Workshop Report – Malham August 2019

With all the recent thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding in the Yorkshire Dales we were a little concerned in the week leading up to our August visit to Malham, but the forecast for the workshop itself stayed pretty static predicting light clouds and low winds as the day approached so by the time we arrived at Malham we were looking forward to a good day’s photography!

We settled in to the snug at the Lister Arms as usual for a welcoming cup of coffee and our introductory talk and slideshow before setting out across the meadows towards the woods leading up to Janet’s Foss.

Photographing in the woods below Janet's Foss
Photographing in the woods below Janet’s Foss

The waterfall was quite busy with walkers (and swimmers!) stopping to admire the view though it was more the sunlight breaking through the clouds that made the falls tricky to photograph, so we concentrated on the shaded areas below the falls as the beck ran away through the woods, looking for nice mossy rocks and fallen trees in the moving water.  Once or twice the sun popped behind a cloud giving a few moments of lovely diffused light to photograph Janet’s Foss itself, but these were very fleeting moments so eventually we headed over to Gordale Scar where we knew the waterfalls would be in shade.

Photographing waterfalls in the open shade at Gordale Scar
Photographing waterfalls in the open shade at Gordale Scar

Sure enough, the open shade in the top of the limestone ravine was fine for photographing the numerous little waterfalls tumbling over the rocks so we spent some time here working on abstract images before heading back out into the sunshine to have our picnic lunch on the grass admiring the view into Gordale Scar.

Waiting for the light at Gordale Scar
Waiting for the light at Gordale Scar

After lunch we set up tripods again by the beck or amongst the long grass dotted with wild flowers.  The sunlight came and went through the clouds, creeping up the valley bottom towards the limestone cliffs so it was a case of waiting for the ideal moment to capture that perfect image.

Tearing ourselves away from this lovely scene, we braved the climb up to the top viewpoint for fantastic views into the scar, across the valley and back down into Malhamdale into the light.

Setting up multiple exposure images at the top viewpoint
Setting up multiple exposure images at the top viewpoint

This proved one of the best stops of the days, as is often the case, with a multitude of details to pick out across the valley with a longer lens and also the opportunity to try out making multiple exposures to blend together in the post-processing session the day after the workshop.

At the lone tree
At the lone tree

From the viewpoint it was just a short walk across to the lone tree on limestone pavement which is always fun to try out different compositions – tree in the centre or to one side, filling the frame or in the distance, vertical or horizontal – all seem to have their merits!  One thing that was certain was that the build up of cloud detail behind the tree was going to make some great black and white images so we exposed those carefully to make sure all that cloud detail was available for some monochrome conversions in post-processing.

Enjoying some nice light at Malham Cove at the end of the day
Enjoying some nice light at Malham Cove at the end of the day

Tearing ourselves away from the tree we made our way down the lane and across the fields to the top of Malham Cove for our penultimate stop of the day.  Some nice soft light broke through the clouds for  a while giving the limestone a nice glow so shots of the curve of the limestone cliffs or down into Malhamdale with the limestone pavement in the foreground worked well.  Our final stop was a quick look at the base of the cove, along with some more moving water details in Malham Beck before the stroll back into the village for a welcome drink back at the Lister Arms.

On the drive home the rain arrived – and with more unsettled weather predicted during the week we were very lucky to have such a fine day for the workshop – and some great images at post-processing as a result!

If you’d like to join us for a workshop in the Yorkshire Dales we’ll be at Ribblehead next in September and back at Malham in October.  Full details of all our workshops can be found on the main website.

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