Photographing a Field Barn near Malham
Photographing a Field Barn near Malham

We arrived at Malham on a pleasant sunny morning, but with a boot full of umbrellas as the forecast was for a possible heavy shower in the afternoon, and settled in to the always welcoming Lister Arms for our introduction and a look at some images over tea and coffee.  Setting off across the meadows towards the woods at Janet’s Foss we had our first stop to photograph a field barn with buttercups in the foreground and get familiar with all the camera settings.

Photographing Janet's Foss (Sam Oakes)
Photographing Janet’s Foss (Sam Oakes)

In the woods the sun kept coming and going behind the clouds giving us some nice moments of diffused light which were perfect for photographing the waterfall, which was looking rather splendid in its gentler mood after a fairly dry spell.  All of the wild garlic had died back of course (though the aroma lingered on!) but there were still patches of fresh spring-like greens in the foliage so there were plenty of woodland and moving water subjects to keep us busy for quite some time.

Waiting for the Light at Gordale Scar
Waiting for the Light at Gordale Scar

Eventually we tore ourselves away from Janet’s Foss and headed over to Gordale Scar, visiting the top of the scar first to capture more waterfalls in the open shade before the sun moved round then moving back out to sit by the beck for a well-earned lunch stop.  After lunch, the tripods were set up again and we photographed the scar as light played across it, with one or two moments where it looked just perfect.

Enjoying Great Light over Malhamdale
Enjoying Great Light over Malhamdale

Lunch gave us the energy to climb up the steep hill to the viewpoint over Gordale Scar in a short shower which meant waterproofs were quickly grabbed from rucksacks, but which just about fizzled out by the time we got to the top.  This, as is often the case, provided some of the best opportunities of the day with views into the scar in one direction and views over Malhamdale in the other.  As the light moved across the dale we had to work quite quickly to pick the best subjects out of the fields below.

Photographing at the Lone Tree
Photographing at the Lone Tree

At the lone tree it was a bit breezy so careful placement of tripods was necessary but the rain held off and the slightly thicker clouds behind the tree made a great subjects for black and white conversion with the lines in the limestone pavement in the foreground.

Waiting for the Light at Malham Cove
Waiting for the Light at Malham Cove

From the tree we made out way down the lane and out of the wind then across the fields to the top of Malham Cove with more spectacular views over Malhamdale with the unique expanse of limestone pavement just below out chosen viewpoint.  The sun broke through the clouds occasionally to illuminate the sheer limestone cliffs and in the more diffused light abstract details of the clints and grykes in the pavement were the order of the day.  From here we descended the steps for a final stop by Malham Beck at the bottom of the cove before returning to the village and the Lister Arms for a refreshing drink and a discussion of the day’s events.  Sitting under a garden umbrella outside the pub the rain finally arrived – so we’d been lucky and not needed our brollies during the day after all!

If you’d like to join us for a workshop at Malham we’ve got two more visits this year – see the Malham and Gordale Scar Workshop page for details.