Monday, 29 August 2011

Devils Bridge, Ribblehead and Malham

Alexring, a photographer friend from Greece, has been visiting the UK over the past fortnight. We met up at either end of his holiday to meet his family and spend some time in the Lakes, showing him some of the best bits. They then carried on up to Scotland for a tour of the Highlands and Northwest Coast, before stopping off with us on their return to catch flights home. This was a good opportunity for us to meet up with Ian Bramham for a day's photography.

Devils Bridge is only 35 minutes away. A picturesque location which is worth a stop whatever the weather. Last time I visited was after heavy rain in the springtime, all three arches of the bridge had water flowing through and most of the trees were stood in the water. Yesterday's water level must have been about 10 feet lower, the water quite calm.

Devils Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale
30 seconds ƒ15, 10.5mm

The clouds were moving rapidly, yet the sheltered stretch of river was relatively calm. A 10 stop ND filter helped to smooth the water more and capture a hint of the cloud movement.

Ribblehead Viaduct is a well known landmark on the Settle to Carlisle railway line. It crossed a wide valley in the centre of the triangle of mountains, Inglebrough, Wernside and Pen-y-ghent. A time check and feeding station is set up here on the Yorkshire 3-Peaks race, a chance to top up before the demanding climb up the steepest approach to Wernside. Its also rather photogenic, the colossal structure stands out for miles. A lot of people think its the location used in the Harry Potter films, but that's a more curved viaduct up at Glen Finnan in Scotland.

Once more, the rapidly changing cloud was there to be exploited. I set up in a high vantage point that gave a good view along the length of the bridge, the bright sun casting long shadows of the arches.

Arches, Ribblehead
1/400th ƒ7.1 70mm
There's a small spec on the ground about five arches from the far end - that's Ian giving the photo a bit of scale! I'd been working mainly with the Sigma 10-20mm, but this was an ideal situation to put on the 70-200 zoom and crop right into the abstract nature of the shadows.

But the sky was too good not to use as a feature in some shots, so the 10-20 went straight back on the camera for most of the day.

Path, Ribblehead

Cloud, Ribblehead
I keep returning to this one, feeling its just a bit too dark overall. Its one of those shots I'd like to retake as the cloud was such a great shape and in a fairly good location relative to the bridge. I would have like to stand about 70 feet in the air and closer to the arches... but that wasn't an option.

Thistle, Malham Cove
A large thistle plant as we approached the cove. A tricky one to process, but fits into my trees and rocks series.

After the cove we went round to marvel at Goredale Scar. It must be one of the trickiest features to photograph, a deep gorge with a waterfall at the bottom. The dynamic range is way beyond my camera, but the gorge is very narrow so grads would be of no benefit at all. Well, it was the end of a long day, so just a few fun shots before saying our goodbyes and heading off for home.

An enjoyable day, always fun to work alongside other photographers and see them in action. Alex was very patient, working out a shot and then waiting the the cloud to eventually clear from the sun so the subject would be picked out. Ian spent some time with his long lens shooting distant walls, which looked promising, and later, trees on the horizon - which looked like nothing at all to me! I look forward to seeing is he got anything from them, which will not doubt leave me kicking myself that he found something I missed :~)

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