When something gets in the way of what I’m trying to photograph, I’m no Mother Teresa. For instance only last week my tripod was set up below Stockley Bridge, a stone bridge above Seathwaite at the top of Borrowdale. Most walkers only pause briefly on the bridge as it’s where the popular path to Great Gable or Scafell begins to climb upwards. Some do sit down on its low walls but they’ve noticed you were there first and don’t want to get in your way. In most cases people move on after a few moments and you can be patient. So I’d like to pretend I was happy to wait for the couple who said hello and then promptly sat down right in the middle of my picture. But once it became obvious they were staying for a while, I was looking in their direction and doing my best to make it obvious I was actually waiting for them. It was only after 10 minutes that I started looking at my watch, with a grand sweep of my arm, and only after another 20 that they left. And after all that time, I wasn’t sure it was that good a composition anyway.
While I’ll confess to getting irritated and trying a bit of body language to get my way, I always try not to get too worked up. Had this couple stood up and pointed to the right, they would have made the photograph. In other words, what I try to tell myself is that when something gets in my way it can often become the subject of your picture and play an important role in the final composition.
And that is exactly what happened with this shot from yesterday.
The sun had been sinking below the hills behind these rocky outcrops and with almost no breeze Crummock Water had become beautifully-still. it was an idyllic summer’s evening – in March – and the light was crystal-clear.
And then some people started up a barbecue and the thick smoke started drifting across the lake and destroying my beautiful scene.
Where it proves my point is that what you’re seeing here isn’t mist, but the smoke. After a second of “how dare they?”, I’d picked up the tripod with the camera still attached and shot over towards the group and found a spot behind a wall so that the smoke was nicely backlit by the sun.
And the funny thing – they apologised for spoiling my picture.