The Peak District
Author: Fran Halsall
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Fran Halsall is well known for her landscapes of the Peak District area and this beautifuly illustrated and printed book provides a great collection of her photographs that illustrate the different moods and lighting that make this area what it is. Through the book you can get a great "feel" of the Peak District landscape, what it looks like and what makes it look the way it does.
The Peak District contains very few large peaks or summits, and Mam Tor near Castleton is perhaps the best known and well formed "peak" although it does not officially qualify as a mountain (a mountain is over 610m above sea level; Mam Tor is a mere 517m). Fran Halsall has managed to capture Mam Tor and many other characteristic parts of the area from viewpoints that in almost all cases are new and interesting rather than trotting out yet another collection of twee Peak District Views. She has also used the different lighting that we get in the area to great effect. There's the mists, the "foggies", the dampness and yes there's plenty of warm sunshine too. A nice mixture of lighting and weather conditions to create a nice balance between the book's covers.
Talking of weather, she has managed to capture some superb images of the area in snow. This is weather that we seem to get precious little of and in the last few years there have been only very few days when snow has stayed with us for anything more than 24 hours. However, there were obviously several days when Fran managed to get out into the snow; they must have been just great!
I have one small gripe about some of the images in the book and that is a few appear a little over-processed. When I first looked through the book some (emphasise just some) of the photographs looked too light. Then I looked again and to my eye I think the HDR (High Dynamic Range) approach is a little overdone. A few pictures just didn't look natural. In the photographic notes in the book she comments that two frames are used and overlaid, one exposed for the lighter and another for the shadows. Personally I wouldn't have done this, but then I imagine that Fran and many others would look at my photographs and wouldn't have exposed them in the way I have done!
Many of the photographs in the book are currently being exhibited at the Derwent Gallery in Grindleford. If in the area this is well worth while stopping by the take a look as printed large these images look just fantastic! There's also plenty of other photographs and other art with a Peak District theme.
In all I thoroughly recommend this book as a collection of great photographs of my favourite part of the United Kingdom. It's a good read and I have dipped into it many times.