Back to Malham

Malham cove rock, wind, rain, sun. The flat morning light dictated I think differently not in colour, but in tone. The composition was there extracting the power and elements of nature the strength of black and white was a done deal often a half tone image say just as much as a colour print in my opinion.

Back to Malham!

8 September 2012
Malham! For those who have not been – you will be inspired! The natural amphitheatre of the ‘cove’ itself is something to behold. The vertical curving cliffs 300 metres wide and some 80 metres high are spectacular.

As an artist I have always found inspiration at Malham. It is one of my favourite locations within the Yorkshire Dales since there are so many creative opportunities to explore. Insterad of brushes, paints and canvas, this time I brought along the camera.

Every time I visit the environs of Malham I always see the place in a different way and photography now creates another vision. Weather and light can always make a location you have visited before look totally different. Seasons through the year also have an influence on what you see.

One of the wettest summers on record meant that photographic weekend opportunities for sunshine without downpours this summer have been rare. I was lucky. I had picked a day to revisit Malham (with the company of my faithful four legged friend Alfie) to capture the ‘big’ landscape views!

Malham Cove
I arrived at 8.30 am in the village of Malham and made my way towards Malham Cove and up to the top of the limestone pavement at the top of the Cove itself to survey the scene in morning light.  I’d arrived in time to watch the sun break through the morning low cloud.

Lone trees on Priory Rakes
Leaving the Cove behind,  I walked towards Gordale Scar cutting across the level fields high above Malhamdale in the direction of 'Priory Rakes' for views to include the amazing limestone pavement trees, famous in the area. The weather was up to its usual ‘teasing’ self. Gaps in the clouds appeared but, all too briefly – I decided to sit out this ‘cat and mouse game,’ with Alfie and grab some lunch and wait for better light.

Sentinel tree Priory Rakes, Malham dale. The limestone pavements throughout the Dales remind me of great big jigsaws.Here a piece appears to be out of place. I balanced in the centre of the frame to hold the viewers attention and go back and froth between the tree.
Lone tree - Malham. A beautiful and yet barren landscape it would seam revealing the very bones of the earth. Curving lines, jagged shapes and form in contrast to the soft form of the tree.
Sentinal tree - Malham. At the head of the valley overlooking the approach to gordale Scar, high on the limstone plateaus, several hawthorn trees grow in the most unusual places for those who make the effort to climb so high.
The day not done and with other lone trees on my agenda I crisscrossed my way across Priory Rakes to new locations, each time getting closer to the high escarpment above Gordale Scar – the ultimate location for the afternoons photo shoot. By now the sun was hot and the light strong. High contrasting scenes can play havoc with your metering which meant plenty of bracketed exposures.

Gordale Scar
After a well deserved pit stop on the top of the escarpment, it was time to descend and make our way down to Gordale Scar itself.

I had timed the late afternoon visit to coincide with front lighting on the valley sides of the scar – the only time of the day that the cove is really illuminated in the way I wanted it to be. Although the light was good I had not anticipated how popular the scar was and it was really difficult to get the timing right – sun out, tourists, campers and walkers gone. Gordale Scar it would seam is best visited out of season.

By the time I had returned to the top of Malham Cove again the soft evening light was fading fast. The light was fantastic! A fitting end to a fabulous days photography in monochrome! 


Gordale scar Malhamdale. The power of water in one shape, form or another has sculpted this land into this wonderful landscape. Glacial errosion, rain and flowing waters have, over time, left their mark. The waters, even in summer, can be ice cold trust me to choose a slow shutter speed
Evening light, Malham. A final view back down and into the valley of Malhamdale a truely powerful and evocative landscape.