We were glumly peering out of the window at pouring rain and howling winds on the Friday afternoon before the workshop, hoping that the weather forecast for the following day which was sunny, mild and with light winds was to be believed. Fortunately Saturday morning arrived with pleasant weather as predicted – but we still set off with a couple of umbrellas in the back of the car – just in case!
The tea and coffee in the snug at the Lister Arms (where a full English breakfast can also be had if you arrive a bit early) was a very welcome start to the day, as we chatted about what to expect from the day ahead. Everyone was happy with the weather, but from the photography point of view the plain blue sky wasn’t the most interesting, so we were hoping for one or two clouds to pass over and cast some interesting shadows. The first photo stop in the woods at Janet’s Foss was therefore a little tricky with the bright conditions not being ideal for photographing woodland and water but by concentrating on small details we were able to find one or two interesting images making use of fallen trees and the wild garlic, still just coming in to flower with the very late spring.
Up in Gordale Scar we had a quick stop to look along the beck up towards the scar, but with the harsh sun moving round we headed straight up to the top of the scar to have a closer look at the waterfalls which were still in the shade. This was a good move, as the reflected light in the open shade around the falls gave us some great light for making some interesting moving water images. After this, we were all ready for lunch, so we found a spot by the beck back out in the sunshine to enjoy a sit down before the climb up the hill for the views above the scar.
The climb was well worth the effort, giving a completely different perspective on Gordale Scar from above but the light was still rather harsh with little cloud cover for the front-lit subject of the scar itself. However, shooting across the valley at side-lit dry stone walls, barns and lush Yorkshire Dales fields proved the order of the day. Turning to the right and shooting down into Malhamdale into the light was even better, with the strong backlighting bringing out intense colour in the meadows below, one or two with a hint of yellow as the summer flowers were starting to arrive. It was great to see some very fine images appearing on the backs of cameras!
From the top of the scar we made our way over to the lone tree to make use of the sidelighting picking out the grykes in the limestone pavement and making fantastic lead in lines for the tree, which worked very well against the plain blue sky, especially with the careful use of a polarising filter.
This whetted out appetite for limestone pavement, so we headed over to Malham Cove itself to admire one of the finest specimens in the Dales. The fine weather made it easy to navigate around the top of the cove and enjoy the fantastic patterns in the rock (we’re more used to gingerly picking our way across the pavement in treacherous slippery conditions!). The nesting peregrine falcons were also a welcome sight, soaring above the cove from time to time.
Down at the bottom of the steps we explored directly below of the cove but the bed of Malham Beck was near dry and not of great interest, so we made out way further out of the cove and looked back as the early evening side-light worked its magic, picking out the shimmering twigs of a tree barely coming into bud against the dark grey of the now shaded limestone cliff. This proved a fitting end to the day before the short walk back into Malham for the comfort of the Lister Arms and the drive home.
With everyone attending Sunday’s processing session we had lots of images to work with in Lightroom and Photoshop and it was good to see so many great results, particularly from the fantastic backlighting at the top of Gordale Scar, the sidelighting at the lone tree and the lovely evening light on the trees below Malham Cove.