I have to confess to being a bit of a waterfall geek, I just love the way water flows over a waterfall, majestic and at the same time powerful as it heads towards the ground and then flows on into a stream or a river. What I like most about waterfalls is finding one’s that have not been photographed to many times or at all. Don’t get me wrong I do like photographing popular well know waterfalls as everybody interprets the waterfall in their own way, but finding one’s that have not been photographed or I haven’t seen any images of really excites me. So here I was doing what I like to do when not shooting for clients, is wander around places and see if I can find a waterfall sometimes off the beaten track and sometimes not so much. The trick is to look around you when out walking as it is easy to just walk looking in front and not surveying or taking in the natural beauty around you when out. And as such this is how I came to spot this small waterfall, by looking around and as luck would have it I spotted it of in the distance on the far side of the beck in Hamsterley Forest, it would have been easy to miss if I had not been looking around as a few more steps and I would have been past it and out of my sight line. So I head over to the other side and trek through the trees looking and thinking I am sure it was just around here and starting to doubt myself, but I carry on and eventually set back I come across the waterfall, full of excitement to have found it I set up my tripod and camera and get ready to shoot a couple of test images. What I notice is a branch that has flowed down over the fall and is stuck sticking up out of the water, I thought I would remove the branch from the waterfall by grabbing a long fallen branch and hooking it over this one that sticks out and dislodge it. Oh for not a really well thought out plan as I put my foot on a rock that is of course slippy I feel myself falling and falling I did getting soaked down one side, but on the plus side I did remove the offending object. Yes I could have removed the branch in Photoshop but where would be the fun in that, there is nothing like getting wet on a cold early morning to add to the fun of capturing something great. So here are a couple of shots from the that morning.
f my wanders around the forest, I had walked this path many a time and just happened to glance to my right this one time to see this small amount of water cascading over the edge, so decided I would come back when the conditions were right for capturing it. Thing with waterfalls is they are either a small trickle due to lack of water or a massive torrent due to heavy amounts of rain. So I have been watching how much rain we have been having lately, so it rained last night again so I thought there would be a good chance that it would be flowing nicely, not a torrent but a nice steady flow that would make for a good composition and a pleasing image, and I was not disappointed. I visited another waterfall in the forest that is quite well hidden which I have photographed before which was only a small trickle last time and this was flowing nicely as well. Only down side was I found out I had a split in my Muck Boots Wellies so ended up with a very wet foot, but a small price to pay for getting the image.
The latest NDH* mountain bike event was held at the Ae Forest in Dumfries, what a great location and place,a bit of a hidden gem. To be honest I had never heard of the Ae Forest before so was relying on the sat nav and postcode given plus the directions to get us their which it did. An excellent turn out for the event and the big bonus the sun was shining, and it’s February, can’t complain about that. The track was not overly long but it was fast with plenty of jumps, so leaving me spoiled for choice on where to situate myself to capture the riders as they hurtled down from the top to the bottom.
The day started of early with up at 5.30am and leaving at 6.30am to arrive at Kielder forest for the NDH* Start Cycle Funduro briefing for my son to find out where he would be marshaling, and for me to find out where I could get some good photographs of the riders. The ride to the forest that time of a morning was nice as the sun rose giving a lovely glow to the sky and as the light arrived the skies looked like they were going to give us good weather, but it was not to last as we got closer to Kielder forest the bright skies were replaced with cloud, light white clouds not the dark your going to get really wet clouds, so one was living with hope of a dry day. We arrived parked up and talked to Karl the organizer only to be told yesterday how he had gotten soaked through within two minutes of stepping out of his van to set up the trails. Undeterred I was still living in the hope of dry weather for the day and said I thought it would stay nice if cloudy all day and everyone I told this to just looked and said it’s going to rain and of course I would say no it’s not, so more and more riders arrived, there was a good turn out for a November day in Kielder Forest but the NDH* events are well organised and popular. So I drive my son to his marshal point and Karl tells me where I can get some good images of the riders so I head down the track from section two, and find myself a nice spot that looks sheltered from the light wind blowing. practice starts and the weather is holding as I knew it wasn’t going to rain how could it after I said and told everybody it was going to just stay cloudy. Ha ha how wrong could I be we survived till about 11am the wind picked up and the rain started and did it rain oh yes it rained and rained and rained and the wind blew hard, I thought I would use my brolly to cover my camera bag and in the quiet parts of the practice and race shelter under the brolly, not to be I waited for a lull in the wind started putting up the brolly and a big gust of wind came from nowhere and turned it inside out and snapped the spines that held the brolly top so that was the end of that plan. Not to be deterred it was woolly hat and coat hood up to combat the driving rain that was luckily coming at me from behind, I did make the mistake of turning round to look down the track and was blasted in the face by wind and driving rain, the hardest part was keeping the rain of the camera lens which started off not to bad, but as my cleaning cloths got more damp they were making the lens worse, eventually I turned to a packet of disposable hankies, clean I may add to try and soak the water off which seemed to work, I also had my camera wrapped in an Asda plastic bag to help keep the water off I have proper camera bags for this sort of thing but find the Asda bag works so much better. The riders came and went only a couple of slips on the rocks just passed me but all made it down safely and all the riders giving a 110% and not one complaint, mountain bikers are made of tough stuff. So that was it time to walk back up to the car I hadn’t realized how wet I was till I started to walk back to the car at the top of the track and everything was clinging to me and the water was running of in streams. The question for me was how many images could I rescue after battling with rain quite a few is the answer some of which are below.
NDH* Northern Downhill
The day was grey as the fine drops of misty rain fell, finding some shelter down by Blackling Hole Waterfall in Hamsterley Forest as the roar of the water comes crashing over the top to foam and and dance at the bottom before flowing away down stream gentle and calm.
Now that can conjure up all kinds of thoughts in the mind a title like that. But unfortunately it was just me getting down on the forest floor in amongst the broken branches and dirt and mud to get some close up images of the fungi growing on the forest floor, for a couple of years I have been wanting to photograph the fungi but have always left it to late with doing other projects or have been to early so this year I promised myself I would get there in time, I do not own a Macro lens yet but in the future maybe so all images were taken with the Sigma 17-50, 2.8 lens.
I will have to explore some other parts of the forest to capture some photographs of the other types that grow in Hamsterely forest, but that will be for another day and another story.