The weather during the week had been somewhat changeable, with a couple of nice fine days and a couple of days of heavy rain, but the forecast for the Saturday of the workshop was for early showers fizzling out leaving a mostly fine but overcast day so we were optimistic of some great light for waterfall photography.
After the introductory talk and a look at a few images over tea and coffee in the comfort of the Fox and Hounds in West Burton, we set off in light drizzle across fields towards Aysgarth. A couple of subjects presented themselves on the walk but either the light or the impending autumn colour wasn’t quite right so we pressed on and stopped at Aysgarth church to get the cameras set up on tripods and get familiar with ISO, aperture settings and shutter speeds.
After the church we carried on down to Aysgarth Falls, having a quick peek at the Upper Falls from the bridge over the River Ure before heading to the Lower Falls and out onto the rocky riverbed for our first proper waterfall photography stop. By this time the rain had cleared completely and we had good soft diffused light for photographing the impressive stepped cascades of the Lower Falls. We spent some time here working on details and wider views of the waterfall before having a spot of lunch at the riverside.
After a well-earned lunch we set off back along the riverbank stopping for another look at the Lower Falls from above, with its striking zig-zag shape and lovely peaty coloured water. Then it was back to the Upper Falls to photograph what we had had a quick preview of earlier. A touch of sunlight was breaking through and there were patches of blue sky, but the falls themselves stayed nicely in the shade so were evenly lit and made a great subject with some of the colour from the sky coming in to play in the reflections off the surface of the water.
Next we crossed the river again and walked downstream past the church to the nice set of rapids where the river broadens out a little before crossing fields back towards West Burton. On the way we stopped to photograph a nice line of three barns. By this time the sun was moving round to the other side of the barns but conveniently disappeared behind some grey clouds so we had nice even light so making a panorama shot of the barns with minimal sky seemed the order of the day.
Finally, we headed back into West Burton for the finale at West Burton Waterfall (also known as Cauldron Falls). Although it was still over an hour to sunset when we arrived at the falls, the sky was getting darker and in the natural amphitheatre around the falls the light levels were quite low, allowing us to experiment with some very long exposures with the waterfall itself and the shapes in Walden Beck below it.
We packed up, satisfied that we’d had some great light for the subjects on this workshop and headed back into the village. About ten minutes into the drive home, the heavens opened and a huge thunderstorm ensued, so we felt doubly lucky that we’d had such a good day’s photography – and the post processing session in Harrogate the next day proved this to be the case with so many images just needing a touch of processing to produce a finished piece worthy of printing and hanging on the wall.
If you’d like to join us on an Aysgarth Workshop for a bit of waterfall photography we have three dates scheduled in 2014 – see the Aysgarth Workshop page for full details.