June 7th, and this was my first backpacking trip of the year! I find this quite disappointing, particularly as I’d had four or five trips by this time last year. But the weather was much nicer then. This year there has been a combination of things that have prevented me from getting out in the tent with my camera; the weather was certainly one of the factors and the other major reason has been work.
This time of year is particularly busy for primary teachers. I know the public perception is that we’re happy because there’s more opportunity for rounders, and that is true to a small degree, but the reality is that there is an awful lot of end of year work that needs to be done at this time of year. I won’t bore you with the tedious details of paper-heavy tasks, but they take up a lot of time after the working day and this means that getting away for a weekend living out of a rucksack becomes a logistical challenge.
However, I don’t want to turn this into a moan about work. I simply pointed out that, like many of you, finding the time to commit to photography, or any hobby, is difficult in amongst the realities of a job. And if I have to wait until June 7th, so be it. Getting away then is much better than not getting away at all and, as I drove the final few miles along the side of Haweswater, I could feel work slip into the background as considerations such as composition, depth of field and exposure times took over. I still have to concentrate very hard on these aspects of my photography. I know many more experienced photographers talk of how this has now become second nature to them and they only need to focus on their artistic vision, which must be a lovely state of affairs. I do, however, quite enjoy that ‘messing about getting the camera to do what I want’ time. It is becoming routine, but I have to concentrate on that routine and, for me, that is an enjoyable and useful thing. I go through the processes and, whilst performing them, everything else fades away for a while. They help to get me in to the ‘zone’ and I love being there.
It was 9 o’clock in the evening before I arrived at the car park and shouldered my rucksack. The walk up to Small Water is an easy one from the road end and I took my time, as looking back towards the lake provides a number of interesting viewpoints, although none were worth getting the camera out for on this occasion. There was already a tent there, but there is plenty of room to pitch a tent and I was soon set up, had a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. It was soon time for bed.
Sunrise, at this time of year, is early, but I knew the sun was due to rise from a position which would shine directly onto the majority of the crags that encircle Small Water and I wanted to try and show the contrast between them, glowing with the early morning light and the cold, dark water of the tarn. I set up my camera and watched, entranced, as a light mist flowed onto the tarn, obscuring most of the water, but adding a lovely sense of mystery to the view. I hoped that sunrise would enhance this even further, but the mist had dissipated before the sun arrived. To compound my disappointment, there was no gentle glow of light, but simply a sharp transition to full brightness.
I only pressed the shutter a few times, and none of the images are particularly interesting. But the morning was still a very beautiful one and I sat, marvelling at all around me. Even the ‘ordinary bits’, the grassy slopes running down to the North Eastern edge of the tarn, were beautiful. Which got me thinking about how these ‘ordinary bits’ are always beautiful; they just go unnoticed. But that’s another topic for another time. When work allows.