I decided to set of on Saturday night in the camper to save the two hour drive in the morning giving me more sleep time for the big climb in the dark, on reaching Wasdale valley it was very foggy and drizzling heavy and was hoping that the forecast would come good for dawn like they said. The alarm went of at 3.50am and with tired eyes got ready for my friend Mick Pearce who was going to guide me up there for the first time in the dark. I had been up before but 30 years ago and couldn’t remember it, Mick had offered so i took him up on his offer. The route is fairly straight forward and could confidently do it again on my own. We set of at 4.30am under a star filled sky, as we gained height we could see mist in the valleys and it was looking promising for a great dawn, hardly a breath of wind and incredibly warm for February. We arrived at the empty summit at 6.15am an hour before sunrise, i enjoyed a brew first then started to work out my compositions for the sunrise, shooting film and only getting 4 images per roll I need to know exactly what I’m taking and knew that the first 45 mins could be pretty frantic as i try and shoot several compositions before the light gets to harsh. I really only shoot the first 45 minutes at sunrise when its at its optimum. So it was important to know what shots i was going to take.
The first shot I took was as the sun just started to appear over the horizon directly above Bowfell , the valleys full of winter mists.
After the sun rose it started to light up the tops of the mountains slowly splashing gorgeous light across the whole scene, I then switched positions to the shot that I went for looking directly across at Great Gable, shooting on the 180mm lens this pretty much gives you what you’re eyes see. The light was fantastic.
I then shot it with Great Gable to the left so I could get Blencathra in the top right corner.
These shots only work for me when the sun’s only hitting the upper parts of the mountain’s, after that I tend to either find something else to photograph or call it a day and just sit with a brew and take it all in. It was well worth the early climb and I’ll be back here soon hopefully dramatic conditions for something different.
This is the last image I took before making the decent back to the camper. I’m low down behind the the summit to avoid the sun in the lens. I’m looking south east over Wetherlam and to a sea of mist.
All images taken on
2 seconds, 1 seconds and 1/4 of a second at f22
Kodak Ektar 100 film
Induro tripod and cable release.