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

Malham Retrospective

A visit to Malham has been a fixture on the first Saturday of August in our workshop schedule for most of the last ten years and it has always proved one of our most popular workshops so it is with particular regret that it won’t be going ahead this year. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to Malham on a workshop in 2021! In the meantime, here’s a look back at some past visits, starting with our very first workshop in 2011, where Sam and Robert seem to be enjoying themselves at the viewpoint above Gordale Scar…

Overlooking Gordale Scar on our first Malham Workshop in 2011

It’s a bit of a slog up the hill to this viewpoint after our lunch stop by Gordale Beck in the valley below, but it’s always worth the effort and this is my favourite viewpoint out of all of our workshop walks as it provides so many photographic opportunities with lovely views in all directions. Whilst the view down into Gordale Scar itself is spectacular, it’s always the front-lit option and often looking the other way can produce more interesting images…

Looking towards Pendle Hill from the top viewpoint in 2012

It looks like we had threatening clouds in 2012 but some of the more unsettled days here have produced the most spectacular images with light breaking through the clouds and lighting the meadows way below us along Malhamdale. With our backs to Gordale Scar this provides the back-lit option (shooting into the light) which often looks great with the looming shape of Pendle Hill on the horizon.

Overlooking Malhamdale in August 2014

Overcast, hazy light provided more subtle tones in the landscape in 2014 but in 2017 the crisper light made photographing the side-lit meadows and dry stone walls rising up the opposite side of the valley a great option…

Photographing across the entrance to Gordale Scar in August 2017
Admiring the view over Malhamdale in August 2019

We had some cloud cover last year as well, with the light fading in and out all the time. It’s great to spend a bit of time at this viewpoint just taking in the landscape and waiting for the ideal moment to make an image.

At Janet’s Foss on the Malham Workshop in August 2018

But there’s much more to this workshop than the top viewpoint! We always start with a walk through the woods to Janet’s Foss. After heavy rain the waterfall can be quite fierce but it’s better when it’s got a bit less water in it with several drops of white water against the mossy rock – though in 2018 it looks like it was reduced to just a trickle! The side view with the overhanging tree often works best when it’s like this.

Photographing at Gordale Scar in 2013

After Janet’s Foss we cross to Gordale Scar and head right up to the top to photograph the waterfalls there in the late morning before the sun moves round and catches them. When that happens it’s time to head back to a grassy spot by the beck for lunch before photographing the scar itself with the beck in the forground. Depending on how quickly the light is changing it can be an idea to set up the camera on a tripod before lunch just in case the ideal moment arrives while we’re eating our sandwiches!

Lovely cloud formations at the lone tree in August 2018

After lunch and the delights of the top viewpoint it’s a short level walk to the famous Malham lone tree to experiment with viewpoints and composition. It looks like we had some great cloud formations behind the tree in 2018 which would have worked well in colour and black and white.

Photographing Malham Cove in August 2018

We always head to Malham Cove at the end of the day, hoping for some nice light across the limestone pavement and onto the imposing cliffs beyond. This worked out quite nicely last year (see the featured image at the top) and in 2018 (above). If the light isn’t that great at the top we often spend a bit more time down below the cove alongside Malham Beck before heading back into the village for some well-earned refreshment at the Lister Arms! We hope to be doing just that this time next year…

If you’d like to join us a Malham in 2021 our workshop dates are up on the website now: www.yorkshire-photography-workshops.co.uk/malham-and-gordale

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