Sometimes it is all about the timing. “Rainbow Lake End.”

8 min readMar 2, 2022

Within landscape photography it is simply “all about the timing” and very often being within the moment and a lot of landscape photographers will seek to visit a location either A). planned or B). not planned and simply wait until the perfect conditions occur before capturing the scene that is in front of them and that in itself is perhaps the most magical part of photography, just being within a part of the ultimate moment and being surrounded by the landscape changing within front of you at any time of the day. Last week though, I found myself within “this moment” when I had visited Shipley Park — something of a green oasis of calm between the urban and semi urban surroundings that encompass it. Either way though I was looking forward to the walk that I had semi-planned, but like a lot of plans, they often do not go as accordingly as they perhaps should do; but did that matter? No as it meant that I would be exploring a location from yesteryear so treading on old turf, from when I was younger.

The walk that was semi-planned would have taken me around Shipley Hill, the main high point of Shipley Park, but instead with Mapperley Reservoir, and the glorious light which it was basking under, the walk that I started out on, was one that I had done many years ago, but had no recollection of, I suppose though that is an age thing, and sometimes you forget certain magical locations, I had been walking for a short distance when I came across the following composition, a small island with a collection of trees on them, the light was magical even if it had started to rain and I immediately captured the following photographs, I was amazed that it looked like a “floating island” to some extent.

Floating on a dream — (Black and White, Portrait).

And the floating island just seemed magical. Either way I just love the portrait orientation in Black and White, amazed is what I was with the finished photograph and in front of me was the path that I was curious about, stepping back in time and discovering the past from when I had walked around this calm stretch of water when I was younger. Like a portal to some degree is what was in my mind as I continued to walk along an old but equally familiar and beautiful pathway next to a relatively undiscovered part of Shipley Park, a reservoir like no other that has so many secrets to behold.

I continued for a short while until I had found something more akin to a “natural photographic frame” in front of me a view of the lake from the small yet densely packed feeling woodland that wraps itself around the more western flanks of the reservoir, and whilst the trees look strange at first glance, they provided some form of a frame with the view down the reservoir making you slightly more inquisitive.

Natures Frame — (Portrait).

Amazing eh? You use the environment and it can provide a natural frame, for a photograph, that in itself is one of the most amazing things between landscape photography and that is the ability that the landscape and nature can help you compose a photograph with minimal effort and imagination, either way I continued, the path forking away from the reservoir and immediately I was walking through the garden of Gollum.

“There is just something magical about woodlands and trees, they are places of pure escapism and nature, twists and turns, shapes and sculpture. Nature here provides an art gallery and it is your imagination that makes twisted parts of wood into paintings or indeed any kind of artwork imaginable.”

Ahead of me now was the living, breathing and mysterious art gallery, woodland and somehow it spoke, silently thus providing all kinds of interesting compositions, both in front of me and above, needless to say at this moment I was mesmerized by the scale of this small area of woodland and the beauty that it behold as I was walking through it.

Through nature’s art gallery.

Eventually I reached the opposite side of Mapperley reservoir, and across the water, the rolling hills leading the eyes up towards Shipley Hill, in the autumn though this place would be just magical, but the light on this occasion was something else, the rain by now had started to stop and before I knew it — I had reached a clearing, the woodland behind of me and the pathway leading out of the woodland was just something else.

Woodland End.

The path in front of me was damp, wet and soggy underfoot, but that did not matter as it was encouraging me to walk on, ever forward to see what lay ahead and that I did. Eventually I found myself looking over the reservoir and by now the light was just so magical and the contrast between the dark of the passing clouds that had been and gone and the light across the reservoir, truly a sight to behold.

Reservoir contrasts.

But then something magical happened, I had paused and took in the scenery, when all of a sudden I was greeted by “Richard Of York Giving Battle In Vain.” Unexpected this was and my camera was in my hand, I slightly zoomed in and the Rainbow that I had captured was meeting the reservoir, I decided to call it “Rainbow Lake End” and it was a case of perfect timing and being within the moment.

Rainbow Lake End.

In the moment I was and I looked at the back of the camera in amazement, just being in the moment had lead me to take the faint yet beautiful Rainbow as it met the water, no pot of gold here and yet if you had been above the reservoir in an aircraft looking down, it would look circular. Yes from the ground a Rainbow appears semi-circular yet from the air it is disc shaped — amazing how nature works and has a habit of creating illusions when you least expect them. I continued a few steps and was greeted with the roadway, leading to the right it lead up towards a hill in the direction of Mapperley Village, to the left of me the road leads to the car park at Mapperley Reservoir, but there was just something magic about the leading line of the road towards the village.

A road to the village.

Again the frame provided the composition, but then I had to walk back to where I had set off from, but by now magic was occurring and literal magic, not a magicians magic but instead the magic of nature doing what it does best, and that was the case, I paused for a moment and the sky was just something else as I looked back over Mapperley Reservoir, back towards the location where I had been walking which had been rain soaked, now clear and the reservoir with the reflections looking serene and placid in a lot of ways.

Reflections upon water.

I then turned away from the placid scene of the light hitting a calm and serene stretch of water and looked ahead down the road that leads towards the car park, sitting on the flanks of Mapperley reservoir, the contrast between “man-made” and nature was just stunning as the road provided a natural leading line. Concrete surrounded by nature on all sides, it was astounding and truly something else.

Man Made vs Nature.

I then turned away from the placid scene of the light hitting a calm and serene stretch of water and looked ahead down the road that leads towards the car park, sitting on the flanks of Mapperley reservoir, the contrast between “man-made” and nature was just stunning as the road provided a natural leading line. Concrete surrounded by nature on all sides, it was astounding and truly something else.

Continuing I walked on, slowly taking the now magical elements of light in as I traipsed slowly back to the location from where I had started this small and delightful walk from, but there was just one more curiosity in front of me and that was a house by the reservoir that provides a focal point for anyone approaching this side of Shipley Park, hidden it is, but stepping down towards the edge of the reservoir I knew that a photogenic scene of calm was already in front of me, with mystery and questions about the house.

A Quiet Retreat.

The house, a retreat perhaps or a private residential owned property just seemed so calm, an oasis by the reservoir and for the people who live there I can just imagine that each day that comes around is like awakening up in a landscape painting, the landscape and the way in which it changes in magical, and that house is just in the perfect spot to witness such changes through the seasons. By now though, I had returned to where I had started the walk from, and looking back I was thankful for the perfect timing in which I had captured “Rainbow Lake End.”

But another part of me was just full of self discovery, from an old pathway that I had walked along many years ago that this time around provided magic and charm yet again but in a different way, it is of course a walk that I shall more than likely do again, perhaps in the Autumn, perhaps not in the Autumn, but it was a walk that taught me that no matter what, photography is quite simply is about being in the moment and with that it is also all about the timing, be patient, wait and eventually something will change, the landscape will become more alive and this is the best time to take that one photograph that will win you perhaps awards, or be one of the most successful photographs that a photographer will have ever taken.