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Workshop Report – Aysgarth June 2022

Waiting for some cloud cover at Lower Aysgarth Falls

We didn’t run a June Aysgarth workshop for the first few year of our workshops, preferring the early spring and autumn slots for a better chance of nice diffused light for the waterfalls. However, having tried it one year it’s been a firm favourite in the schedule ever since…

Despite the sunny intervals playing havoc with the light of the waterfalls, this year proved no exception! It was a great day for walking and we were blessed with enough variety of light to get a shot of every subject en route. We met the group, as ever, in the comfort of the Fox and Hounds at West Burton. After a welcome cup of coffee and our introductory talk and slideshow, we headed off across the meadows towards Aysgarth.

Getting the tripods set up at the first barn

At our first barn stop we set up the tripods and sorted out the settings on the cameras for the day. Here we had diffused light from an overcast sky and the barn looked lovely nestling in the valley surrounded by fresh shades of green. From here we continued across the fields and down past Aysgarth Church to Upper Aysgarth Falls. A quick look at the falls indicated a low river level so we were keen to get to the lower falls which always look best in these conditions…

Waiting for some cloud cover at Lower Aysgarth Falls

By this time the clouds had cleared and the sun broke through. This made photographing the falls quite tricky, but we waited patiently for passing clouds! Fortunately, it was a breezy day and clouds occasionally moved over giving us some fleeting moments of nice light on the water. There were also a few shady spots which were great for making little detail images. Having been rewarded with a few moments of good light we had a well earned lunch!

Photographing at Upper Aysgarth Falls

After lunch we returned to Upper Aysgarth Falls. Bright sunshine made photographing the water here quite tricky and the river level made the falls less attractive so we didn’t linger as long as at the lower falls.

Experimenting with intentional camera movement in the woods

Heading back along the other bank of the River Ure, we had a brief stop in the woods to try out intentional camera movement (ICM). The closely packed parallel tree trunks here provide a great subject for using a vertical movement of the camera to accentuate the straight lines. It’s also a welcome break from tripod use!

Example intentional camera movement image

Having had our fill of waving the cameras around in the woods, we continued along the riverbank to “the rapids”. Here, the River Ure widens out a bit and the quieter waterfalls provide a multitude of image opportunities…

Photographing at “the rapids” on the River Ure

There are viewpoints above, alongside and below the rapids so there’s room to spread out and find some nice detail images as well as wider views. Here, we had some heavier cloud for a few minutes which made photographing the white water a dream!

Photographing field barns on the return to West Burton

We finally left the roar of the River Ure behind and strolled back across the meadows towards West Burton. The sun was out again and lit some of the barns nicely so we had two nearby locations to choose from and compare. The sunlit barns were easy to photograph and made a great panoramic “letterbox” image choice.

Portrait of a backlit barn

The line of backlit barns in the next meadow were trickier to photograph, but it was worth the effort with some careful exposure. Portraits of the first barn without sky worked nicely and made a suitable source for black and white conversion. A panoramic view of the backlit barns also worked well. This required careful attention to histograms to retain a bit of detail in the sky just above the horizon. But the result at post-processing the next day made it worthwhile!

Photographing West Burton Waterfall at the end of the day

Continuing across a few more meadows we arrived back at West Burton, excited to see what the water level would be like at West Burton Waterfall (Cauldron Force). It was just about perfect for portraits of this pretty little waterfall, with individual drops of water in the falls revealing the mossy rock behind. It’s set in a shady spot too, so the light on the white water was just perfect for waterfall photography. A fitting end to a great day out in Wensleydale!

If you’d like to join us on an Aysgarth workshop you have just one more chance on out autumn visit this October. We look forward to seeing some of you there for our final Natural Light Workshops visit to Aysgarth and West Burton!

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