National and international travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic have prevented us all from visiting our favourite places.
Charlie Waite, who has been photographing landscapes for almost 40 years, has missed spending time in the locations he loves, particularly the bucolic landscapes he celebrates in his images.
“I like landscapes to be welcoming and serene – places that are beautiful and kind of greet you,” says the photographer, who is based in rural Dorset. “I’m not terribly good with threatening wilderness landscapes. They’re incredibly impressive, and I’m not for one moment saying I don’t like photographing them, but in recent years I’ve got more partial to quiet little places that I just find very enjoyable to spend time exploring.”
Here, Waite chooses the three cherished places he has missed the most.
Buttermere, Cumbria, England
“Buttermere, near Keswick, is perhaps my favourite place in the Lake District, its mountainous landscape offering breathtaking scenes of sunlight and shadow, like this one [above]. If I’m really honest, I’d have to say I don’t know the Lake District as a whole well enough. To know it very well I think you probably need to have lived there all your life and have really explored it. I’d love not just to refresh my memory of the region, but to treat it as a new discovery. During recent months, so many people must have looked out at the glorious spring weather and wished they were there.”
Autoire, The Lot, France
“Autoire is a small village in the Lot, a department in south-western France that’s less well known than its neighbour, the Dordogne, though I personally prefer it. I like its little smallholdings – people still have, say, an acre of land where they grow their food and maybe house a couple of sheep. You sometimes see people threshing by hand, or a horse and cart being used for work.
“I’m fond of the sweet and slightly sad little abandoned farm buildings you find in Autoire, like the one in this photograph. I also love the little lanes you find there, winding tracks that almost demand you walk down them.”
Padul, Andalucía, Spain
“If you’re feeling downbeat, blossom is an absolute tonic. I always find it gives me a terrific sense of hope. The best place for a massive blossom hit is Andalucía in southern Spain, where hundreds of thousands of almond trees burst into glorious colour every February. I’ve photographed the blossom trees of Padul several times and find them absolutely irresistible, especially against the snow-capped mountainous backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. A lot of people prefer wilderness and this is essentially a man-made scene, but I find it heavenly. I don’t even need to photograph it; I can happily just stand there admiring it.”
All images by Charlie Waite