The Lake District is the most visited National Park in England and Wales and is a haven for photographers. It offers an array of opportunities and a diverse range of photographic subjects in a relatively small area.
It is easy when pursuing a keen interest in photography to gravitate to one or two genres but there’s no place better than the Lake District for climbing out of such a rut. The beauty and tranquillity is ideal for sharpening the perspective and opening the mind of even the most habitual of photographers. One of the major benefits of shooting a diverse range of subjects is the way in which it challenges our skills and this is where the Lake District excels.
Below are my top 10 places to photograph in the Lake District:
1. Landscapes at Loweswater
Located in the North Western Lake District, Loweswater is one of three basins in a chain including Crummock Water and Buttermere. Loweswater is accessible from all sides but the most promising shots come from the south western forested footpath, offering vistas across the water towards distant fells – ideal for wide angle lenses.
2. Architecture at Hawkshead Village
Dating back to 1200AD, this Norse settlement offers quaint picturesque village architecture. There are opportunities to isolate details in the architecture using a prime lens or zoom. Alternatively, from the medieval church grounds use a wide angle lens to capture the whole village below with surrounding fells providing the backdrop.
3. Wildlife at Grizedale Forest
The Grizedale Forest offers the most diverse range of wildlife photography of any location in the Lake District. The 25km2 forest, located east of Coniston Water plays host to red squirrels, red deer, roe deer, red kite (recently reintroduced to the area), buzzards and barn owls. On a smaller scale there are butterflies and dragonflies and a whole host of insects. Significant research before your shoot is recommended, as are a range of lenses from macro to telephotos.
4. Waterfall at Aira Force
Aira Force provides a beautiful opportunity to practice your water blurring skills. With a polarizing filter and/or your ND grads (along with a slow shutter speed) you will be presented with an array of compositions. Arrive early to avoid the masses but don’t worry about the weather too much as the surrounding trees protect the subject from most of the elements.
5. People at Keswick
Of course, it’s not always possible (or desirable) to avoid the masses. Keswick offers a wonderful range of people to capture in candid portraits. Locals and tourists busy themselves with a range of activities and you’ll find that walking around the town presents many photographic opportunities.
6. Woodlands at Whinlatter Forest
Although Whinlatter Forest offers a similar environment to Grizedale Forest, I find it a more desirable place for forest scenes. Whinlatter offers a variety of tree species, log piles, and winding paths, which are sure to keep you inspired all year round.
This prehistoric monument is awe inspiring and makes for wonderful foreground interest in the best landscape images. The 38 stones sit peacefully in front of a backdrop which contains some of the Lake District’s most impressive mountains, including Blencathra and Skiddaw. A wide angle lens is a must.
8. Sunrise/Sunsets at Ullswater
Ullswater is quite unique in that it offers fantastic sunrise and sunset shots from many different locations. It is accessible from most sides (by road on its north western shore and footpath on its south eastern shore) and due to its shape and orientation you will find that whatever the time of year, the sun will line up nicely for at least one location along the banks. Use sunrise/sunset charts in conjunction with an OS Map to calculate the best place for the time of year and don’t forget your ND grad filters.
9. Tarns at Langdale
The small scale and manageability of tarns make them wonderful subjects for photography. These ice-scoured basins are abundant in the Lake District, but Langdale offers a high density in a small area. Surrounding Great Langdale River, a 25km2 area hosts the tarns Easedale, Loughrigg, Blea and Stickle, all offering their own individual personality and characteristics. The range of photographic opportunities demands a range of lenses.
10. History at Coniston Old Man
Taking the north western route out of Coniston towards the YHA, you will eventually (approximately 2km) reach the disused copper mines. Here you will be rewarded with old iron relics and stone buildings, all of which make fascinating and intriguing subjects. The mines date back approximately 400 years (most active in the 1800’s) and you really will feel immersed in the history.
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