I'm currently sitting in a cosy farmhouse cottage next to an open fire, with stunning views of blue sky and mountains out of the windows opposite the comfy armchair from where I'm writing, and so it's easy to forget why I'm in the Langdale Valley this week. But over the last week I've been based in this majestic valley in Cumbria to start my new photography project, to photograph wild weather across the UK.
It's a topical project and even whilst I've been here I've read reports in the news of how climate change is responsible for much of the erratic weather we're currently seeing in the UK, and so I've taken it upon myself to photograph these changes, and see if I can find the beauty in something wild and unpredictable.
Rather than visit lots of the well known parts of Cumbria, I've decided to keep myself in the Langdale Valley, and together with my wife and three children, hike up and down the mountains to see what nature throws our way - and it's been a roller coaster of a ride! We quickly learned that the weather that seems set in for the day is never the weather that lasts for long, and so for each hike we've packed clothing and waterproof gear to get us through the high winds and heavy rain that inevitably finds us.
Last week my 10 year old daughter, Amy, and I hiked up into the Langdale Pikes through heavy rain and high winds, hoping that other than photographing sheet rain with no visibility I'd be able to get a image that encapsulates how it feels to experience the changeable nature of the mountain weather.
We climbed as high as we could and waited out the rain, and watched as the weather systems moved in with renewed vigour - and then there was a sudden break in the clouds and we were mesmerised as a beautiful rainbow appeared beneath us, with views stretching towards Lake Windermere. It was a truly wonderful moment that we'll both remember for years to come - and we were thrilled to share this magical experience with the nation, as it appeared the next day in 6 national newspapers - The Times, The Telegraph, The Mirror, the Express, The Sun and The Star. An amazing start to the project!
(photograph is at the top of this blog)
It's been vitally important for us to choose the right gear this week, as a landscape shoot can be cut very short if you become cold and wet, and so if you're looking to add to your outdoor gear we'd like to show you something we found particularly helpful for each trip. Our favourite outdoor item this week was the Rohan Vertex Jacket. It's been our 'go-to' jacket as it's completely waterproof, windproof and lightweight. It's meant we've stayed warm and dry when the conditions were completely opposite.
Each day we would hike for many miles, up into the mountains or through the long valleys and one evening we came upon a mountain range where the sun was briefly bursting through with beams of beautiful light.
This short video shows us capturing the shot.
Working as a photographer in very wet and windy conditions is a real challenge - trying to keep cameras and filters dry - and so I've enjoyed the larger pockets of the Vertex Jacket which have been used for filters, lens caps and cloths, which are in constant use. For Jennie, who has been hiking alongside me this week, hood and the high neck protection of the Vertex Jacket has been a huge benefit to her, keeping her protected in high wind and rain.