This is often one of my favourite workshops to Bolton abbey at this time of year. I was especially looking forward to it since a visit to Linley Reservoir the weekend before where the Bluebells had started to reach their full bloom, therefore I knew that Strid Wood was going to something special once again.
Forecast wise, we were also looking rather good! cloud cover building up in the afternoon with slight winds… couldn’t be better conditions for the woodlands! (but as we know forecasts often change). We met the group at the always welcoming Tea Cottage for refreshments and our usual introduction into what makes a great landscape photograph. Setting out towards our first stop which is a viewpoint looking towards the Abbey from an elevated position the light was looking in our favour, peaking out from the clouds and illuminating the ruins. When we arrived at the location, it decided to pop back behind a cloud and hang there for a little while.
This did however give us the opportunity to get the cameras set up on the tripods, have a look at the settings and talk a little about changing light before our wait was rewarded by a lovely stream of sun right on the abbey with cloudy skies behind. Perfect!
Leaving the Abbey behind, we made our way up into Strid Wood and our first stop by the river bank. The sun seemed to pretty much stay out at this point making the lighting of subjects quite challenging. We had to therefore find the right subject, compose it to its best and then wait for the light to be at its best. This then seemed to be the theme of the day, waiting for the light.
From here we made our way up to The Strid and our lunch break. After grub we had a long stop giving us plenty of time to capture the fast flowing water which was at its lowest level I had seen it for quite sometime. Again we had an abundance of subjects and just had to time the image to fleeting moments of diffused light, and also find areas in open shade to capture the moving water with longer exposures.
Leaving The Strid, we then headed up to Barden Bridge and crossed over the river to make our way back down through the Bluebell filled woodlands. Our next stop was at the elevated position of Harrisons Ford Seat with views down to the river in amongst the freshly budding trees. As well as the superb view, its also a nice spot to watch the little birds gather nuts from the feeders.
Onwards to the beautiful bank of Bluebells, and another tricky lighting situation, as the woodland floor was dappled with bright sunlight. However it did pop behind the clouds for a fleeting moment and made for the right shot. At the same spot we had some fun with Intentional Camera Movement off the tripod and using the straight silver birch trees. The sun brightly lit the scene so the movement had to be quite rapid in order to expose it correctly.
Away from the woodland we headed back to the abbey for the last stop of the day. We chose to be back up at the Tea Cottage with the view back. the light at this point was perfect as it illuminated the Abbey and the stunning backdrop. This was a a superb end to what was, despite the tricky lighting situation, an excellent day.
On the Sunday we all met up again in Harrogate for our post processing session and some lovely results from the day!! If you would like to join us on a workshop to Bolton Abbey, click here to read more about the day and book online.