Outdoor Focus Winter 2017 - Page 5

Day 1 Ellie Ross on the climb from Howtown to Moor Divock, with Ullswater behind and the Helvellyn range lurking in the clouds. Focal length 22mm (Full-frame equivalent 33mm) Day 1 Dramatic light over Ullswater, with steamer. Focal length 86mm (Full-frame equivalent 129mm) the bike more than riding. Somewhere below Dollywaggon Pike I stashed it behind boulders and continued on foot, under cloudy skies. At the tarn, though clouds still hid the tops, Grisedale Hause was. I scouted along the north shore for the best angle for the skyline shot. Then I waited. The clouds dropped, obscuring Grisedale Hause, about five minutes before I heard voices from the mist. It was Mark and Co., but the skyline shot was gone. I knew I couldn’t keep up with the runners on the initial descent, but turned that into an advantage by shooting some long-range images; the view down-valley was dramatic. Retrieving the bike, I made up time to an agreed rendezvous at Ruthwaite Lodge. From here the descent was mostly rideable, allowing me to get ahead, then to overtake after each shooting stop – most of which I’d ‘previewed’ on the way up. After lunch in Patterdale we separated: the runners took the main C2C route over Kidsty Pike, while Ellie (now on a bike) and I headed for Boardale Hause. I’d chosen this route rather than the alternative Ullswater shoreline trail, which is very technical, and usually busy with walkers. This decision looked debatable, the weather turning damp and very windy just as we confronted narrow singletrack across steep slopes. Choosing discretion over valour, we pushed for a while, leaving the camera in the sack, finally meeting Bernie at Howtown rather later than planned. Breaks in the cloud gave spectacular light over Ullswater on the climb to Moor Divock as we retraced Bernie’s outward ride, reaching Bampton about five minutes before the runners. DAY 2 A much brighter day, with far-reaching views of the Howgills and the Pennines. I’d changed my camera kit completely, switching the emphasis to wide-angle shooting, with a full-frame body (Nikon D750), 24–85mm zoom, and 20mm prime lenses. Total elapsed time was over 7 hours, but actual riding time only 3.45. Allowing for lunch in Orton, this still leaves nearly three hours off the bike: this was photography time. Studying the photos in Lightroom shows that each day included about thirty separate photography stops, each requiring dismounting, Day 1 Chris Ord running down Grisedale with the crags of Dollywaggon Pike behind. Running shots generally look good when both feet are off the ground. Focal length 65mm (Full-frame equivalent 98mm) Day 2 Smardale Gill. Landscape shots were important for context. Focal length 24mm getting camera out, shooting as the others approach and pass, then repacking, catching up and usually overtaking again. I’d expected that the generally easier terrain would facilitate repeated leapfrogging past the runners, but it didn’t always work out that way. Crosby Ravensworth Fell was as wet as I’ve ever seen it and many of the moorland tracks were unusually ‘draggy’. Sometimes I simply had to ask the others either to give me a head-start or to wait at an agreed point. The day’s distance was 43km, which felt far enough! The gear-change between the two days let me employ a lens range from 20mm to (effective) 300mm without ever carrying too much gear at one time. Limiting myself to just one change of lens each day didn’t just lighten the load on my back; it also kept things simple in terms of ‘seeing’ potential photos, meaning that each time I stopped I usually had a good idea in my head of where I was going to place myself and how I would frame the shot(s); a useful time-saver in itself. Final gear-note; I used an Osprey Zealot back-pack. This isn’t a dedicated camera-pack but for the limited kit I took this doesn’t matter; it carries far better than any camera-pack I’ve ever tried, comfortable on long climbs and stable on technical descents. Best riding pack I’ve ever had. (Unbiased and unsolicited testimonial). winter 2017 | Outdoor focus 5