The last time I went to Yorkshire Dales for photography was back in June 2010. Back then it was a pleasant and sunny visit and explored quite a bit of Swaledale and Wensleydale. One of the draws for visiting Yorkshire Dales in early summer is the fields were in bloom with buttercups and wild meadows on the tail of spring. The gentle rolling hills and valleys with its wonderful patterns of stone walls and barns.
On this trip, it was to go and not just shoot some new up to date work, it was also to catch up with another fantastic and very good photo friend of mine that I have had the pleasure to know for 13 years and that is Huw! We've certainly also toured many places around the UK photographing and getting into various 'situations' to get the perfect shot!
It was a delight to be his assistant for half of the workshop time he ran and was a pleasure to help him and his participants during my time spent with them all.
It was also a nice chance for me to update my work and portfolio of the Yorkshire dales in my collection set, and this trip certainly did not disappoint me on that front...
There was some revisits, in particular to Gunnerside which is renowned for its stonewall `and barn patterns and also its rich wildflower meadows. Although the weather was wonderful with lovely sunny weather and happy blue skies, sadly in photography terms this was partly an annoyance for good variations of lighting and less harsh shadows.
It was also a wonderful opportunity to explore a whole new world of West Burton's Cauldron Falls and many more different new places and some brand new work that I never thought I would create whilst on this trip, which is under-wraps and will be unveiled soon...
Both Huw & I one evening decided to try an evening location for trying out a sunset shot as the evenings were really magical to watch so we ended up exploring heather lands of Birkendale... The scramble through the heather-land was really interesting and the lands were so soft it was like walking on air. the scrambling has paid off, because we had discovered not only the scene, but also a very beautiful secret lake. Still like a mirror, the colours were smoothly toned through and calming like the work of the painter Constable. I was truly absorbed into the land. The colours of the sky really came into the magic of the mix. The lakeside provided a lot of potential creativities of abstracts etc too. Amongst the magical feeling of discovering this secret lake and its beautiful story laid a small surprise for us...
On the top of the moorland with the lake, the air stilled and was quiet which provided a unique opportunity to record the lake in its colourful splendour and of course, like flies and insects to flowers, the colours brought us into its heart with one surprise the land unleashed... Its flying squadron of Mosquitos! They came out in full force, the thickness of them was like seeing floaters all around you and I felt as useless as a drunk boxer on a night out. The drama unfolded and it all reminded me of the sad scene in the movie Star Trek Beyond (2016) where the Enterprise encounters Krall's thousands of drones that sadly decimates and destroys the Starship Enterprise! Poor Huw was fighting against a really viscous set along the water edge and I was encountering them coming out the depts of the heather and sponge land whilst talking a long exposure shot. Looking like we were doing a dance ritual, we had to keep moving our limbs and bodies to prevent and decrease the likelihood that the mosquitos would land on us! I had to dance my way in defence against the little blighters! after only around 15 minutes arriving we decided to abandon shoot and get back to the car! It felt like the Goliaths being chased by thousands of mini Davids! However, despite the drama of encountering nature's evil side, we both did get some great pictures in that short spell of time. Definitely worth visiting again though, but on a very heavy windy day to remove the mosquitos as they hate wind usually.
The roads, twisty and felt infinity to them, which was frequent throughout the Dales did send me into overdrive at times... Stopping on edges which were either just enough for a car or just a couple of foot! But all have been worth the stop! the feeling of length and adventure as well as the flow through of energy was incredible.
Well, just another special thank you to Huw for inviting me along to his workshop and as a special assistant guest to his fantastic workshops that he runs. Also a pleasure to meet some of his participants Sue and Terri also during the time I was helping out with the workshop. For anyone interested in workshops, then you can have a look at Huw Alban's workshops which he is based in Dorset, click here to see more details of the workshops he offers.
Thank you also to The Kings Arms in Kirkby Stephen for their fantastic hospitality and accommodation during our stay for this adventure and would highly recommend them!