The story of the picture 1 - Two Boats Windermere.


It had been a long day and the thought of a hot meal and a protracted spell on a sofa seemed very attractive. However sunny days in April in the English Lake District have to be taken full advantage of. As early evening approached the light was getting better and better and I decided to visit Gummers How, which is a viewpoint over Windermere, the districts longest lake. It involved a short walk from the car park, but after the exertions of the day it felt like the Eiger.


A few shots from the summit of Windermere and the fells with the sun getting lower in the sky was a good reward and I was on my way back to the car park. After a chance look back I realised that two boats that had been coming from opposite ends of the lake were going to pass very close to each other. I also realised that this was going to happen very soon!


I ran back to the viewpoint fitting the longest lens that I had, a Zeiss 135mm f2.8 to my Contax 139. This was back in my film days and the camera was loaded with Fuji 50 Transparency film. I realised I had 3 shots left, with no time to change film. I duly took the 3 shots of which this was the middle one. I still remember the exposure. 1/125th. sec at f2.8. On the way back I realised that I had the camera set to +1 stop from a previous shot. I had been too concerned about getting the picture to notice. I wondered whether I had over exposed the shot. In those pre-computer days, the only way to rectify a poor exposure was to make a slide duplicate, with the resulting drop in quality. I also wondered whether 1/125th. sec. had been fast enough to "freeze" the boats and keep the image sharp. I always tried to use a minimum of 1/250th.sec with the 135mm lens and regretted my not noticing the + 1 stop as that would have given me a "safer" shutter speed.


Fuji 50 was a process paid film and had to be sent off in an envelope to their lab for processing. I duly did so and it arrived about a week later in a batch I had sent off. I opened all the packets looking for the boats shot, and eventually found it. To my delight it was pin sharp and perfectly exposed. 


Since then its been published extensively and is my personal favourite of all the pictures I have taken.