Workshop Report – Bolton Abbey November 2019

“It’s a wrap!” Our trip out to Bolton Abbey last weekend marked the end of our 2019 season of workshops in the Yorkshire Dales, and what a superb way to end the year of great photography!

Even though it was the Rugby World Cup and England were playing South Africa in Japan, the group did show up for our early morning start at a new venue for us, The Devonshire Arms (and huge thanks for hosting us at short notice!!!). We enjoyed some warm refreshments whilst we went through the 5 elements that make a great landscape photograph before heading out for the day.

The weather was rather overcast but there wasn’t a breath of wind, which made for perfect conditions. Our first stop was the viewpoint on the higher path looking down towards the Abbey. The Autumn colours were just lovely but unfortunately the sun didn’t quite break out from behind the clouds to light up the Abbey but it was nice to capture the ruins amongst the colourful trees.

At Bolton Abbey from a high viewpoint and Autumn colour

From here we made our way up to Strid Wood where the light was just perfect for some woodland images and moving water shots. The first location is an unusual one as finding a subject to photograph isn’t quite as obvious as there is lots going on in the scene, so its better to focus in on the smaller details. This was also a great place to play with abstraction and capture the moving swirls of foam on the river surface, with very long exposures.

Long exposures capturing the swirling water in Strid WoodLong exposures capturing the swirling water in Strid Wood

Onwards to the famous Strid and in the 9 years running the workshops, we have never seen it so full of water!! There was limited access down onto the rocks and it just looked like a ferocious river rather as you couldn’t see the usual narrow gorges. This however really changed how it could be photographed as we were able to come further away from the water and capture the scene better to include more of the colourful fallen leaves on the rocks and river bank.

Fast moving water at the very full StridMS-249

After a spot of lunch we continued up river and crossed the Aqueduct to return on the opposite side. The path rises up so you are now looking down towards the river surrounded by the awesome Autumn colours. We have a quick stop at the view point looking back down onto the Strid itself.

Capturing the Strid from the high view point

At Harrisons Ford Seat we are greeted by more beautiful views and a useful respite under the shelter from the now set in rainfall (thankfully we have a good supply of umbrellas).

At Harrisons Ford Seat

Continuing along the path we drop back down to the riverside for our regular, and more unusual stop to have a go at intentional camera movement. The birch trees have perfectly straight trunks and help create some unusual effects by moving the camera whilst taking the shot.

On our route back to the Abbey we have another quick stop by the small stream in the woodland. The light was getting pretty limited so the shutter speeds were now reaching 20-30 seconds. The effects however were great and again the colours were fantastic.


Back at the Abbey and it turned out that they were setting up for Bonfire night and the Firework display so there we quite a few vehicles blocking the view, but not to worry as the bridge and surrounding trees made for a better subject for us to photograph at the end of a great day.

Reflections of the beautiful Autumn colours at the end of the daBack at Bolton Abbey and the bridge crossing the river

It turned out that England lost at the Rugby which was a great shame, but we had a superb day of woodland and waterfall photography. We met on the Sunday in Harrogate to go thorough the post processing session and the results were great!! What a superb end to our 2019 season and 9 years of the Natural Light Photography Workshops. We have now put up the dates for 2020 and our 10th year!!! If you would like to join us for a workshop click here and we hope to see you soon.

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