Peek at the bleak Peak

Snow at Rushup Edge
Snow at Rushup Edge
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THEY look like stunning scenes photographed at jaw-dropping locations across the world.

In one the snow lies cold and untouched Arctic-like, in another a huge stag stands proud in the orange morning sun, while a third shows a bridge shrouded in mist recalling a scene from Lord Of The Rings.

Heather at first light on Stanage Edge in the Peak District

Heather at first light on Stanage Edge in the Peak District

Yet all these pictures were taken right here on Sheffield’s doorstep in the Peak District.

Not one was shot more than a 40-minute drive from the city centre.

“It’s an incredible place,” says photographer Chris Herring who spent 12 months capturing the area for a new coffee table tome, The Peak District: Loving It.

“There are so many different landscapes and so much variety in what is really quite a small area, it’s amazing.

The Ashopton Viaduct across Ladybower Reservoir

The Ashopton Viaduct across Ladybower Reservoir

“And everything is constantly changing depending on the season or even the time of day. What I soon realised is that if you photographed somewhere in the morning light, and then again in the later afternoon, you could almost believe it was two different places.”

The virtues of the area have long been known to walkers, sightseers and climbers, and long been boasted about by Sheffielders, but its sheer beauty has arguably never been better captured than by Chris.

His secret? Each picture is actually made up of six or seven different individual photos which are then stitched together, creating a perfect 180 degree panorama.

“You set up your tripod so it’s completely level and then with each picture you just move the camera round slightly,” says the 27-year-old. “Then the computer will put it together perfectly so it’s one picture. You can actually do 360 degree pictures too but I thought limiting it to 180 was more appropriate for this project.”

Chris Herring

Chris Herring

Although the cameraman is from Martham in Norfolk, he says he fell in love with the area while driving through it to see his girlfriend’s family in Stockport.

“You can’t see it and not be amazed,” he says. “In Norfolk everything is flat and it can become quite familiar but you could visit the Peak District every day for a year and see something new and fresh.”

Not, he adds, that getting those incredible shots was always plain sailing.

“I remember I was up there with my girlfriend one morning and the snow suddenly just came in. One moment it was fine and the next the roads were impassable,” he recalls. “We had to sit and wait in the car for about 90 minutes until a snow plough came along. It was worth it, though, I got a couple of nice pictures, and my girlfriend saw the funny side.”

A Peak District deer during the rutting season

A Peak District deer during the rutting season

The shot of the stag was taken from a bush 20 metres away.

“It was the rutting season so I don’t think he was bothered about me,” says Chris, who has had two previous books, Norfolk: A Winter’s Tale and Spirit Of Norfolk Windmills, published. “I’m not sure he even noticed I was there.”

And his favourite picture?

He likes the snow scenes.

“There’s a desolate quality about them,” he says. “When it’s snowed and it’s early morning you could almost believe you were the only person who’d ever been there. Other people really seem to like the bridge over Ladybower Reservoir. I wasn’t sure when I saw that one but people insisted I keep it in the collection so I have done.”

n The book, The Peak District: Loving It, is available now, published by Halsgrove.