Workshop Report – Malham March 2019

Silhouetted photographers © Sam Oakes PhotographyOur workshop to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar couldn’t be more different from the trip out to Aysgarth Falls just two weeks ago! Memories of waterlogged fields, burst banks flooding the roads, raging waterfalls are now in the past. This weekend was looking good!

We met with our group at the Lister Arms for our morning session on what makes a great landscape photograph. We have 5 elements that we talk about in detail, and one of those is ‘light’. Again in comparison to two weeks ago, the light this weekend couldn’t be more different! having said that, both great for some dramatic landscape photography.

Capturing the Woodland at Janets Foss.  © Sam Oakes Photography
Capturing the Woodland at Janets Foss. © Sam Oakes Photography

From the pub we set out to our first stop at Janets Foss. The Wild Garlic is now starting to grow well and gives the woodland floor a carpet of vibrant green. It wont be long now till its starts to flower (which is a superb time to visit these woods). The waterfall itself is very tame, not much water at all really. It is also very noticeable just how crystal clear the water is! Often after heavy rainfall the beck can be quite peaty which gives some nice colour. With the water so clear, it’s quite difficult to photograph in the shady woods.


From the falls we continue up to Gordale Scar where again the water levels were quite low. This does however give lots of opportunity to find those smaller details within the huge landscape.


Back out of the Scar we break for some lunch and a few more shots of the wider view of Gordale.

MS-05Well rested and we begin our climb to the top and the fantastically impressive 360 views over Malhamdale. The trek up is tiring but we are very well rewarded by the photographic opportunities in every direction. It’s also amazing how the colours change when the landscape is back, front or side lit.


Our next location is a Lone Tree on Limestone Pavement, a fairly straightforward subject, but with a multitude of composition options. For example, do you adopt ‘the rule of thirds’ and at which third do you place the tree?. Do you position the tree in the centre of the frame as a wide shot or fill the frame?. You could have the camera at head height or lower the tripod to take in more sky!! Do you use a wide aperture giving a shallow depth of field or have all elements in perfect focus? Of course the advantage of using digital cameras is that you can try all of the above and decide later which is your favourite.


Now we are getting towards the end of the day and our final stop at the famous Malham Cove. From the top, sadly the light isn’t quite perfect with a thick bank of cloud blocking the sunlight on the Cove. But it is great for capturing the smaller details and shapes of the Limestone Pavement. We make our way to the bottom of the Cove and our last stop to capture the moving water of the beck from the Cove. Back the pub and a well deserved refreshment to finish the day of nicely.


MS-15On the following Sunday we regrouped in Harrogate for our Post Processing session to learn techniques on producing a Fine Art Print from the images taken using Photoshop and Lightroom. There were some great results from the group and a superb weekend all round.

If you would like to join us on a future Photography Workshop, Click Here to find out more.

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