on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Scouting in the Lake District

Off the beaten track with Mark Littlejohn and Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Mark Littlejohn

Mark Littlejohn is a landscape photographer based on the edge of the English Lake District. He specialises in moody, atmospheric early morning conditions and offers bespoke one-to-one workshops and Lakeland tours.


Just before Autumn, Mark Littlejohn and I went for a couple of days wandering on Holme Fell and approaching Grange Fell. We thought we'd write a little about our morning scouting on Grange Fell and show a couple of images made whilst planning a longer journey sometime in the future.


Mark Littlejohn

One of the biggest thrills for me is finding new locations. I love finding new compositions that are hidden in plain sight. The Lake District is surprisingly small and huge swathes of people have been crawling all over it for years. Despite this a large proportion of landscape photographers visiting the Lakes just stick to the main highways and byways, reusing the same old tripod holes.

On my daily commute to Glenridding I invariably pass a workshop or two camped outside the Duke of Portland boathouse. The conditions might be excellent, but no one is being adventurous or breaking new ground. I normally approach “location spotting” by browsing my collection of OS maps whilst simultaneously using Flash Earth on the laptop. I’ve found it a good way of finding little woodlands and other features that might be hidden from view. In common with a lot of other photographers I don’t have the time to physically explore every nook and cranny so I need to use modern technology to try and speed the process up.

Once a suitable location has been identified I will usually use The Photographers Ephemeris to ascertain the direction of the sunrise. I’m not one for eye bursting nuclear dawns but I am rather a fan of first light with its wonderfully soft diffuse nature and its ability to side light things.Having done all of these things I will then go out on a mid day wander to check the location out. Some of the locations I head out to might have steep drop offs and other dangers and I wouldn’t want to find out about these dangers by falling foul of them. Head torches are all well and good on a dawn trip but I wouldn’t trust them on a first visit.

However, there is a huge area above and beyond it that I have never been to. This area boasts views stretching over to Scafell, the Langdale Pikes and a lot of other places.

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