352MC Third Trip to the Lake District (Friday 13th February – Sunday 15th February 2015)

On Friday 13th February 2015, I travelled up to the Lake District with my Mum, for my third weekend trip. Deviating away from my original plan of completing this project with my Dad as a way of allowing him to also reconnect with his deceased Father (my Grandpa), unfortunately, due to unknown reasons, it turned out that he wasn’t able to make all of the dates that I had originally organized for our visits. However, as I needed to revisit the Lake District as much as possible for me to create photographs for my project, my Mum therefore kindly decided to take me up so that I didn’t waste any precious time shooting on location. As with the previous trips, below you will be able to find information regarding the weather for the weekend (researched prior to departure), the original plan for the weekend (including a brief introduction to the plan, the equipment I took with me, the locations I wanted to visit, and a rough idea of the shots I wanted to take), whether the plan for the weekend changed (and the reasons why it changed), notes that I took about the project that I thought of during the weekend whilst also discussing them with my Mum (which have been split into “general” and “technical” notes), a contact sheet of the photographs that I took over the weekend (from both the Canon 5D Mk II and the Mamiya 7), and, finally, a reflection on the images and the trip:

 


 

Weather:

Trip 3 Weather

 


 

Plan for the Weekend:

The plan for this weekend was relatively similar to the first two trips I went on to the Lake District (please see the blog posts entitled “First Trip to the Lake District (Saturday18th – Sunday 19th October 2014)” and “Second Trip to the Lake District (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February 2015)”), where I wanted to create aesthetically pleasing landscape images (that also had a documentary aesthetic) of a number of locations that are significantly personal through the memories that they contain. However, as suggested in the previous trip, and after discussing the possibility with Caroline Molloy in a one-to-one session with her on the 11th February 2015 (please see the blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 6 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Rule, and a One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy)”), instead of just focusing on particular places that hold personal memories, this weekend focused more on actually walking down paths that I have walked with my Grandpa in the past (as a way of enhancing the reconnecting aspect of the project, as suggested by David Moore – please see the blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 3 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Moore, and a Self-Learning Workshop)”), and the documentation of these paths using a particular composition (for more information, please see “Planned Shots” below).

 

Technical Equipment (and Methodology):

  • Canon 5D Mk II (with charger and 32GB Compact Flash Card)
  • Tamron SP10-24mm (wide angle) lens – as you may recall, in the previous trip (please see “Second Trip to the Lake District (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February 2015)”) I suggested changing the lens of the Canon 5D Mk II to a lens that would create similar compositional images to that of the preferred Mamiya 7 80mm lens; however, unfortunately, when looking into this consideration, I soon realized that the Media Loan Shop (MLS) didn’t have an 80mm lens for the Canon 5D Mk II (that would be appropriate for landscape photography), and the closest lens that I had (18-55mm standard lens) wouldn’t actually fit on the loaned Canon 5D; I therefore decided to stick with my Tamron SP10-24mm lens as, considering the Canon is only being used for gaining the correct settings and to create “back-up” images, I didn’t think it would be that much of a problem
  • Mamiya 7
  • Mamiya 7 80mm lens
  • Fuji Pro 400 H Colour Film (ISO 400)
  • 77mm Ultra-Violet Filter (for the Tamron SP10-24mm lens)
  • 58mm Ultra-Violet Filter (for the Mamiya 7 80mm lens)
  • Tripod
  • Kenneth Cole Reaction Instant 600 Polaroid Camera – to be used to capture the collaborative methodology behind the project (as suggested in my original proposal – please see the “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Original Proposal” blog post)
  • PX680 Impossible Project 600 Colour Polaroid Film
  • Sekonic L-308S Flashmate (light meter) (with spare batteries)
  • Low-Pro Waterproof Camera Bag

Also in regards to the methodology behind the use of equipment, similar to the previous trip up to the Lake District, I spent the majority of the weekend shooting on the Canon 5D Mk II in order to gain appropriate settings and compositions, as well as digital “back-ups” of my images before moving on to capturing a finalized “official” photograph on the Mamiya 7.

 

Locations:

Whilst considering the locations to visit on this trip up to the Lake District, I had to take into account the fact that I was going up with my Mum (rather than my slightly fitter Dad), and therefore had to choose the locations based on those that she was capable of visiting. Also, varying from the first two trips up to the Lake District, I also decided that, instead of having a conversation with her regarding the places to visit at the weekend (as I didn’t want to upset her feelings, as well as knowing full well that she would try and convince me that she was capable of more difficult climbs), I decided to individually look at my overall list of locations to choose the places I wanted/thought we would be capable of visiting.

The plan that I came up with, based on some locations that I was yet to visit/on my Mum’s overall fitness, can therefore be found below underneath the day that I planned on visiting them, along with any notes that I feel are relevant to include:

 

Day One (Friday 13th February 2015):

  • On the first day, we got up to the Lake District slightly later than we did on the first two trips, as Mum said that she didn’t really have the energy to go up to the Lake District ridiculously early like I do with my Dad
    • However, as we were essentially spending an extra day in the Lake District than I usually did, we thought that going up slightly later on the Friday wouldn’t be much of a problem
  • Loughrigg Tarn
  • Chesters by the River

 

Day Two (Saturday 14th February 2015):

  • Haystacks
  • Buttermere

 

Day Three (Sunday 15th February 2015):

  • Catbells
  • Latrigg
  • Ashness Bridge/Surprise View

 

Planned Shots:

As briefly mentioned above, this weekend trip was the first weekend where I was focusing more on actually walking down and documenting the paths that I have walked with my Grandpa in the past, through experimenting with a particular “middle-of-the-road” composition. Although I hadn’t tested this particular compositional technique prior to departure, as I’ve held a previous interest in this style through my freelance photography (as stated in the “Second Trip to the Lake District (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February 2015)” blog post, under “Notes from the Weekend”), I feel that I am very comfortable with the use of this technique and therefore relied solely on my previous technical knowledge and experiences.

In regards to the methodology that I used over the weekend, although I differed from the types of shot I was creating, the use of equipment remained practically the same (where I took the photographs on the Canon 5D Mk II first to gain the correct settings and “back-up” images, before finalizing “official” photographs on the Mamiya 7). However, as this weekend was mainly focusing on the paths, if I saw a landscape that I thought was aesthetically pleasing, I still used the Canon 5D Mk II to capture the photograph, providing me with another form of “back-up” imagery in case the projects progression required it in the future. With this being said, the Mamiya 7 was solely dedicated to capturing the “planned” path photographs.

Also, after creating the locational to-do list for the weekend, I soon noticed that a majority of the places that we were planning on visiting were actually some of the main places that were photographed by my Grandpa that can be seen within some of the archived images of his that I found (please see a contact sheet for these photographs below). I therefore decided that, whilst we were visiting these places anyway, that I should take the opportunity to try and recreate some of Grandpa’s images as a little side task for the weekend, which will later allow me to experiment with different techniques. (This includes one by Mark Klett and Bryon Wolfe called “Reconstructing the View” – please see my blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Technical Research” – and offers the reason why there is a number of “random” photos within my Canon 5D Mk II contact sheet).

 

Grandpa’s Photos Contact Sheet

 


 

Changed Plan:

Unfortunately, for a number of different reasons, the plan for this weekend actually changed rather dramatically. Below you will be able to find the changed plan along with reasons and information as to why it changed (which can be found in italics):

 

Day One (Friday 13th February 2015):

  • Loughrigg Tarn
  • Chesters by the River
    • Now, although Day One’s plan technically stayed the same as the original plan suggested above, unfortunately it was incredibly horrid weather which meant that, although I persisted with taking numerous photographs, (similar to the first trip up to the Lake District – “First Trip (Saturday18th – Sunday 19th October 2014)”), I didn’t take as much as I wanted to, and those that I did take weren’t of a very good aesthetic quality due to the weather (meaning that I will have to revisit the location in the future)
    • However, rather than wasting my time on location, I instead decided to scout for possible shots for future visits (seen on the Canon 5D Mk II Contact Sheet), so that, when I turn up to the location in the future, I will know exactly where I want to set up and shoot (which will hopefully allow me to spend less time in this particular location so that I can move on to the others)
    • In regards to Chesters by the River, unfortunately they were currently undergoing construction work, making it near impossible to capture the beauty and atmosphere of the building

 

Day Two (Saturday 14th February 2015):

  • Haystacks
    • Unfortunately, on Day Two, it took us a lot longer to complete Haystacks than we had anticipated
    • This was due to the fact that it was a beautiful day, which meant that there were loads of people on the mountain, creating a very time-consuming problem for me, as I had to try and wait to capture a number of “people-less” shots
    • The length of the walk was also impacted as, half way up Haystacks, Mum managed to hurt her ankle (in a very entertaining manner!) whilst crossing a stream
    • As it took us so long to get to the top of Haystacks, as we started coming down I soon realized that I was running out of light, which meant that (similar to the first day at Loughrigg Tarn), I decided to use my time wisely by scouting for locations for when we revisit this location (which will hopefully make the route and the process slightly quicker)
    • Returning to the car park when it was dark therefore meant that we decided not to visit Buttermere as, not only were we extremely tired after spending 7 hours climbing up and down Haystacks, but it also wouldn’t have been very beneficial for the photographic side of the project
  • Saturday Evening
    • On Saturday evening, I then thought that it would be a good idea to wait to see how Mum’s ankle was doing in the morning before deciding where we would be visiting on our third and final day
    • After a discussion with my Mum, we therefore decided that if her ankle was still sore in the morning, that we would visit Surprise View and Buttermere instead of the original third day plan (of Catbells, Latrigg and Ashness Bridge/Surprise View) as it is a lot flatter and easier to walk
    • We also took time discussing my FMP which resulted in the reconsideration of my overall list of locations for my project as I realized I needed to take into account the progression from my original idea to the new “path” plan (for more information, please see below under “Notes from the Weekend”)

 

Day Three (Sunday 15th February 2015):

  • Surprise View
  • Buttermere
    • On the third day of our weekend trip to the Lake District, instead of following the original plan, we decided to visit Surprise View and Buttermere
    • This was because, as suggested above, Mum’s ankle was still relatively sore and swollen in the morning so we therefore decided to choose a slightly easier and flatter walk for us to complete
    • Also, as mentioned above (and as you will see below under “Notes from the Weekend”) we also rethought the locations for the newly developed “path” idea which meant that we didn’t need to visit Ashness Bridge as previously suggested

 


 

Notes from the Weekend:

General

Reconsidering the Locations:

  • As suggested above, on the Saturday evening I sat down with my Mum and started to discuss my newly developed “path” idea for my FMP (where instead of visiting personally significant locations in the Lake District, I am now planning on retracing Grandpa’s steps down paths that I walked with him in the past)
  • Once I started to explain this new development to her, I soon realized that I hadn’t actually reconsidered the original locations on my list, and that I now need to visit locations which contain paths that hold a vivid memory of Grandpa and I walking down them (which, still greatly applies to the memory aspect of the project whilst, as suggested in a group tutorial with David Moore – please see the blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 3 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Moore, and a Self-Learning Workshop)” – also enhancing the idea of reconnection)
  • After much consideration, I have therefore decided to that my final list of path locations will include:
    • Latrigg – where we scattered both Nanny and Grandpa’s ashes after Grandpa decided that Haystacks was too far for him to travel on his own, in his old age, to visit his loving wife after her depart
    • Haystacks – where the walk to Haystacks was the last ever Lakeland walk Grandpa attempted and due to his age and physical capability he only made it about half way before slipping into a stream and having my Dad almost carry him back to the car
    • Loughrigg Tarn – where we placed Lily’s in the water as a part of Nanny’s farewell ceremony the day after Latrigg which is the first time I remember seeing Grandpa cru; I saw a new side of him
    • The Langdales (Stickle Tarn) – don’t really remember much of the destination, but I remember the walk and it was the first time that I realized how old Grandpa was due to the fact that it was a very slow walk and my Dad and Grandpa mainly walked at the back of the group chatting
    • Buttermere – where I have a memory of my Grandpa talking me through a possible photograph opportunity with Haystacks in the background and some wooden boats in the foreground and I remember him getting very excited about the process of me composing and taking an image and the camera that I had
    • Surprise View – where we often bought fish and chips and drove to this particular area to eat them over-looking the views as we could get to it in the car making and it’s was one of those nice places that we tend to enjoy revisiting

Scouted Locations:

  • As suggested above, during the weekend I ended up taking the time to scout out different shots within some of the locations that we visited (due to different reasons such as the weather or the light), in order to reduce the time taken at the location when we revisit these particular places in the future
  • In order for me to remember these particular locations, as well as taking photos of them on the Canon 5D Mk II for future reference, I am also planning on marking out the approximate section of the path (and the directionality of the photograph) on some of the Lake District maps I have been using throughout my project

 

Technical

  • On Day 2 of the weekend (where we visited Haystacks), I found that I struggled with the focusing of the Mamiya 7 due to the vast amount of textured detail within the subjects that I was photographing (which was initially identified as a problem in the test shoot with the Mamiya 7 – please see the blog post entitled “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Test-Shoot One (The Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 7 and Canon 5D Mk II, Blurring and Double-Exposures)”)
    • I also found that (even when I had removed the idea of the ghost image by focusing the photograph correctly) the section within the focusing square appeared blurred or the ghost image didn’t line up exactly to the subject matter
    • Because of this, I soon decided to simply place the focal length on infinity, but still think that some of the negatives may be slightly out of focus
  • Also, as stated numerous times before, due to the fact that this trip was the first trip with the new “path” development, I soon realized that, although I had decided on the “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic, I hadn’t actually decided on the amount of the path to be included in the photo (that would depend on the angle of the camera) in order to unify the photographs compositions
    • This means that the path images from this weekend will most likely vary in horizontal composition and I will therefore need to take time after the trip to experiment, test and reflect on different angled variations

 


 

Photos – Contact Sheets (Canon 5D Mk II and Mamiya 7 (x5)):

Digital Contact Sheet:

Third Trip to the Lake District – Canon 5D Mk II Contact Sheet

 

Film Contact Sheets:

Third Trip to the Lake District – Mamiya 7 Contact Sheet 1

Third Trip to the Lake District – Mamiya 7 Contact Sheet 2

Third Trip to the Lake District – Mamiya 7 Contact Sheet 3

Third Trip to the Lake District – Mamiya 7 Contact Sheet 4

Third Trip to the Lake District – Mamiya 7 Contact Sheet 5

 

Developing and Editing:

In regards to the developing and editing of the images, this methodology remained exactly the same to the previous weekend (please see the blog post “Second Trip to the Lake District (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February 2015)”), and so, to jog your memory, I have therefore just included the key aspects below in a bullet point format (please note, any slight changes are represented in italics):

Canon 5D Mk II

  • Similar to the first trip (please see the blog post entitled “First Trip to the Lake District (Saturday18th – Sunday 19th October 2014)”, under “Photos”, “Editing”)
  • Shot in RAW format (as a way of capturing as much visual information as possible)
  • Didn’t edit them (or remove any photographs) and simply created a contact sheet from the original files

Mamiya 7

  • Shot on colour film – sent them off to a specialist company to be developed (as we don’t have colour processing equipment within the university)
  • Scanned them in university using the Hassleblad scanner (so that I could create a digital contact sheet of the photographs, allowing me to compare them to the digital contact sheets I created for the Canon 5D Mk II images)
  • Opened them in Photoshop for brief editing to create a relatively “correct” image, including:
    • Straightening
    • Cropping
    • Inverting (into a positive)
    • Automatically adjusting the:
      • Tone
      • Colour
      • Contrast
      • Levels
  •  Differing from the previous weekend, however, after realizing my mistake with changing the settings based on the preview on the Canon 5D Mk II, and after gaining technical advise from Caroline Molloy in a one-to-one session (please see the blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 6 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Rule, and a One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy)”), I distinctively made the decision to trust both the light meter and the Canon 5D (whilst also experimenting with changing the settings for different shots on the Mamiya 7 as a way of “covering my back”) meaning that most of my images turned out correctly exposed
  • However, these edited images are still far from perfect (including the fact that the colour is still slightly off and the contrast is incredibly low) and so, if I decide that these images may be useful for my final exhibition piece in the future, I will take time looking through each of the images and selecting the stronger contenders, before appropriately editing them to a higher standard or sending them of for professional scanning and printing

 


 

Reflection – The Photographs and The Trip:

The Photographs:

Similar to the previous trip (please see the blog post “Second Trip to the Lake District (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February 2015)” before I had my colour film developed from the Mamiya 7, when looking through my “back-up”, digital images, I thought that I had captured some strong images in this new “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic. Once I had received my developed negatives, after scanning them in and editing them briefly in Photoshop, I thought that the images I had captured were strong in their aesthetic quality, and could have easily been used for my final exhibition piece (if my project continues in this direction).

However, with this being said, I soon realized that the paths I had captured were slightly off-centre due to the fact that the Mamiya 7 uses a rangefinder (that is situated to the left of the lens) to focus on the image. Once realizing this, I thought that I could possibly crop the images in the future (after scanning them in), but as I am using colour film I would much prefer to get them printed professionally, so I feel that I want to solve the problem at its origin (taking the photos). I therefore think that it would be a good idea to take some form of measuring equipment with me on the following trips to measure were the middle of the path is and to make sure that it is the lens, rather than the camera, that is in the central position. Also, as stated above, (under “Technical”, “Notes from the Weekend”), before travelling up to the Lake District on my next trip, I need to experiement with the “middle-of-the-road” technique in order to allow me to unify the horizontal composition of the pathway images, creating a more consistent photographic collection.

Finally, (and this is only a minor point), but I still feel that I much prefer the composition of the Mamiya images (using the 80mm lens) rather than the Canon 5D Mk II images (that uses the 10-24mm wide-angle lens). However, with this being said, as the digital images are only being used to achieve correct settings and as “back-up” images in case something major goes wrong with the colour film, I feel that it isn’t massively important that they differ in compositional strength (also taking into account that I can’t find the appropriate 80mm lens to use for the Canon 5D Mk II).

 

The Trip:

Looking back at the weekend in general, whilst I was actually on the trip, I didn’t think that it was very successful due to a number of reasons; these include the fact that I wasn’t able to go up with my Dad (due to unknown reasons), having to change the weekends plan quite dramatically because of the weather and Mum’s injury, whilst also spending the majority of the weekend relatively stressed about the amount of work I think I have to complete for my FMP! However, as I look back over the images that I captured on this weekend (as stated above), I feel that they are really strong meaning that the trip was a lot more successful than I had initially thought. On the other hand, although I am impressed and happy with the photographic results from this weekend, and feel that I am incredibly excited and ready to move forward with this new “path” plan, as I only have another three trips schedule in up to the Lake District, (and as I will need to re-shoot quite a lot of images from this weekend), I am starting to feel the pressure of capturing the perfect images for my FMP. With this being said, it just means that I am going to have to plan my weekends to a T, and hope that the weather is on my side!

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