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The Hodge Close Tree

A few weeks back I visited Little Langdale in the Lake District. I had two images I had in my mind that I wanted to get, Slaters Bridge and Cathedral Cavern. If you have never visited this part of the Lakes before then you need to. In my opinion its not like the rest of the national park. When you're walking along the paths, the hills are smaller than the rest and old slate mines litter the landscape, It all seems very closed in and mythical. On my first visit I didn't have much time to explore the area fully, I managed to get a shot of Slaters Bridge and I knew Cathedral Cavern was a stones throw of a walk away so I quickly check that out. Annoyingly never had the chance to check out Hodge Close. From the images I had seen Of Hodge Close when researching the area I knew the place had potential and there were a few images I wanted to try and get.

Places like this in the Lake District during the summer often get pretty busy, so if you want the place too yourself then an early start is in order, 5:30am in my case. Dressed, breakfast, in the van and picking a friend up by 6 was in order to be there for roughly 8. Luckily there is a car park right on the quarry's edge so there's not much of a walk to get into the bottom of the quarry. Once we were down into the bottom there were two images that stood out straight away, firstly two old metal beams that stretched out and twisted into the waters edge and secondly one solitary green tree standing up against the slate wall of the quarry. What makes the tree stand out even more is this orange rust seeping from the cliff edge down behind the tree. The orange contrasts with green amazingly well. 

 

Old Slate Mine | 13mm | F22 | 6sec | iso100 | polarising filter

  Above is the first image that stood out to me, I wanted to get a shot of these huge metal beams from when the quarry was active. I'm not too sure what they were used for, but guessing they had something to do with transporting the slate up to the top. 

To get the affects I wanted I set up my tripod resting on each beam and used a wide angle lens, set at 13mm. This gave me the room to have each beam running out from underneath my feet, but also getting as much of the quarry in as possible. Secondly I set my shutter speed for 6 seconds, I did this to smooth the ripples out on the water, because there was a slight breeze. Lastly and most importantly I fitted a polarising filter. This removes the glare from the water and the metal beams. Not perfect on the water, I wasn't too worried about that, I wanted to remove it from the beams to highlight the detail of the rust. 

Lastly I turned the image to black and white in light room. The weather was pretty poor on the day and the sky had no interest so having it in colour didn't really bring much to the image. Also I really like black and white industry images (not sure why)! 

 

The Hodge Close Tree | 18mm | f16 | 1/2 sec | iso 100 | polarising filter

I think this is my favourite image from the day. The one tree just standing by its self against the grey slate wall with the orange rust running behind it contrasts amazingly well. To be able to to get this image you have to be using a polarising filter, otherwise the orange will be burnt out from the glare. I brought out the colours a little more in light room to get the final image. I don't often take images like this, but i think this works really well. 

After we had captured these two images we explored the area a little bit more, visiting Cathedral Cavern again, but the weather turned for the worse so we headed home a little early.

Aaron

** Due to the nature of this place, if you do visit I would recommend going with somebody and wearing to right clothing i.e good sturdy boots. If exploring on your own then always tell some one where you are going. To get to the bottom of Hodge Close there is a steep path down which requires a little climbing over slate boulders which can be slippy. If you do hurt yourself and can not manage to climb out, it is a long way down to be with out help! 

 

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