Last light bluebells and Ladybower sunset

So I had finally made the 17 mile commute home from work on my road bike, after all it was a beautiful day and I am in training for the London 100 which I am doing to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was a a lovely warm and sunny evening – something which we haven’t been too accustomed to of late, so it’s always nice when we get it and I certainly find I appreciate it a lot more. As I was talking to my wife Jess on my return home she told me about some fantastic carpets of Bluebells which she had seen earlier while out walking the dog, after all Jess had known that I had been in search of some Bluebells for a particular photographic composition that I had in mind. So she told me where to find them and I quickly got changed and grabbed my gear to go in search of them, at first this was only really to be as a recce to work out the composition I wanted to use to photograph the bluebells and if it was even going to be possible, especially as most of the bluebells that I had found in the Peak District had just about gone past their best by a week or so.

So I arrived at the destination up at Heatherdene Car Park and I was honestly pleasantly surprised by what I discovered, there were bundles and bundles of beautiful bluebells right there on Peak District soil only a matter of minutes form my house which was all the sweeter because it makes it even easier for me to get plenty of them at their best next year. They were not quite perfect but to be honest they weren’t exactly terrible either so I started doing a few test shots for composition in a view to visit possibly the following morning should the forecast hold up. Well… not 10 minutes had passed when the sun must have just dropped below a cloud and was low enough to break through the canopy of the trees and bath the whole carpet with some beautiful golden evening sunlight. I was chuffed to bits and cracked on with some shots of this beautiful scene, completely uninterrupted as though I was sat in my own Peak District woodland with only a few midges to share it with (the little buggers follow me everywhere, more about that later).

I knew that with the fantastic light I was going to have a difficult decision to make, do I stay where I am and make the most of the golden hour of sunset at the end of the day capturing images of these bluebells or do I make the short walk across to photograph the iconic Peak District waters that are Ladybower Reservoir? Well the light was amazing and as a Landscape photographer I know that you have to make the most of the chances when they come along, so I opted to spend a few more minutes getting the bluebells, which to be fair were slightly past their best, before running down to the side of Ladybower Reservoir to photograph the sunset across the waters. So I arrived at the waters edge and opted for a position looking straight across the huge expanse of water with the Ashopton Viaduct sitting in the background being overlooked by Crookhill, why did I choose that position? Well I chose it because the water was really quite still and would certainly lend itself perfectly to reflecting the sunset which I thought would add a lot more depth and colour to the scene, especially as it was dropping right behind Crookhill and bouncing light up on to the dramatic cloud formations above. All I had to do was to use a Reverse ND grad filter to hold the sky enough so as not to blow the colour out of the sky and then a hard edged ND grad filter for the water to stop that becoming overexposed which just left the rest of the landscape at the foot of Win Hill and along the edge of the the Snake Pass not behind a filter to allow them to come into view. I also managed to get a few shots where I used the Lee Little Stopper ND filter too which allowed me to really blur the water and give it a  lovely soft smooth look to it.

Unfortunately I arrived at the waters edge with a whole swarm of midges in tow from the woodland, well they absolutely love me for some reason and boy did I know it. I stood around in shorts and a T-Shirt photographing this beautiful Peak District scene of the Ladybower Reservoir while a whole team of midges decided to dine out on me for what felt like it was at least a 3 course meal for them, I think it’s getting to that point where I need to start eating bucket loads of Marmite for breakfast as apparently that keeps them away!! So please remember when you see images like this just remember it might not have all been pain free just standing next to a tripod :-)

Have a look at the images here which I took, each one links through to my online shop should you wish to purchase any – they are all available at extremely reasonable prices and although they won’t fund my purchase or Marmite at the moment they will fundraise for the National Multiple Sclerosis society as 100% of the profits made on my store up to the 10 August are being donated to the charity I am riding for! Oh and don’t worry they all come without the watermark logo printed in the corner ;-)

Enjoy and thanks for reading…

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