On the way to meet my guests on last week’s Borrowdale-based Lake District in Autumn workshop, I stopped off for a reconnoitre of the Derwent Water shoreline from Manesty Park. A little time with Google Earth and The Photographers’ Ephemeris the night before suggested Myrtle Bay for a length-of-the-lake-to-Skiddaw shot.
After wandering up and down the bay and the adjacent headland for the best part of an hour, I still hadn’t found a foreground that wouldn’t just be there for convention’s sake. I was, I told myself, certainly not in the mood to add yet another image to the Lake District fence-into-water lead-in canon.
The lake itself wasn’t on the best of form either. It over-brightly reflected the near greyness of the 95 percent cloud cover. That was when I noticed the, yes, Bog Mrytle. Past its best-by date foliage-wise, its spindly structure looked like it might provide something more meaningful and contextual to hold together the bottom of a composition, as well as preventing the fence-into-the-water
cliche from stealing the show. A few more minutes of careful bog negotiation and I had found what I didn’t know I was looking for.
The clouds began to break up a little and I was increasingly pleased with the composition. I was just about to pack up when the wake from an around-the-headland and out of shot Keswick Launch began lapping progressively around the bay. For about ten seconds the small waves added interest and texture to half of the water in the mid-“ground” of the shot: the perfect foil for that fence-in-the-water, and, working with the latter to draw the eye towards Skiddaw and its companions on the horizon.
For the technically minded: 1/10 second at f16, Lee 0.6 ND grad hard and 0.3 soft. Nikon D700 with 24-70 mm lens at 24 mm.