Photographing moving water at The Strid

Workshop Report – Bolton Abbey May 2019

We made sure we had a full set of umbrellas for the workshop last weekend as the forecast was for showers in the afternoon, though this didn’t put us off as the predicted overcast skies and low wind looked like producing a great day for photography amongst the spring foliage and wild garlic flowers in Strid Wood.

Photographing the priory ruins from the top viewpoint
Photographing the priory ruins from the top viewpoint

The group met in the comfort of the Tea Cottage at Bolton Abbey for our introductory talk and slide show over a cup of coffee before setting out across the River Wharfe to the viewpoint across to the priory ruins.  By this time, the forecast of showers had all but disappeared – but we took a brolly each to be on the safe side!

There are two nice viewpoints through the trees toward the priory from the path above the river, but the encroaching vegetation means there’s an ever narrower field of view on every visit, so we split up into two groups and took a viewpoint each at this first stop.  The diffused light made the sky uninteresting and the ruins looked a little flat but the palette of yellows and greens in the foliage and foreground cow parsley made some interesting images with lots of options for experimeting with depth of field.

Working with reflections in the River Wharfe
Working with reflections in the River Wharfe

From the viewpoint we walked along the river and into Strid Wood, stopping at a quiet spot down by the river where there were options to shoot reflections in the water or wild garlic flowers along the path – and also some swirling patterns in the river that we’d spotted by the path along the way.  The light was just perfect for this kind of subject!

Amongst the wild garlic in Strid Wood
Amongst the wild garlic in Strid Wood

Eventually we were getting a bit hungry so tore ourselves away from this location and continued upstream to The Strid to sit by the waterfalls and have lunch before setting up for some moving water photography.

Photographing moving water at The Strid
Photographing moving water at The Strid

The river level was quite low, which is nice as this tends to expose more shapes in the waterfall so there was no shortage of abstract subjects to choose from in the raging water with an unusually bright area of peaty water next to glowing green mossy rocks.

An extra stop for the wild garlic flowers
An extra stop for the wild garlic flowers

We normally have a stop on the other side of the river on our return to photograph more wild garlic flowers, but the flowers were poor in that part of the woodland this year so we had a look along the curving path just beyond The Strid as well, which made a fine subject for a panoramic/letterbox type image.

Photographing The Strid through the trees
Photographing The Strid through the trees

Across the river we had a quick stop at the viewpoint over The Strid as the trees looked lovely in the diffused light before carrying on to our usual stop (where there’s a bit more room to work) at Harrison’s Ford Seat.

Admiring the view at Harrison's Ford Seat
Admiring the view at Harrison’s Ford Seat

The view from the seat was equally lovely with a wide variety of colours in the budding foliage and some fantastic shapes in the trees adding interest to compositions.

Abstract Birch Trees in Strid Wood
Demonstration ICM shot taken in Strid Wood on the workshop

Back down by the river we had a quick break from using the tripods and tried out some intentional camera movement (ICM) at the group of birch trees with a backdrop of spring foliage rising up the bank.  It takes a bit of adjustment to get used to this way of making images after the precision of the tripod work – but it’s great fun!

Working with reflections at the stepping stones
Working with reflections at the stepping stones

After the ICM excitement, we made our way back downstream to the priory ruins and had a quick look at the stepping stones and the reflections in the River Wharfe before crossing the river one last time to make our way back to the Tea Cottage for the final stop of the day.

Photographing the priory ruins at the end of the day
Photographing the priory ruins at the end of the day

Although a few lighter areas of cloud occasionally suggested we might get some final light of the priory ruins, the light remained pretty flat, though there was nice cloud detail above the hills and this allowed us to practice creating multiple exposure for foreground and sky to blend together at the post-processing session and also to think more in black and white, which produced the most rewarding images of this final subject of the day, rounding off an excellent workshop.  And the rain held off all day so the brollies weren’t needed, other than as walking sticks!

One thought on “Workshop Report – Bolton Abbey May 2019

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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