Peak District | An Unplanned Photo Trip

peak district

I’m trying something different (again). This isn’t a Tutorial article. It’s not a “How to” either. I’m just going to share my recent experience of travelling to the Peak District, UK. I will also share more of my photography here than you will see on social media.

This is a chance for me to share more of my photography as well as a little bit of an insight into my thoughts when out on a peak district photo trip. You can also view some of these gorgeous files at full size and even download a couple of original RAF files for you to try out yourself.

 Friends of #J

Why The Peak District?

Peak District

I haven’t explored much of the peak district. I’ve really only walked around Hope Valley, Mam Tor and Winnats Pass. The main reason being that there is a free car park close to all three. But, even though I have only seen this limited area, I find myself returning on a regular basis.

There are so many great looking landscapes in one area.

I set out because I just needed to get out. My youngest daughter is now 5-weeks old and I’ve been unable to get much done (other than survive) in the past 8-weeks. Life with a newborn is just a game of survival and you hang on, leave anything that is not essential for life, and just wait it out.

That time is coming to an end and I just needed to get out and shoot something. We had a grandparent visiting and staying with us, so my wife had some support. I took the chance and went to the peak district for a few hours.

What Gear Did I Pack?

Peak District

As you know by now, I hate taking too much gear with me. It slows me down and offers too many creative choices. I’m a firm believer in,

“The More Limitations You Have,

The More Creative You Will Be! – #J”

  • I took my Fuji GFX 50S (more on why I got this amazing camera here)
  • A Joby tripod
  • Some lens cleaning equipment
  • A tripod head for my mobile phone
  • And a packed lunch.

All of this packed into my Amazon Basics Camera Bag.

Heading Out

Peak District

For me to get to Mam Tor in the peak district, it’s a 1hr 20min drive. I put some tunes on, set google maps up as my trusted navigator and got going.

I would like to say that I went early and timed it to get the best lighting, but home life and family prevent anything like this from happening. I’m just lucky to be able to get out at all. I left at around 7AM, which is late for me as I’m usually up at around 5AM every day.

The roads weren’t that busy, so I made good time and arrived around 8:30AM.

Which Way From Here?

Peak District

I had a difficult choice to make. This was my first trip out with the Fuji. I’ve been using it, exclusively, for a while now and this would be my first landscape based trip out with it. And what better place to take it, than the peak district?

This was what I bought it for!

Which way to go would be my difficult choice. I’ve done Mam Tor a few times now and I’m not convinced there is much more to see. I could walk the 2-miles to Winnats Pass. The last time I was there it was covered in snow!

I had seen this lone tree, high up on a hill that I thought could look dramatic. If I could get to it. But this was new territory. I could waste my time and ruin the entire peak district trip. This wasn’t very well planned. It was just a spur of the moment, grab your gear and go kinda trip.

I decided that the risk was worth it. So I set off walking.

Location 1 – the lone tree

Peak District

I walked, literally, miles to get back to this tree I’d seen on the drive in. The first gate that I came to was signed, “Private Land”. Quite obviously in fact. This would be no good.

There are times when I’ve ended up in places that I shouldn’t be. Especially when I used to film corporate jobs for clients. I never got used to it. I hate being in the wrong place. So, I wasn’t about to start jumping fences and knowingly trespass whilst in the peak district.

I needed to find another way.

Walking further there was a path that appeared to head in the right direction and it was signposted as being a public footpath. I set off with new hope in my heart. “This is it!” I thought, “We’re on our way.”

The worst part was that I could see the tree from where I was. It was “up there”. I just needed to find a route up to it. I could see that there were areas that were fenced off and it started to look less and less hopeful that I would be able to reach it.


peak district

The path I found didn’t lead anywhere near to the tree. I had walked about 6-miles so far and I would have to walk every one of them back again. It was also approaching lunchtime – I walk slowly with a camera in my hand.

To save this trip, I decided that I should walk back and visit Winnats Pass for the second time in my life. I knew the spots and I knew the kinds of views I would get.

Although, I didn’t know what they would look like through the Fuji with its 35mm (Full Frame Equivalent) perspective.

So, I was eager to try this out.

On the walk back, I took the time to collect a few snippets of content that work better for social media. I’m really into my CInemagraphs at the moment, and they seem to do pretty well.

My setup for these is my phone, set to slow-motion video, mounted on a tripod. This gives me lots of frames to choose from and allows me to combine the video and stills together. It’s the perfect setup – and it’s quick to deploy!

Winnats Pass

Peak District

Having taken a different route to the one I took last time, I arrived sooner than expected. So I thought I’d grab my lunch. Not going to give any more details than that. This blog ain’t about food!

The only reason I mention it is because it provided content for my Instagram Story Vlogs. Keeping my eyes open to content opportunities all the time. Capture anything that tells the story – and lunch was part of it.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my Story Vlogs!

Winnats Pass in the Peak District is so photogenic, that it’s hard to take a bad looking photo. The challenge, then, is trying to take something that hasn’t been taken before. Now, I’m not saying that I managed to do that, but it was at least in my mind at the time.

It’s great to be out by myself, but I really think that my photos would benefit from having a model in them. Bringing someone along that can stand there and look awesome! But, I can’t have it my own way all the time.

I took several shots with the Fuji, gathered some mobile video for the vlog, took a few Cinemagraph shots and then called it a day. As I said at the beginning, home and family life prevent me from waiting out for the good light. I needed to get back in time to collect my eldest daughter from nursery.

No waiting around for the sunset for me.

I packed up and headed back on the 2 mile hike back to the car. I had the Fuji in my hand all the time I was walking on this trip. Even though I think it is a heavy camera – at least compared to my Sony A6300 – it was not too tiring to carry it.

I just like to be ready at a seconds notice to get a shot that I like. I don’t like wearing neck straps. The camera just bounces around in front of you and it makes the hike even more tiring. I think I should look into getting a nice wrist strap. Just to prevent the inevitable “Dropped Camera Malfunction”.

The Return

Peak District

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my trip. Even though it wasn’t that well planned. There is something to be said for just going out and letting fate dictate to you. Adapt to the circumstances and get out what you can. The aim was just, “get out and shoot”. This is what I did.

After getting back I realised that there are a few things that would really add to the whole experience:

  • A wrist strap
  • A CPL filter for the Fuji

The polarizing filter is something that I ALWAYS had on my Sony and it really does a great deal in those sunny conditions – like I had on this day.

Given that the Fuji and its lenses are so optically wonderful, it seems like a sin to put some other glass in front. But, I’m convinced that the gain far outweighs the cost in terms of image quality.

Thanks for reading this far, I hope you found this BTS insight into my trip interesting. Let me know what you think of these images below in the comment. Or, drop me a comment on Instagram and Twitter.

Sample Fuji GFX 50s RAF Files

If you want to download some of the original RAF files from the Fuji, just to play about with, here are a couple you can have.






 Friends of #J

Thanks again, have a great day, watch less, create more,

Ta Raa!






Sharing is caring!