Despite a rather forbidding weather forecast for the Yorkshire Dales, we managed to avoid most of the showers, the rumbling thunder passed us by and we were blessed with some great light during the day, especially (once again) up above Gordale Scar…
After our morning teas and coffees and a briefing at the lovely Lister Arms (where passing walkers can now stop for a cooked breakfast – note for future workshops, perhaps!) we set out across the meadows to the woods at Janet’s Foss wondering what the day’s weather might have in store for us. We were certainly all prepared with full waterproof gear and a selection of brolleys to allow photography to continue during showers. But despite a couple of brief showers, the rain held off in the woods and a few periods of nice diffused light worked well for some woodland detail images around Gordale Beck.
Sunshine breaking through the clouds at Gordale Scar meant that everyone was keen to eat a quick lunch and get on with making the most of the light as it played on the rocks and the meadow grasses and flowers in the valley. The wet summer had clearly done the meadow flowers a world of good – especially the crop of thistles, nicely in flower, which provided both foreground interest and a subject in their own right. (Both approaches produced some great images in our post-processing session the following day!) At the top of the valley, lighting proved a bit more tricky for the Gordale Scar waterfalls, but brief periods of good diffused light made a few close-up studies possible, whilst the sunny spells were great for backlit trees along the screes looking back out of the valley.
The climb up above Gordale Scar afforded fine views during the ascent and the view down into the Scar from above was spectacular, as ever, but looking in the other direction the light playing on Malhamdale below provided the best of the photographic opportunities on the day, with dark clouds (and rumbling thunder) passing along the other side of the valley at a safe distance.
The light stayed with us at the lone tree and limestone pavement where everyone experimented with the placement of the tree (rule of thirds or centred, both seemed to have their merits). A shower turned the attention more toward the array of plants growing in the grykes, but the rain was short-lived and we were soon walking towards Malham Cove in dry if rather humid conditions.
A brief break in the cloud provided an opportunity for some dramatic shots of the limestone pavement leading off into the Cove from above with Malhamdale stretching into the distance. As the clouds turned a little heavier we moved down into the Cove to work more with reflections and moving water in Malham Beck.
A few drops of rain didn’t interfere too much with photography at the end of the day and the only prolonged shower of the day saved itself for the walk back into the village, by which time (judging by the excellent results we were pleased to see at the post processing session) the days work had been done. That just left time for a well-earned drink back in the comfort of the Lister Arms before the journey home.