Driving up towards Malham its amazing to think that we are about to begin our 8th year running the Natural Light Photography Workshops!! 8 years! we can’t quite believe it!

Its also been an interesting few weeks during the run up, the UK has enjoyed a cold snap that its not seen for quite some time. However this weekend was looking pretty clear so far (it has also been forecast to be a white Easter).

We meet the group at the famous Lister Arms in Malham and began by going through a few basics of camera settings and the five elements that make a great landscape photograph. Finishing our coffees we head out towards our first stop in the woodland at Janets Foss.

MS-08On entering the woodland at Janets Foss you could smell the wild garlic which was beginning to come through nicely (Am already looking forward to our May workshop when hopefully it should be in full flower). The beck was also full flowing, and the water was absolutely crystal clear!! The weather was just right with cloudy overcast conditions, and we began by capturing the waterfall and surrounding woodlands. Its an interesting spot as its very popular where one minute you can be surrounded by lots of people, and the next they all move on and your on your own until the next lot arrive!

Capturing the waterfall at Janets Foss.  © Sam Oakes PhotographMoving on, we walk up to Gordale Scar. I love this place!! and how the imposing landscape hits you as you turn the corner into the scar, and the sound of the waterfall is just amazing! It is however a difficult place to photograph, again its very popular so people are often in shot, but also its so big with white water and dark rock making good exposures very difficult. Its often easier to look for the smaller details and rock formations rather than the bigger picture. The higher waterfall is also visible from a certain angle and makes for a great composition. With a bit of drizzle in the air we decide its best to have lunch below the overhang.

Inside Gordale Scar. © Sam Oakes PhotographyMS-05After lunch, the rain had thankfully stopped as we head back out of the Scar and stop to capture the view back towards Gordale. Amazingly we have a fleeting moment when the sun breaks through and illuminates the landscape!! When I say fleeting, it really was, but absolutely brilliant!!!

Using the beck as a lead in line into Gordale Scar. © Sam OakesThe infamous climb up to the viewpoint above the Scar began, and its clear that after the long winter am perhaps a little out of practice. But once up top, its totally worth it, the view across Malhamdale are just fantastic. The cloud formations are superb but unfortunately very little light broke through to lighten up the foreground which made exposures tricky, however we took a few double exposures ready for processing on Sunday.

On the tops with stunning 360 views over Malhamdale. © Sam OakeMS-06A short (and flatter) walk to our next stop was at the Lone Tree on Limestone pavement. Again the cloud formations were perfect but no light really broke through to the foreground, however slightly underexposing would make for some dramatic Black and Whites.

Lone tree and dark skies © Sam Oakes PhotographyAcross to the top of Malham Cove, and we were reaching the end of the day. The last light was quite imposing and we positioned ourselves to capture the cove as it curves around with the stunning Yorkshire countryside behind.

MS-01Our last location for the day is at the base of the cove and the view to the top, with no leaves on all the trees and dark clouds made the scene quite bleak. Again with tricky lighting conditions, we took a few with Black and White conversions in mind, but also had some fun looking at the smaller waterfalls in the beck and were able to achieve some long exposures.

Last stop of the day below Malham Cove. © Sam Oakes PhotographyA great day all round with some difficult light, that made for some interesting images at our Post Processing session on the Sunday. We were at our new location, St Roberts Centre in Harrogate, and a perfect space it is!! Using a projector and big screen we were able to process some superb images from the day!

If you would like to join us on a workshop to Malham, CLICK HERE to read more.