We recently moved to the English Lake District. Myself and my lovely wife Laila, along with our little dog, Bear. I have never lived this far away from the intensity of the city’s streets before.
Our journey over the last year has been an interesting one. We ended our life in Vietnam as English teachers and moved to Brazil to get married (My wife is Brazillian). Six magical months we shared there. The love I was shown by new friends and family was unparalleled in my life. It was there in Brazil that we formulated a plan to move to Australia so that Laila could study to become a teacher. As my Brazillian visa was running out soon, we needed a place to live until it was time to jet off to Oz.
I contacted my friends in the U.K. asking around for places to stay, hoping there was a kind soul who could offer us a room. Luckily, there was. A few weeks later we were driving up to the Lake District, all our worldly possessions packed into the boot of a rental car.
We arrived at Ulverston late into the night, a town made famous as the birthplace of Laurel and Hardy. The blackness was startling. It was most unsettling to be void of all but the light from the car headlamps. In the city, darkness is taught to mean danger. But here, that isn’t the case.
After many wrong turns and a few dead ends, we made it to what was to be our new home for the next six months. As we pulled into the drive, the realisation dawned….I no longer had the city streets to inspire and feed my photography. There is not much street photography in the countryside, after all. My comfort zone was evacuated. If I was to continue taking photographs I would have to adapt, evolve and learn new skills to make the most of my new surroundings.
Overcoming ‘The Fear’.
I have to be honest with you all. I didn’t take my camera out for at least for the last two months. I stared at it sometimes, willing the inspiration or the motivation to come. But it didn’t. Not for a very long time. I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was the sudden arrival of the colour blue in the sky, or the birds singing particularly loud that morning. But on that day, I grabbed my wife and my dog and we drove. No pre-determined destination. Driving for driving’s sake.
As it turns out, I didn’t need much inspiration. It was right on our doorstep all along. The nature that surrounded us was breathtaking. More breathtaking than I could remember England ever being. I know I have been away for 5 years…time doesn’t dull memories this much, does it? It was almost like I was a tourist in my own county. A strange sensation indeed.
The English Lake District Wow Moment.
As out aimless drive reach the hour mark, through some not so cruel twist of fate, we arrived at a lake called Wast Water. If you look at a map of the Lake District, you will see Wast Water in the west of the national park. It looks fairly inconspicuous. Neither grand in scale nor name. The fact that this was an unplanned and chance encounter may have enhanced our reaction to the light that was now hitting our retinas and then interpreted by our brains. In fact, there is no doubt that it did.
What we now laid our eyes upon was so breathtaking, it became almost alien. A scene from the end of the world. The water was made from fine crystal. The sky was cobalt blue with clouds as white as I had ever seen. Mountains surrounded the lake, their slopes reaching all the way to the edge of the water. Winter was fast approaching. It made the landscape an odd mix of heavenly and brutal. I am not sure if this was one of the more undiscovered lakes in Cumbria, but we were almost alone. From the first shot I took, to the last, the experience was pure magic.
In the End.
Shooting landscape photography is not my strong point. I realised long ago that I would never be a master at it. Yet as I age, it becomes more appealing to my sensibilities. My time in the lakes has provided me with renewed vigour. Getting lost in nature with my camera is going to become more important to me. The spirituality of it all was clearer on this day than ever before. The calm, the focus. The outstanding beauty that surrounded me had forcefully reminded me what I was missing. I would highly recommend anyone to go visit the English Lake District.
Thank you for reading. 🙂
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