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Having completely dropped off the wagon of weekly vlogs despite many promises to myself life took over. However, during our family summer away in the campervan I did manage to sneak a few forays in.

In this video, I challenge myself to a “light & fast” mission to climb some mountains and take some 360 shots.

Temperature inversion in a Lakeland valley
A temperature inversion in a Lakeland valley

Armed only with a GoPro Max and getting up hours before the hordes I was able to enjoy the splendour of the English Lake District with a fantastic sunrise and reflect on what might be the “new normal” for those of us that love to escape to the solitude of the hills.

Ascending by headtorch
360 Shot – Ascending by Headtorch Pre-Dawn

I was really impressed with the performance of the GoPro Max. The freedom of not having loads of camera gear weighing me down was brilliant and as it’s waterproof and ruggedised (apart from the lenses) I could get stuck into the adventure.

Sunrise Over Fells
Sunrise Over Fells

I’m still experimenting with what works in 360 but I’m already a fan. There is a surprising amount of composition to think about considering it is shot in every direction. The entire scene needs to be directed as nothing is naturally hidden so no leaving the rucksack lying about.

Left Hemisphere Fells
Left Hemisphere Fells

The Max has a spot or hemisphere priority option for light metering which is invaluable when you have something like a sunrise to capture. A normal camera on evaluative metering is always trying to average the scene, this is no different but the scene is spherical including all of the sky, ground, direct sun and shade. The camera is going to need some help in know what your priority for exposure is!

On Top of the World
On Top of the World

I was glad I had the fells to myself as there was quite a lot of re-takes on a timer to get myself walking past at the right moment. Connectivity to my phone was also super helpful for this framing the shot remotely. One of the joys of 360 is offering enhanced immersion in the image so I had this in mind for the compositions, leaving space for the viewer to be “in the image”.

Now That’s a View

It was a true joy to be back in the mountains. In a year of stories of overcrowding and damage to our wild spaces, I was left with the notion that this might be the future for lovers of solitude. Places like the Lake District have always been popular and now more than ever. We can’t expect that to change, and in my opinion, we have no right to put people off. Wild places provide joy and nourishment for the soul after all, how can one deny another human being of that? Increased footfall means an increased risk of damage to nature and guardianship must match this role-modelling a Leave No Trace ethos so that these places remain special. If you want it to yourself though, what I learnt on this trip is that’s entirely obtainable, you just have to set the alarm to go off horrendously early!

Taking a Moment
Taking a Moment

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