Sunday, 1 January 2012

Reflections at sunrise

Being a photographer the ideal time for visiting a location is early each morning, just before
sunrise or, early evening at sunset. Why? Because at these times of the day the light is lower in the sky, shadows elongate and the colours become richer, warmer and more saturated. It is these shadows created by the lower sunlight which often reveal important and beautiful patterns which might otherwise go unnoticed. Also, on a calm day, the still waters of a nearby lake or slow running river reflect both the sky and the landscape features perfectly.

This image shows the beautiful shadows and reflections that a combination of early morning sunrise and still waters can bring.

Situated less than 3 miles outside Leek on the A523 to Macclesfield down the aptly named Rudyard Road lies a hidden gem in the Staffordshire countryside. Rudyard Lake is a reservoir for the local Caldon and Trent & Mersey canals and offers a haven of peace and tranquillity which has resulted in its being described as one of the most romantic spots in the UK.

If you think that the name Rudyard sounds familiar it could be because a certain John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Macdonald, parents of Rudyard Kipling, met here and liked the place so much they named their son after it. Rudyard Kipling of course became known for his many literary works which included 'Jungle Book' and 'Puck of Pucks Hill'.

The two and a half mile long lake was created more than two centuries ago to supply water for the then expanding canal system of the West Midlands. In 1846 the North Staffordshire Railway acquired the lake and offered days out to the workers of the Midlands and North West. In the 19th and early 20th centuries thousands of visitors would disembark each weekend from the trains - many of them from local towns such as Leek, Stoke and Macclesfield. There was a steady decline in visitors following the second World War and the closure of the railway in the 1970's added to the decline. Today the lake is owned and operated by British Waterways and is experiencing a rejuvenation of interest, and deservedly so, and is now a popular venue to visit for a day out, offering opportunities for walking, boating, sailing, fishing and of course photography. The artist inside you can easily find inspiration from the magnificent scenery which surrounds the lake.

I love the summer: the long days, sunshine, warm weather, blue skies and green grass. However, the very things I like about the season do not necessarily lead to the most interesting or dynamic pictures. Dramatic skies, threatening weather and the atmospheric lighting these conditions can bring, can all make for stunning images. So if you want to take images of Rudyard Lake or any other beauty spot, do not let poor weather put you off visiting.
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