Capturing the valley up to Gordale

Workshop Report: Malham and Gordale May 2012

Lunch stop at Gordale Scar
Lunch stop at Gordale Scar

Well what a difference a week can make!! Last weekends workshop at Bolton Abbey we were all dressed in fleeces and enjoying the diffused light in Strid wood to this weekend in Malhamdale enjoying scorching sun and bright reflective light.

We met in the morning at the newly refurbished Lister Arms in Malham for our teas, coffee and introduction to the days adventures before setting out towards Janets Foss. On the way it was nice to see the meadow flowers starting to come in and fill the fields with colour, in a few weeks its all going to look beautiful. On arrival into the woodland the wild garlic is well on the way to filling the floor with white flowers and with the sunlight streaming through the canopy made for a great place for our first stop. We walked up to the waterfall for a quick brief and got to it – Janets Foss itself was a difficult subject with the harsh light but a little further down the beck made for some fantastic images.

From the woodland we made our way up to Gordale Scar and the magnificent wide vista created by the valley and a well earned lunch spot. Starting at the beginning of the valley we made our way up to the scar itself using Gordale Beck as a strong lead in line drawing you into the subject. At the Scar itself it is a difficult subject to photograph as a whole, but the little details where the water flows between the rocks, and the climbers on the rocks above make really interesting subjects. Also from inside Gordale looking out, the valley is backlit beautifully.

From Gordale its time to embark on a bit of a climb to get above looking down – from the top it really puts the landscape in perspective!!

From the top looking down to Gordale Scar
From the top looking down to Gordale Scar

On our route to Malham Cove we stop at another location where a lone tree stands in some limestone pavement, this is a great place to practice using lead in lines weather you use the grikes in a straight line to the tree or come more to the side and photograph them from and angle. Its also a location that changes dramatically through the year to the Autumn colours to a stark winter scene.

We then approached Malham Cove from the top and the view is breath taking, you can see for miles around from the top and the view down can be quite scary as the Cove curves away from you.

From the top of Malham Cove and the back lit trees
From the top of Malham Cove and the back lit trees

Its nice to spend some time at the top of Malham as you have both the wide vistas spreading far over the Yorkshire Dales, but also the small details which I find equally interesting in the limestone pavement and the shapes that they make.

Lastly we head down to the bottom of the cove looking up and photograph the scene as the sun is lowering. Its a great time of day to capture Malham as the sun casts shadows everywhere, and the later you stay the more it changes.

After a long day out and about we head back into Malham village and the welcome pint at the Lister Arms!!

The next day we had our post processing session in Harrogate and it’s one of my favourite parts as we get to see what the group came up with. It always amazes me that we all shot at the same locations at the same time in the same light and the difference in images is great. Everyone sees thing differently and the results, considering the really bright weather were fantastic, we look forward to seeing more when they are fully processed.

If you would like to join us for a photography workshop at Malham visit our workshop page at


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