Inspiring Lake District Photography with Dave Euden
Autumn is on the horizon and it’s one of the most magical times of the year to enjoy the English Lake District. As the landscape evolves from vibrant greens and blues to warm golden and amber hues, it’s a transformation to behold.
When it comes to capturing the natural beauty of the Lake District, our Warehouse Team Leader Dave Euden is the man for the job. His passion for exquisite landscape photography inspired us all, so much so that his photographs are used to promote Wax Lyrical across the world!
Here we find out more about his love of photography, his must-visit beauty spots of the Lakes and his tips for aspiring photographers.
Q. How long have you been a keen photographer for and how did you first get into photography?
I picked up a camera late in life unfortunately, a mere seven years ago. I was addicted to sea fishing previously, forever wetting a line and constantly finding myself on a beach along the beautiful Cumbrian coast. In all honesty it was the picturesque sunsets that drew me to photography, trying to capture natures gift that I often witnessed while looking at my fishing rod tips - I don’t know why, as there was never any movement in them! I eventually invested in my first DSLR and over the years I have gradually filled my camera bag with new toys.
Q. Have you done any training in photography or have you picked it up over the years?
I am self-taught. Prior to buying my first DSLR I watched many photography vlogs and video’s on YouTube, bought many books on landscape composition trying to train my eye. The trick for me to move from Automatic settings to Manual mode was simple. If I took a shot in manual mode and it was under exposed or blurred, I would switch to Auto setting on the camera and take the shot, I would then look at what settings Auto mode had selected.
It soon became clear to me, that photography is a constant learning curve. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it was Henri Cartier Bisson who said “your first 10,000 photographs are rubbish”. I think I took that many shots in my first month, constantly striving to improve. Thankfully I have picked up a camera in the digital age, I would have spent a fortune by now getting all the films developed!
Q. Are you from Cumbria originally and have you always been inspired by the Lake District?
No, although please don’t hold that against me! I think I have been fortunate in life, I have had the opportunity to live in many parts of the country. I was born in Manchester, funnily enough my Father was a Milkman who got promoted to a Dairy Manager which meant moving to Somerset at the age of two. Further opportunities of living on a dairy farm brought me close to nature from an early age. In my teens I lived in picturesque Cornwall, a wonderful place, I also lived in North Wales for a time, then eventually I settled in Cumbria.
I can honestly say I have never stopped in one place for such a long time. The Lakes are magical, I have yet to see a bad photo of the Lake District, although I don’t think it is just the Cumbrian landscape that has kept me here or inspires me. It’s having that balance of work and pleasure. Wax Lyrical have rewarded me for my hard work, my commitment and passion to the company. To think I joined the team over ten years ago, on a three-month temporary contract. I have been blessed with a magical place to live and a work place where people are not just colleagues.
Q. Where are your favourite places to photography in the Lake District?
That’s a difficult one for me, so many options! The Langdale Pikes would be my favourite if it wasn’t for a place that is so special to me and that is Kelly Hall Tarn. A spot that is fabulous no matter what time of day it is, or what kind of weather. I often frequent on the edge of the tarn looking at the views of Coniston Old Man. Of course, sunrise and sunset are the best times to photograph it. The light is exceptional during the golden hour. With lilies showing from June onwards on the tarn and of course the small clumps of heather starting to bloom all over from August, there are so many different compositions to capture a memorable moment.
Q. What makes the Lake District so special to photograph?
The Lake District offers so much to the landscape photographer, no matter what your fitness level is or how skilled you are with a camera. Whether you want to capture that large vista, focus on taking a minimalistic shot or the night sky - not that we see many clear nights in Cumbria…remember there is no such thing as bad weather in the Lake District, just the wrong choice in clothing!
The landscape changes constantly in the Lake District, not just with the seasons, just one break in an overcast sky can see some beautiful light making for some wonderful contrasting views in the valleys, or one of the fells lit up, showing every great detail in it. It is magical witnessing such views with your eyes, believe me, pick up a camera and look through the viewfinder and you will start to see and appreciate so much more. The Lake District is truly a gift from nature for all of us to enjoy. Photography, hiking or getting away from everything and finding peace of mind, it's so beneficial for your wellbeing.
Autumn is my favourite time of year for photography in the Lake District, the colours of the landscape are so beautiful and vibrant. Of course, the bonus to autumn is you don’t have to get out of bed at silly o’clock to capture a sunrise either! The landscape colours are so captivating and with the cooler nights we tend to have a lot of mist early morning which always makes for an atmospheric shot. Conditions for a photographer couldn’t be more perfect in autumn. Not only do we appreciate what we see, it’s the smell and sounds too; the rustling of fallen leaves or the crisp crunch as you walk over the ground with the first frost, the smells of leaf mulch as they start to rot down, enticing the mycelium to grow. The sun stays low yet can still be strong, giving the opportunity for some magical light.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring landscape photographers?
Words of advice for an aspiring photographer hmm…don’t put pressure on yourself to capture that amazing shot. Enjoy getting out amongst nature; the more you enjoy being out, the more motivated you will become and the greater chance you have of being there at the right moment to capture the shot you want.
The hardest part of photography is getting out of bed in the morning for the golden hour, if you can do that you are half way there. Don’t get to hung up on the equipment either and certainly don’t make the same mistake I did, I upgraded quickly and went through four camera body’s in five years. I learnt too late that it’s not about the camera, it’s the glass you are using. If you want to invest in camera gear, spend your hard-earned money on faster, sharper lenses, or sign yourself up for a workshop; many people benefit greatly from going on one, not just in technique but also inspiration. Most importantly, enjoy yourself.
Q. Your beautiful photography is now used on a global scale by Wax Lyrical to promote the business, is it nice to be able to bring your passion into your workplace?
When I was approached by Jacqui (Wax Lyrical CEO) regarding my photography I was overwhelmed, it was an emotional moment for sure. I really had to hold back the tears if I'm honest, it must be a man thing, the thought of crying in front of the CEO ‘this won’t be acceptable’! Of course, I know it would be, Jacqui probably would have just given me a hug!
It had to be one of my proudest moments, to be recognised for my passion in photography. To think it came from being asked to take a few shots of the transition of the new laboratory to the CEO then finding more of my photos. For me it was another sign of what a great company I work for, a lot of CEO’s wouldn’t even know your first name, never mind give you a moment like this. It truly is a great feeling though when I see a photograph being used…even though I am my own harshest critic.