Followers of Livesey on Britain’s mountains may well be wondering where I have been the last few months as these pages have been sorely neglected. It’s not that I’ve been inactive, far from it in fact! It’s just that my focus has changed this year and I’ve been working on my photography.
As much as I love writing about the mountains, it’s very difficult coming up with an original slant, especially if one is a hopeless romantic such as I. It’s possible I’ve run out of ways to describe the joy of walking alone on the ancient bones of the earth, the heady thrill of climbing towering buttresses or the sublime experience of greeting a new born day from above a sea of cloud. There are only so many words in the English language and my pen isn’t powerful enough to achieve my ends, which are and have always been to show anyone willing to look how special the natural heritage of Great Britain is.
Photography’s a different matter. Through my camera I can speak without words, my message is delivered unambiguously and the viewer is left in no doubt as to what these mountains mean to me. My passion is distilled into images of beautiful moments, frozen in time and unencumbered by clichés or fumbled attempts to describe the indescribable.
Many of us take a camera into the hills to record our days out and since I started out ten years ago I have amassed many thousands of snaps which strongly evoke memories of happy days gone by. Among these ‘snaps’ there are small a number of images that transcend the snapshot. All of them were captured by luck, by being in the right place at the right time. Flukes if you like.
These days, I actively hunt down these special images and in turns, it’s hugely rewarding and painfully frustrating but always damn hard work. The capricious nature of our weather conspires against the mountain photographer so I am constantly looking at forecasts and keeping track of where the sun will rise and set on any particular day. In the summer months it’s usual for me to rise at 2am and return to the valley after dark, the whole business can be exhausting.
This summer, though not over yet, has been disappointing and I’m looking forward now to autumn and winter. The thought of lounging in bed until 5am really appeals to me after so many early starts in the last few months!