Waterfall Photography in Perfect Diffused Light at Janet's Foss
Waterfall Photography in Perfect Diffused Light at Janet’s Foss

Despite a midweek weather forecast of heavy rain, Saturday morning arrived with pleasant early autumn weather and a revised forecast for a dry day so we were somewhat happier about the prospect of the day’s photography ahead as we settled in to the snug at the Lister Arms for our introductory talk and slide-show over a cup of coffee. The sun was shining through a few breaks in the cloud as we set off making the walk across the meadows very enjoyable and as we entered the woods the sun conveniently hid behind the clouds providing us with excellent diffused lighting for waterfall photography at Janet’s Foss.

Photographing Waterfalls at Gordale Scar
Photographing Waterfalls at Gordale Scar

After a while the sun started to break through again so we headed over to Gordale Scar to spend some time photographing the limestone valley from the side of the beck, which also provided a nice lunch stop on the grass by the flowing water. After spending some time waiting for a combination of nice cloud shapes and a bit of light through the dappled clouds on the rocks we made our way further into Gordale Scar to the waterfalls where the open shade of the huge limestone cliffs provided some more soft light for photographing moving water details.

From here we climbed the steep hill to the viewpoint, with plenty of stops on the way up just to admire the view (and catch our breath!). At the top we were treated to glorious views over Mahamdale where, as the sun had hidden itself behind the clouds again, photographing details of the patterns of dry stones walls in the meadows below seemed to be the order of the day.

From the viewpoint we made our way across the top to the lone tree where the sun broke through again providing us with good side-light on the limestone pavement whilst heavy clouds moved rapidly above the tree making a great subject for black and white conversion at the post-processing session.

Waiting for the Light at Malham Cove
Waiting for the Light at Malham Cove2016

Finally we made our way down the lane and across the fields to the top of Malham Cove as the sun descended toward the horizon. Unfortunately, it descended directly into a bank of cloud so the limestone cliffs of the cove which had been catching the light nicely as we arrived became rather flat in the overcast conditions. However, we were hopeful of the sun emerging from below the cloud before it went behind the hill…

Our Patience Rewarded with a Stunning Sunset at Malham Cove
Our Patience Rewarded with a Stunning Sunset at Malham Cove

Just as we were considering a walk down the steps to finish off at the bottom of the cove instead, the sun finally emerged from the cloud and lit the cove up nicely. The light got noticeably warmer at the sun descended further with the best colour just before it dropped below the hill and the rocks went into shade. We were very glad we’d hung on for the final few minutes as it was probably one of the best sunsets we’ve seen on a workshop at Malham, so we were very happy with the day’s photography on the walk back to the village – and we were very happy with the results at the post-processing session the next day too!

If you’d like to join us for a workshop at Malham next year then have a look at the Malham and Gordale Scar Workshop page (the March date provides similar timings for sunset).