The “Heron takes flight.” How being in the right place at the right time makes for perfection within photography.

5 min readApr 19, 2022

Chances, waiting, patience and timing are some of the most important things within landscape photography and for many landscape photographers getting that perfect shot is down to one thing which is “being in the right place at the right time.” Yes along with chance, waiting, being patience it is also a combination of the right place along with the right timing that can truly make a difference between a rather mediocre photograph or one that makes an audience notice, turns heads and of course earns print revenue. But on Sunday the 10th of April 2022 I had found myself with time to spare after a rather glorious Sunday Lunch at the delightful Old Black Swan, a pub in Crich famed for being the location of the village of “Cardale” in Peak Practice, a delightful village with a rich history and quirks everywhere you look — yet the time on my hands after the glorious Sunday Lunch meant that some exploration was on the horizon and the best thing is that nothing was really scripted.

And with no script to follow it was a short distance from Crich to Matlock and eventually Rowsley, to collect some eggs, I had previously had these free range eggs a week and half ago and they were glorious; only problem though is that it meant driving to Rowsley, was this a bad thing? Well no, not at all as it gave me the chance to observe the passing beauty of the Derbyshire countryside. Rowsley itself sits on the confluence of both the River Wye which meanders downstream from Bakewell in order to join the River Derwent, the Derwent passes through the Chatsworth estate just north of Rowsley, and beyond the Chatsworth estate are the infamous series of “gritstone edges” that remain one of the most stand out features of The Peak District. But instead of heading towards Chatsworth — a right turn was made at the architecturally beautiful gem of The Peacock at Rowsley, a hotel with history that again was used in a previous episode of Peak Practice, parking up on the other side of the road from The Peacock at Rowsley it was now that a walk to collect the eggs started, Church Lane beckoned and at the top of Church Lane, a simple wooden hut that is the village egg box can be seen.

The eggs were collected and it was time to walk slowly back down Church Lane and continue on a journey of exploration with no plans whatsoever, other than maybe which way to turn and where would it take us to, but that is the magic of exploration, you just never know what you might encounter on the way. I returned to the parking point, and after a short while found myself back on the A6, (one of the longest A roads in the UK that links Luton to Carlisle in Cumbria) but instead of carrying on all the way to Bakewell, a left turn beckoned and the B5056 was in front of me, the meandering River Lathkill to the left side making its way towards the River Wye, of course Lathkill conjures up Youlgreave and Lathkill Dale, one of the most delightful pretty dales in The Peak District that is full of geological features and beauty at every turn. Yet instead of continuing towards Youlgreave and Lathkill Dale, another left turn beckoned, this time taking a road “less explored” which even I had not been on before, that would eventually lead me towards the pretty little village of Stanton-In Peak, a place that feels remote yet has a sense of community to it, a pretty interesting looking pub and an equally glorious landscape that surrounds it.

After passing through Stanton-In-Peak, it was now time to head along the aptly named “Birchover Road” which skirts the mysterious and thought provoking Stanton Moor, an area of exposed moorland with quirky trees and an equally interesting history with the Nine Ladies Stone Circle — should you ever get the chance to explore and discover the delights of Stanton Moor, then it is a must! But hold on a minute, Birchover Road would eventually lead me to the village of Birchover, again a hidden gem of a village situated just below the southern flanks of Stanton Moor, and once again Birchover has secrets for people to discover including behind the popular Druid Inn pub, Rowtor Rocks with its lord of the rings mysterious looking caves, although be warned as the path to the rocks and the caves can be rather uneven. Finally arriving in Birchover, I noticed something upon a roof and that was the following.

The Bird on The Roof.

Quite literally I could not believe my eyes, upon the roof of a normal and ordinary house was a large bird, one that usually would be near water, and Birchover is not exactly that well known for stretches of water or a pond nearby, but I was only looking at a Heron, perched on the roof of a house.

“There is something about being in the right place at the right time, and with that you are going to get the very best photographic results. You can easily spend time taking many photographs but if you wait in the right place, timing will eventually mean you get the perfect photographic result and that is what happened with me.”

Then as I got closer to the Heron something magical happened and it really was a case of being in the right place at the right time, magically and ethereal is what happened next, and here I was with the following photograph, which when I looked at it took my breath away.

Heron takes flight.

Magically the Heron took flight and lifted off the roof of the house, in the most graceful way and manner that I had ever seen, me though I could not believe what I had just seen and it seemed slightly surreal, if I had not had been for the Sunday Lunch, and explored the hidden routes in Derbyshire then the chances are I would not have had this encounter with this majestic bird or even seen it taking flight from an ordinary roof in a picturesque Derbyshire village, yet because I was in the right place at exactly the right time I had managed to capture something truly amazing that will stick with me forever. But sometimes when you add the right place plus the right time you end up getting that one shot which will make the difference and that is what happened to me. Yes it really does make for perfection within photography.