Contemplating Janet's Foss

Workshop Report – Malham September 2017

So our final Malham workshop of the year had come round once again!  We met as usual in the comfort of the Lister Arms for an introductory chat and a look at some images over tea and coffee before setting out under and overcast sky across the meadows towards the woods and our first stop at Janet’s Foss.  The forecast was for changeable conditions with the chance of a heavy shower, so we went armed with a full complement of umbrellas, but in the woods it stayed fine and the cloudy sky and still conditions were perfect for waterfall and woodland photography, with a hint of autumn colour coming here and there, so we lingered around the falls for quite a while.

Shooting the Top Waterfall at Gordale Scar
Shooting the Top Waterfall at Gordale Scar

Tearing ourselves away from Janet’s Foss, we made our way up the lane and into Gordale Scar, heading straight up to the top of the scar for more waterfall photography.  The falls looked spectacular after the recent rain, and the top fall looked great so those with longer lenses were able to get in under the overhanging rock and shoot this as well as the lower cascades.

Photographing Gordale Scar after Lunch
Photographing Gordale Scar after Lunch

The wind always seems to whip round the top of the scar (even when it’s not very windy elsewhere) so after photographing the falls we headed out along the valley to have our picnic lunch by the beck.  This was the time of day when the heavy shower was forecast, and a few spots of rain did start to fall, but it held off sufficiently to allow photography to continue after lunch without the need of umbrellas!

It didn’t look like the cloud was about to lift much though, so we didn’t spend long here and soon set off up the hill to spend more time at the top viewpoint looking down into the scar and also in the opposite direction over Malhamdale with the looming shape of Pendle Hill on the horizon.  This spot, as always, provided ample photographic opportunities with details of the patterns of meadows, dry stone walls and barns being the order of the day.  It was also an ideal spot to try out multiple exposures for exposure blending at the post-processing session the next day.

A short walk across the open moorland took us to the lone tree on limestone pavement.  There was no chance of and side-light with steely grey skies all around, but there was sufficient detail and interesting shapes in the clouds to make some moody black and white conversions, so we spent time here experimenting with different compositions of the tree in relation to the lines in the limestone in front of it.

A Fleeting Moment of Soft Light on Malham Cove
A Fleeting Moment of Soft Light on Malham Cove

From the tree we made our way down the lane (enjoying a short shower – the only proper rain of the day on the way) and across meadows to the top of the cove, and set up the tripods above the limestone ready to capture the limestone cliffs should the sun break through the clouds as it descended to the horizon.  The clouds did break up a bit and although we didn’t get great shafts on sunlight onto the rock there was some great light on Malhamdale below us and one fleeting moment of some slightly warmer light on the cove itself, which made the stop here worthwhile.

Below the Cove at the End of the Day
Below the Cove at the End of the Day

We wrapped up the day’s shooting down at the bottom of the steps below the cove with one or two nice hints of autumn colour in the ash trees by Malham Beck with the imposing cliffs behind.  As the light faded this was also a great spot to photograph little moving water details in the beck, rounding things off nicely before the walk back to the village and a welcome drink at the Lister Arms before the drive home.

Despite some tricky light at some of the stops, our concentration on getting exposures just right by constantly checking the histogram paid off and everyone came away with some great images at the post-processing session the next day.

If you’d like to join us at Malham we’ll be back there in March – also timed to get the chance of some nice late light at the cove!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s