Chris Lewis Photographer: Blog en-us (C) Chris Lewis (Chris Lewis Photographer) Mon, 21 Sep 2020 14:53:00 GMT Mon, 21 Sep 2020 14:53:00 GMT Chris Lewis Photographer: Blog 80 120 Award winning landscape photography. I was delighted to have been awarded second prize in a recent landscape competition with this photograph:

Buttermere & Fleetwith Pike, Autumn.Buttermere & Fleetwith Pike, Autumn.A prize winning autumn view of Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike. Lake District landscapes by award winning landscape photographer Chris Lewis.

The international Lumen Landscape Photography competition was something I entered but didn't think I would win or even get shortlisted for. I was consequently delighted to have been awarded second prize.


(Chris Lewis Photographer) Autumn award winning Buttermere fleetwith Pike Lake District landscape landscape photography competition photograph Thu, 03 Sep 2020 09:11:30 GMT
The Importance of Being Ernest. Autumn colours and reflections, Crummock.Autumn colours and reflections, Crummock.

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Oscar Wilde had a way with words, something which I cannot claim for myself, however I can borrow his quote for my own purposes and re-phrase it as “the filing of images is rarely pure and never simple”!

I have a confession to make, the filing of my family photographs has been a complete mess and has been so for many years. My work filing is impeccable and I can always lay my hand on a work image file when I need it. Not so the pictures of my long-suffering family, it took a ride to hospital in an ambulance to put that in perspective. I imagined the long promised family photobook being an empty promise forever, the images lost and no-one having the ability to find them.

Whilst recuperating I have been attentively re-assembling the pictures which are now filed in year long folders so that I can at long last make a family photobook. During this time I have rediscovered a few landscape pictures that had been casually snapped whilst on family excursions. These pictures would most probably never have surfaced if I hadn’t taken myself to task.

Above is an example of one of the pictures in question, a view of taken from near Nether How looking towards the shore of Crummock, just below Scales. Taken on a Fuji X-E2 with a 27mm lens which was my go-to camera for walks or excursions at the time.

So my advice to you is to put your photographic affairs in order before it’s too late. You never know what you’ll find!

(Chris Lewis Photographer) crucial Crummock file management Fujifilm Lake District landscape photography Oscar Wilde Wed, 17 Jun 2020 12:39:46 GMT
Don't bother photographing... There is light after the darkness.There is light after the darkness.

"Chance favours the prepared mind, and opportunity favours the bold." - Louis Pasteur (also attributed to Ansel Adams).

There are certainly days when going out to do photography is a no-brainer, the conditions are just right, the time of day means that the lighting is just how you like it, you have enough time so you don’t need to rush it and you’re full of creative energy.

There are also days when you take one look out of the window and suddenly find that long list of jobs to do strangely appealing. Here in Cumbria there can be days and days of dull weather, loads of rain and wind, so plenty of time to do the DIY and let the dust gather on the camera, only it doesn’t need to be that way. Chocolate box pictures are often the kind that people aim for; the sunset over the sea, the view of the fells on a lovely sunny day or that charming rural scene with cows or sheep dotted around a field and yet there is so much more.

Not all images are about delightful scenes full of sunshine and cheer. Bad weather days can lead to great photographs if you like moody or atmospheric images, are willing to explore the possibilities the day offers and know how to get the most out of the situation, “chance favours the prepared mind” if you like. If you persevere on a dull day the sun can break through unexpectedly rewarding you with a great bit of lighting that brings a picture to life.

Stormy Fleetwith Pike.Stormy Fleetwith Pike.

Recently I went on a walk to Buttermere on a stormy day when strong winds and rain promised to ruin the day for me. It had been one of those days when I had hidden away rather than go out and so by 5pm I was only too ready to get some fresh air, rain and wind or none! I took a camera with me out of habit but didn’t really expect it to be put to much use. Most of the time it was pretty dull, rather wet and a little unpleasant but there were several occasions when I got images that I thought were just right. “Opportunity favours the bold” seemed apt.

Evening light on Low Bank and Whiteless Pike.Evening light on Low Bank and Whiteless Pike.

All three photographs taken on the same walk.

(Chris Lewis Photographer) Ansel Adams Buttermere Fleetwith Pike Lake District landscape Louis Pasteur photograph Sat, 23 May 2020 14:39:53 GMT
Everything to do with the way you see. Solway afterglow and wave patterns.Solway afterglow and wave patterns.A view over the Solway just after sunset. Landscape photography by Lake District photographer, Chris Lewis.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Elliot Erwitt

I have had numerous conversations about whether a photograph should show a scene exactly as your eye sees it or whether you can change it in some way to create a picture as your mind’s eye sees it. The interpretation of a scene, the input of emotion, the burst of creativity that sparks you to create an image rather than merely borrow a scene is the difference that changes a photograph into a work of art rather than merely being a record of what was in front of the camera.

Whilst I don’t go as far as constructing a completely artificial image, I do think that adapting exposure, contrast and colour to bring out the image that I had envisioned or pre-visualised (to borrow an expression from Ansel Adams), is no worse than using a graduated ND filter or a polarising filter.

Changing a scene to include elements that were never there is one that is uncomfortable for me. Sure, remove that irritating man with a red coat on who carelessly walked into your image, digitally tidy up some litter that spoils your picture, but putting something into the photograph that was never there seems wrong to me. I have replaced a moon that was over-exposed with one taken next at the correct exposure to compensate for the difficulties with the dynamic range of my camera and also in a different picture moved the moon to a slightly better position to add a bit of impact but you’ll never see any flying saucers or Cottingley fairies in my work.

The image above is pretty much as it was or at least how I saw it. I added contrast, lightening the whites and darkening the shadow tones to bring out the shapes in the water, the clouds had been darkened in camera with a 0.9 graduated ND filter, the colour saturation was generally boosted and the yellow and magenta colours were increased to emphasise the afterglow. None of these adjustments are particularly unusual but I wonder if a different photographer would have come away with the same image?

(Chris Lewis Photographer) Ansel Adams Elliot Erwitt Lake District landscape photograph Sat, 16 May 2020 11:19:28 GMT
A familiar sight? Fleetwith Pike mirrored.Fleetwith Pike mirrored.

Living within a few minutes walk of the Lake District is wonderful in many ways and I feel immensely privileged to be so close to such beautiful scenery.

Sometimes it feels difficult to make a photograph that is in some small way original and not an unintended duplicate of some other’s work.

The National Park has been a source of inspiration for many and consequently there are photographs (paintings, sketches, videos etc) that often have something of a familiar look to them.

Whilst Octavio Paz suggested that notions of originality are the cliches of our time, do you really want to do that which everyone else has already done, unless it can be better or sufficiently different?

As photographer Ming Thein says: “Clearly, originality is not required for success… The same may not necessarily apply with art, but I’m pretty sure it does in photography: who hasn’t been tempted to try street photography after seeing the work of HC-B? Or landscapes after Ansel?”

Whilst I don’t like the idea of trying to recreate a famous image (as you can when using the famous photography spots in Yosemite), I don’t think it should put you off creating an image of something that has a well trodden path leading to it.

If I feel I can put something of myself into the interpretation of a familiar view, I think it can make the difference between imitation and originality. As landscape photographer Destin Sparks said: “Photography is inspired by beauty, captured with passion.” For me the passion is the something of myself that I put into the image, the part that drives me to scramble up a steep fell or venture out very early or late in the day.

Sometimes it is a matter of looking at something familiar from a different perspective. I have often driven up and down the A66 between Cockermouth and Keswick and appreciated the view as I drove along. The recent Coronavirus lockdown has meant that daily exercise should be brief and local and so I have been exploring local walks in the hope of finding creative inspiration as well as getting the benefits of the exercise in itself. One evening I walked to the top of Slate Fell and was rewarded with this view of Embleton CP with the A66 running down the middle.


(Chris Lewis Photographer) A66 Ansel Adams Buttermere Cockermouth Destin Sparks Embleton Fleetwith Pike Keswick Lake District landscape Ming Thein Octavio Paz panoramic photograph reflection Wed, 29 Apr 2020 11:48:42 GMT
Moonrise, Buttermere. The Corona virus pandemic has forced me to photograph locally whilst on short walks for exercise, so my output has been somewhat limited. Sometimes this has been frustrating but it has forced me to rediscover what is immediately around me and perhaps see things in a fresh way. It has also made me look back through my past catalogue of images  and given me the opportunity to rework some of the images and realise the potential in other pictures that had been overlooked.

This picture of the moon rising over buttermere is an example of one that benefited from some reworking. Firstly I cropped it as a square which worked much better than the original picture and then I made some local adjustments to exposure which greatly improved the overall photograph.

Buttermere moonrise.Buttermere moonrise.Buttermere moonrise. A Lake District landscape photograph made by Chris Lewis in Cumbria.

Revisiting images is something that I seldom did as I was always looking for a fresh picture, once the photograph had been worked on and published on my website and instagram it rarely had a second consideration unless it was going to be printed or put into a calendar. Current circumstances have made me re-examine my pictures and in some cases that has been a good thing.

(Chris Lewis Photographer) Buttermere evening Lake District landscape light moonrise photograph Thu, 23 Apr 2020 10:24:42 GMT