Workshop Report – Bolton Abbey November 2017

Posted by on November 7, 2017

Photographing the Priory Ruins from the Path to the Top Viewpoint

Photographing the Priory Ruins from the Path to the Top Viewpoint

It was great to have a full group for our final workshop of the year – and great to see so many previous participants coming back for a second workshop!  So we just about filled the side room at the ever-welcoming Tea Cottage for our introductory chat and a look at some images over tea and coffee.  The weather forecast was for a dry day with light cloud and low wind so it was looking great for photographing autumn colours – though we still took a few brollies with us just in case as we set out over the river and up to the top viewpoint above the ruins of Bolton Priory.  Here we divided into two groups to photograph at the more limited top viewpoint (where the angle of view is restricted by the growing silver birch trees!) and at a vantage point half way up the path, with views through fabulous autumn colours across the river to the abbey.

Working with Floating Leaves and Reflections in Strid Wood

Working with Floating Leaves and Reflections in Strid Wood

Tearing ourselves away from this fine viewpoint we headed off along the riverside and into Strid Wood.  Down at the little “beach” by the inlet from the River Wharfe there was a fine carpet of fallen leaves and plenty of floating leaves in the water along with reflections of tree trunks and autumn colours which provided a rich source of abstract images.  As well as abstract images, looking back along the path by the river also provided options for stunning studies of autumn woodland in the diffused light.

Photographing moving water at The Strid

Photographing moving water at The Strid

After lunch at The Strid we set about making more abstract images – this time of the fast-flowing water in The Strid – the narrow (but very deep) constriction in the rock through which the mighty River Wharfe forces itself.  The cloud was clearing by now and the sun was hitting the trees on the far side of the river, making exposures tricky for wider views of the valley here, but The Strid itself was in nice open shade so moving water studies were easy to photograph, with swirls of peaty coloured water and reflections of blue sky above resulting in some great images.

Photographing autumn colour above The Strid

We carried on through the woods and over the footbridge to pick up the return path which runs higher up the bank above the river, stopping briefly at a viewpoint above The Strid surrounded by lovely autumnal trees on the way to Harrison’s Ford Seat.

Photographing Autumn Trees and the River Wharfe at Harrison's Ford Seat

Photographing Autumn Trees and the River Wharfe at Harrison’s Ford Seat

At the Seat there’s a bit more room to set up tripods and photograph the autumn trees and the view through the clearing to the River Wharfe below.  Here the sunshine came and went, playing across the scene in front of us nicely, with one or two fleeting moments of perfect lighting, so we lingered here a while until we thought we’d got the best from it.

Example Intentional Camera Movement Image

Example Intentional Camera Movement Image

Back down by the River Wharfe and in the shade again, we had a break from tripod use at the group of birch trees next to the path and experimented with intentional camera movement – moving the camera rapidly in a vertical sweep in line with the parallel tree trunks to produce some interesting abstract images, as the demonstration shot above shows!

Working with Reflections at the Stepping Stones

Working with Reflections at the Stepping Stones

We returned along the riverside path to the abbey, where the sun had descended into a bank of cloud, so we had a brief stop by the stepping stones to do some work with reflections of the abbey – shooting into the light made exposures quite tricky so keeping a close eye on histograms was the order of the day, but with the right exposures some lovely images were produced with silhouettes of the abbey, colourful reflections and black and white conversions all working well.  From the river we made our way back up to the Tea Cottage to round off the day with a view across the valley towards the abbey.

Hoping for a bit of Late Light at the Abbey at the End of the Day

Hoping for a bit of Late Light at the Abbey at the End of the Day

At the post-processing session the following day we were treated to some great images – particularly the abstract shots of moving water at The Strid, but careful attention to exposures during the workshop day meant that we had some stunning images from every subject.  What a great way to finish our seventh year of workshops!

We’ll be back at Bolton Abbey next spring with visits for bluebells and wild garlic in April and May – spaces are starting to fill up already, so have a look at the Bolton Abbey Workshop page if you’d like to join us!

Connect with us on the social networks