It was a very cold start this morning, -7.5 degrees and I decided to head to Tewet Tarn just outside Keswick in St John's in the Vale.
It is a quick walk from the road to the tarn, just up through a field, but the first view of the tarn when you reach the top of the field is breath-taking. The tarn , at the foot of High Rigg, has panoramic views of Clough Head, down towards Thirlmere, Skiddaw and Blencathra. These two giants give stunning reflections in the water of the tarn on still days. You can also see over the Grisedale Pike and Causey Pike.
One the edge of the tarn is a lone tree sitting proudly in its surroundings.
The sun rises behind Clough Head which means that Blencathra is often drenched in the golden morning light. If there is cloud on the mountain you will find that it is usually highlighted by the morning sun. Sun sets behind Skiddaw which will illumination Clough Head and Great Rigg in the evenings.
Tewet Tarn offers so many opportunities for photography. Wellingtons are seriously recommended for a visit to Tewet Tarn, as the ground is very boggy around the tarn. Walk round the tarn to appreciate all vistas before you decide on your location, it will take you 10 minutes to do a full circuit. Once you have found your view, set up your tripod and enjoy your visit.
On the edge of the tarn
Getting close to the water gives you the best opportunity to get full reflections of Skiddaw and Blencathra in the water, if it is still of course. Because of its location, protected on all sides by the fells and high ground, Tewet Tarn you can usually get still water in the morning and evenings. Look for reflections of the tree where you can add the stones in the water as foreground interest. There is a small sheep fence on the opposite side which makes a great focal point leading the viewer into your shot.
Use a wide angle lens. On this chilly morning I was using a 20mm prime lens
ISO 100 or lower
Shutter speed will of course depend on light and whether you decided to you a neutral density filter.
A medium or soft grad filter to balance the sky and the foreground
Get low down to the waters edge to get the most of the reflections or movement of the water
If the water is rippled because of the wind, try using a neutral density filter and a long exposure to give a lovely soft and smooth water
A panorama, made from three or more images
From a high point
Walk the path to reach the outcrop that will give you a full vista of the tarn with Blencathra behind. Again, if the water is still there will be part of Blencathra reflecting in the water, so be careful how you compose the shot. You can use the rocks on this outcrop as foreground interest, the tarn in the middle ground and Blencathra in the background.
Use a mid range lens, 24-70 for example
ISO 100 or lower
A medium or soft grad filter to balance the sky
Place the tarn on an intersection of the scene, balancing the tarn with any foreground interest. Take a look at my composition video for ideas to help you compose your shot.
You don't always need a wide angle lens, sometime you can just take a piece of the scene with a longer lens; the tree, the frozen water and the gorgeous glow of light on the fell and in the reflection all made for a lovely image.
My visit on this very cold day was lovely. I did get some lovely light and though the tarn was frozen solid you still got the reflections of the light. There was some stunning clouds and colour in the sky, Blencathra was shrouded in cloud and there was a frost over all the grass, the whole scene gave a beautiful delicate tone. The sheep fence was frozen in the water which was partly covered in a light snow.
I took several pictures, including a panorama, and caught the different moments of light.
My blog, Tips for Winter Landscape Photography, will give you tips about how to approach and photograph the conditions I had this morning. One thing I would add; when it as cold as it was today , take a flask!
This image is a stitched panorama of three separate images.
From a distance you can get the tarn and Blencathra in one shot.