Yorkshire Photography workshops winnats pass
At 5.20am Sunday morning we climbed Winnats Pass in near darkness. Surprisingly, we found the rocks free of photographers. When James and myself were there 3 days earlier we shared the view with half a dozen or more photographers, each hoping for a glorious sunrise. Like with many landscape photographers we were full of enthusiastic hope, the sky looked good, and we could assume pride of place. However, as we set up ready for sunrise the clouds came in. Heavy, thick, light killers. The wind also picked up. With the wind chill it was easily -4 degrees C. But so we waited, getting our compositions and settings ready; hoping for a break in the cloud and some light!
Luckily, the faintest slither of sky could be seen between the horizon and the cloud. As the sun rose, we captured the faintest glimpse as it passed between. Perfectly in line with Winnats Pass but too weak to give out the light we craved. At least we had something, though.
Experience told us to wait in our location for the sun to get higher, roughly an hour after sunrise the sun is high enough and strong enough to send beautiful streaks of light through the clouds, but we were getting cold…very cold. On top of the Pass we were exposed to the harsh wind. We had to move to a more sheltered location.
Moving further into the Pass we found shelter from the wind and a good composition looking back towards Mam Tor. Theoretically, as the sun rose the light would hit more of Mam Tor until it reached the valley below. Truthfully, the light never really materialised.
Until it did!
Finally the light burst out of the clouds and illuminated parts of the valley floor. So our final shots, about two hours after sunrise, were of the light streaking through the valley. Technically very hard to photograph as you’re dealing with a high dynamic range. You can use graduated filters or bracketing to combat these problems. But because we were teaching, all the photos I took were handheld; snapped quickly between teaching moments.
We left Winnats Pass feeling a sense of accomplishment, the light had at least arrived. Now it was onto Padley Gorge for some woodland photography. Creativity is key in this situation both compositionally in terms of framing but also with depth of field. A fast prime is very fun in a woodland. Finally we approach the stream. Here is where filters and polarisers come in useful, my image was shot with a 10 stop ND filter at two minutes. But I was also keen to show how the blurring of the water could be achieved without buying added accessories (other than a tripod). Knowing that the shutter speed need only be 1/4th we could set the camera up accordingly to achieve this: ISO 100 f/16-22 would do the job. No filters needed. Water doesn’t have to be silky, you can capture the ferocity by freezing the motion with 1/250th. This gives your image a completely different feel. It was interesting for the group to see the different artistic approaches.
Finally we left the woods and headed inside for a pint of tea and a full english breakfast. Much deserved if I do say so myself. By this point we had been going for over 6 hours. Rather sleepily we demolished our breakfast in silence, content with the morning’s work.
Thank you from James and myself, it was a cracking workshop that we enjoyed greatly!
We still have a few workshops in 2019.
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We can wait for our next workshop! Spring 2019 is going to be full of colour!