I had a spare day so decided, at the last minute, to head over to the Lake District. Living in York means I am an hour closer than I used to be living in Scarborough which makes it a lot easier.
Leaving the house at 4.25am and heading through York there was very few people about, a couple of drunks and the binmen. I headed for one of my favourite spots, Borrowdale, just South of Keswick and alongside Derwentwater.
I got to Keswick for about 6.15am, there was just the faintest light in the sky and I had to set my gear up by the light of my headtorch (an invaluable item to have with you). I took some shots of the famous jetty before heading up the slippery icy road to Ashness Bridge. I'd been here before but in the daytime when the whole area was full of tourists and the light was harsh so I knew the layout and had a mental image of the shot I wanted.
Clambering over the wet rocks I got into position, levelled the tripod up, got my filters set up and waited for the light to come to me. I used a Lee 105mm Circular Polarising filter to cut through the reflections on the water and wet rocks, a 3 stop hard edged ND grad and a 3 stop soft edged ND grad together to control the difference in brightness between the morning sky and the rocks and bridge which would be in shadow.
As I sat there in the gloom, grabbing chance for some breakfast I heard a movement on the banking above and saw a red squirrel, only the second one I've ever seen (the first I nearly flattened when he ran out in front of my car on the road between Fort William and Skye on one of my trips last year). He came close and stood with his head on one side watching me set up, he seemed quite intrigued by this madman sat in freezing cold water waiting for the sun to come up.
I waited over an hour for the light to get to where I wanted, the distant peaks of Skiddaw catching the first rays of light and the clouds turning a beautiful colour. I shot a coupe of frames with different cloud positions, this was my favourite.
I think it was worth getting up early and braving the cold, I hope you agree.