Where has 2016 gone? It’s September already. It does mean I’m already getting excited for this year’s Autumn in the Peak District and all the opportunities it will bring. Because. before we know it, it will be Christmas and we’ll be looking at 2017.
Before I get started, just a quick plug, if you would like to join me on a workshop to capture the highlights of Autumn in the Peak District then check out my workshops page. I offer tailored 1-2-1 tuition as well themed small group workshops to focus on Autumn.
Autumn is a fantastic season, with a bright array of vivid warm colours such as oranges, reds and yellows. It’s a process of where leaves start to die but for a photographer, they actually come to life. At the height of summer, with the exception of heather season, the landscape becomes drowned out with a limited tonal range of green. Autumn transforms the look of this landscape before the onset of winter and even a simple drive down a road with falling leaves and the smell leaves you feeling invigorated.
Another great thing about Autumn is the variety of photos you can take. You have intimate woodlands, gushing cascades and grand vistas. If the weather is poor, you can often go out and shoot some of the best scenes as a bright overcast sky acts as a huge diffuser and makes shooting things like waterfalls much easier without bright spots.
The Peak District has a lot to offer in Autumn, with fantastic locations such as Padley Gorge and Lumsdale for waterfalls, Mam Tor and Froggatt Edge for grand landscapes and around Ladybower and Chatsworth for Autumn tree scenes. Let’s take a look at a few different spots and subjects.
Don’t forget as well, if you don’t already own a copy, then my book Peak District Through The Lens has comprehensive details and directions to the below locations.
I don’t know why but when I think of autumn photography, I think of waterfalls first. I love orange leaves surrounding gushing cascades of water. Unfortunately, the Peak District isn’t the most populated with waterfalls but we have some lovely examples, Lumsdale near Matlock being my absolute favourite.
1: Use a polariser when photographing waterfalls to cut glare off water and leaves. Some of the shots below was taken without one and you can see the obvious differences.
2: Check the progress of autumn foliage falling throughout the season as it varies year to year. I tend to find the first week of November is the prime time when there are just enough leaves left on trees but plenty of fresh leaves on the ground.
3: Take wellies to get into the water for unique compositions.
As I mentioned before, Lumsdale is my favourite location for Autumn. It’s located just outside of Matlock, so technically doesn’t fall within the Peak District but with beauty like this, it would be foolish to exclude it. There are a series of waterfalls, some man-made with a millpond at the very top. The area is steeped in history and is part of the Arkwright Society and there is evidence of ruined mills scattered along the grounds.