Pleasant Surprises - Jay Birmingham

Pleasant Surprises

It's wonderful when an idea for a photograph is in your head - and that is exactly what you get. I usually try to plan out  shots that I want, but more than often Mother Nature has her own ideas!

As a teacher, I always feel the need to plan and be prepared, but I have found that some of my favourite lessons that I have delivered, are the ones that I didn't plan for; where the lesson was changed because of things that happen - children after all are just as unpredictable as nature!

Photography is very much like this. You have an idea and sometimes you pull it off, but much of the time the magic comes because of changes that happen in the environment.

I went to Winnats Pass yet again last weekend in the hope of a cloud inversion and a beautiful sunrise. I didn't get that - but what I did get was a golden glow and a little mist. It was a completely unplanned shot that I hadn't even considered - but it is one that I am extremely pleased with.

Towards the Light

This weekend, I headed to the Peak District with few expectations.

The forecast was for rain, and on the way up, all we could see was thick cloud! We headed for Stanage Edge, as with the sun setting ever-earlier we wanted somewhere accessible, especially if there wasn't going to be a lot of photographic opportunities.

We were pleasanty surprised, however, to see  the sky start to turn orange, and the puddles from rain that had previously passed through, made for interesting foreground interest. 

Straight after the sun set, I ran down the slope towards the mill stones lower down. As raced down, I passed another photographer running up, and another briskly walking along the path. Photographs of sunset always look serene, but it is often a frantic time, as I busily try to take as many different shots as I can, before the sun sinks below the horizon.

The next day it was forecast heavy rain, but we made our way to the Hope Valley to check for mist.

This time there were no surprises - there was absolutely no mist and lots of thick cloud. So, instead of hiking up any hills, we made our way to Higger Tor.

We hadn't been to Higger Tor before, but I had read it was by the road, so we could retreat easily if the weather wasn't great. It was a fantastic moody place, but there was certainly going to be no chance of seeing the sun, and very little colour was developing!

However; as we were taking some photographs, a band of mist blew quickly up the valley. It lasted only about 20 minutes, but along with more puddles, provided a little more interest to the photo, and was certainly a pleasant surprise.

The final surprise was waiting for us at Padley Gorge. Although Autumn has arrived, there were more leaves and more autumnal colours than we were expecting. The fallen leaves contrasted well with the greenery that remained. 

It won't be long now before we head out to specifically take photographs of the Autumn colours.

The shots that I have in my head will possibly never come to fruition, but I know that if we keep venturing out then nature will keep delivering many pleasant surprises.


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