With a forecast for a fine morning but potentially heavy rain in the afternoon we set out for our second spring Bolton Abbey workshop with a good selection of umbrellas to allow photography to continue in wet conditions, safe in the knowledge that a bit of overcast weather in the woods would provide good light for moving water photography and for the fantastic wild garlic flowers in Strid Wood. After teas and coffees and our introductory chat in the comfort of the Tea Cottage we set out, crossed the Wharfe and climbed the path to the viewpoint over the priory ruins. We picked a spot on the path part way up with a nice view across the river and cow parsley along the side of the path adding some foreground interest and set the cameras up on tripods for our first stop, getting used to exposure settings and understanding the histogram. Though there were a few dark clouds around, the sun was breaking through and lighting the abbey nicely.
Following a stroll along the riverside we entered Strid Wood just as the clouds thickened providing lovely diffused light for woodland photography. At our first stop in the woods, backlighting from the white sky added vibrancy to the fresh spring green foliage making interesting reflections in a calm inlet off the River Wharfe which were a great subject for abstract images and experimenting with the effect of different shutter speeds.
At The Strid the rain had started so we picked a sheltered spot under a tree for our lunch before setting about photographing the fast-moving water. We normally concentrate just on details in the water around some of the bright green mossy rocks here, and these worked very well on this occasion too, but the damp conditions made the surrounding rocks more interesting and photographing the whole scene was also a good option.
Further into the woods we added an extra stop to take in a particularly nice crop of wild garlic flowers on either side of a path curving away up the side of the valley – the rain didn’t stop photography with the brollies being put to good use!
On the return path on the other side of the river we climbed up to Harrison’s Ford Seat to admire the view downstream along the Wharfe flanked by fresh green foliage which seemed to have an added glow in the damp weather.
The forecast had been for heavy rain towards the end of the day but as we made our way back to the abbey it seemed to ease off a little and eventually the umbrellas could be put away again for our final stop in the woods to admire more wild garlic flowers along a side-stream flowing down into the Wharfe.
We returned to the abbey expecting to spend most of our time photographing reflections of the ruins in the river by the stepping stones with a heavy grey sky behind (thinking about producing some moody black and white images) but not only had the rain stopped but a bit of sunlight started to break through again so after a quick stop at the stepping stones we made our way back up to the Tea Cottage to photograph the priory catching the light against the backdrop of hills and a dramatic sky – a fitting end to a great day’s photography!
We’ll be back at Bolton Abbey again this autumn if you’d like to join us for some woodland photography!