Footprints in the Snow

Just as we thought that winter was relinquishing its icy grip on the North West, it reared its head for perhaps a final time this year with a moderate fall of snow on the Pennines. Waking up on Easter Sunday to four inches of snow outside our house meant that there would be at least six inches a mile or so up the valley at Dovestones. It gave me the perfect excuse to have a quick breakfast, don some warm clothing and hiking boots and dash out with my camera to enjoy something that is becoming increasingly rare – the opportunity to take pictures for myself!!

Above Dovestones

I love all kinds of photography and, for me, taking photographs for a living isn’t like real work, but most of our professional work involves photographing people and it certainly isn’t usual for the phone to ring with the request “it’s snowing – can you take some pictures of the landscape for me?” so Sunday allowed me a day to indulge in my first love, photographing the land. I didn’t need to feel guilty – with wedding album orders to fulfil, it’s difficult to indulge in a day off sometimes even at the weekend, but this was Easter weekend and I promised myself I’d work and catch up tomorrow.

Arriving at the car park at Binn Green, it seemed preferable to leave the car in the lay-by, a wise decision as it turned out, since a young couple’s car had become wedged against a rock that it had slid into as they tried to leave. A short walk towards the rocks confirmed that no-one had yet stepped into the fresh snow beyond the well worn trail of human and doggy footprints on the official pathway. I felt the buzz that I always feel as I captured the scene…and the excitement that I felt, as the shutter gave that re-assuring clunk, brought to mind a book that I’m reading right now….”The Moment it Clicks” by Joe McNally, a book crammed full of Joe’s “little nuggets” of information – from his life as one of the USA’s top magazine photographers. With his colourful narrative style and generosity of spirit, Joe shares his experiences and passes on techniques and tips. It’s a great read and there’s always something we can learn from…oh, yes, and great pictures too!

Dovestone Reservoir

As I came to the plantation near the water’s edge, the snow was thawing fast in the morning sun, but mercifully, still no footprints in the snow. I completed the circuit of the reservoir by lunch time, stopping many times to take photographs, enjoying every minute. Reaching the dam, I passed another local wedding photographer, camera round his neck, doing the same as me in reverse. “Too late”, I thought, “my footprints are in the snow”. Sorry…