Photographing Malhamdale from above Gordale Scar

Workshop Report: Malham May 2014

Enjoying Perfect Light at Janets Foss Malham
Enjoying Perfect Light at Janet’s Foss, Malham


We started the day with tea and coffee in the comfort of the Lister Arms in Malham and discussed the day ahead. Our introductory talk emphashised the photographic opportunities available in overcast conditions, having had a look at the weather forecast earlier in the morning! So, we set out on our walk armed with plenty of brollies, though conditions were dry as we walked across the fields from Malham towards the woods around Janet’s Foss. The meadows en route to the woods were filled with buttercups, so we made our first stop in a field with long grasses, yellow flowers and a barn in the distance to get the tripods set up and try out a few exposures paying particular attention to the histogram on the back of the camera.  The woods themselves were filled with wild garlic flowers which looked splendid on the approach to Janet’s Foss. The waterfall itself had just the right amount of water in it and looked perfect surrounded by fresh spring foliage under the diffused light of an overcast sky, so we spent some time here photographing the waterfall and surrounding woodland.

Photographing Malhamdale from above Gordale Scar
Photographing Malhamdale from above Gordale Scar


At Gordale Scar a rain shower arrived, so we headed straight up to the head of the valley to photograph the waterfalls before a lunch stop in the shelter of this imposing limestone amphitheatre.  After lunch, we made our way up the hill to the viewpoint above Gordale Scar.  The wind was rather bracing at this height, so we just had a quick look down into the scar itself, but the best photography was to be had looking in the other direction (with our backs to the wind) over Malhamdale where longer lenses came into play for picking out the details and patterns of the dry stone walls surrounding the buttercup meadows in the valley below.

The lone tree, with a heavy sky behind.
The lone tree, with a heavy sky behind


From above the Scar we headed across to the nearby lone tree surrounded by limestone pavement which proved good practice for setting up tripods in the blustery conditions.  The heavy clouds behind the tree added some interest to the sky and gave some great opportunities for shooting some images with black and white conversion in mind for the post-processing session the next day.  After various compositions of the tree and limestone – it can work just as well placed centrally, off-centre, landscape or portrait – we set off down the lane, which offered some shelter from the wind and across to the top of Malham Cove.

Good tripod practice on limestone pavement and bracing winds.
Good tripod practice on limestone pavement and bracing winds


The top of the Cove provided more opportunities for black and white photography with the clints and grykes of the limestone pavement in the foreground leading off to the dramatic limestone cliffs under a brooding sky.  We rounded off the day down below Malham Cove where the shelter from the wind allowed us to focus again on details of mossy rocks along Malham Beck and the trees either side of the stream leading up to the Cove as a backdrop.

Photographing Rock Details at the Cove
Photographing Rock Details at the Cove


Finally it was time for the short walk back to the village for a well-earned drink at the Lister Arms before the journey home.  At the post-processing session in Harrogate the following day we were treated to some fabulous images, particularly the waterfall and woodland images at Janet’s Foss, but also the Malhamdale details from above Gordale Scar worked very well and the lone tree gave us some lovely black and white conversions as predicted.

If you’d like to join us for a day of landscape photography around Malham then have a look at our Malham & Gordale Scar Workshop page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s