Photographing Reflections in the Wharfe in Strid Wood
Photographing Reflections in the Wharfe in Strid Wood (Sam Oakes)

The weather forecast for our second spring visit to Bolton Abbey and Strid Wood looked ideal with sunshine predicted in the morning and a bit more cloud cover in the afternoon for the woodland, so we were hopeful of a great day’s photography ahead as we sat down for our introductory talk and slide-show in the comfort of the Tea Cottage over a welcome cup of coffee.

The sun was indeed shining as we climbed up to the viewpoint over the river to look back at the priory ruins in the morning light, making an excellent first stop to get cameras set up on tripods and get familiar with all the settings, before heading off along the river and into Strid Wood.  Right on cue a few more clouds rolled over giving more dappled light in the woodland with areas of nice shade for photographing reflections in the water of a very still inlet off the River Wharfe.

Photographing Moving Water at The Strid
Photographing Moving Water at The Strid

At The Strid itself we had a welcome lunch stop by the river before photographing moving water details in the fast-flowing cascades.  The river was quite low after a dry spell, which always reveals more interesting shapes and patterns in the water so there was plenty to keep us occupied, especially as we now had almost full cloud cover giving the best lighting conditions for moving water and spring foliage alike.

Photographing Spring Foliage at Harrison's Ford Seat
Photographing Spring Foliage at Harrison’s Ford Seat (Sam Oakes)

We made our way along the river bank and back on the return path to Harrison’s Ford Seat where the variety of trees at the overlook down to the River Wharfe presented us with a palette of fresh spring foliage to photograph.  As a bonus, the bumper crop of bluebells meant we were spoilt for choice for bluebell locations along the path and a lovely area of woodland just behind the seat made a great alternative to the overlook.

Bluebells near Harrison's Ford Seat
Bluebells near Harrison’s Ford Seat

Down at our usual bluebells spot we found the flowers extending up the bank amongst mossy and lichen covered trees, with an area of wild garlic flowers beyond.  Just near here we stopped at a group of nice parallel birch trunks for a bit of fun with some intentional camera movement shots – some of which proved very effective at the post-processing on Sunday with a layer of colour from the bluebells beneath the trees adding extra interest to the images.

Photographing Wild Garlic in Strid Wood
Photographing Wild Garlic in Strid Wood

On the way back to the abbey we had a stop to photograph a carpet of wild garlic flowers alongside a stream which looked fantastic in the diffused light before heading back along the river to the abbey.

Natural Light Photography Workshop at Bolton Abbey 14 May 2016
Natural Light Photography Workshop at Bolton Abbey 14 May 2016

As luck would have it, the cloud lifted a bit again as we got back to the viewpoint near the Tea Cottage so we had blue sky above and a little light on the fells beyond the abbey.  The sun came tantalisingly close to lighting up the abbey itself, without quite getting there, but it still made a fitting end to a great day’s photography – and we were treated to some fantastic images at the post-processing session the following day.

If you’d like top join us at Bolton Abbey we’ll be back for our autumn workshop at the end of October.  See the Bolton Abbey Photography Workshop page for full details.