Ribblesdale with Natural Light


22 September 2012.
I signed up to a ‘Ribblesdale workshop’ http://yorkshire-photography-workshops.co.uk/ with trusted professionals Sam Oakes and Mark Sunderland to put me through my paces.

We all headed to Thornton Falls at first and out along the rocky flanks of the waterfall to get some close-up studies of this beautiful cascading waterfall. However, the bright sunlight made wider views of the falls difficult to expose well, but some areas of open shade provided the best photographic possibilities with more abstract details of the waterfall from experimental angles.

After a quick lunch we left the gathering crowds behind and walked up onto our first limestone pavement, facing towards the imposing peak of Ingleborough. This was mid day shooting and any photographer worth his salt will tell you that this it tricky light. The bright light produces major contrasts so meter reading is not as straight forward as you think! Scudding clouds really helped to give depth to each chosen composition but for me, with so much green and blue within each frame I switched to shooting for monocrhrome. 

Our next location was the standing stone. This was without a doubt for me, the highlight of the day. To be in such wild wide open country between the famous ‘Yorkshire Dales three peaks,’ was just great.

The egg stone Smearsett Scar, Ribblesdale. To emphasise the expanse of the landscape, placing the standing stone in a central position was a foregone conclusion. In considering a panoramic composition I notised that this was a composition of almost two halfves darker on the left, brighter to the right. the standing stone therefore becoming a perfect dividing marker.
Standing stone, Smearsett Scar Ribblesdale. A vertical composition emphasised the wonderful central lead in line of one of the numerous clints and grikes which are a main feature of the limestone pavements. the position of the late afternoon sun helped create a wonderful sharp contrast in light.
 Mark and Sam both gave us all a ‘nudge’ as to watch out for in case we missed anything. After our visit to the standing stone, the guys had in mind some of the famous ‘lone trees’ on Twislton scar to photograph too so, with haste, we moved of in search of the nearest weatherbeaten group. No matter how I tried, It just wasn’t ‘doing it’ for me as I felt the light was not dramatic enough. It wasn't Sam or Marks fault - just what we were given on the day. I made a mental note to return in a different season and time of day. You cannot win them all!

The last photographic location foer the day (and for the sunset) was in the vicinity of Ribblehead Viaduct. Now the light really was dramatic! Low light shots are another tricky subject so I was really looking forward to gaining further insight from Sam and Mark on location to capture this dramatic light. A large bank of low cloud threatened to obscure and hide the last of the suns rays but, we were in luck! Gaps on the clouds and the lowering air temperature created some really unusual effects in the sky. The moon appeared above the flanks of Ingleborough in a perfect ‘half moon shape’ whilst fingers of light shot out from the summit of Whernside on the opposite side. Right in the middle was famous Ribblehead viaduct.

A fitting end to a truly magical day with great tuition. The location was so inspiring I most certainly plan to revisit! 


Hieght advantage Ribblesdale. Using a really low angle infact I was within one of the grykes and using a wide angle lens, I created a composition with strength and emphasis on the standing stone with Ingleborough this time being a supporting element in the background.

Standing proud Ribblesdale. It really is quite amazing to see this distinctive rock standing so proud within this expansive landscape. A natural sculpture indeed.
Standing still Ribblesdale. Fantastic clouds. using the main bulk and shape of one to the top left to equalise the volume of the standing stone.

Moon above Ribblesdale. As we waited the strength in the colours in the sky grew. I waited for the moon to become brighter then took my shot.
Ribblehead sunset. An amazing sky with wonderful colours created the perfect backdrop to place Ribblehaed Viaduct within its setting and true scale in this wild open beautiful landscape.
Summmer field patters - Ribblesdale. On our way to the top of Smearset Scar we stopped for a breather. Looking into the distance the view was quite staggering. asection of the panorama caught my eye this detail. In my minds eye I read the composition as square. The lush greens really where as illuminous as this
Smearsett Scar to Ingleborough Ribblesdale. The patterns withing the limestone pavement of smearsett scar were quite amazing.Using plenty of foreground interest and plenty of lead in lines i selected a wide angle lens to emphasise their effectivness to lead the eye straight to the mountain peak of Ingleborough.