Today, we decided to visit Chatsworth and walk along the river. Chatsworth house is a stately home located in Derbyshire near the town of Bakewell (where Bakewell puddings come from!) It is known locally for its’ beautiful gardens, enchanting Christmas markets and children’s farm park.


I have been wanting to go for quite a while to practise different styles of photography. I’ve recently been focusing on insects, flowers and general garden wildlife. I feel like I’ve come a long way and I’m really pleased with my photos so far. But I wanted to challenge myself by heading somewhere a bit different and trying some landscape photography.

The morning started off quite dreary with both our weather apps predicting a lot of rain, but the sun was shining outside so we decided to go anyway. On the way there, dark clouds rolled in and we thought we might have to turn around and give up. Luckily, we persisted, and the rain held off long enough for us to have an enjoyable walk and get some photos.


I rarely visit Chatsworth, despite it only being a twenty minute drive from my house. When I was a child, I lived in Portsmouth but would visit my grandparents in Derbyshire for two weeks during the summer holidays. We would always visit Chatsworth and walk along the river before heading to the farm park to pet some animals. I have very fond memories of paddling by this waterfall and hopping from rock to rock for hours on end with my sister and our grandparents. It’s quite a nice feeling to visit it now as an adult and showing this place to my boyfriend for the first time.


So, how did the landscape photography go? Honestly, not very well. As we were walking, we were surrounded by beautiful sights from the flowing river to the rolling hillside, but I didn’t feel inspired and I couldn’t figure out a good shot. Every photo I took just seemed so bland compared to what my eyes were seeing.


This photo feels like the best of a bad bunch. It captures the beauty of the place, the still waters and the lush greenery, but something is missing. It looks too still. Even during editing, I couldn’t figure out a way to make this photo really shine. It was frustrating, but I feel like I’m learning a lot.


The landscape photography wasn’t really working for me, but it didn’t matter too much because there were plenty of other things to take photos of, for example this lovely duck! She was swimming alone on the water, and we went right down to the riverside to get a closer look. All of a sudden we were surrounded by about fifteen ducks, they must have thought we were carrying bread! It was actually a little bit intimidating to see them all appearing from the opposite bank!


This one looked like the boss. She stayed put on the far side of the river but continued to quack and squawk at us. I really like this photo because it really brings to life the beautiful colours of her feathers, but I also love how she is standing on one leg and her body looks completely spherical – it makes me laugh.


A little bit further on we came across this building. I see it every single time I go to Chatsworth, but I still have no idea what it was. It has no roof and through the windows you can see plants growing wild inside. We both said it looks a little bit spooky, like it could be haunted. We walked past quickly.


On the other side of the river was a herd of deer. I didn’t actually expect to see them since they’re usually on our side of the river but quite far away from where people walk. I tried to take some photos of them, but even with full zoom the pictures weren’t very good. They were usable, and I did edit a few of them, but I wasn’t happy enough with them to share them on here. Maybe next time I’ll get some Bambi shots.


As we continued our walk down the river towards the waterfall, I continued to snap lots of pictures of ducks. We joked that my blog post should simply be called ‘Ducks’ because that’s all I seemed to get a photo of! I had to sort through loads of photos, and these four were my favourites. I hope you like them too!


I never usually edit photos to black and white, but for this photo it just seemed right. The original was so lush and green but the trees faded into the ground and the background so nothing ‘popped’. I think the black and white effect makes them more striking. They were so low down that we had to duck to walk past them!


When we reached the waterfall, there were plenty of ducks and birds enjoying the fast flowing water. I think this photo is actually my favourite from today. I like how soft he looks and how he seems to be looking over the waterfall as if he’s deep in thought. It comes together quite nicely, and I didn’t have to do much editing which is a nice time-saver!


As we were watching the ducks, I kept saying that I really wanted to get a photo of one with their wings outstretched. It seemed that whenever I was focusing on one duck, the other would have a good shake and flap their wings. I eventually managed to get this photo though, so I did get my wish. I’m not 100% happy with it, and there’s plenty that I would change, but I’m happy that I managed to get the shot. I can always do better next time.


We sat on this bench for a little while just watching the world (ducks) go by. Even though the sun was no longer shining, it was still quite warm so it was comfortable enough to sit and do nothing. I felt a bit out of place compared to everyone else who was there, they were all in their walking gear with rucksacks and walking sticks. Then we were there in our jeans without coats and no rucksacks to be seen!


Overall we had a really nice walk and even though I’m not 100% happy with these photos, I’m still glad that I went and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my own photography style and my strengths/weaknesses. It has given me a lot of food for thought!

If you like these photos, you can check out my online gallery here where you can also buy prints and gifts of my photos. You can also follow me on Twitter @HollyRobiin and like my Facebook page ‘Holly Robiin Photography’


Bonus Photo!
The adorable moment when one of the ducks accidentally slipped over the side of the waterfall and momentarily lost all her composure. There was a lot of flapping, but she quickly sorted herself out!


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