I must admit that shooting iconic well known scenes is not my favourite photographic genre, I tend to do it more for commercial reasons than artistic fulfilment. However, our continued association with The Old School Gallery in Muker has seen me grow to enjoy the delights of Swaledale more and more, so I couldn’t resist the chance to have a go at shooting the wild flower meadows.
We tried shooting the machair on Uist last June and found it a very hard subject to master and we’re finding the same here in Swaledale, it takes time to adjust to an unfamiliar environment. But hopefully with a bit more familiarity we’ll get further into it and produce some work that we are pleased with and by the time the winter comes we should be sufficiently au fait with the area to produce some of the simple monochrome images that we love to shoot.
The week before Easter saw us take a trip to Swaledale to meet Richard & Polly, the new owners of the Old School Gallery in Muker. We had decided to stay in the dale for a couple of days, but an appointment I couldn’t re-schedule in York on the Monday afternoon meant we had to leave earlier than we’d originally planned.
We travelled over on the Sunday morning on what turned out to be a lovely bright, warm day with fluffy white clouds, just right for stock photography, if a little hazy in the valleys. Whilst I’m a big believer in finding my own locations, being on a flying visit and not familiar with the area meant we were relying on my copy of Long Valley Books guide to the Yorkshire Dales and using this guide found us Wain Wath Force, which proved to be a lovely place to have our lunch.
I spent a happy hour shooting these falls, then decided to check out Crackpot Hall. By the time I arrived at Crackpot, the lovely weather had turned even hazier, but using my sun compass showed that not only would this site would make a great evening location on a clearer day, but it also had promise as a morning location.
Once back to the car we shot a few images of trees in the haze at Keld, then headed off to our accommodation to get ready to head to the Keld Lodge to eat. The growing gloom meant we were in no rush to dine and whilst I set my alarm for early in the morning, I didn’t hold out much hope for early morning light. As it turned out, the moment I opened the curtains, I saw the land swathed in glorious golden light, so I rapidly sprinted back up to Crackpot just as the sun was coming over the hill top. Whilst it’s always going to be a better evening location, it was pretty good as a morning shot and you have to take what’s on offer while you’re there.
However, reviewing our images from the weekend has proved quite interesting. Whereas the light was pretty good for landscape, it was the mono images shot in what would normally be considered poor conditions that have proved to be our favourites.