LightSweep

The work of photographer Ian Hex, whose mission is to show off the natural beauty of Britain to the world. Also obsessed with typefaces and Beards.

In The Shadow of Side Pike
So Lisabet and I decided to have a hike around Great Langdale again yesterday evening. After a tasty pint and delicious food at the Sticklebarn Inn, we navigated across the valley floor and up towards Side Pike, a rock tower part of the Lingmoor Fell massif. It was glowing gold in the sunset light along with Pike O’ Blisco, whilst I sat in its shadow next to the barn of Side House. A wonderful evening. 
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 16mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/30, 1/8 and 1/2secs
“In the Shadow of Side Pike” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

In The Shadow of Side Pike

So Lisabet and I decided to have a hike around Great Langdale again yesterday evening. After a tasty pint and delicious food at the Sticklebarn Inn, we navigated across the valley floor and up towards Side Pike, a rock tower part of the Lingmoor Fell massif. It was glowing gold in the sunset light along with Pike O’ Blisco, whilst I sat in its shadow next to the barn of Side House. A wonderful evening. 

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Focal Length: 16mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/30, 1/8 and 1/2secs

Creative Commons Licence
“In the Shadow of Side Pike” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

High Street and Minster
One of York’s many long-lived small, winding, and interlinking streets, Low Petergate, glowing an inviting warmth with the impressive figure of York Minster looming in the distance. 
Low Petergate, York, North Yorkshire, England
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 13mm
Shutter Speeds: 0.8, 4 and 15secs
“High Street and Minster” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

High Street and Minster

One of York’s many long-lived small, winding, and interlinking streets, Low Petergate, glowing an inviting warmth with the impressive figure of York Minster looming in the distance. 

Low Petergate, York, North Yorkshire, England

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/7.1
  • Focal Length: 13mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 0.8, 4 and 15secs

Creative Commons Licence
“High Street and Minster” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Old and New
A gloomy storm approaches Kirkby Lonsdale, the Lune streams towards the ancient Devil’s Bridge with the newer bridge in the distance a stark reminder of the passage of time.
Devil’s Bridge, River Lune, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, England
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/13
Focal Length: 11mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/200, 1/50 and 1/13ses
Other: Another exposure was taken at f/22 for a slower shutter speed, 1/4secs, for the water
“The Old and New” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Old and New

A gloomy storm approaches Kirkby Lonsdale, the Lune streams towards the ancient Devil’s Bridge with the newer bridge in the distance a stark reminder of the passage of time.

Devil’s Bridge, River Lune, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, England

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/13
  • Focal Length: 11mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/200, 1/50 and 1/13ses
  • Other: Another exposure was taken at f/22 for a slower shutter speed, 1/4secs, for the water

Creative Commons Licence
“The Old and New” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Valley Divider
This arresting mountain is Eagle Crag, a striking sight when viewed from the Stonethwaite valley. It represents the point where the valley in question splits into two: Greenup Gill to the South-east (the left-hand valley on this photo) and Langstrath heading South-west (the right-hand valley). After I had acquired the giant stitch shot of Eagle Crag from the Stonethwaite Beck falls, I continued exploring the beck for more unique compositions. The previous day’s rain had provided lots of little rock pools and I found one big enough to provide a nice colour reflection of Eagle Crag contrasted by the reddish sandstone and the golden fell. =)
Eagle Crag, Stonethwaite Beck, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 13mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/80, 1/20 and 1/5secs
“Valley Divider” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Valley Divider

This arresting mountain is Eagle Crag, a striking sight when viewed from the Stonethwaite valley. It represents the point where the valley in question splits into two: Greenup Gill to the South-east (the left-hand valley on this photo) and Langstrath heading South-west (the right-hand valley). After I had acquired the giant stitch shot of Eagle Crag from the Stonethwaite Beck falls, I continued exploring the beck for more unique compositions. The previous day’s rain had provided lots of little rock pools and I found one big enough to provide a nice colour reflection of Eagle Crag contrasted by the reddish sandstone and the golden fell. =)

Eagle Crag, Stonethwaite Beck, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Focal Length: 13mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/80, 1/20 and 1/5secs

Creative Commons Licence
“Valley Divider” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Hidden Valley
Welcome to Langstrath! This place is probably the most remote and wild valley I know of in the Lake District. There’s no road. No people. No buildings. Nothing. You can get here by coming off the Borrowdale road at Stonethwaite, walking towards Eagle Crag and taking the right-hand valley; the left one is Greenup Gill.
Langstrath, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF11-16mm f/2.8)
Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 16mm
Shutter speeds: 1/160, 1/40, 1/10secs
“The Hidden Valley” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Hidden Valley

Welcome to Langstrath! This place is probably the most remote and wild valley I know of in the Lake District. There’s no road. No people. No buildings. Nothing. You can get here by coming off the Borrowdale road at Stonethwaite, walking towards Eagle Crag and taking the right-hand valley; the left one is Greenup Gill.

Langstrath, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England.

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF11-16mm f/2.8)
  • Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/11
  • Focal Length: 16mm
  • Shutter speeds: 1/160, 1/40, 1/10secs

Creative Commons Licence
“The Hidden Valley” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Perfect Moment
Golden light drenches the valley, illuminating the imposing Eagle Crag, breaking through the trees and dancing with the mist from the waterfall. What a glorious scene this is and what a perfect moment it was!
Stonethwaite Beck, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/13
Focal Length: 13mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/25, 1/6, 0.6secs
Other: A stitch of six compositions, aligned in a 3x2 grid, each composition comprising of three exposures for dynamic light range.
“Perfect Moment” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Perfect Moment

Golden light drenches the valley, illuminating the imposing Eagle Crag, breaking through the trees and dancing with the mist from the waterfall. What a glorious scene this is and what a perfect moment it was!

Stonethwaite Beck, Borrowdale, Lake District, Cumbria, England.

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • Filters: Hoya Circular Polariser
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/13
  • Focal Length: 13mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/25, 1/6, 0.6secs
  • Other: A stitch of six compositions, aligned in a 3x2 grid, each composition comprising of three exposures for dynamic light range.

Creative Commons Licence
“Perfect Moment” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

how do i ask anonymously?

Anonymous

You just have. =)

The Ancient Walled City
If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!
Lisabet and I really enjoyed our time at Brimham Rocks.
It had been on our wishlist for quite some time, so to be able to have plenty of time to fully experience the place, especially in wonderful light, was a beautiful thing. However, our time at Brimham was over and so it was back in the car for the drive to our final destination: the ancient walled city of York. READ MORE ->[[MORE]]
But we made sure to stop off somewhere else beforehand…

Behind-the-scenes photos by Lisabet of our time around Knaresborough and York. More of her work here. Bigger version of this montage.
Knaresborough is an old market town, set in a gorge of the River Nidd, lying approximately halfway between Brimham and York. Quite old indeed; records note that Knaresborough is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chenaresburg, meaning “Cenheard’s fortress”. The castle itself, now in ruins but protected, is of Norman origin, dated to around 1100AD, making it just over 900 years old.
Ian Hex + old buildings = ecstasy
After a rather delicious, if noisy, pub meal at The World’s End, we had a little stroll down the Waterside and towards the castle. One of Knaresborough’s more distinctive features, aside from being in a gorge, is the viaduct that crosses the River Nidd. It was finished in 1851, three years after the first viaduct collapsed into the river as it was nearing completion.
The town was in full bloom as we made our way up and out of the gorge towards the impressive ruins of the castle. The views from the fortifications were mightily impressive, especially the view looking towards the viaduct along the Nidd, one of Yorkshire’s most photographed views.
Though serving as a fortress overlooking the two for 500+ years, it eventually fell to the Parliamentarian troops in 1644AD in The Civil War. The ruins are the result of, not warfare but, a Parliament Order to disassemble royalist castles. As a result, much of the town’s buildings are made of “castle stone”.
The Town Was In Full Bloom…
After much exploration of the ruins, we looked for ways back down the gorge to the waterside of the River Nidd. We found this path around the back of one of the castle towers and, you know me, I like a good winding path. So, before we descended down, I set up for a composition of this extremely pleasant scene in front of me.
“The Nidderdale Fort” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
Alas, our time at Knaresborough was coming to an end and so, resolved to return again for more shots, we got back to the car for the last leg of our journey.
York, here we come!

We were staying at the Acer Guest House, a beautiful place run by a lovely couple. We were too excited to stay too long here though; we set down unimportant stuff in our bedroom then head out straight away into the heart of the city.
Our itinerary was as follows: drink, food, photos.
Now that’s what I call an Evening.
Behind-the-scenes Galaxy Note 2 photos of our time around York. More on my VSCO Grid!
DRINK was provided courtesy of Pivni, a pub dedicated to craft beers and housed in a timber-framed 16th century building. Pretty. Dang. Cool. And I am a man who likes his ales. Our Food section of the evening belonged in Kapadokya 50: an authentic Turkish restaurant. We had never enjoyed proper Turkish food before, but this experience converted us. It was beautiful. I devoured a lamb iskender and then enjoyed an authentic Turkish coffee. You know, the sort of stuff that wakes the dead. As is said in Turkey about their coffee: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love.”
Giggedy.
That left our final part of the night: photography. We had made sure to scout the heart of York during our search for drink and I was already getting very excited. After our drink and food session, I honed in on my first composition of the evening: the imposing York Minster during sunset.
“Golden Worship” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
Awww yeah. Isn’t this building formidable? York Minster is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe and the site of an ancient history of Christianity in England.
Although Christianity is documented as fact in York from the 4th century AD, there is some evidence to suggest an earlier presence. Missionaries were sent from Rome to York at the request of Lucius of Britain to settle ceremonial differences. This may have happened in 180AD.
What started as a hastily constructed wooden church in the 7th century eventually became the glorious shrine you see now. In addendum to the gothic architecture and size of York Minster that conveys a sense of definite eternity, while I was setting up this shot someone inside the cathedral was playing some extremely sinister and funereal melodies. It was deliciously moody, and really helped to deeply imprint the memory of this scene in my mind.
Shooting this scene involved taking two sets of bracketed exposures: one at f/8 with my thumb covering the sun so that I could block lens flares and ensure a sharp picture, and another at f/22, with no obstructions, in an attempt to get a good sunstar from the sun as it peeked from behind the cathedral. As my f/22 exposures were quite lengthy, I reused some of them in the final blend as the people wandering in and out of the shot were rendered indistinct or even invisible. Pulling out the texture in the cathedral and the sky was a lot of fun.
We moved outwards from the cathedral, mostly to avoid the crowds but also to seek other unique compositions. I spotted this nice junction near the Minster that proved to be an extremely colourful scene.
“Way to the Minster” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
What a colourful scene! The last of the sunset light, trees in bloom, blossoming flowers, a mixture of old stone and newer redbrick buildings.
By this time of the day, even exposures at f/13 were giving long exposure times. But that was fine with me! It rendered people wandering into the composition as indistinct blurs and passing cars as streaks of ethereal light. I really enjoyed this old wayfinder as well and decided to feature it heavily in the composition, attempting to line it up according to the Golden Ratio.
Once the sun had dipped below the horizon for another day, signalling the start of Blue Hour, we moved away from the minster and towards the Shambles and Snickelways of York: the oldest surviving area of the entire city. Here, medieval buildings dating from the 14th century lean alarmingly over the streets. Pubs throw their doors wide open, folk music blares loud and clear, and intoxicated people stagger happily around the old cobbled streets. It was a perfect medieval English scene, a circumstance re-enacted perhaps thousands of times over the centuries.
We came across this old street, the ancient Royal Oak bustling with life and ale, cars zipping by and one of many gatehouses, Monk Bar, connecting the old city walls in the distance. It was perfect. I set up the composition in the road, adjusting the polariser and waited for a passing car to create some pretty light streaks.
“A Night in the Shambles” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
This is a scene I could stare at again and again. This is medieval England right here, alive and well. Blue Hour had reached its prime at this point, so a lot of colour correction was needed so that the composition wasn’t rendered in a dull monochromatic blue. Thankfully, I managed to capture the full extent of a car’s light streaks, which I blended in later. At f/8, ISO100, I was getting exposure times of 3, 13 and 30 seconds. Doesn’t that pub look so warm and inviting?
In fact, I’ll meet you in there for a drink or five, we’ll talk about our next adventure next time…
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Ancient Walled City

If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!

Lisabet and I really enjoyed our time at Brimham Rocks.

It had been on our wishlist for quite some time, so to be able to have plenty of time to fully experience the place, especially in wonderful light, was a beautiful thing. However, our time at Brimham was over and so it was back in the car for the drive to our final destination: the ancient walled city of York. READ MORE ->

Gallery of the Hand of God
If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!
A Journey Deep Into the Heart of Yorkshire
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with the distinct joy of having both a Friday and a Saturday off. Party time! Well, kind of. What Lisabet and I consider to be Party Time may differ wildly compared to other people. Good food? Oh yes. Alcohol? But of course! Exploring 30-metre otherworldy rock formations carved over millennia by glaciers, wind and water? Absolu— hang on, what?
That’s right. It was time to head out of our beloved Lake District and beyond even the joys of the Yorkshire Dales, towards the heart of Yorkshire itself: the ancient walled city of York. READ MORE ->[[MORE]]
But before that, we made sure to have a couple of stops along the way.

We managed to book ourselves a nice little B&B for the Friday night known as Acer Guest House, but made sure to still get up nice and early for the long drive ahead. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time before we arrived in York. There’s so much to see, and consequently photograph, along the way!
The map above shows the route we took from Kendal to the day’s first destination: Brimham Rocks.
This is a place that I had been looking forward to shooting for aeons. Deep in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty north of Harrogate, sitting atop Brimham Moor, one can find these giant, otherworldly rock formations dotted about the land. Their unusual shapes and inexplicable balancing acts have oft been sited by Internet Experts as being nothing more than faked photographs. Thankfully, they are very real, even more so when you stand next to them.
As is often the case when Lisabet decides to take some time off work, the weather was absolutely glorious. We got a spot at the National Trust car park, with thankfully not many people there in the morning, and had a chat with the site National Trust ranger. As a consequence of his wonderfully broad Yorkshire accent, humour and kind disposition, we became National Trust members. Free parking and entry at all National Trust sites in the UK! Hurrah!
It took not 10 minutes into the woods of Brimham Moor before we came across our first incredible rock formation, near the Cannon Rocks formations. Lisabet and I split up to check out the environment, and I got my gear set up the composition.

“Artistry of Nature” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
This was my first photographic outing with my first ever purchased lens filter: the Hoya Pro-1 Circular Polariser (at 77mm). I had been eyeing some polarisers for sometime, researching the effect they have on glare and bright areas of a scene. Given that we are entering summer and I like to shoot in the middle of the day every now and then, I figured a polariser would be a wise investment. At Brimham Rocks, the polariser worked spectacularly, minimising glare from the morning sun on all the rocks and leaves, darkening the sky and boosting the true colour saturation. 
This photo was made by using exposure bracketing, to get all the light range in the scene, and focus stacking, so that the foreground rocks and distant rock formations were all in perfect focus. The low angle of the sun caused some wonderful light dappling that filtered through the trees and across the rocks, adding to the sense of warmth. I selected a composition with good colour contrast in the foreground and also tried to use the trees to frame the towering rock formation. Overall, I think this worked pretty damn well. 
Post work was my usual blend of tonemapping and 32-bit HDR editing followed by colour and contrast corrections before adding some of my own special sauce.
Further into the woods, I found my second composition: a rock tower balancing delicately atop an anvil-like slab of gritstone.
“Shaped by the Invisible” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
This composition was a little more tricky, I had to balance the wide light range, ensure that everything was in focus as well as seamlessly blend an additional two lower frames. I took three landscape compositions, with the last two pointing further down so that I could capture the tree stump and the full sweep of the branch as it sprouts from the bottom of the frame all the way around to the right, acting as a nice framing and pointing mechanism. The polariser again did a magnificent job of cutting down all the glare from the sun as it bounced around the rocks and plant matter. 
Isn’t that just an epic rock? For a long time, people thought that the Brimham Rocks were carved by ancient druids. As it turns out, something even more beautiful has happened: a combination of 18,000-year old glaciers followed by wind and water erosion has carved out the rest of the softer rock to join various rivers, leaving behind these towers of Millstone Grit that were then shaped by millennia of water and wind erosion to form these incredible formations. 
Of course, being in Brimham Rocks, your brain is mainly focussed on finding the next awesome rock formation. But I made sure to keep my mind open and take it slow, being sure to fully drink in the landscape around me. Doing so enabled me to spot this excellent tree in the woods, often ignored by the other tourists on their way to scrambling up the next rock. 
“The Forgotten Tree” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
This turned out to be one of my favourite compositions from the whole set, which is funny given that it features none of the famous formations found at Brimham Rocks. I shot three exposures for full dynamic range and then took four more sets at different focal lengths to ensure the image was sharp throughout, including the branch snaking past the frame on the lower left. I enjoy the natural leading lines this tree gives on a wide-angle lens, and the soft light dappling of the morning sun shooting through the woods was just wonderful. 
After this shot, I managed to find Lisabet grinning contently from ear to ear. She told me about a lovely viewpoint out the other side of the woods we were in. So I followed her, ducking and weaving between branches.
When this view opened up to us.
“Edge of the World” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
I’m pretty sure we could’ve happily sat here all day. 
This is the view looking west from the edge of Brimham Moor across the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 
Just drink it in for a moment…
…
…
OK, ready to move on? Righto.
We dived back into the woods and made our way towards Brimham House and the little cafe. It was a bloody hot day; time for some refreshment. Which means spring water and some double chocolate chip cookies. Of course.
The area around Brimham House opens out, with more ferns and shrubbery rather than trees and woods. On our return route back to the car park stands a collection of rock towers known as The Druid’s Castle Rocks. We had fun exploring around these giant towers of carved millstone. It felt like you were in a canyon similar to the Narrows of Zion! 
“Canyon Towers” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
I love the variety of hues present in these millstone towers, everything from bright yellows to deep magentas. By this point in the day, the sun was well up and therefore the light was more harsh. The polariser did its magic again especially with the sky, providing me a set of balanced exposures to work with back home. I also shot another set for focus stacking. Some of these towers are over 30m (98ft) high. These particular ones of the Druid’s Castle Rocks look like discs sandwiched on top of one another. 
We waltzed our way back to the now roasting car, happy with our experience of this magical place. Should you find yourself in the North Yorkshire/Harrogate area, I highly recommend that you visit Brimham Rocks.
For now, it was onwards to the medieval walled city of York! But not before making a stop somewhere else…
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Gallery of the Hand of God

If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!

A Journey Deep Into the Heart of Yorkshire

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with the distinct joy of having both a Friday and a Saturday off. Party time! Well, kind of. What Lisabet and I consider to be Party Time may differ wildly compared to other people. Good food? Oh yes. Alcohol? But of course! Exploring 30-metre otherworldy rock formations carved over millennia by glaciers, wind and water? Absolu— hang on, what?

That’s right. It was time to head out of our beloved Lake District and beyond even the joys of the Yorkshire Dales, towards the heart of Yorkshire itself: the ancient walled city of York. READ MORE ->

Birthday of a Loved One: Part II
If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!
The Day Started With Gin
Admittedly, it didn’t involve any drinking of Gin, but nevertheless started with it. Of the many presents Lisabet received on her birthday, mine involved a pristine bottle of Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin, all the way from the Shetland Islands.
Gin. Scotland. I thought it was a pretty good gift. READ MORE ->[[MORE]]
A lazy morning ensued involving laughter, a good breakfast and deciding on the day’s destinations. Eventually, we resolved on three stops for the day: one involving antiques (Lisabet loves vintage stuff), one involving food, and the final place a little walk in a small corner of the Lake District that we’ve never been to. 
Onwards!

First stop was the Phoenix Antiques Barn, near Penrith. This idyllic, double-storey converted barn can be found just east of Penrith, one of Cumbria’s larger towns. We were thankfully blessed, once again, with wonderful weather: blue skies with plenty of thick, puffy clouds. Perfection.
We wanted to avoid the monotony of the M6, so instead opted for the A6, a much more beautiful route that takes you via Lower Borrowdale, up and over Shap Fell, through Shap and into the Eden valley. Throughout the drive you have the world-famous Lake District fells to your left and the North Pennines to your right. It’s deeply fulfilling. I highly recommend it. 
After a little confusion, we arrived at the Phoenix Antiques Barn. Though it’s situated just off the busy A66, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. The barn itself was beautifully presented and we took our time exploring the different floors. 
Lisabet took particular interest in the restored furniture and various other home adornments. I enjoyed checking out all the maps on show. I’ve always had a… thing, for maps. I remember pouring over various maps and cartography books when I was a child, memorising all the capital cities across the world (not sure I could do that these days). In particular, I was always intrigued by the evolution of maps, seeing how borders were redrawn, countries created and destroyed, and also how differently places were spelled. 
…blue skies with plenty of thick, puffy clouds… Perfection…
Specifically, I had, and continue to have, a fascination with tiny islands. Like all the ones surrounding the British mainlands. And those that can found in the middle of oceans, isolated and thousands of miles away from mainland civilisation. I wonder about the lives of people on these tiny settlements, how their culture grew and so forth. I find it endlessly beguiling. A personal favourite is Saint Helena, part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It appears to have been completely uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered it in the 16th century. It looks like a paradise. I also dig Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, with perhaps the most epic name for a settlement ever thought of: Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. Rad. 
I didn’t bring my actual camera gear with me to into the barn, but nevertheless took some snapshots of the place with my modified Galaxy Note 2, experimenting with Google’s new Camera app and its Lens Blur feature (it’s neato). 
On the ground floor we did come across a pretty nifty tripod whilst talking with the shop owner. I was interested in purchasing it. Turns out it was not for sale; it was the gear they used for their photography. Gosh darn it!
You can see some of my mobile phone captures I shot below, to get a good sense of the decor of this place.
Behind-the-scenes mobile phone photos of the Phoenix Antiques Barn. More on my VSCO Grid.
Our next stop was to hop back on the A66, around Penrith and into the Lake District. There was an American-style Diner with our name on it. 

That’s right: the Filling Station Cafe. This place has a real American Diner crossed with a British Biker vibe to it. That means: giant-ass coffees, thick and indulgent milkshakes, stacks of chunky pancakes, and burgers bigger than your head. 
When they say “Filling”, they really mean it. 
I mean, look at this.

The Filling Station BBQ Burger. Jesus.
No, that’s not a small burger, those are massive onion rings. I chose the BBQ Burger. It was comprised of minced steak beef, custom BBQ sauce, bacon, and a wallop of melted cheese. Holy damn. That was a tasty burger. The shoestring fries were also swish, I’m pretty sure they were fried in something like beef dripping for extra flava. 
Lisabet enjoyed Eggs Benedict that, in her words, were done to perfection. I attempted to drink a bucket of coffee after the meal but I just… couldn’t… finish it… *shame*
We waddled back to the car after the meal, and set course for the final destination of the day: St. John’s in the Vale.

St. John’s in the Vale (isn’t that a lovely name?) is a small glaciated valley, just southeast of Keswick. It’s narrow at the foot and then widens out at its head. It’s surrounded by some particularly distinctive mountains. On its western flank is High Rigg (357m/1,171ft) and Low Rigg (277m/836ft), small fells but separate entities as they have no connecting ridges to higher fells (rigg is an Old English word, simply meaning “hill”). On the eastern side of the valley are the higher mountains of Clough Head (726m/2,382ft) and Great Dodd (857m/2,812ft), part of the ridge that runs south and eventually peaks at the huge Helvellyn (950m/3,117ft). For the Word Nerds out there, Clough Head translates to headland of the ravine and Helvellyn, as far as we can make out, means yellow upland in the ancient Cumbric language. As the valley widens out northwards a perfect view of Blencathra (868m/2,848ft) is revealed. Blencathra’s name is the best of all, derived from the Cumbric blaen (a bare hill top) and “cadeir”, later cathrach, (a chair), possibly Gaelic. This would give a meaning of “the bare hill top shaped like a chair”, such an apt name.
There are only small settlements and working farms in the vale. Being quite closed in by the surrounding mountains, St. John’s in the Vale feels remote and quiet, despite being near the A591 and A66.

Unlike most of our walks, we had no particular goal in mind for this hike. Both of us have never been through the vale, so it was more of a leisurely wander and exploration, just to see what we could find. The valley, it turns out, is immensely pretty; Herdwick ewes and their lambs calling out to each other, silent mountains, meadow fields filled with buttercups, a gurgling beck, it was all rather serene. 
Halfway along the valley, I noticed the cloud formations were starting to look rather epic and we came to a straight stretch of road that lead to Blencathra in the distance. It was a simple composition but simple things are sometimes the hardest to do.
“Arriving Storm in the Vale” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
I told you they were epic clouds, right? I had to take a couple of goes with this composition as the odd car passing by ruined the shot. I love the contrast of light and shadow. The fields of buttercups on the right and the ridges of Low Rigg on the left illuminated by the setting sun, whilst Clough Head on the far right sinks into shadow. In the distance, Blencathra sits in shadow with the occasional splash of dappled light playing across its flanks. Warm light and cold shadow. This was shot at f/13, ISO100, at a focal length of 11mm with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens on my Nikon D7000 (as the camera is a crop sensor, that makes my focal length about 15.5mm equivalent). Just three exposures were needed with the Exposure Compensation set to -1EV, to ensure I got all the highlight detail. Shutter speeds were at 1/500, 1/125 and 1/30secs. Processing this didn’t take me very long at all; it’s a blend of a tonemapped HDR and a 32-bit HDR, then with colour and contrast corrections in GIMP before applying some of my special sauce to finish. 
About ¾ of the way through the valley, we decided to turn back and head towards the car. Along the way, Lisabet stopped at a farm entrance to purchase some fresh eggs from the farm’s honesty box (these would later make the tastiest omelette she’s ever made. Buy fresh and local). I kept looking back every now and then to try and get a good composition and portrait of Clough Head. It’s such a handsome fell.
Eventually, walking through a wooded part of the road, I found my composition.
“Guardian of the Vale” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
Isn’t she a handsome fell? I always think it’s better to shoot mountains early in the morning or later in the evening; the low angle of sun causes a greater contrast of highlights and shadows, pulling out all the texture in mountains. This shot was originally composed super-wide at 11mm but I later decided to crop right down in post so that I could really make the mountain more present and focussed. That’s the only problem with super-wide angle lenses: because they capture so much of the scene, they can make grand objects like mountains seem so small and insignificant. Shots like this remind me that I need to get myself a good zoom lens sorted. Again, this composition is all about simple leading lines and contrast: warm and cool tones, shadows and highlights, natural and man-made, rough and smooth.
Before we made it back to the car, I turned round and caught another final composition, with more curvature of the road and portraying both Clough Head and Blencathra. I felt that it really summarised the experience of St. John’s in the Vale for me. 
“Valley Inception” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk (bigger)
A wonderful valley in lovely light. The name of the photo references the fact that the valley of St. John’s in the Vale is but a subsidiary of the greater valley of the River Greta. Soft and glowing dappled light caresses the craggy Clough Head and illuminates Blencathra with its many ridges and peaks in the distance. High Rigg on the left sits in shadow, protectively covering the meadows below. The redness of Clough Head is due to the extensive mining of granite on this side of the mountain; the potassium feldspar in the granite gives this distinctive pink color.
We packed up and drove back to Kendal via the A591. Birthday days are the best days, especially when they last longer than a single day. 
Now, back to that Gin…
If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!
Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Birthday of a Loved One: Part II

If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!

The Day Started With Gin

Admittedly, it didn’t involve any drinking of Gin, but nevertheless started with it. Of the many presents Lisabet received on her birthday, mine involved a pristine bottle of Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin, all the way from the Shetland Islands.

Gin. Scotland. I thought it was a pretty good gift. READ MORE ->

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