A valley of smoke machines & laser beams!

Last time we were at Winnats Pass we were with Adam from First Man Photography. We were treated to an incredible sunset and even a rainbow, we came away with some incredible images and certainly didn't plan on returning. However, last week we found out that something rather special was happening in the valley and it wasn't to be missed!

A large scale digital installation by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde was about to hit the Peak District. It would involve shutting the whole of Winnats Pass over 3 nights, filling the valley with smoke from smoke machines and then firing laser beams into the smoke. The whole idea behind the installation is to reveal the geological formations of the site and its history as a valley once submerged under a tropical sea.

We arrived early, too early in hindsight. We couldn't decide whether to be at the base of the valley under the lasers and smoke or to be high up at the top of the ridge. We decided to go high up, it only took 20 minutes or so to find a spot at the top, we set up and then waited for the sun to set.

Soon after this shot was taken lots of people started to turn up, lots of families and lots of photographers!

We have seen some of the photos taken from underneath the lasers and smoke and the view is amazing. The whole show was impressive and certainly interesting, the only thing that was a little disappointing was that it never seemed to develop or change, it was the exact same show at 19:30 as it was at 20:30. In fact, a fellow photographer at the top was "waiting for it to start" when in actual fact he had been watching it for the last 45 minutes. That being said, I am glad we took the night to go and watch it, it was a one off event and a decent spectacle. From a photography point of view it was incredibly difficult to capture. A long exposure meant that you lost all the shape of the lasers and they easily became too bright, but a short one was either too dark or too noisy. In the end, we came away with this one, it gives a good overall impression of what that part of the Peak District looked like on the night: