Photography In The Peak District

It’s Not Just a Walk in the Park
by Tesni Ward April 26 2017

The Peak District has had an irresistible charm and allure for many years. It was this charm that lead to it being the first national park in the UK In 1951. The endless rolling hills and striking gritstone crags attract over 8 million visitors each year, with many photographers making the most of these beautiful landscapes and the many species of wildlife within it.

I was about 14 years old when I first visited the Peak District, long before I’d ever picked up a camera or considered the prospect that I may one day become a full-time photographer. I remember being awestruck by the natural beauty and scenery, and 11 years later it still has the same draw and attraction as that very first time I laid eyes upon it. The majority of my work these days focuses on the many species of wildlife living within the boundaries of the national park, I still work on photographing the ever-changing landscapes. The sheer variety of habitats not only attracts a wide range of animals but also changes the landscape dramatically from one valley to the next. With the northern ‘Dark Peak’ with dramatic gritstone edges and the southern White Peak with rolling green hills and limestone you are literally spoilt for choice.

Choose the right time of the year

Each season offers different photographic opportunities within the Peak District; Spring brings beautiful wildflowers and vibrant greens, whilst in summer heather blooms across the moorlands, changing the landscape into a sheet of pinks and purples. Autumn has warm, red tones and winter brings the occasional snowfall, along with moody, misty mornings. The weather can be less predictable in winter than in summer so this is an important factor to take into consideration if there are specific animals or scenes you’re eager to photograph.

Plan enough time

The Peak District is deceptively large, meaning it’s important to prioritise and plan accordingly. The light can be usable throughout the day on hazy winter days, but it’s often too harsh on a bright summers day, meaning early mornings or late evenings are best to capture that beautiful golden light.

Prepare for the conditions

In some remote or high areas, the conditions can change in the blink of an eye from bright sunshine to thick fog, howling winds and persistent rain. Ensure you’re suitably prepared at all times, with suitable protection for your camera and equipment, a sturdy tripod and warm, waterproof clothing. Prepare in advance by checking the forecast and take maps and GPS devices if travelling far in remote areas. Heavy snow can lead to numerous road closures, so it’s advised you don’t head out if heavy snowfall is forecast for when you’re away from the car.

Consider a local guide

With so many different locations, it can be difficult to know where to start or to narrow down the options. Using a local photography guide can be a great way to ensure you’re put in the right place at the right time, as they will know the best places in different weather and light conditions as well as knowing the best compositions and viewpoints

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