With a weather forecast predicting heavy showers all day we arrived at Malham armed with a ready supply of brollies and settled in at the Lister Arms for introductions over a cup of coffee. After our pre-workshop briefing and slideshow we set out across the meadows from Malham for the woods around Janet’s Foss in a short shower, which had fizzled out by the time we reached the waterfall but left the backlit leaves on the trees around the beck glistening in the diffused light from the overcast sky.
This was perfect light for woodland and waterfall photography, so we wasted no time in getting the tripods set up and going through the basics of exposure and understanding the histogram (which we managed to locate on all the different manufacturers cameras after a few menu searches and button presses!) and pretty soon we were seeing some great moving water images appearing. We had a nice long stop in the shelter of the woods, as the light was so good, before heading across to Gordale Scar. The sky was heavy with an impending shower so we walked straight up to the top of the valley to shoot details of the orange coloured rocks around the waterfalls in Gordale Beck and as the rain arrived we took shelter under the limestone cliff for our lunch stop.
After lunch the rain held off and the light lifted a little giving a soft glow to the rocks and backlighting the damp grassy banks on the sides of the limestone valley nicely so we made time for a few more shots at the valley bottom before the climb up to the viewpoint above Gordale Scar to shoot details of the angled limestone cliffs from above. Light started to peep through broken clouds and illuminate the patchwork of fields in Malhamdale below us opening up even more photographic opportunities.
From the top of the scar we headed across to the lone tree on a patch of limestone pavement and set about photographing the clints and grykes leading up to the tree with steely grey clouds behind and occasional shafts of light breaking through the clouds to briefly illuminate the pavement and surrounding hills, putting newly acquired exposure skills to the test as we tried to capture those fleeting moments.
From the tree we wandered down the lane and took the path to the top of Malham Cove, admiring the impressive view as we approached it before moving round to the grassy area just above the limestone pavement to make the most of the light breaking through the clouds and playing on the limestone pavement and cliffs and on the fields in Malhamdale below us. From here it was just a short walk down the steps for a final view of the Cove from below with some nice sidelighting on the trees by Malham Beck before the walk back to the village and the comfort of the Lister Arms to discuss the days photography over a drink. Despite the ominous weather forecast, somehow exactly the right lighting conditions had appeared at each subject we visited so we were spoiled for choice when looking through the results at the post-processing session the following afternoon!
If you’d like to join us for a workshop at Malham take a look at the Malham and Gordale Scar Photography Workshop page.