Red Grouse at Stanage Edge

Red Grouse at Stanage Edge, Peak District National Park, UK
As I mentioned in the last post I had a rare chance to get quite close to a female Red grouse. They don’t have the red "eyebrows" and blend exceptionally well with the heather. Usually as you walk across the moors, they burst to flight 2 meters away from you. Then it is of course to late to photograph them. But here I was positioned in front of a small boulder against the sun, so my outline was not visible and the bird apparently did not see me. It went on with his search for food raising his head every 2 seconds. The last picture shows the "I'm not here" phase - the bird noticed me and stood still, but since I knew where it was I could wait patiently for the light to change. As the sun rose a bit higher it shone nicely on the grouse. I did my part and withdrew quietly.

These photographs were made with a 70-200mm lens plus 1.4 converter. In the last picture I was about 2 meters away from the bird, hiding behind a boulder.


eARTh beneath your feet #2 and #3

The higher parts of the moors, exposed to wind, got a bit of a frost lately. Apart from producing these amazing art, the frost facilitates moving around the moors, which are incredibly soggy at this time of year. I also managed to get quite close to a female Red Grouse but that's for another post.
While driving to the Peak yesterday I was brutally reminded how slippery the road can be - the black ice - I saw a car in the ditch at the sharp turn on top of the hill as you approach the national park. I had no tow-rope but offered a lift. The lady answered that her Mum who lives in Hathersage is coming to give her a tow. As soon as I got back I bought a tow-rope. You never know when you will need help.


eARTh beneath your feet

eARTh beneath your feet, Upper Burbage Bridge, Peak District


φωτός γραφή or drawing with light

PhotonWell, Higgar Tor, Peak District
I have started processing files from a recent night time shoot at Higgar Tor. Yes, I've started experimenting with light painting and we'll see where it gets me.


Variable Mirror

We have bee blessed with wonderful weather today. This is the result of a stroll along Porter Brook. No Photoshop here, just Mother Nature.


Postacard from Padley Gorge

This was taken a week ago, in Padley Gorge, Peak District, when the leaves just started turning yellow. The weather was fabulous and there were a few other photographers wandering around. Couple of times I had to wait until they left the frame. But I guess it is not as crowded as, say Yosemite.
Burbage Brook at Padley Gorge. Peak District, Derbyshire, UK
I used a polarizing filter to control reflections and also as a ND filter. I tried different speeds for the right amount of blur in the rapids - this is 3.2 sec at f/18


Masson Mill, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

Weaving Hall, Masson Mill, Matlock Bath, UK
Richard Arkwright's cotton mill - the Masson Mill in Matlock Bath was built in 1783 and produced cotton till 1991, now turned into a museum. Me and my daughter were the only visitors so the whole experience was a bit austere. Huge halls full of machines, threads, bales of materials and not a living soul. All looks and feels as if the workers had just left, with the smell of the old workshop still strong.



Tapestry, Bole Edge Plantation, Peak District
click for higher res


National Park. Closed?

Surprise View, Peak District National Park

Recent government turmoil in the USA, and the resulting national parks closure, are a good moment to think what national parks mean to us. Especially in the densely populated countries.
The Peak District National Park was the first of the 15 national parks in the United Kingdom. Here's a fragment of the Park's Management Plan :

The national park contains a variety of landscapes. To the north and east, broad open moorlands interspersed with grit stone formations are characteristic of the Dark Peak and Moorland Fringes. To the east the Derwent Valley is a varied landscape of river corridor habitats, parklands and ancient woodlands rising to open moorland dominated by grit stone edges. The White Peak to the south features elevated limestone plateaux dissected by deeply cut dales and gorges, with flower-rich grasslands of international importance. The White Peak is home to most of the Peak District’s 38,000 residents, living in a thriving network of small settlements and farmed land. The South West Peak features mixed moorland and grassland landscapes with rock outcrops.
The Peak District’s unique position at the heart of the country means that around 16 million people live within one hour’s travel time of the national park, enabling millions to easily enjoy its exceptional natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Throughout this plan, when we use the term landscape we do not simply mean ‘the view’. It is about the relationship between people, place and nature. It is the ever-changing backdrop to our daily lives. Landscapes are subject to constant and sometimes unpredictable forces of change in terms of both human activity, for example farming practices, and also natural processes such as weather patterns. The aim is not just to preserve a past landscape but to ensure that the special qualities which create a sense of place are both maintained and enhanced into the future. There is a need to protect our cherished landscapes whilst accommodating some changes arising from social, economic and environmental necessity.



Lightwave, Surprise View, Derwent Valley, Peak District



left, right, left or how you read the image

Back Tor, Peak District
I'll be honest, this image is flipped left to right. You can compare with the previous post. But somehow, for me it looks better this way. The interplay between the shapes of the solid and the void is more clearly readable. Must be the embedded-in-the-brain direction of reading from left to right, right?


Derwent Edge #2

Cakes of Bread, Wheel Stones. Derwent Edge, Peak District
Back Tor, Peak District

Back Tor, Peak District

When in the last post I wrote that this is an unfrequented area I had been wrong. Or partially right. This is what happens when you draw conclusions from a single event and apply them to the continuum. Maybe on a Friday evening it is deserted, but definitely not so on a Sunday afternoon, blessed with amazingly warm and sunny weather. By Peak District standards it was crowded.


Derwent Edge

Rocks along the Derwent Edge, Peak District
A very nice walk from Strines Inn to Back Tor, the eastern edge above Derwent Reservoirs. Excellent views from the top. This Part of the Peak is much less populated (if at all) and less frequented and so we met no one but red grouse. We're going there tomorrow, but a bit earlier to have time to explore those stone sculptures at the edge.

Back Tor, Peak District
Red Grouse



Cascades in Padley Gorge, Peak District

0,8" s at F/18, ISO 100, focal length: 170mm, Photographed with Canon EOS 7D, EF 70-200 f4L. +1.4x, Giga T-Pro remote


Field System, Peak District

Field System, Peak District National Park

Last Saturday we went to the Peak District with an intention to stroll among the heather. The heather was still there (and some of it still blooming beautifully) but so were the dreaded midges. There were plenty of clouds, but the kind that produces isolated shafts of light - perfect for dramatic lighting. The boys started their manouvers but were persuaded to accept our decision of retreat to plan B - Mam Tor.

Plan B worked perfect. No midges. Excellent vistas to vale of Edale on one side and Hope Valley to the other side. Spectacular light.
It is a truly windswept place (hence the lack of midges I suppose) so we got wind-chilled by sunset and happily ran back to the car parked below the pass.


Morning light

There is a stained glass window in our dining room that provides us with moments of magical light at breakfast time.
Malina in colour



Storm over Dolina Bedkowska, Poland

2x 60 s at F/5.6, ISO 100, focal length: 28mm, 9/08/2013, Dolina Będkowska Photographed with Canon EOS 7D, EF-S 17-55 f/2.8, handheld


No horizon

On a hot summer day the atmospheric haze and approaching storm made the horizon disappear, the land blended with the sky. To explore the realm of the almost featureless and minimal I climbed to the top of Slęża, a lonely mountain with excellent panoramic possibilities (my favourite time to go is the evening when everyone else is going down...). I was also hoping to capture the approaching storm but it came too late. Instead I rescued a young couple who went down the mountain to the wrong side, and being faced with the approaching storm and darkness were more than happy to accept my offer to drive them to their car.


Fire in the Sand

Strafish stranded at Sutton-at-Sea, UK

Sculpture Park #2

This Sculpture Park is much much older and has many branches throughout the world...

Rock formations along southern edge of Kinder Scout in Peak District


Plait, Kinder Scout

Edale, Peak District, Derbyshire, UK
This is the western end of Vale of Edale, where river Noe starts. This was the last bit of the circular walk over Kinder Scout I took with my wife. Oh, it was so good to hike almost non stop for 6 hours. The view above looks idyllic but it is not the full picture.
The plateau of Kinder Scout is losing its delicate biological balance and erosion strips plant cover off the peat bogs. We saw helicopter air-dropping fertilizer and heather seeds as part of an attempt to stop the erosion. Exposed peat oxides, releasing stored carbon into the air, it is also swept off by water exposing bare bedrock. Blanket bogs took thousands of years to develop and most of them are endangered by centuries of overgrazing, pollution, fires. More on the topic here



Vault, York Minster Chapter House, York, UK