Stormy skies over Derwentwater

I’m in the middle of preparing a talk for a local Camera Club titled ‘High and Wild with a Camera’. No shortage of images to choose from! One of the enjoyable consequences of that work is that I am re-visiting archives that I hadn’t looked through in 2-3 years; and re-discovering images I had nearly forgotten all about.

This is one of them. Taken 3 years ago looking out over Derwentwater from lakeside at Keswick. The hilly ridge in the centre background is a popular fell called Cat Bells; an unusual name for a fell (Cumbrian term for hill) that may be a rewriting of Cat Bields meaning shelter of the wild cat.

This image was taken late in a November afternoon when light was starting to fade on a wet day with more rain forecast. I remember that to get more light on the foreground I used the flash on the camera to thrown some light on the skiffs. It was one of those shots where I really wasn’t sure whether it would work out or not.

In preparing this post, I’ve also converted the original to B&W and that has produced, to my mind, a suitably moody image. Which do you prefer? I’m always interested to read your comments.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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24 Responses to Stormy skies over Derwentwater

  1. Nice one, Andy. Number 1 does it for me – the splash of light on the skiffs lifts the whole image.

    (IMHO) 🙂

  2. rigmover says:

    Both great, but top one for me too, love the colour of the boats.

  3. Len says:

    I agree with the others Andy, the top one is the one I like probably because the boats do not have enough dynamic range and come out dark.

  4. edithlevyphotography says:

    Really beautiful image Andy. I love the composition the boats in the foreground provide an excellent starting point to explore the depth of this image and lead the eye to the mountains. The color version does it for me. While I like the BW I find the boats in the foreground get a little lost.

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Edith. The mid-tone colour lifts that foreground, something I don’t think B&W can achieve without altering the balance of the image unacceptably

  5. athyfoto says:

    Hi Andy, I really like the first one more than I like the second one. Borrowdale is a special place for me, we like a particular room in a particular hotel where you can open your eyes in the morning and a view of Catbells fills the window. I also love the fact that Borrowdale seems to have its own weather patterns! With the wettest place in England down at the southern end of the valley you can get all sorts of moods in the weather. We don’t get over there as much as we would like but you may just have inspired a trip.

    By the way, I almost forgot what I was going to ask 🙂 , did you gel the flash at all to put that pool of light on the boats? I think that light has made a VERY good shot into a GREAT one in my opinion.

    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Frank. Many thanks for your comment. Didn’t get as far as Borrowdale on our recent visit. I recently posted ‘Torrent’ which was of Hause Gill near the foot of the Honister pass. You might have seen that. I have spent some very wet days in Borrowdale toiling up the passes, and the occasional sunny one! The flash was unadulterated – it’s the little flip-up type on the Nikon D80. It really was a shot taken more in hope than expectation but it really did lighten up the foreground. It would have been dead without it – there was no real light there at all.

  6. I find the color version quite moody enough, Andy, and I like the contrast of the orange on the boats with the blue of the water and sky. Nice one!

  7. oneowner says:

    I also prefer the color version, Andy, only because I think the boats get lost in the B&W version and they are such an important element to the composition.

  8. ehpem says:

    Andy, I am with the others. My first reason is probably because I have a soft spot for the colour of old varnish boats, and for wooden boats in general, so the colour conveys all of the associated feelings. But I also agree that it gives a prominence to the boats that they deserve. However, seen alone, I would have really liked the b&w version, and not known what I was missing. It is a lot chillier feeling, so I would have wanted to put a thick sweater on if venturing out in one of the monotone boats that day.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks – it’s unanimous! I think you mention an important point: seen in isolation with no colour comparison the B&W conversion portrays one story, but given the opportunity to compare the two interpretations we all know which one we like.

      • ehpem says:

        Yes we do, And I suspect that often the liking is of the story conveyed more than the details of the image itself, if they can be separated and if I have even explained that properly. I guess I mean the emotional response versus a purely analytical one about composition and form and so on. Perhaps these things should not be thought of separately, except that some photos produce a strong emotional response or otherwise tell a strong story while others do not, and don’t seek to.

        • LensScaper says:

          Thank you for that. Some profound concepts in those few sentences that go straight to the heart of photography and particularly the interplay between creator and viewer.

  9. Marcie says:

    Love the mood! Nothing more magical or evocative than stormy skies!

  10. I like the first one too. Both are wonderful, but the light just adds a little more to the image. Good luck with your event!

  11. superb, top one for me…beautiful indeed

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