Swaledale revisited

October dawn - Longthwaite Swaledale. Working above the hamlet high above a back road - a carfully chosen location mindful of the side lighting, the obvious piece of kit to use was a telephoto to isolate chosen elements from this beautiful dawn scene with soft light casting along shadows across the fell side. Using a 70-200 lens, ISO 100 and f16, despite the light a tripod was still essential to retain maximum sharpness. Hoya pro circular polariser used intensify and saturate the greens.

3. Swaledale revisited


October 2011.
October – autumn on its way. Changing colours from summer into autumn – softer and more pastel in their shades. I set off from Leeds at the crack of dawn (with at least a 2 hour drive from Leeds ahead of me) to work alongside professional photographer John Potter from York on another organised workshop with a rendezvous in Swaledale with others at 8.30am.


We met in the quaint village of Reeth and after a brief introduction we followed John to a beautiful location further up the valley passing some stunning views over the moors to the village of Longthwaite in Arkengarthdale.


John is intimate with the Yorkshire Dales having worked in the area as a photographer for many successful years. Our first location gave us some fantastic views over the village of Longthwaite and the early morning light was quite spectacular. Rising quickly and dispelling the dampness from the night before, the sun created some beautiful soft effects over the landscape. John soon put us through out paces with expert tuition at hand to capture the effects perfectly for this stunning dawn in the Dales.


With the light now quite strong in this particular location, we dropped down to the Red Lion pub at Longthwaite for quick cuppa and some refreshments and to review the mornings work. We soon moved on to our next destination – the famous barn view just beyond Thwaite. On our way we passed through the wonderful hamlets of Reeth, Healaugh, Feetham, Gunnerside, Muker and on and out of Thwaite itself.


Gunnerside barns - two very distinctive and different types of shot which create in end result very different effects. the first shot was with an emphasis on colour - those amazng greens and stepping stone barns leading the eyethrough the composition. The second composition concentrated mush more on a select detail of the scene. despite the aspect ratio of the camer being 6 x 7 in my minds eye I knew instantly what i wanted a square composition. Tricky to balance but by keeping the distant barn inthe frame top right and the curving shape from one to another in the rest of the composition it was achieved. athicker frame around the photo again being deliberate to emphasis the solid thick black lines of the hillside drystone walls.
The weather was in our favour. Looking down the valley we could see the distant trails of smoke rising from the hamlets further down the valley from the distant hamlet of Muker and beyond which created an enchanting scene in the soft morning light.


With one final look we moved deeper into the valley to the barns around Angram. Swaledale barns are beautiful in shape and stature and built to last. The brighter afternoon light was still quite tricky to expose correctly for but after some more expert guidance from John we photographed a number of compositions at their best. The rest of the group decided to move on to the waterfalls but I decided to hang around and catch up the group later rather than miss the opportunity to continue with some specific photographs and compositions I had in mind. Inspired by the red painted doors and windows of a distant barn across the fields I slipped away and made my way across the fields.


Red barn Angram - panoranic photo using the wall to carry the viewer through the scene and close up of a single iconic image of the barns typical of this area. Walking across the field I set up infront of the last barn door to include in the composition part of the landscape in the background to place the barn in its setting. The textures were fantastic and the afternoon light catching the edge of the barn sublime. 50mm nikkor F1.4 G lens for maximum sharpness complete with Lee circular 105 polariser one of the best on the market, to saturate the greens in such sharp light.
After a short while the light had left the rocky chasm of Kisdon Force completely and we made our way quickly to the last location of the day – the ruins of ‘Crackpot Hall’ and a last look down the steep sided valley with the river Swale glistening, twisting and flowing between the high sides of Kisdon Hill and Black Hill from a high vantage point. It was an impressive view indeed.


At the base of the falls. Two different types of shot but both concentrating on the detail of the waterfall. The big boulder at the foot of the fall and surrounding rocks creates something altogehter very different to the colour version using filters which concentrates of the swirl of the pool in front of the fall and the halo effect top right adding another area of interest. the tones in both are really quite beautiful.
Ebb and flow - Swaledale Two different views of the waterfall near Keld changing composition and lenses has a dramatic effect.
We moved on again to our last location - the ruins of crackpot hall to photograph in the fading light. The Lee polariser I used on my wide angle nikon lens was a perfect addition to saturate the deep blue sky to contrast with the warm glowing evening colours bathing the distant hills and the ruin of Crackpot Hall.


The remains of the day - Swaledale. as the last light catches the ruins of crackpot Hall the river Swale meanders its way through field and dale towards the sea both symbolic with the passing of time.
Mossy peat pools crackpot Hall, Swaledale. With front lighting bathing the ruins of the old hall, thwe angle to the sun was perfect to use a polariser to emphasise the intense blue reflections from the clearsky in the pool and at the same time cut down the glare from the reflective light upon the peat pools surface. the polariser aqlso helped to saturate the greens too in a very special way.
Planet Swaledale. Just a little beyond Crackpot Hall this isolated building looked quite sureal set amongst the remnants of the scattered stones from the old mine workings in this part of Swaledale high on the fells. The moon had just started to make an apperarance and a graduation filter helped to emphasis its presence in a pale sky. The tones were great and a conversion to high contrast black and white was most certainly the direction I had in mind Planet Swaledale is the result.
Another big step up the ladder of experience. Swaledale had indeed lived up to its expectations and John potters tuition most certainly did!
www.jpotter-landscape-photographer.com/