With a forecast for sunny spells and light wind we were expecting an easier visit to Malham than the horizontal rain of our March visit and we set out in the morning with light cloud cover which looked promising for the morning in the woods, hoping for some sunlight breaking through in the afternoon. With a full group we just about filled the snug at the comfortable Lister Arms and had a chat about our photography day ahead along with a look at a selection of landscape images with some ideas of subjects to look out for along the way over a welcome cup of coffee.
Setting out on our walk we arrived in the woods around Janet’s Foss to find plenty of wild garlic still in bloom making the woodland just as interesting to photograph as the waterfall itself. The sun was already shining quite brightly, but the occasional white cloud gave some nice diffused light to capture some moving water and woodland shots. As the lighting got more tricky we moved on to Gordale Scar and up to the waterfalls at the top which looked fantastic in the open shade of the limestone cliffs at the top of the scar before moving back out into the sun to find a picnic spot for our lunch by Gordale Beck – with great views into the scar itself (top).
After lunch we made our way up the short sharp climb to the viewpoint above Gordale Scar, which proved to be one of the highlights of the day with moving clouds providing interesting lighting on the fields and dry stone walls of Malhamdale below, particularly looking into the light which really brought out the lush green of the landscape and we were pleased to see some great abstract images of dry stone wall patterns appearing on the backs of cameras.
We lingered here for quite a while as the light was so good before making our way across the moorland to the lone tree in the middle of an area of limestone pavement.
The grykes in the limestone made fantastic lines leading up to the tree and we had some interesting clouds moving behind it so everyone got some great shots, experimenting with composition and the placement of the tree in the frame and thinking about the possibilities for black and white conversion at the post-processing stage. We eventually tore ourselves away from the tree and wandered down the lane and across the fields to the top of Malham Cove.
Our usual spot on a grassy mound just above the limestone pavement at the top of the cove again yielded a great view over Malhamdale but the bright light on the limestone was a bit harsh so we were soon exploring around the limestone itself and finding little detail compositions which worked very nicely – especially areas with a bit of backlit vegetation growing up through the grykes.
Eventually we descended to below the cove and had a last look at it from the side of Malham Beck. The strong sun casts a shadow across the face of the cover into the afternoon so photographing the whole thing can be a bit difficult, but the dark limestone of the shaded part of the cliff made the ideal backdrop for photographing the sidelit trees along the banks of the beck, providing a fitting end to a very enjoyable day’s photography and plenty to talk about over a refreshing drink back at the Lister Arms before the journey home. We were very pleased to see so many great images at the post-processing session the next day!
If you’d like to join us for a trip to Malham (it’s our most popular workshop) we’ve got three more dates coming up this year – see the Malham and Gordale Photography Workshop page for details.