Shifting screes and slow shutters

I've no idea how many times I have been over Great Gable. Certainly I had been to the summit before the age of 10. I have since climbed and scrambled on The Napes, bivvied among the boulders of the summit, scared myself witless on the winter climbs of Gable Crag on the northern flank of this hulking mountain, ran and fallen on the screes and most recently, toiled over it's summit while running the Wasdale Horseshoe fell race. Perhaps the most memorable was a descent of the screes in the dark, after a late start on the crags on a bitterly cold autumn day which resulted in the last pitch being climbed in the dark. The descent to the base of the crag was horrendous. Unroped, dangling from ledges, feeling for the next step just inches beneath my feet - it could have been hundreds of feet so dark was the night. Later, sliding down the screes, a huge area of rock began to move, white noise like river rapids growing to a roar, the cordite smell thick in the cold air. Bruised but unbroken we bivved by a small fire on the lake shore...
None of which has anything to do with these photos, taken while descending The Nose of Great End - a wonderful and relatively unused path which picks its way through the crags, above deep gullies emerging eventually a little way above Sty Head. Except that I had in mind to try and capture that sense of movement of these shifting screes, their plunging fall to the valley floor.
ICM or intentional camera movement is perhaps the marmite of the photography world. It will be loathed, dismissed or belittled by many, but appreciated by others. I was recently privileged to meet and discuss its use with a photographer from Eigg whose images capture quite beautifully, the clear seas and singing sands of this evocative island and inspired my own. It requires a small aperture, slow shutter speed and some fiddling with ISO settings - especially if you are shooting without filters as I was. More importantly, it requires an understanding or connection with the subject. The natural flow of things. I have compensated for the exposure but these are not the product of photoshop - the effect is achieved entirely 'in-camera'.
I am under no illusions about my own images, but for me at least, they capture something of the steep screes, sheep cropped grasses and bracken which characterise these slopes.
The first shows the lower slopes of Great Gable and Kirkfell, Ill Gill the prominent dark slash. The second image, the screes of Gable immediately beneath The Napes, looking across to Kirk Fell.


Ian Johnston said…
I like these Will, there's something of a watercolour quality and they certainly convey a sense of movement. In my mind, much better than the heavily processed images seen in some lossy mags

Kind Regards
Will Herman said…
Thank you Ian - early days for me with this but feeling inspired, and will no doubt post further attempts...