Car­men Nor­man

Car­men Nor­man shares il­lu­mi­nat­ing photo sto­ries from her cov­er­age of two char­ity light events in the Lake Dis­trict

NPhoto - - Pro Zone - See more of Car­men’s port­fo­lio at www.pho­to­s­by­car­men.co.uk. The next Lake­land Fes­ti­val of Light takes place on Satur­day 29 April 2017. Find out more at www. lake­land­moun­tain­guides.co.uk

Lake District­based land­scape photographer Car­men ex­plains how she shot the Cat­bells Fes­ti­val of Light and Strid­ing Edge char­ity events

This se­ries of im­ages comes from two events held on fells in the UK’s Lake Dis­trict last year – the Cat­bells Fes­ti­val of Light (near Keswick) and Strid­ing Edge by Torch­light (at Helvel­lyn, near Glen­rid­ding). Cat­bells Fes­ti­val of Light was held in April 2016 to raise money for the vic­tims of the earth­quake that dev­as­tated Nepal in 2015. Around 500 peo­ple took part, head­ing up the fell in the dark and car­ry­ing head torches to light the spine of Cat­bells moun­tain to cre­ate a light spec­ta­cle.

The an­nual event of Strid­ing Edge by Torch­light was a smaller-scale event to raise money for the lo­cal Moun­tain Res­cue team. It took place on a cold and windy but clear night in Novem­ber 2016, with 50 peo­ple tak­ing up the chal­lenge.

Lake­land Moun­tain Guides, the or­ga­niz­ers, wanted to record the events from as many an­gles as pos­si­ble and were look­ing for lo­cal pho­tog­ra­phers to vol­un­teer to shoot the spec­ta­cles. As I am a res­i­dent of nearby Bassen­th­waite, I was more than happy to re­spond to the re­quest to do­nate my time to sup­port these causes. The im­ages were then sold to raise money for the char­i­ties, gen­er­at­ing a fur­ther £1000. They were also used to pro­mote fu­ture events on so­cial me­dia.

For both events I was in ra­dio con­tact with the team lead­ers, so I could talk to them about where to di­rect lights and about any gaps in the chain of lights. I had to hike some dis­tance with all of my gear, but it was worth it to find a good van­tage point. On both of the shoots I got my­self into po­si­tion long be­fore the walk­ers started to make their way up, and was shoot­ing for about three hours.

Spinal snap

On the night of the Cat­bells Fes­ti­val of Light I was shoot­ing from Walla Crag, a fell on the other side of Der­went Wa­ter from Cat­bells. The weather wasn’t on our side, as it was driz­zling for the first half of the evening. I was po­si­tioned di­rectly op­po­site the ridge and this en­abled me to shoot the en­tire spine. I wanted to re­veal the shape of the spine of Cat­bells with the walk­ers’ lights, while show­ing the fells be­hind, too. I also wanted to cap­ture the re­flec­tions of these lights in Der­went Wa­ter. I used a 24-70mm lens to take my im­ages of the peo­ple par­ty­ing on the sum­mit, to get closer to the ac­tion and to see de­tails of the lights. An ex­po­sure of 30 sec­onds smoothed the wa­ter. For me, this im­age cap­tures the colours and ex­cite­ment of the whole event, and sums up what it was like to be there and to be a part of it. It was a truly me­morable ex­pe­ri­ence.

For Strid­ing Edge by Torch­light I was shoot­ing from the ridge op­po­site. The first snow had ar­rived on Helvel­lyn and I wanted to cap­ture the walk­ers’ lights (about 50 of them) as they reached the mid­dle of the icy ridge, en­sur­ing I caught their torch re­flec­tions in Red Tarn be­low. It was a rel­a­tively clear night so it was im­por­tant to be able to cap­ture the walk­ers on the edge, the stars in the sky and the newly fallen snow on the ridge. I had a Nikon D810 with a 20mm lens, which was set up and left to con­tin­u­ously shoot for the evening. The im­ages were then made into a stop-mo­tion video of the event, which was a very ef­fec­tive way of cap­tur­ing the whole thing.

It was fun to see the lights start to ap­pear, and then to see the line of lights get­ting longer and longer. As it takes a lot of or­ga­ni­za­tion by Lake­land Moun­tain Guides, it was im­por­tant to get a shot for them, no mat­ter what con­di­tions came up.

I wanted to re­veal the shape of the spine of Cat­bells with the walk­ers’ lights, and also to cap­ture the re­flec­tions of these lights in Der­went Wa­ter

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