, kindly supplied 2 new replacement centre columns free of charge the last time it happened. I will use the other spare one on return home.

In the meantime I will use my larger and heavier Gitzo 1541, which I have had for a couple of years. This is my favoured tripod when I can carry the weight (about 0.5kg heavier). It is just that my back has been somewhat painful for most of this photo trip to New Zealand so I have used the small one quite a bit.

I will contact Bogen UK on return and let them know of failure again, although they have already provided a replacement centre column.

Looks like they have an adhesive problem as, apart from the 2 centre column top plates, I have also had leg end stops fall off and these are also glued on.

The 1028 was replaced by the Gitzo 0541 a couple of years ago, I wonder if they designed the fault away with the new version?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Milford Sound

We have been in Milford Sound in the New Zealand Fiordland. No mobile signal so no blog (or emails) for 2 days!

The day we arrived (early afternoon) the weather was great, blue skies and a few clouds and high tide. I rushed around taking lots of photos before the clouds rolled in. The conditions were still good so we decided to take a cruise along Milford Sound. Jolly quiet at this time of year, only 4 others on the 2 O'clock sailing, a large boat too.

Windy on way down fiord but good views to peaks and falls. Had quite a close view of a Fiordland Crested Penguin, the rarest penguin in the world, allegedly. Then lots of New Zealand Fur Seals basking in the sunshine on some rocks. Then a free shower as the boat went very close to Stirling Falls.

The water was very choppy so the boat was going up and down a bit. Had to use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/125 or mostly 1/250 with the lens wide open as didn't need any depth of field. Bit of spray too so kept hand over lens hood until ready to take shot to avoid having to dry lens before each shot. Lot smoother on the return.

Took some low tide shots on return then into the Blue Duck for a beer or two and some dinner. We stayed in the only accommodation at Milford Sound, Milford Sound Lodge. This felt more like a Youth Hostel than a hotel but had a nice feel to it and helpful friendly staff.

Yesterday was another good day with blue skies and some cloud. We started with breakfast at the Blue Duck after I had taken quite a few images on the beach. There was a bit of a breeze so no reflections on the open water but there were lots of pools of water and I used these for reflections of Mitre Peak and the Sound. I felt quite lucky to get these as it was quite a windy place.

We intended to walk to Gertrude Saddle (1400m) but there was too much snow and high avalanche risk so we turned back at 1110m, between some waterfalls and Black Lake. The waterfalls were great, very shapely with huge snowfields downstream of it, bit like a moraine bank with snow underneath.

Then we stopped at the Chasm where a river runs down a narrow gorge, difficult to photograph as the bridge across was obscuring the shot! Then down to Milford Sound at what was just 1.5h after high tide, in fact it was well on the way to low tide. More shots of the Sound. Then it was Blue Duck pub time again! Lots of good pictures in the bag from the day.

Today we left early in rain and headed south. Now we are on way east to Moeraki for some beach shots. Hot and sunny now we are away from the mountains and it is just after midday.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Ben Lomond in New Zealand

We moved on from Wanaka today, but just an hour or so down the road to Queenstown. We started with a walk down by the lake before deciding that we should do at least part of the planned route to Ben Lomond as far as Ben Lomond Saddle. The walk was made easier by a gondola that saved several hundred metres of ascent.

It was 12.45pm as we left the top gondola station following the signs for Ben Lomond. It was hot work with blue sky everywhere. We reached the col after an hour or so.

The sign said an hour to the top so although we had only intended to go as far as the col we decided to carry on, after a brief break. In 2.5 hours after leaving the gondola we were on the top of Ben Lomond, including stops. It was an easy track all the way and I'm sure it would have been quicker if we had kept to the ridge line.

It was a good viewpoint for photos. Snow was still on some of the more sheltered slopes and the view was extensive for 360 degrees. We lingered a while on the top but still made it back to the gondola lift by 5.10pm and were in one of the bars in Queenstown at 5.30pm.

The beer wasn't great so we moved on to another bar (Atlas Beer and cafe) where we had the cheapest meal of the trip so far. Jolly nice too, as well as banter with some locals who had moved in to Queenstown from Canada and Australia.

We staggered across the road to our lodgings for the night and crashed for the night.

Tomorrow Milford Sound and a good forecast. Fingers crossed for a good day!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Wanaka Walk

No blog yesterday as we transferred from Franz Josef to Wanaka. I usually write last thing at night but yesterday evening heard that my PhD supervisor, Prof Dudley Williams, had died after a short illness. He was a big influence on me and my career and a very kind, special man. I will miss him. Our thoughts are with his wife Pat and the family.

My back is still not good so instead of the originally planned big hike we walked a small hill just outside Wanaka called Rocky Mountain, about 740m high. Clouds on the high tops to start with but then mostly clear blue skies. Saw Mount Aspiring in the distance, one of the 3000m peaks in New Zealand.

Stayed on the top for an hour or so waiting for the view to clear, which it did. Then back to car and a few photos from the odd roadside stop before heading for the Wanaka Ale House for a few beers.

Tomorrow we move on to Queenstown.

If you ever get the chance to visit South Island New Zealand and want some different photos stop at Ship Creek between Fox Glacier and Haast. There is a freshwater stream running behind the sandy beach, past some rocky coves and across the sand into the sea. Lots of sand dunes and tussock grass too. A great place for photos and I could have spent all day there.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wet Day In Franz Josef

Today was a bit damp for most of the day. Clouds were down on the tops all day so we headed to the coast.

Okarito Beach was first stop but the rain was torrential so we sat in the car and waited for it to ease. It did eventually and I went on the beach and took some photos of the sea and some driftwood. My Mamiya 7 camera was very wet.

It was an hour or so after high tide and the sea was looking very impressive, big waves and lots of spray, as well as the rain. I ran off a film before retreating to the car to change film and move on to the next location.

A short way down the road was a large lake with a jetty and receding hills in the background. Quite a simple subject but very effective in black and white. The rain resumed just as I finished.

We headed south to Fox Glacier and off to the coast at Gillespies Beach. It was raining heavily as we arrived but soon eased to steady rain! Time to get out taking photos. I put my relatively new Rohan poncho on over my waterproof jacket to protect my camera gear (it covers everything and I don't need to carry a huge rucsac large enough for the camera case). The Poncho also served as a shelter under which I was able to change films and lenses. It worked really well.

The beach was strewn with driftwood - everywhere above the high tide line. This wasn't the odd twig or branch but enormous tree trunks complete with roots, and lots of them. The sea was still running high so it was a photographers dream. I ran off 5 rolls of different pieces of wood and various views to the sea or along the wood. Mostly I used a wide angle lens so that the wood was the main event in the image but 1 roll I ran off with the standard lens to bring the sea more into the shots.

That was it for the day's photography as the rain returned with a vengeance.

Tomorrow we move on to Wanaka. Hope the clouds move off the tops as I still don't have a shot of Mount Cook.

Nearly forgot to mention that we saw Tui birds today (bit like a large pigeon with 2 small white ballon/sacs inder its bill) and yesterday we had close encounters with Kea's, nesting high on Alex Knob. These are large dark coloured parrots that live and nest in high alpine areas but are quite rare. They didn't seem to like anyone walking up the track to Alex Knob as they made such a racket and swooped in quite close. We guessed that their nest must be very close.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Alex Knob in the Clouds

The forecast was for a reasonable start to the day before the clouds thickened and rain followed in the evening. An early breakfast was called for, 6.30am. We had a short drive to the start of the walk near the Franz Josef Glacier car park. We were walking by 7.45am and it was uphill all the way starting from just above sea level. That gave us a climb of 1300m.

Mostly we were in lush forest, lots of trees and ferns. The track was challenging too, lots of tree roots, rocks, big steps, big drops, etc. The uneven ground didn't help my bad back!

Made it to the top by 11.15am, the last 400m being in the clouds and cold and damp. No views. Very few views on way up because of high, dense foliage. Looked like I had no saleable images. Took a short detour to Wombat Lake on way down. This was particularly uninspiring so started looking for other subjects and homed in on ferns and brackens. I ended up with 3 rolls from the day, 1 of views from the hill, 2 of ferns.

Now we are in the Landing Bar in Franz Josef and it's happy hour!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

South to Southern Alps

Today was a long travel day. We had to drive from Nelson in the north of South Island of New Zealand to Franz Josef, about half-way down the west coast.

We had an early breakfast and were on the road by 8.15am. A few coffee stops were needed to keep us going but the weather was good. After Greymouth we stopped in Horitika. I had no idea what to expect as this was an impromptu stop. Heading straight for the beach I was greeted by the usual grey sand, pretty close to 18% grey by my reckoning! I found some tree stumps and with waves crashing in the background and a low viewpoint ran off a couple of films. These were the only films of the day; we arrived in Franz Josef by 4pm with clouds well down on the tops.

Forecast is for reasonable weather to start with but deteriorating to rain by evening. We are planning to walk Alex Knob for views of glaciers and big mountains. This is about 1200m of ascent and will take about 8 hours. Hope the weather holds

Monday, 1 November 2010

South Island New Zealand

Didn't quite fit in doing blog yesterday before falling asleep! Tried using Blackberry browser again and it was extremely slow so gave up and am back to Opera Mini, this posts blank blogs which I then add text to from clipboard. Why doesn't new technology work as you expect it to?

Yesterday we had a few hours wandering around Wellington before catching the ferry to New Zealand South Island. First job was to drop off 99 rolls of exposed Ilford FP4 120 film for processing. These included all the shots from Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland, Tongariro mountains, Wanganui beach and Wellington at night. We will pick up the negatives from their lab in Christchurch in 2 weeks time.

The ferry journey was about 3 hours and it was a sunny day, pretty smooth crossing too. I spent most of the time outside on deck as you could see land most of the way. Jolly cold though. The last section down Queen Charlotte Sound was very pretty and I took a few rolls from the ship. Very uninteresting foregrounds so took all expecting them to be panoramas.

From the ferry we took the coast road from Picton to Nelson. Lots of hills, large expanses of water and trees everywhere. We stayed the night in Nelson and after an early start are now driving south to the mountains. Should be in Franz Joseph tonight ready for a good walk tomorrow.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Travel Day to Wellington

After 3 quite strenuous mountain days around Tongariro today was a restful travel day. We travelled south to Wanganui for a few beach shots. Black sand with lots of old tree trunks lying around. Not usually the best subject to take but as the tree wood was all bleached white it was spectacular with everything in true black and white.

From here we thought we would try and make it to Castlepoint lighthouse and distinctive rocky coast on the east coast but time was against us and we went straight to Wellington. Had a nice Indian at Little India before a nightcap of Black Mac at Mac's Brewery. Oh, and I took a few night shots around the shoreline and harbour, including some illuminated trees on the seashore promenade - anyone would think it was Christmas!

Tomorrow I have arranged to drop off all of the film I have taken so far for processing; 99 rolls of Ilford FP4 120. I'm going to use Image Lab here in Wellington, never used them before so hope they do a good job for me. They will ship to their lab in Christchurch for me to collect in a couple of weeks time.

Tomorrow afternoon we take the ferry to the South Island. Hope the wind drops!

Don't know what the hell is wrong with my blog posts, I have to edit them all to get the text to show.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Great Day In Tongariro

Today we woke up to wall-to-wall blue sky and our first view of the top of Ngauruhoe (seems to be pronounced locally as Nora-Hooey), the local shapely volcano.

On such a nice day we decided to walk Mount Tongariro, a local big peak with great views from the top on a good day. This also gave me the chance to retake shots that I took on Thursday on the Tongariro Crossing but in the sun. We retraced our tracks as far as Red Crater (yes it really is red but with quite a bit of snow at the moment). From Red Crater we made our way up to Tongariro summit. What a great little peak, just under 2000m. Lots of snow on the top.

The light was good too. Still a lot of snow near the summit, steep snow slopes to reach the top of the ridge. Then along to the summit. Great views to Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu with snow in the foreground.

Retraced our route to return to the car, re-took a few shots with different light.

On the summit we met Stuart, a guide who runs Adrift trips. Had a few words but he soon moved off with his group. Back in the car park we met him again waiting for one of his groups to return. He needed some promo shots of the Whanganui River and offered all 4 of us a free day canoeing down the river tomorrow in return for some images. Not sure my back or camera would survive such a trip but would have been nice to accept. Seems like a very nice man!

Tomorrow we leave Tongariro Chateau after 4 days and head for the Wellington Ibis for a complete contrast to the pampering we have received here. Monday I drop off my films in Wellington before catching the ferry to the South Island.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Taranaki Falls and Tama Lakes

We awoke to blue sky everywhere except the 2 mountains we walked over yesterday. Surprisingly the highest peak, Mount Ruapehu, was clear, it also has a good covering of snow.

I had planned for us to go to Tama Lakes, a 12 mile round trip which would give us good views to the mountains in both directions. On the way we also passed Taranaki Falls. We took the high route across the open moors rather than through the trees. Good views to Ruapehu but not to Tongariro. Also good light on Taranaki Falls, must be 60 feet or so high and I was able to take from the front, side and from behind the curtain of water. It was a touch damp so I had to cover the lens except when taking the shot.

Quite a long walk up to Lower Tama Lake and then up steeply to Upper Tama Lake. The top of Ngauruhoe was in clouds but still made for moody images. Then retraced our steps back to civilisation. My back was painful on the way back so Rob and Jan took all of my gear except for my camera. Diclofenac wasn't enough today. The alcohol in the bar back in the village seemed to help, as did the hot belt after I had showered. They seem to have the hang of serving me a warm beer although they seem to think me strange for some reason!

Great clouds over Ngauruhoe while in the bar so I raced up to our room to get my camera and tripod for the last few shots of the day.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours wandering around Auckland taking photos then loaded up and drove to Whakapapa village and our hotel, the Tongariro Chateau.

Mountains were in the clouds but the forecast was reasonable for next day. We decided to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing past 2 volcanoes. We caught a bus from the hotel at 7pm and started by 7.30am. It was dull but dry. We made our way up, not too chilly but no views.

As we made our way up the clouds cleared a bit and it was good enough for photos. Not too many people either. Then we came to the bit where the volcanoes were venting gases (mainly hyrogen sulphide). Jolly smelly (bad eggs smell). There were several flat craters with snow to cross but easy enough. Lots of gases venting near Emerald Lake, which is bright blue and surrounded by gas vents. All the liquid is not water but sulphur. Then up to Blue Lake- totally frozen. Few shots until it brightend later. Nice on walk out. Down to bus shortly after 3pm. Tomorrow we visit some lakes and waterfalls.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Auckland at Night

We left Sydney this morning in the sunshine and flew to Auckland in New Zealand, also sunny but a bit cooler. Both airports did hand-checks on my film to avoid x-rays; jolly decent of them as you don't get this in the UK no matter how much you ask.

After sorting out the car hire we drove in to our hotel in Auckland city centre. Then down to the harbour for food before I went off taking photos of the harbour and the Sky Tower. Back to hotel about midnight ready to sleep!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sunshine In Sydney

We have had a great day in Sydney. The sun arrived early afternoon and have retraced my steps re-taking shots I had already taken when it was overcast.

Now on ferry from Circular Quays to Darling Harbour to meet our friends - Rob had to go to dentist this afternoon otherwise we would have spent the day together. Hope we find a decent bar tonight!

More Photos in Sydney

It eventually stopped raining in Sydney last night and I took lots of night shots around Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Bit of a relief to have some of the 'must have' images in the bank! Ran off 7 rolls, 10 shots on a roll.

Today is brighter, still grey but no sun. We are just having a coffee in Darling Harbour having taken some photos here, 5 rolls so far.

Off to catch ferry to North Sydney in a minute or two, just across the bay.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Wet day in Sydney

We landed in Sydney yesterday, blue skies and hot. Walked in the park and out to Mcquarie Point for photos of Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Didn't feel well and had to return to hotel, got back just as rain arrived.

Had a nice Thai meal in evening having met up with Junette, my cousin from Adelaide. Photos around Darling Harbour at night and a nightcap at a suitable pub.

Today (Sunday) is wet. Cameras becoming waterlogged! Have run off 4 rolls in rain around Opera House and picked out locations to return to if sun comes out. Just sitting having a coffee before round 2.

Friday, 22 October 2010

No Symphony in Hong Kong

We have been in Hong Kong a bit under 2 days and are getting ready to leave for the airport, it is mid-afternoon Friday 22nd.

We arrived Wed evening and had a short walk but my back was too painful to do any photography.

Yesterday my back felt quite a bit better after a good nights rest and a cocktail of several drugs. We walked all day, went up the Peak Tram in daylight and for twilight/night shots of the Hong Kong skyline. We also went across to Kowloon to take the Hong Kong skyline during the day and at night. We expected to see the Symphony of Lights from here too but they were cancelled because a typhoon was forecast, but it was just a strong breeze in the end.

Today we have wandered around taking pictures of buildings and a few of the boats in Causeway Bay; a mix of semi-derelict house boats and millionaire yachts. It tried to rain at one stage, jolly warm and humid. Grey skies since we arrived, no blue sky at all. Doesn't matter for night shots and some of buildings but would have been nice for some of the wide shots.

Next stop Sydney early tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Off and Running

We are just in the Virgin lounge at Heathrow airport waiting for our flight. After a light meal we are ready for a relaxing wait. My back is quite bad, I have done too much in the last few days and should have known better. Am now in the spa pool room on a sun lounger with a hot pack on my back. Hope it frees up soon, feels quite weak though so just as well I can lie flat once aboard plane. Voltarol and Diazepam don't seem to be touching pain or loosening off at moment so may resort to alcohol instead!

It's a 13 hour flight to Hong Kong, arriving late afternoon tomorrow. Hope the weather has improved, they were having heavy rain and we get enough of that in the Peak District without travelling half way around the world for the same.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Problems using Blackberry for Blog

Still having problems using Blackberry for doing my blog. The Blackberry browser keeps hanging so it doesn't load complete web pages. Opera Mini seemed a better option to start with but the more I use it the more it plays up. Now it drops the text completely and clears the clipboard too, this was where I had started to put the text before publishing in case it crashed. Had to step back through the web history to find the text for last blog. This is not a reliable way to blog! Also not what I need before a 4 week photo trip.

Weekend of Courses

We just had another busy weekend with landscape photography courses on Friday and Saturday and a darkroom printing course on Sunday. The two photo courses were full, with 5 on each 1 day course to keep Jan and I busy. It was dry the whole weekend and the Friday forecast was reasonable for the afternoon - sun from 1pm. Well, we didn't have any sun but the mist gave us a lot of atmosphere.

Friday started, for Peter, John, Abi, Anya and Geoff (on his 13th course with us) at Pilsbury Castle for some misty shots along the valley as well as a very shapely tree and limestone outcrop. Then on to Chelmorton Low for shots of the dry stone walls and the village from the hillside. Unfortunately, the church steeple was cloaked in scaffolding and green sheeting, not that photogenic. We lunched in the Church Inn just below the hill, always a reliable stop for us. After lunch it was a short drive to Monsal Head for views over the viaduct and then down to the waterfalls at the weir. They were in spectacular form with loads of water from the recent rain.

Saturday was almost entirely a ladies day, with Abi back again for her second day, Margaret, Sally and Rachel. Rob made up the group. We first went to Castle Naze for some big views, bit grey though but with a few patches of muted sunshine lifting the shots across the valley. Then down to the Goyt for a 25 foot waterfall and a river and packhorse bridge. Unlike July and September there were no midges here. Lunch was at the Rose and Crown at Allgreave. We are always well looked after here by the new landlord and landlady. The last location was 3 Shire Heads. This needs a walk of 1.5 miles each way but it is worth it. The waterfalls are always great and often spectacular. They didn't disappoint there was lots of water everywhere.

Sunday was a 1-to-1 printing workshop with Alan from Kent who came on a 3 day landscape course in Eskdale in March, now 2 weeks into his retirement from the Met. It was good to see him again. We managed 6 large prints which is about the most we could reasonably expect and all good shots. Also managed to set Alan up with a darkroom as I had arranged for someone to drop off their complete darkroom while we were printing. They just wanted it to go to a good home so no charge. Alan's little car was pretty full as he drove away!

All 3 days were very enjoyable with easy going folk, lots of jokes, wisecracks and interesting stories. Lots of good pictures were taken, mostly digital, and printed too.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Damp Last Course Day in Lakes

The day started wet but the forecast was better for later in the day so I gave a demo of Photoshop Elements and ran through the workflow that I use from scan to final file saving. It was still raining so I ran through some prints of Yosemite and assorted cities, hopefully a bit more inspiration and generated some interesting points.

It was approaching 11am and brightening up - the rain had eased. We loaded up the car and drove to Drigg beach for some rock pool, sea, sand pattern and various other subjects. All were soon engrossed, the sky started to brighten, no direct sun though.

Next stop was Saltcoats and a half mile walk to Ravenglass village. Here it was photos of the salt flats and the shapely estuary with the village and Black Combe hill in the background. Quite nice light for some good shots. A short walk later we were in the Ratty Arms for a late lunch.

It was too late to go to St Bees Head so we returned to Boot village and the waterfalls behind the Mill. They were in full flow and very impressive. The rocks low down were wet and slippery so all shots were taken from above, surprising what a little bit of zoom can do to help in these situations..
That was it - 4pm and the end of a very enjoyable course, now in bright sunshine and blue sky. We are looking forward to seeing the photos from our 4 intrepid photographers; Chris, Yann, Alastair and John.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Jolly Nice Day in the Lake District

Day 2 of the landscape photography course in the English Lake District. Today was spent in Eskdale. The forecast was for good weather in the morning and rain after lunch. We started with Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall to avoid the crowds. The rocks were a bit slippery but with a bit of care good shots were taken.

From here we returned to the car and made for the Hardknott Pass as the sun was shining. Then we walked up the steep slope towards Border End to a small pool of water that reflects Coniston Old Man across the valley on a good day. Unfortunately, Coniston stayed in the clouds but it was still a good view and made for some interesting shots. Then down to the Pass and some shots to the valley below, very nice light in the valley.

It was closing in a bit so we drove back to the Hardknott Roman Fort which dates back to about 120AD. Lots of pattern pictures with the remains of the walls and nice views to Eskdale below and cloud-capped Scafell in the other direction.

It was lunch time so we went down to the Brook House Inn in Boot where we had a hearty lunch. There was some brightness now so we went to Devoke Water for tarn and boathouse images.

We finished the day with shots of the River Esk in Boot. Not a lot of light but this added to the shots for Alastair, Yann and Chris who all wanted to try Neutral Density filters in order to use very long exposure times. Yann was using a 10 stop ND filter to give 30 to 60 second exposures for 'milky water'. Very interesting effects.

Tonight we returned to the Brook House for dinner, and very nice it was too. The Darkest Ennerdale beer was good while it lasted. Then it was a walk along the road for 7 minutes in very light drizzle.

It was a good day and all took good photos of quite varied subjects. Tomorrow we go to the coast near Ravenglass. Dave

Friday, 1 October 2010

Landscape Photography With Lots of Atmosphere

What a damp day! Heavy rain this morning so photography was done from underneath umbrellas around Wast Water. An early extended lunch at the Strands Hotel in Nether Wasdale followed. Then after a quick vote we resumed our day in Wasdale by returning to Wasdale Head for Ritsons Force waterfalls. They were spectacular, so much water. I was wishing I hadn't left my camera in the b&b as there were some unusual shots with so much water.

It stopped raining at the falls and we took lots of waterfall shots and some landscapes across the valley on our return to the car. We stopped part way down Wasdale for the last shots of the day. The return of the rain at 5.30pm prompted us to finish.

For those interested I am now using Opera Mini software for blogging. It actually works unlike the Blackberry browser.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lake District Photography Course

We are in the Lake District for a landscape photography course, finishing Sunday afternoon. There is no mobile signal but the Stanley House b&b that we stay in provides free wifi which let's me blog and send emails. It was a lovely day today as we drove up but forecast not good for Friday and Sunday. Still weather often very localised so fingers crossed it will be good between showers rather than persistent rain. The waterfalls will be great, that's for sure.

We had the welcome meet tonight and I gave out the Ilford and Harman freebies, my photo and Photoshop crib sheet and then gave a talk illustrated with 40 prints, mostly from the Lake District and including quite a few from the locations that we will be visiting.

Back home the builders are making good progress. They expect to finish within 2 weeks. Still lots of plastering needed in main gallery plus new floor, heating and electrics. We will be relieved when it is finished. Doesn't help that the plasterers have just gone on holiday! Dave

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

New Computer

I finally had to admit defeat. The new PC that Tim from Whaley Bridge, had built for me was fast but still had the same faults that had caused me to buy a new pc in the first case - programs crashing and hanging for no good reason. Tim tried very hard but it appeared to be the configuration that I needed to run caused the problems. Lots of Adobe programs, as well as Microsoft Outlook and Excel, gave problems with the Windows 7 machine. They took it back 2 or 3 times to try and fix but each time it was no better. In frustration I asked Tim to take it back - permanently, which he did. I don't think it is anything Tim did that caused the problems since they were the same ones I had on the old pc and they spent hours changing hardware and reloading software all to no avail. Looks more like Microsoft and Adobe incompatibilities. That left me with my old problem-ridden pc for the last 3 weeks. I decided to approach the problem from the other side and went for a chat with Andy, the resident computer man at Bob Rigby Photographic, my closest and best pro photographic dealer just 5 miles away in Bollington. After an hour or two I was convinced I should switch to Mac computers from Windows. Just the £1400 later I'm busy trying to set it up. Jolly clear screen. Will continue to run the ailing pc for my Microsoft Office programs for the time being, although I could run on the Mac if need be.

Fortunately, Tim set up a network drive for me, a raid system for auto backups, and that means I can access the same files and images from the 2 computers. I just have Lightroom 3 image editing software to use at the moment. I had bought the Photoshop CS5 upgrade for the new windows pc but am now working my way through the Adobe system for swapping from one platform to another. Hope they sort it for me soon as I rely so much on Photoshop.

I loaded Vuescan to run my Nikon 9000 film scanner and will try running that soon. This was the software that I had to use on the new pc as Nikon no longer support new software, like Windows 7, or Mac for that matter.

Fingers crossed I'm back in action. In the meantime there are 14 new images on the web site of Hamburg and Stockholm, scanned about a month ago on the new pc.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Buxton Gallery in the Gardens

I am in the Gallery in the Gardens in Buxton Pavilion Gardens. Paul Tavernor is on with me today so we are having a chat and telling a few tall tales, well it wouldn't do to be miserable!

I walked here, as usual, this time in the rain the whole way. It's a 12 miles round trip across the tops. Great views across the Goyt Valley on a good day. We have just had a torrential rain and hail storm here. It was sunny and warm just a few minutes before then it went very dark with very loud thunder claps before the storm really let loose. The water ran in the back of Pavilion Gardens like a river and soaked the carpet in the new Arts Centre here. It opens for the first time tomorrow. Hope it isn't that heavy as I walk home at 5pm.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Darkroom Printing

I have been in the darkroom for a couple of hours today catching up with print orders received over the last couple of weeks.

I have printed a new winter version of Descent to the Vallee Blanche and Yosemite Valley.

Tomorrow I walk the 12 mile round trip to Buxton for a day in the Gallery in the Garden. Be good to get some exercise.

Trying Opera browser to post this. Hope it works.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Mobile Blogging with a Blackberry

Most of my blog entries are made using my Blackberry smartphone. Unfortunately, it hasn't been easy as screen displays wrap strangely or not at all, buttons don't work reliably and simple things simply fail to work and I lose all of the text. I even changed Blackberry models to try and improve matters.

Over the last few months the problems mostly seem to relate to software. I now have a couple of other apps to use as alternatives to the built in Browser, which still doesn't work and resulted in a blank blog being sent out on Sunday.

This has been written and hopefully sent with Bolt software. Fingers crossed it works! I needed to sort as we have a 4 week trip to New Zealand fast approaching. Will try and get back to regular posts, assuming everything works.

Isn't modern technology wonderful! And people wonder why I still use manual film cameras. Dave Butcher

Lake District Landscape Photography Course - Last Place

The last Lake District Landscape Photography course is just over a week away and there is just 1 place left. We are based in Eskdale and also visit Wasdale and the nearby coast. It is suitable for people of any ability and with any camera, digital or film. There will be 5 students and 2 tutors for the full 3 days of the course. Accommodation is included and a partner or spouse is welcome to come too for a small additional charge and they are welcome to join us for the evenings. Either book through the web site or contact me for a chat if you need more detail. Dave

New Lecture in Warrington

Lake Light, my new lecture, will be presented for a second time Tuesday evening at Warrington Photographic Society. Drop by if you can. It's a mixture of cities and landscapes.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Beer Festival and Art Fair

It is the Buxton Artist and Designers Fair this weekend. There is also a beer festival at the Old Hall Inn in Whitehough near Chapel-en-le-Frith. Difficult to fit everything in but we made time last night after the show ended and we had eaten, to walk over Eccles Pike to the pub. It was a bit wet but walking the 5 miles gave us some exercise and meant neither of us had to drive so we could both have a drink. It was very busy and lots of beers and ciders to choose from, 36 in fact. I started with Absolution (always good to start with this!), then moved on to Salem Porter, Old Slug Porter finishing with Bishops Tipple. All in good form. A good night then we jjust had to walk back over the hill and home by torchlight.
Now in Buxton for last day of the fair. We are here until 4.30pm, drop by for a chat if you can. Dave Butcher

Friday, 17 September 2010

Lecture to Hoylake Photographic Society

Just on way home from Hoylake on the Wirral having given my Peak Light lecture. Very appreciative friendly audience. Looks like we will be home about midnight. That's 2 this week as I lectured to East Midlands Monochrome Group (near Northampton) Wednesday. Art Fair in Buxton this weekend. Fortunately we set up stand this afternoon so can have a lie in to 7.30am tomorrow.

Friday, 3 September 2010

New Trip Diaries

I finally added several of the trip diaries that were referred to on the web site but never appeared. They are a mixture of ski mountaineering and treks that I have done over the years. I also edited some of the older diaries, to add more detail. The photos will be added later but for now they have a link to the relevant photographs already included in the gallery.
They include:
Tour de Mont Blanc trek, 2 trips, one in each direction
Alpine Pass Route, a trek from Grindelwald to Montreux
Glasgow to Cape Wrath trek including my version of the West HIghland Way and 19 Munro's (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet).
Gran Paradiso Ski Tour, including the ascent of the 4000m peak Gran Paradiso and two 3000m peaks
Otztal Alps Ski Tour, including the ascent of the Wildspitz and 4 other 3000m peaks
Vanoise Alps Ski Tour, including five 3000m peaks
Haute Route Ski Tour from Chamonix to Zermatt (actually from Argentiere just up the valley from Chamonix) including two 3000m peaks - I added lots more detail.
Bernese Oberland Ski Tour from Jungfraujoch above Grindelwald to Reckingen in the south near Brig including four 3000m peaks

If you are interested in this sort of thing I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

April Showers in August and New Newsletter

We are having heavy showers and sunshine here in the Peak District so it is more like April than August! It's a bit chilly too when the sun isn't shining, with quite a cool breeze.

The builders have made a good mess at the side of the house. The old leaking roof is off the side part (so it leaks properly now!), walls are down and they have started putting in steel beams and brick pillars to hold everything up as well as a few new roof trusses. We should see the new roof going on this week.

I sent out a newsletter yesterday. It will be on my web site sometime next week hopefully. If you are not on the distribution and would like to see it here is the link to the archive for all my newsletters.

Just putting finishing touches to my new lecture Lake Light; 73 prints done, just a handful to go.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Windy Day in the Peak District

I was in the Gallery in the Gardens in Buxton yesterday and walked the 12 mile round trip, as usual. It felt very autumnal - the first time for several months that I have needed 3 layers and a windproof to keep warm. Clear as a bell on the way in, fast moving clouds but no rain. Lots of heavy rain during the day while I was in the Gallery. Walking home was interesting. It stayed dry except for a few spots of rain so didn't need waterproofs but it was so windy. At one point on the route the old single track road I follow for part of the way passes between a narrow passage in the rocks. We have nicknamed this Windy Gap because it is often windy here. However, yesterday was exceptional. The wind was continuous, not gusting, and was strong enough to ripple my cheeks as I tried to walk against it. I wished I had my wind speed meter as I suspect it was way over gale force (from 36mph) and probably around 50 mph. Fortunately, it was just for 100 yards and then it was back to being just a strong wind. Made it interesting though. It's quite cool today and has been since Monday, looks like the summer has gone and we are into the autumn.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Builders Arrived this Week

It all started with a leak down the side passage on the house; the only way from the front garden to the back garden without going through the main house. With the builder and a local architect we decided that the best way forward was to raise the roof line to match that of the main house. We then decided to expand the gallery space by knocking out an internal wall or two. So the job has grown somewhat from the original plan to stop a leak!

Jan cleared the side passage and lots of the gallery last weekend then I finished off by clearing all of the pictures from the walls and we moved the browsers into the hall.

On Wednesday the builders arrived to start knocking walls out and working on the roof. By Friday some of the internal walls were downand the main gallery was partitioned off from the mayhem on the other side. Now we are awaiting an engineer to come on Monday to specify the number and size of steel beams that are needed to make sure the building stays up when the last wall is knocked out!

The gallery is still open. We have around 400 browser prints on display in the hall and 140 pictures on the walls, so the gallery can still operate by appointment, as usual. Roll on October when it will all be finished.

Happy days!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Wet Weekend in the Yorkshire Dales

We returned from a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales last night. I was hoping for some good views across the tops but we mostly had rain and grey days. I took quite a few waterfall shots yesterday around the Aysgarth area and some images from the hills around Grassington and Buckden between Friday and Sunday (between showers!).

We stayed in Grassington in Wharfedale, which is just a couple of hours driving from here. This is where we will be based for a 2 day 'Waterfalls and Dales' course next year. This will give us access to locations between Bolton Abbey in the south and Aysgarth in the north. Lots of variety of subject with limestone pavement, waterfalls, trees, rock formations, dry stone walls, isolated barns in the landscape and lots more. Keep an eye out for the dates if you are interested, just 5 places available at £300 each.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Web Gallery of Photos from Courses

We now have a new gallery on my web site for displaying photographs taken on my courses. Up until recently I had added them to this blog but very quickly they become difficult to find. The new system uses a combination of my web site and Flickr.

The way it works is that there is a new web page for course photos, both those taken on courses and candid action shots taken by Jan, my wife. One image is displayed for each person and moving the mouse over each image displays information about the person and the course. Clicking any image takes you to my new courses page on Flickr. This is just for images taken on my courses. There are none of my pictures here - I have enough coverage on my 6 web sites and this blog!

Take a look and I hope you enjoy them.

If you have been on a course and would like some of the images taken on the course with me to appear on this new system then do please send me some. They don't need to be huge files, no more than 500kb each is fine. Send by email or disc, whatever is easiest for you.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wet Walk to Buxton

Today is a Gallery day in Buxton for me. I took the opportunity to get some exercise and walked the 6 miles here, as I usually do. The weather was dreadful though, steady rain the whole way. Hope it clears for my return tonight when the Gallery closes. If you want to drop by for a chat I'm here until 5pm.

Bit of a late day yesterday, I worked until 1.30am sorting out dates for our 2011 courses and events. I will put them on the web later or tomorrow.

Buxton Gallery

I am walking to Buxton Tuesday 27th July for a day in the Gallery. I should be there between 9.30am and 5pm. I changed the display just over a week ago so there are some new photographs to see. New ones in the browsers too. Come by for a chat if you are able to.

Friday, 23 July 2010

New Images of Oslo, York and Yorkshire Dales

I have added some new images to my web site; 22 in total with another 25 to come soon.

There are 5 from Oslo, Norway.
A striking building in the Aker Brygge harbour area of Oslo. Looks like the prow of a ship and is right on the waterway.

There are 12 from York (and 7 to follow).
The Roman wall in York with the Minster (cathedral) in the background.


Finally, 5 New images from the Yorkshire Dales. I have hundreds of images taken in the Yorkshire but seem to be slow in adding to the web site, with just 20 images for this area so far.
Brimham Rocks near Pately Bridge.

Visit the web site to see them all:
Temporary Link (images are displayed in Recent Gallery for 1 month): Recent Images gallery

Off to set up for Great Dome Art Fair in Buxton in a couple of hours, just have to load the car.
Dave Butcher

Great Dome Art Fair

We have been getting ready for the Great Dome Art Fair. It starts with the preview tomorrow evening 7pm to 9pm. Please do come along if you are able to.

The main show is open 10am to 4.30pm Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th. I am giving a talk on Saturday afternoon at 2pm on Lake Light, my new book. 29 pictures from the Lake District, many printed specially for this talk, and the story behind each picture. Lots of other new photos on show too as well as book offers, courses and posters.

Hope to see you there. Dave

Saturday, 17 July 2010

New Newsletter

I sent out a new newsletter yesterday. I use iContact to mail them out to try and avoid being black-listed. There is an archive of all of my newsletters on their web site. Follow this link to see a web copy of the latest one and you can navigate to previous ones from here.

If you are not on the distribution list and would like to be just sign up here.

You can unsubscribe at any time using the Manage My Subscription link at the bottom left of the email page.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Lake District Course Part 2

In case you are confused about the blog entry earlier today saying we are in the Lakes getting ready for a course tomorrow I thought I should make a correction. That was written on Saturday night but the wifi in the b&b only allowed me to receive and not to send; I think the signal was a bit weak in our bedroom. I saved it and it only went live when I published it this morning.

Mark, John and Anna won the 1 day course by entering the competition in Black + White Photography magazine, which I ran in conjunction with Ilford / Harman. The competition is actually a prize draw, so all who enter have the same chance of winning. We had a good day on Sunday in Eskdale. The rivers were in full spate; I've never seen so much water coming over Stanley Ghyll Force. It was a raging torrent. Good for pictures but reduced viewpoints because lots of usual camera positions under water. Rocks at River Esk bridge mostly under water but still some with interesting shapes above water line. Jolly nice lunch at the Brook House Inn then up to Hardknott Pass for some big views in sunshine, then it closed in for a bit so we went to the Roman Fort on the way back to Boot. Good views here but the big peaks were in the clouds. We finished the day with the impressive falls near to Boot Mill. Pictures to follow I'm sure.

Course Picture Gallery

I have received quite a few photographs taken on courses that we have run and was dropping them onto a blog here in the past, but they tend to get lost before too long. I had a chat with my web man a couple of weeks ago and he agreed to change it. I now have a Flickr gallery specifically for pictures taken on my courses. There is a selection on my web site and links to the full set of Flickr galleries. It is not fully loaded with pictures yet but we hope to sort in the next couple of weeks. Dave Butcher

Lake District Course

We are in Stanley House in Boot ready to run a 1 day course tomorrow for the 3 winners of the course I ran in B+W Photography magazine in March.

There has been heavy rain here in the last few days, while a hundred-odd miles further south, in the Peak District, we have been basking in the sun in temps up to 26C.

We will stay in Eskdale and do waterfalls, the River Esk, the Roman Fort and Hardknott Pass so hope it clears for tomorrow afternoon.

Saw Harry Berger (owner of Stanley House and the Woolpack) tonight at the Woolpack where we went for our meal. He looks great but his right arm is in a sling after being shot while in his car in Seascale by Derek Bird (who shot dead 12 people and injured many more) 5 weeks ago. Sounds like he has some pretty major surgery ahead of him and a recovery taking years not months. He is keeping very upbeat despite his injuries and we will be keeping our fingers and everything else crossed that all goes well for him over the coming months.


Dave

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Landscape Photography Courses

If you are thinking of coming on a landscape photography courses there are still places available on the 1 day course in the Peak District on Friday 9th July.Looks like there will be less than 5 people so you will have more attention than on previous courses this year, still with 2 tutors. It is £150 and we do all the driving. Lots of good locations to visit. Lots of guidance on the artistic side of composition as well as help with camera settings, both digital and film. Any ability level catered for.

There are also places on the Lake District 3 day course meeting at the end of September with photography on 1st to 3rd October in Eskdale, Wasdale and Ravenglass/St Bees Head on the coast. We also find time to have a session on editing digital images with Photoshop, if this interests you. It also covers image quality which applies to both film and digital. We stay in a  very comfortable bed and breakfast, included in the price, in the village of Boot. All individual en-suite rooms, no sharing! Spouses welcome, we do all of the driving so they can have the car during the day to go off sightseeing and we can meet up again for dinner. The cost is £550 including b&b and transport during the course.

Contact me if you are interested in any of these courses.
Dave Butcher

Next Show Approaches

We have decided not ot do as many shows as we have in the past so it's just 6 shows in Buxton and 3 in the south.

The next show is fast approaching, the Artist and Designer's fair in Buxton Pavilion Gardens on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th July, 10am to 4.30pm. Free admission. Lots of new exhibitors. Lots of new images from me, as well as offers on books and posters. If you're interested in a course why not come along for a chat to help you make your mind up.

Dave

Dave Butcher on Wikipedia

You can now find me on Wikipedia. It was pulled together by Andy Oakey, of 10th Planet design, who does my leaflets and built and maintains my web site; too complicated for me to do! There is probably more information on my web site but it may be of use to someone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Butcher

Dave

New Web Sites for Courses and Overview

I hadn't realised how long since I last added a blog. Doesn't time fly when you're enjoying yourself?

I have another 2 new web sites, one for courses and one for an overview of my business. Like the 3 new sites for my books they are all linked through to the shopping cart site. If you want to have a look they are here:

http://www.blackandwhitephotographycourses.co.uk/
http://www.blackandwhitelandscapephotography.co.uk/

That makes 6 web sites in total.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

New Web Sites for Each Book

I now have a web site for each of my 3 books. They give a better impression of each book than was previously available on my main site, http://www.davebutcher.co.uk/books-and-writing.

If you are interested have a look by clicking on each link in turn.
Lake Light: http://www.lakelight.co.uk/
Peak Light: http://www.peaklight.co.uk/
High Light: http://www.highlightbook.co.uk/

Hope you like them!
Dave

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Competition Winners Selected

The prize draw has been done for the competition that I ran in B+W Photography magazine with Harman / Ilford providing product prizes too.

All winners won a place on a special landscape photography course with me in Eskdale in the Lake District on 11th July.

1st prize and £250 Harman / Ilford products: Mark Thompson from Macclesfield.
2nd prize and £150 Harman / Ilford products: John Duder from Walsall
3rd prize and £100 Harman / Ilford products: Anna Allen from Cambridge

The competition was a prize draw so photographic competence was not considered so all entrants had an equal chance of winning.
The winners pictures will also be displayed on my main web site and in B+W photo magazine and will probably be displayed on the Harman / Ilford stand at Focus on Imaging at the NEC in March.
Pretty good exposure you and your work for a free competition!

Henley on Thames Art and Craft Fair

We set up today for an art and craft fair near Henley on Thames with Craft in Focus, on the Henley to Marlow road.

If you visit we are in marquee A stand 24, quite near the main entrance.

There are about 180 exhibitors in 6 marquees and outdoors.

If you are able to come and see us and have a chat. There are quite a few new pictures, my new Lake District book and courses.

Am keeping fingers crossed that my bad back holds up. Had some muscle spasms yesterday and it feels weak all the time now. Hoping that the usual exercises, Voltarol and Diazepam will keep it under control until I can give it a bit of a break next week.

Still 1 place on Peak District course in 2 weeks from a cancellation and 1 place on the darkroom course the same weekend.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Lake District Trip

The 15 new Lake District images mentioned in my last post are now on my web site. We have also changed the Favourites page so that you can make your selections and then email a link so that your friends can see the same images before you make your purchase or just for interest.

Saturday we are off to Eskdale for the next Lake District landscape photography course, based in the Stanley House bed and breakfast. The forecast is good so will keep fingers crossed the weather matches it.

Today I was scanning negatives for use as possible posters by International Graphics Walmsley GmbH. They included 12 city shots of New York, Paris and London; 7 down, 5 to go. I have also been working on a possible US calendar with someone we met at a trade show that we did in May 2008 in New York. Hope it comes off.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

New Lake District Black & White Photographs

I have just sent 15 new Lake District images to Martin, my web man, to add to my web site. Will keep fingers crossed that they are loaded on the Recent Images Gallery by the weekend so that I can use them on the course we are running starting on Sunday. They were all taken in mid-March before or during the last Eskdale course. They cover locations in Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere.
Ritson's Force, Wasdale head
Scafell and Tree, above Boot in Eskdale
Rocks and the River Esk, Boot
Scafell Pike and Wast Water

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Buxton Gallery

I walked the 12 miles to and from Buxton today. It was clear as a bell with blue sky and white fluffy clouds and not too warm. Didn't carry my camera as my bad back had been aching recently but it was a good day for photos. Hope this continues into next week for our Lake District course; we go up on Saturday. Now have 3 of the 5 places booked on the course and I'm sure we'll have a good time, can't fail really in Eskdale - the scenery is spectacular.

Heard Snipe piping for the first time this year and then spotted it on top of a fence post across the field from me as I walked to Buxton. Would have stopped and watched for longer but had to reach the Gallery by 9.30am. On the way back saw a family of 5 Kestrels practising their skills around the edge of Combs Moss. Just a few Mallard on the reservoir as I walked over the dam near home, usually see Great Crested Grebes but not today, but it reminded me that I had seen 3 Little Grebes on the Cromford Canal last Wednesday when I went down there to take some photographs of Arkwrights Mill for a commission. Hadn't seen any before in Derbyshire, my last sighting being on the flooded gravel pits around Sandy in Bedfordshire, where we used to live (in Sandy not the gravel pits!), 30-odd years ago.
Time flies when you're enjoying yourself.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Places on Lake District Course Starting Sunday 2nd May

There are still places on my Lake District photography course starting on Sunday 2nd May and finishing Wednesday 5th May. That gives you 3 full days of photography with Jan and I as tutors in some spectacular scenery. The Lakes have been having great weather too so it will be good for photos if it continues, and it sounds as though it should.

For example, just a 10 minute walk from our very comfortable accommodation (Stanley House) is a 60 foot high waterfall, Stanley Ghyll in a stunning setting (see photo below taken just before the last course in March). Then we have views to the highest peaks in England, the deepest lake, the coast for beaches and estuary, a ruined Roman fort and lots more. What variety! Just ask if you need more information.


You can book directly with me (telephone, email, etc.) or through the web site. If you want to join us please don't wait too long or we may not have a room for you! Dave

Sunny Peak District

We have clear blue skies everywhere now, after showers earlier on. Nice light at the end of the day. Hope it holds for tomorrow as I'm walking to Buxton for a day in the Gallery in Pavilion Gardens.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Dodgy Weather Forecasts for Peak District Course!

Yesterday was the last day of the 3 day course for Clive and Alex and we were looking forward to the best weather of the 3 days with BBC and Met Office forecasts of sunny spells all day. In fact we had sleet, hail and rain in the morning with 25mph winds making it feel much colder than the 8C that the thermometer showed. The afternoon was better but not the blue sky we expected.

Having taken lots of waterfalls on the first 2 days I planned to spend much of this 3rd day taking extensive views from the tops. We started on Combs Moss, a large moor with steep cliffs in places and a high vantage point for us (up to 1700 feet) and views over hills, hill farms and lakes. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived the rain blew in which was sleet on the top where we sheltered for a few minutes. There was a short break in the weather and we managed some views with sunny patches on the hills. Then back to the car before it closed in again. High Edge and Chrome Hill were next on the list. Coming down from High Edge wwe had stinging hail and a strong wind which nearly ripped the door off the RAV4 when I opened it. Some nice light towards Chrome Hill before this though. We sheltered a few minutes in the car before venturing out for a shot along the spine of Chrome Hill. Nice light here and we made it back to the car in the dry! The rest of the day was dry, thank goodness!

Next stop was Chelmorton and the Church Inn for lunch, a traditional pub with good food and beer. Clive and Alex made it their main meal as they had to return to London when we finished in a few hours time. After lunch we made our way behind the pub onto Chelmorton Low, the local hill with impressive views. From here we went towards Tideswell and Litton for Peter Stone. I was surprised by the amount of water in the the bottom of Cressbrook Dale, over a foot deep in places. Nice light in the dale and several frisky ponies running about for extra interest. Stopped off below Mam Tor on the way back for a quick shot of the ridge leading away to Lose Hill with nice light.

In the end it was a pretty good afternoon despite the forecast!
Overall, we had a good 3 days with lots of changing light making for some dramatic images. Both Clive and Alex have lots of good shots and were good company.

Today I was in the darkroom processing 19 rolls of film from the Lakes. Should have done them sooner or sent them to Ilford to save time. Anyway they are done now. Some good ones too.

Walking to Buxton tomorrow for a day in the Pavilion Gardens Gallery. Will take precaution of not looking at weather forecast so that I'm not disappointed!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Good Day in the Peak District!

Day 2 for Clive and Alex in the Peak District. We had a pleasant surprise today with good weather when we were expecting heavy rain! Lots of sunny spells and clouds and blue sky.
We started from Surprise View above Hathersage with Owler Tor rocks (see photo by Alex below), then on to a couple of shapely trees before going down to Bole Hill Quarry and the millstones and Silver Birch trees. Surprised there were no climbers on the cliffs here. Lots of good shots and different angles to look for through the trees. Views through to Kinderscout with patches of snow on too. Then to the Fox House Inn for a good lunch.

 
Tree near Surprise View. Copyright © Alex Kornitzer 2010
Owler Tor. Copyright © Alex Kornitzer 2010



Bole Hill Cliff Reflections. Copyright © Clive Kornitzer 2010

Bole Hill Millstones. Copyright © Clive Kornitzer 2010

After lunch it was on to Padley Gorge for small waterfalls in the sunshine! Also some tree roots. Then picked off the lone tree on Rushup Edge on our way back as well as panoramas of Kinderscout. Finished at home with a cup of tea and checking out the images from the day!

A good day.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Wet day in the Peak District - Clive Kornitzer Image

It is a wet day in the Peak District today. The rain started about 10am and has hardly stopped.

I am running a private course for 3 days with Clive Kornitzer and his son Alex, from London, this was the first day. We started in the Goyt Valley with some waterfalls and a packhorse bridge with a river running underneath it. Then to the Cat and Fiddle pub for lunch, very slow service but not busy despite being Good Friday.

The afternoon was a bit of a wash-out with heavy rain and a cold wind. We started walking down to 3 Shire Heads but the rain increased and it was quite unpleasant. The cameras would have been waterlogged if we had tried to take photos so we returned to base early and did a bit of work on the computer in Photoshop. At least with all of this rain the waterfalls, rivers and lakes look great - no shortage of water in these!

Here is an image by Clive so you can see day was productive even though it was curtailed earlier than expected. A simple image with some nice shapes and patterns that hang together very well with a bit of space at the bottom for the water to fall into. Alex has some good pictures too perhaps I will be able to drop one or two of those on after another day.

Image © Clive Kornitzer 2010

  Forecast is for less rain tomorrow and a few sunny spells. Hope it rains less, and a bit of sunshine would be good!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

More Snow in the Peak District

It may be 1st April but this isn't an April Fool's joke - the Peak District is white again after snow all day yesterday and again this morning. It's a cold wind here too. The snow line is about 350 metres so none at the house which sits at 205m but hills front and back are white a fair way down.

I'm running a private course tomorrow for 3 days so there will be some interesting shots for us. The light is fantastic in patches as storms come and go. May take my camera too as there will probably be some unusual shots - Spring interspersed with Winter spells.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Bryce Canyon and Sweden new images

Mora jetty in Lake Siljan, Mora, Sweden
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Some of my Bryce Canyon photographs from last January have finally made it onto my web site. There was quite a bit of snow and we mostly snowshoed to move around. Lots of rock formations, shadows, patterns, the odd tree here and there. Not just for colour photographers!

There is also the first image from our Scandinavian trip last September / October. It's a simple shot of a jetty in Lake Siljan at the town of Mora in Sweden. The lake is the 6th largest in Sweden. Nice cloud or two, good reflections.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Artist and Designer's Fair, Buxton Pavilion Gardens

We have just set up our stand for the Artist and Designer's Fair in Buxton Pavilion Gardens tomorrow and Sunday. It will be our second show this year but the first art fair. It's also the first time I will have my new book on sale. The display prints are mainly of the Lake District but the browsers have several hundred from all over the shop. Come by for a chat if you are able to.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Lake District Landscape Photography Course

A distinct lack of mobile phone signal meant no blogging for 5 days!

We returned home last night after running a 3 day landscape photography course in the Lake District. We were based in the spacious and very comfortable Stanley House bed and breakfast in Boot in Eskdale. This is a good base for the area.

We went up on Saturday and checked out the Stanley Force waterfall a short walk from our b&b. There was lots of water in the falls so that would be a good location. Rocks were a bit slippery though so we would need to be careful. Then off for a walk along the river before returning to our room. On the Sunday we went up Hardknott Pass at the end of the valley to check out parking and a few shots. Then up onto Hard Knott, the little peak just above the pass with pools of water, some still frozen. Good views from here to the Old Man of Coniston and the Scafell range, all with quite a bit of snow on the tops. Then down to the Hardknott Roman fort where there is still quite a bit remaining with walls complete on all 4 sides up to a height of over 6 feet. Then we walked up the hillside behind Boot and found a very shapely tree, a bit like a flue brush really, flat top and few lower branches! Nice waterfalls in Boot village. Then round to Wasdale to check out the car parking for some regular locations for me. There was sunshine and very nice light so I took a few pictures too.

Sunday we all met up in the evening in Stanley House to meet one another and for the course introduction from me and a short talk illustrated with some hopefully inspirational black and white prints. There were just 4 on the course as someone had cancelled through illness the day before (normally 5 on a course). Paul had been with me before in the Peak District, we met Alan at an art show in Sevenoaks in October and Ann and her daughter Sian met us at a show at Wellington College near Bracknell in November.

On Monday morning we started with a short walk to 60 foot high Stanley Force waterfall. It had rained overnight and was still grey as we walked in. The rocks at the foot of the fall were quite slippery. It was very photogenic and easy to take a good photo to get people started. Then lots to take along the stream on the way back, including a small bridge. Then up to Hardknott as the clouds lifted and the sun came out. Good views through to the hills beyond Wrynose Pass but the high tops remained in the clouds. Hardknott Fort was our last port of call for the day and the light was going rapidly as it was after 5 O'clock.

Tuesday had the locations furthest from our base, Buttermere and Crummock Water, about an hours drive away. This is pretty much the limit for courses based in Eskdale but it is quite beautiful with 2 large lakes, lots of shapely trees, rocks and waterfalls. The day was cloudy as we drove north but we were greeted with sun breaking through the clouds as we drove down the valley to Buttermere and it quickly cleared to blue sky and white fluffy clouds; days you dream of! We started with Buttermere then moved to Crummock Water after lunch at the Bridge Hotel. Lots of choice in what to photograph and all were in full swing picking out different things, not all lining up taking the same views!

Wednesday was forecast to be the best day so it was disappointing to see thick mist everywhere when we came down to breakfast. It didn't thin out much as we drove the few minutes around to Wasdale so it was time to find some atmospheric locations where the mist would help us. The end of Wast Water lake nearest the coast has lots of trees, a small island and a boathouse; all good subjects for us. We spent quite a bit of time here before moving on to Ritsons Force behind the Wasdale Head Hotel (a half mile up the hillside behind the hotel!). This had lots more water than on Sunday and was spectacular. That was pretty much it. We made out way to the pub for a late lunch knowing that Ann and Sian would leave straight afterwards. Paul and Alan came back to Boot after lunch and we checked out the falls near the Mill. It proved almost impossible to stand up on the damp rocks so we retreated after Alan had taken a tumble.

Then it was goodbye to Paul and Alan to finish the course. All had long drives ahead of them.

Jan was taking group shots throughout and some are shown here to give a flavour of what we did.

Overall, it was one of the most entertaining courses we have ever run. Paul was a mine of useless information which couldn't possibly be repeated over the dinner table mixed in with the odd gem. Ann and Sian were a very polished double act with lots of stories and quips to keep us amused all day. Alan was the quietest but came in with the perfect repost to bring the house down at just the right time. As far as the photography goes all were taking good shots from the start no matter what level they started from, often in difficult lighting. I will add some of their shots here and to my web site when they send them through. Paul and Alan were taking film so this could be a little while yet. As for me I took 18 rolls of 10 exposures so it was a pretty productive few days for me as well, mostly from the weekend before the course started but also a couple of rolls from each day of the course too, including some action shots in glorious black and white. It will be a while until I get to print them though.

Paul at River Esk in Boot
Stanley Ghyll and Sian, Alan and DB
Wast Water and Paul, Ann and DB
DB on wall above Boot
Crummock Water Tree with Sian and DB
Buttermere and DB, Alan, Ann, Paul (hidden) and Sian
Buttermere and Ann and Sian
Buttermere with Paul, DB and Alan
All photos in this post copyright © Janice Butcher 2010