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. All images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

An Apology
Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the lack of content in the last few days. I’ve been doing extra hours at work for a start, but I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my blog, the content inside and where I want to go with it.
My conclusion was to redesign my site and increase the context around my photos, including maps, hiking instructions, and photo creation information. I hope you’ll enjoy the more in-depth posts from here on out! READ MORE ->
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First Light On Fleetwith
If you are seeing this on the Tumblr Dashboard, I highly recommend reading this on my actual site for the full experience!
So, this morning, Lisabet and I woke up early. Like, real early. Like, Two-Thirty-In-The-Morning early. It wasn’t without reason, though. We had planned a hike from the top of Honister Pass, one of England’s steepest mountain passes, towards the summit of Dale Head, 2,470ft above sea level. Why?
Because the view north from the summit is legendary.
By 3:30am, we hopped in the car, with the stars above and a bright moon beaming, to make our way from Kendal to the top of Honister Pass. Below, you can see the driving route we took in the embedded Google Maps, should you wish to try it yourself.

The world was wonderfully quiet at Honister Slate Mine. I could feel the giddiness coursing through my veins, an internal excitement of the visual treasure that awaited us at the top of the relatively short hike. Maybe, if we made it in good time, I could get some astrophotography too! The sky was certainly clear enough.

“I could feel the giddiness coursing through my veins”

The area around Honister Pass has been extensively mined; Honister is known for its green Honister slate. The southern of flank of Dale Head, our route, had been mined too, with operations finishing at Yew Crags in 1966. It was, in fact, at the Yew Crags that we stopped for the photo above. I just couldn’t ignore all of this rad rock textures and shapes!
You can see in the embedded Google Map below where the final composition was shot.

The climb up the southern flank of Dale Head was rather steep, with fresh, slippery dew on the grass and, happily, some Herdwick sheep grazing around the Yew Crags. Seeing their cute white faces reminded me of how much I need to get a second camera with a nice prime lens to take nice shots of sheep!
By this point, the sun was starting to rise and we could see delicious oranges and pinks appearing in the sky; the sun was catching all of the high-level crystalline clouds with soft pastellian colours. I promptly set up my composition and camera settings, waiting for the light. I knew, via the handy information provided in some Android apps of mine, that the sun would rise at just the right angle to catch the top of the Honister Pass mountains.
All I had to do, was keep shooting as the light changed.
Eventually, the tops of the mountains started to glow pink as the rising sun crested the Borrowdale mountains. That’s when I started shooting like crazy!
The sketch below shows the names of the mountains that caught the soft pink sunlight. The big pyramidal monster is Fleetwith Pike, one of my favourites.

The camera settings on this photo were quite simple: ISO100 (low noise), ƒ/18 (as I was focusing on the nearby rocks and wanted to get the distant mountains in focus too), shot in aperture priority, three exposures of 0.16secs, 0.6secs and 2.5secs. This was with my trusty Nikon D7000 using my awesome Tokina 11-16mm ƒ/2.8 ultra-wide angle lens. 
Processing was done by zeroing the three exposure RAWs in Darktable, exporting them as 16-bit TIFFs, merging them together in Luminance HDR to create a 32-bit HDR EXR file, which I saved. I then tonemapped the HDR image to pull some details for later blending. I imported the 32-bit file back into Darktable and edited it to look as good and true to my memory and feelings as possible, then exporting the finished result as a JPEG. Finally, I took the tonemapped image and the exported 32-bit edit into GIMP, where I blended the two together before finalising the photo with contrast and colour corrections as well as some sharpening.
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!

An Apology

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the lack of content in the last few days. I’ve been doing extra hours at work for a start, but I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my blog, the content inside and where I want to go with it.

My conclusion was to redesign my site and increase the context around my photos, including maps, hiking instructions, and photo creation information. I hope you’ll enjoy the more in-depth posts from here on out! READ MORE ->

The Jaws of an Ancient Waterfall
Welcome to Trow Gill Gorge! This particularly epic and little-known gorge can be found at the head of Clapdale, a lovely little valley, home to the Yorkshire Dales village of Clapham. 
Trow Gill is an ancient, extinct waterfall. The old river that flowed through here would’ve begun its life on the slopes of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire’s three highest mountains, working its way down Ingleborough’s eastern flanks before rushing down this gorge at alarming speeds and force. Nowadays, the beck from Ingleborough drops 300ft down Gaping Gill before it reaches this gorge. 
Lisabet and I decided to visit this epic place for sunset. It’s rather a pleasant walk from Clapham, a clearly marked nature trail past a lake, waterfall, sheep and woods. You should try it! =)
This shot was made by stitching together two landscape frames, with each frame being made from three exposures, capturing an extremely wide angle view of this massive gorge.
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!

The Jaws of an Ancient Waterfall

Welcome to Trow Gill Gorge! This particularly epic and little-known gorge can be found at the head of Clapdale, a lovely little valley, home to the Yorkshire Dales village of Clapham. 

Trow Gill is an ancient, extinct waterfall. The old river that flowed through here would’ve begun its life on the slopes of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire’s three highest mountains, working its way down Ingleborough’s eastern flanks before rushing down this gorge at alarming speeds and force. Nowadays, the beck from Ingleborough drops 300ft down Gaping Gill before it reaches this gorge. 

Lisabet and I decided to visit this epic place for sunset. It’s rather a pleasant walk from Clapham, a clearly marked nature trail past a lake, waterfall, sheep and woods. You should try it! =)

This shot was made by stitching together two landscape frames, with each frame being made from three exposures, capturing an extremely wide angle view of this massive gorge.

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!

Rising Beacon
A composition of Raven Crag rising above the forest, from Thirlmere Dam. 
This was a comp I couldn’t ignore. Lots of contrasting, subtle colours everywhere, the wonderful textures of the stone wall and boulders… and the light was pretty rad, too. 
Also thought I’d try something a little different with my post-processing, too.
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!

Rising Beacon

A composition of Raven Crag rising above the forest, from Thirlmere Dam. 

This was a comp I couldn’t ignore. Lots of contrasting, subtle colours everywhere, the wonderful textures of the stone wall and boulders… and the light was pretty rad, too. 

Also thought I’d try something a little different with my post-processing, too.

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!

Helvellyn Fights The Sky
Along with our hike up towards the dramatic Raven Crag, Lisabet and I took advantage of the improving conditions by hiking down to the shore of Thirlmere and shooting England’s third highest mountain: Helvellyn.
Thirlmere is not a natural lake, instead it is a man-made reservoir created by damming the northern end of the lake. Previously, the valley contained two lakes: Leathes Water and Wythburn Water, but permission was granted to flood the valley and create a reservoir for the purposes of feeding the burgeoning Manchester population in 1879. All that remains of the civilisations that lived in this valley is Wythburn Church at the southern end of the lake.
This shot required some rather extensive tripod gymnastics to get this more unique composition, showing off the boulders along the shore with Thirlmere glowing in the sunset light and Helvellyn piercing the clouds above. =)
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!

Helvellyn Fights The Sky

Along with our hike up towards the dramatic Raven Crag, Lisabet and I took advantage of the improving conditions by hiking down to the shore of Thirlmere and shooting England’s third highest mountain: Helvellyn.

Thirlmere is not a natural lake, instead it is a man-made reservoir created by damming the northern end of the lake. Previously, the valley contained two lakes: Leathes Water and Wythburn Water, but permission was granted to flood the valley and create a reservoir for the purposes of feeding the burgeoning Manchester population in 1879. All that remains of the civilisations that lived in this valley is Wythburn Church at the southern end of the lake.

This shot required some rather extensive tripod gymnastics to get this more unique composition, showing off the boulders along the shore with Thirlmere glowing in the sunset light and Helvellyn piercing the clouds above. =)

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!

Raven’s Revelation
I had previously attempted to hike up Raven Crag in the Lake District earlier in the year; this was during a brief respite in what was turning out to be Britain’s wettest winter ever. On that particular hike, the path up the fell was practically a waterfall and eventually the cloud cover dropped, obscuring my view of this impressive peak.
Two months on, Lisabet and I tried again. Conditions were much more favourable this time. I had been eyeing the weather conditions, noting that the day’s fog and haze would clear and the cloud cover would rise, so I was looking forward to cloud-free peaks and nice colours towards sunset, which is exactly what we got. From around the North end of Thirlmere, Raven Crag appears as a sheer 500ft crag, thrusting itself above Thirlmere Forest.
I was enchanted by all the colours still present in the forest, the glowing sky emitting cyan and golden hues, the moss-covered trees and towering pines, and, of course, the impossible-to-ignore peak of Raven Crag rising defiantly into the sky. The trees in Thirlmere Forest are massive; you can see how my little Lisabet compares to their size as she looks on in awe at the sheer face of Raven Crag. =)
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!

Raven’s Revelation

I had previously attempted to hike up Raven Crag in the Lake District earlier in the year; this was during a brief respite in what was turning out to be Britain’s wettest winter ever. On that particular hike, the path up the fell was practically a waterfall and eventually the cloud cover dropped, obscuring my view of this impressive peak.

Two months on, Lisabet and I tried again. Conditions were much more favourable this time. I had been eyeing the weather conditions, noting that the day’s fog and haze would clear and the cloud cover would rise, so I was looking forward to cloud-free peaks and nice colours towards sunset, which is exactly what we got. From around the North end of Thirlmere, Raven Crag appears as a sheer 500ft crag, thrusting itself above Thirlmere Forest.

I was enchanted by all the colours still present in the forest, the glowing sky emitting cyan and golden hues, the moss-covered trees and towering pines, and, of course, the impossible-to-ignore peak of Raven Crag rising defiantly into the sky. The trees in Thirlmere Forest are massive; you can see how my little Lisabet compares to their size as she looks on in awe at the sheer face of Raven Crag. =)

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!

In The Shadow of Lindisfarne
It is very easy to take the obvious shot of Lindisfarne Castle, when you’re on Holy Island. Of course, in the sunrise light, Lisabet and I did exactly that. But we also scouted the surroundings too to see if we could find something more unique.
I found this ancient little stone shed of some sort, tucked away underneath the bank that held the fort of Lindisfarne Castle. I enjoyed the contrast between the cool tones around the shed against the warm light bouncing off the castle. =)
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!

In The Shadow of Lindisfarne

It is very easy to take the obvious shot of Lindisfarne Castle, when you’re on Holy Island. Of course, in the sunrise light, Lisabet and I did exactly that. But we also scouted the surroundings too to see if we could find something more unique.

I found this ancient little stone shed of some sort, tucked away underneath the bank that held the fort of Lindisfarne Castle. I enjoyed the contrast between the cool tones around the shed against the warm light bouncing off the castle. =)

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!

Inverted Sun
Upon arriving at Ennerdale Water, Lisabet and I immediately set to finding compositions. The weather was perfect… except there were no clouds. Sigh. You need some cloud action. There are so many compositions to choose from around Ennerdale Water and its valley. I was hoping to see some spring daffodils along the shore of the lake, but any we saw were mostly secluded in forest.
I did find these interesting rocks protruding out into the lake though, complemented by the sun reflected in the morning and the mountains in the distance. =)
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!

Inverted Sun

Upon arriving at Ennerdale Water, Lisabet and I immediately set to finding compositions. The weather was perfect… except there were no clouds. Sigh. You need some cloud action. There are so many compositions to choose from around Ennerdale Water and its valley. I was hoping to see some spring daffodils along the shore of the lake, but any we saw were mostly secluded in forest.

I did find these interesting rocks protruding out into the lake though, complemented by the sun reflected in the morning and the mountains in the distance. =)

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!

Gate to Grisedale
A reprocessing of an older shot. It’s not often that I do this, but I was in a more experimental phase when I originally processed this shot… now time to do it properly. I have learned so many more techniques and improved my eye since then. =)
Grisedale is such an epic valley. Lisabet and I hiked our way up the valley in order to reach Grisedale Tarn. There’s so much more to see when hiking up Grisedale, though: for a start, it’s a common route to climb Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain. =)
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!

Gate to Grisedale

A reprocessing of an older shot. It’s not often that I do this, but I was in a more experimental phase when I originally processed this shot… now time to do it properly. I have learned so many more techniques and improved my eye since then. =)

Grisedale is such an epic valley. Lisabet and I hiked our way up the valley in order to reach Grisedale Tarn. There’s so much more to see when hiking up Grisedale, though: for a start, it’s a common route to climb Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain. =)

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!

Wood and Stone
Apologies for the lack of activity in the last few days, folks! I have not been 100% recently, fighting off lethargy plus a congested head/throat. I seem to be getting over it now, though. =)
Today’s photo was shot inside the Church of St. Olaf, one of England’s smallest and oldest churches, nestled in a ring of ancient yew trees at the foot of England’s highest mountains in the Wasdale valley. You know a church is old when it’s mostly made of wood and stone. In particular, the roof beams here are said to come from a Viking longship. 
It was actually named as such in 1977… before then, this quiet little place of tranquillity had no name at all…
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!

Wood and Stone

Apologies for the lack of activity in the last few days, folks! I have not been 100% recently, fighting off lethargy plus a congested head/throat. I seem to be getting over it now, though. =)

Today’s photo was shot inside the Church of St. Olaf, one of England’s smallest and oldest churches, nestled in a ring of ancient yew trees at the foot of England’s highest mountains in the Wasdale valley. You know a church is old when it’s mostly made of wood and stone. In particular, the roof beams here are said to come from a Viking longship. 

It was actually named as such in 1977… before then, this quiet little place of tranquillity had no name at all…

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!

The Sea To Ourselves
There’s my buddy and fellow photog Andy Gray up on one of the many impressive rock formations found on the Bamburgh coast, patiently waiting out a long exposure. 
We all got a bit excited once the sun finally broke through the clouds behind us, casting intoxicating shafts of golden light that caressed these awesome rock formations known as Harkess Rocks. Honestly, I could’ve spent hours happily playing around this coast, finding compositions and watching the light change. It’s one of those timeless places that you just have to photo over and over again, just because it changes all the 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!

The Sea To Ourselves

There’s my buddy and fellow photog Andy Gray up on one of the many impressive rock formations found on the Bamburgh coast, patiently waiting out a long exposure. 

We all got a bit excited once the sun finally broke through the clouds behind us, casting intoxicating shafts of golden light that caressed these awesome rock formations known as Harkess Rocks. Honestly, I could’ve spent hours happily playing around this coast, finding compositions and watching the light change. It’s one of those timeless places that you just have to photo over and over again, just because it changes all the 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!

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