With a forecast for persistent rain throughout the day we arrived at West Burton armed with sufficient umbrellas for the whole group and settled in to the comfort of the Fox and Hounds for teas and coffees over our introductory chat and a look at some example images giving ideas about subject selection, light and composition. One thing seemed certain – we were only going to get diffused light all day long under the heavy skies, which was perfect for waterfall photography. Also, our records showed that this was our 50th workshop, so we set out on the walk across the fields to Aysgarth in somewhat celebratory mood! Our usual choices for first stop of the day didn’t seem quite right with low visibility in the wet so we opted for a field barn with the hazy slopes on Pen Hill as a backdrop and got the cameras set up on tripods, kept dry by the brollies!
Onward to Lower Aysgarth Falls we tentatively clambered down the slippery rocks to the side of the River Ure and the viewing area below the lower falls. The rain had brought down lots of peaty water from the moors and the orange-brown hue in the stepped cascade made a delightful spot for photographing moving water subjects. Fortunately the wind-speed was low so photographing under an umbrella wasn’t a problem and we were surprised at the post-processing session the following day how few images were affected by water droplets on the lens!
Rather than returning to the picnic area for lunch, we stayed at the lower falls under a nice dry overhanging rock for a respite from the drizzle before heading up for a quick look at the viewpoint above the lower falls. Here the peaty colour in the zig-zag shape of the top part of the cascade was particularly prevalent making a great abstract close-up subject with a longer focal length.
At Upper Aysgarth Falls we were treated to more peaty water and the river level seemed just right with water all the way across the cascade (parts of it had been dry on our visit earlier in the year) but not so much water that we lost detail in the falls.
Moving away from the river we had a brief rest from using the tripods with some intentional camera movement images in the woodland before leaving the roar of the River Ure behind and heading across the fields back towards West Burton, stopping on the way to photograph the line of field barns by the path which produced some nice cropped panoramic images and black and white conversions at post-processing the next day.
Finally we arrived back at West Burton and spent quite some time photographing a very spectacular West Burton Waterfall which was the fullest we’ve ever seen it! Many features we normally see in the beck were completely under water, but the raging torrent of peaty water provided many interesting subjects that we’d never seen before. This just left time for a welcome drink back at the Fox and Hounds before the journey home. We just laughed off the fact that the rain stopped and the evening sun came out on the way back as the damp conditions during the workshop hadn’t dampened spirits and all those carefully exposed diffused light images produced some fantastic results at the post-processing session.
I can’t wait for our next visit to Aysgarth in early autumn – I just hope it isn’t a sunny day!