Ullswater, Summer 2017

Ullswater, England's 2nd largest lake, is an interesting place to photograph. The lake has three distinct "sections" and as a result, I feel, has three distinct personalities to it.

The foot of the lake, its north-eastern section, is framed by attractive villages (including the popular Pooley Bridge) and low, rolling hills. Here, the area feels pastoral, pleasant, and gentle.

Next, the lake heads west-by-south-west and the landscape starts to change; the hills on the northern shore grow in stature and close into the lake. This is where you'll find Gowbarrow Fell (481m/1,578ft), with its famous view of Ullswater, as well as the Lake District's most popular waterfall: Aira Force. On the southern shore the fells start to rise dramatically from the lake surface, culminating in the lush and craggy face of Place Fell (657m/2,156ft). Here and there, among the deep dales created by the fells, lie a few scattered villages.

Finally, the lake turns south towards its head, and the comparison against its north-eastern foot couldn't be more different. Some of England's highest fells rise directly from the valley floor here, towering over the lake and its villages. Notable peaks include St. Sunday Crag (841m/2,759ft), Sheffield Pike (675m/2,215ft), and Hart Side (760m/2,480ft). This is where you'll also find a selection of the Lake District's most popular hiking destinations, particularly the villages of Glenridding and Patterdale, where one can attempt to scale the dizzying heights of England's third highest mountain, Helvellyn (950m/3,117ft). 

In this series of images, my efforts were concentrated around the northern shore of Ullswater's second east-to-west section. From here one can gain immediate access to the shore and enjoy sweeping panoramic views, from the foot to the head of the lake. Conditions were wonderfully moody and overcast, giving me that soft lighting I enjoy. On an overcast summer's day at Ullswater, the colour palette is largely about the blues and yellows, which I identified and used as my primary colour scheme for this series. This was further enhanced by switching the colour mode of my Sigma dp0 Quattro to "FOV Classic Blue"; this darkens and saturates the blues whilst also pushing the greens towards yellow and raising them. A perfect complementary colour palette.

Compositions around Ullswater can often be quite complex, given the lake's multiple personalities and qualities, so reducing the landscape to something more focussed and expressive was definitely a challenge. I'm extremely lucky to live only an hour away from this incredible place, and so have got to know it pretty well. To me, this series of images represents a personal epiphany of what it means to be at Ullswater.