Workshop Report – Bolton Abbey April 2016

Posted by on April 26, 2016

Photographing the Abbey from Above

Photographing the Abbey from Above

A beautifully sunny t-shirt wearing week preceded the workshop and then we were forecast an arctic blast on Saturday!! Oh Joy. But as more often than not we didn’t quite have the Arctic blast (although it was a little cooler) but instead a cloudy and therefore a frequently changing light day… Perfect!

Meeting with our full group at the ever welcoming Tea Cottage we went through our initial exposure discussions plus slideshow of what makes a great landscape photograph before heading out for the day. Our first light was just perfect for the first location. We went up the hill next to the river to get an elevated view of Bolton Abbey with a backdrop of the surrounding hills. With the sun just behind our shoulders this side lit the abbey perfectly. With a light wind and the clouds passing across steadily made the sky interesting and cast shadows around the abbey making it really pop. This was a great way to watch how the light changes every moment and knowing when to press the shutter to capture the best image.

Working with Water and Reflections in Strid Wood

Working with Water and Reflections in Strid Wood

Leaving the Abbey and again as luck would have it, thicker cloud began to bubble over just as we were heading into Strid Wood which gave us the nice diffused light we wanted. The first stop was an area where the river passes into a side stream which also has a fallen tree making the surface very flat and reflective. A few drops of rain started to fall that gave excellent patterns on the water’s surface.

Checking the Histogram at The Strid

Checking the Histogram at The Strid

From here we moved up to the Strid itself for had a spot of lunch. Photographing the whole Strid is quite a challenge, not only due to its narrow shape, plus dark rock next to rushing white water make for a difficult histogram, but also it’s a popular place so there’s always a few people about. However, taking more abstract images of the rushing water and smaller subjects can be much more rewarding.

Photographing Moving Water Details at The Strid

Photographing Moving Water Details at The Strid

From the Strid we made our way up river and over the bridge to head back down towards the Abbey. Having a brief look over the wall towards Simon Seat, we noticed that the light was just brilliant across the moorland. With the sun behind us and clouds casting shadows all around we took a few shots with the aim to develop some nice” letterbox cropped” images. Back into the woods and on to Harrisons Ford Seat that give us the marvellous view down into the woodland and river.

Enjoying the View at Harrison's Ford Seat

Enjoying the View at Harrison’s Ford Seat

Photographing Bluebells in Strid Wood

Photographing Bluebells in Strid Wood

A little further on and we find our favourite Bluebell spot in the woodland is looking superb. We know of a fallen tree which is covered in bright green moss, so the colour contrast against the blue flowers is just perfect. Right next to this spot we also had a bit a fun with intentional camera movement, taking the cameras off the tripod we used the straight silver birch trunks and moved the camera down while pressing the shutter giving some interesting effects.

Demonstration Intentional Camera Movement Shot in Strid Wood

Demonstration Intentional Camera Movement Shot in Strid Wood

Back out of the woods we head down to the abbey which is looking totally different from the morning. With the cloud cover and direction of light we are able to capture a few shots with the reflections in the water. We do have a last look from an alternative angle, but the weather closed in and the last light didn’t quite make it for us. However, all day we were so lucky with the light!! which made for a great lesson into when to take an image and when it just won’t quite work.

Having a go at some intentional camera movement in Strid Wood.

Having a go at some intentional camera movement in Strid Wood.

All round we had a superb day out at Bolton Abbey capturing some great images. At the following processing session it was great to see how the group captured the abbey and woodland with some superb images all round. If you would like to join us for a workshop to the Abbey, click here for more information.

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