We could hardly believe that we’d arrived at the last workshop of our fifth year of Natural Light Workshops but were pleased to have a a full group and a healthy weather forecast for a good day’s autumnal photography ahead as we settled down in the comfort of the Tea Cottage at Bolton Abbey. The tea and coffee was very welcome, as were the slices of flapjack and brownie, over our introductory talk and a look at some images with ideas for subjects to look out for along the way on our walk through the woods.
We made our way to the first stop at the viewpoint across the River Wharfe overlooking Bolton Abbey and got all the cameras set up on tripods and settings checked. The cloud cover had thinned a bit by this time and some watery sun was peeking through, which added some soft light to the priory ruins below us. Having spent some time here at two different overlooks, we set off along the riverside path towards Strid Wood.
On entering the woods, we made our way to our favourite “swirling leaves” spot off the main path where fallen leaves dance around in the eddies of an inlet from the River Wharfe under a canopy of yellow leaves. A good carpet of fallen leaves under the beech trees along the path by the river also proved to be a great subject in the overcast conditions – the brief period of watery sun had gone and the cloud cover was by now just perfect for photographing autumn colours.
We made our way further along the river, with a brief stop at the bend in the Wharfe before The Strid to compose some panoramic images of water and autumn trees before settling down by The Strid for a well-earned lunch break. After lunch, we set about photographing The Strid which was in quite dramatic mood, swollen by the recent rain. Picking out abstract moving water details was the order of the day here, and we were to be rewarded with some great images at the post-processing session the next day.
Tearing ourselves away from the mighty Strid, we carried on up the path to the folly bridge and back into the woods on the opposite bank, stopping to make the most of the spectacular autumn colours along the way before arriving at Harrison’s Ford Seat for a longer stop and to admire the overlook to the River Wharfe below, surrounded by more stunning autumn colour.
As the light faded on this lovely autumn day we arrived back at Bolton Abbey to photograph the priory ruins as the sun set. Despite the cloudy conditions, some pink light broke through, adding a lovely warm twilight glow to the surrounding foliage along the river, a fitting end to the day – and to our fifth year of workshops!
Everyone brought along some great results to the post-processing session in Harrogate the next day as we balanced up the levels in those compressed histograms from the woodland and moving water in Lightroom and Photoshop and the autumn colours came to life once more.
If you’d like to join us at Bolton Abbey we’ll be back next spring for bluebells and wild garlic – just visit our Bolton Abbey Workshop page for details.