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Workshop Report – Ribblehead September 2021

Photographing Ribblehead Viaduct

Our third workshop of 2021 marked the welcome return of our annual trip to Ribblehead to photograph the famous viaduct and wander in the shadow of Yorkshire’s three peaks amongst the extensive areas of limestone pavement. This rugged area of the Yorkshire Dales provided the dramatic location for our September 2021 workshop!

We met in the comfort of the Station Inn for our introductory talk over teas and coffees, taking over the whole snug area with our first full workshop group of the season! We set off in fine but overcast conditions for the short walk to our first stop overlooking the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop
Setting up at the first stop at Ribblehead Viaduct

This viewpoint provided us with plenty of space to spread out and set up the cameras on tripods. We spent some time here getting the cameras set up too and finding the all-important histogram display! Beyond the viaduct, Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough lurked under low clouds. This provided a brooding moody subject to start the day!

Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop - Barn and Whernside
Waiting for light on the barn below Whernside

From the viaduct viewpoint we descended and passed under the arches and along the lane below the slopes of Whernside. Here, we stopped at the old barn and zig-zag dry stone wall. Light was breaking through onto Whernside so we waited patiently for a couple of fleeting moments when the light crept across the meadows and illuminated the barn too. It lasted only a few seconds each time, but was worth the wait!

Lone tree on limestone pavement
At the lone tree on limestone pavement

From the barn we made our way to the windswept lone tree. This was our lunch stop so we sat and admired the view with the distant Ribblehead viaduct visible below the curved branch of the tree. The clouds turned a little heavier so we turned our attention to black and white conversions with a dramatic sky above the tree.

Dramatic clouds over the lone tree
Big sky over the lone tree

From the tree it’s just a short walk to an extensive area of limestone and boulders. Here, a short sharp shower blew in making the clints on the limestone pavement a bit slippery so we proceeded with caution! The flat topped Ingleborough remained resolutely hidden in the cloud and mist so we hunted for details of ferns peeping our of the grykes, which worked well in the damp overcast conditions.

Ferns in grykes on limestone pavement
Fern details in the grykes

Fortunately the rain cleared up and we made our way through meadows dotted with more limestone in dry conditions in search of a look at the distant Pen-y-Ghent. At the first opportunity near the railway, the recognisable shape of the smallest of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks also remained hidden in low cloud, so we carried on to the second barn.

Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop - Barn and Pen-y-Ghent
At the barn with Pen-y-Ghent in the distance

Here, we were again treated to some nice light breaking through the clouds and the barn looked great with the old dry stone walls in the foreground. Pen-y-Ghent even put in an appearance on the horizon! Eventually we tore ourselves away from the barn and made the last leg-stretch to the series of areas of limestone pavement near the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Limestone pavement at Ribblehead
Arriving at the final stop with views to Ingleborough

From the limestone there’s a fine view down towards the fells with the flat topped Ingleborough cloud in the distance. Ingleborough was still party hidden under looming cloud but we spent quite a while at this last stop watching the cloud shapes moving above it. The sun remained mostly hidden – despite some light breaking through onto the flat moorland behind us – so there was no dramatic sunset light, but the amazing cloud shapes provided some great moody images. A fitting end to our Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop!

Photographing Ingleborough on the Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop
Photographing Ingleborough shrouded in low cloud

At the post-processing session the day after the Ribblehead September 2021 Workshop we were treated to some great images, with the black and white conversions in Lightroom and Photoshop working particularly well.

If you’d like to join us on a workshop in limestone country, we’ll be back at Malham in July 2022 and our 2022 Ribblehead visit should be up on the workshops page later in the year.

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