A stroll along the banks of Pickering beck is one of my favourite local walks, but one I’ve neglected for a long time, so when I spotted a patch of bright yellow in the distance, I just had to investigate. We’d just returned from a day out in Swaledale shooting the wild-flower meadows, so it came as quite a surprise to have such a riot of colour on my own doorstep. Much as I do enjoy travelling, I derive a great deal of pleasure from finding scenes like this in my own patch. One of the many things I enjoy about photography is that it does teach you to “see”, so you can derive a great deal more pleasure out of your surroundings.
I must admit that shooting iconic well known scenes is not my favourite photographic genre, I tend to do it more for commercial reasons than artistic fulfilment. However, our continued association with The Old School Gallery in Muker has seen me grow to enjoy the delights of Swaledale more and more, so I couldn’t resist the chance to have a go at shooting the wild flower meadows.
We tried shooting the machair on Uist last June and found it a very hard subject to master and we’re finding the same here in Swaledale, it takes time to adjust to an unfamiliar environment. But hopefully with a bit more familiarity we’ll get further into it and produce some work that we are pleased with and by the time the winter comes we should be sufficiently au fait with the area to produce some of the simple monochrome images that we love to shoot.
With the arrival of summer, we ventured over onto the Wolds in search of wild flowers and were very disappointed to find that the track to our favourite patch of red & white campion at Fridaythorpe now has a Private sign on it, so I could only shoot it from a distance from the public right of way.
However, all was not lost as a “Road closed” diversion at Thixendale took us to the end of Brubberdale and treated us to some lovely dappled light on some typical rolling Wolds landscape. I think the combination of the light, the rolling hills and the big sky really capture the true essence of the Wolds.
The heather on the moors promises to be great this year, so we’ve teamed up with the Milburn Arms Hotel in Rosedale and they are offering a 2 night, mid-week break complete with photo tuition from Janet and myself. Contact the Milburn Arms to book and get full details. 01751-417386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We headed off towards the Wolds full of expectation for a highly productive day. We’d done our recce last year and knew exactly where the poppies and the Oxeye daises would be; only they weren’t! We had hoped to drive straight to them and not have to drive around to locate them, but it wasn’t to be. We parked at the top of a hill above Thixendale village and not a poppy to be seen! The irony of the situation was that that there are loads of poppy fields in Ryedale near where we live, but we expected even richer pickings on the Wolds.
After scanning the horizon for a while, I spotted a field of poppies in the distance, but as we drove in their general direction, I was faced with a long walk in the hope of gaining access to the field. As luck would have it there were gates and public rights of way all the way to the field. The day was really hot and bright, but I’d landed waist deep in poppy heaven, so I decided to shoot them anyway and come back later in the evening as well once the light had got less harsh.
Fortunately there were wide tram lines between some of the rows, so I was able to get right in amongst the poppies without causing any damage or incurring the wrath of the farmer. After a happy hour up to my waist shooting in poppy heaven, we drove off in search of daises, but drew a blank, so returned to the original field and had our picnic tea, before trekking back up the hill for another session with the poppies.
So after a faltering start I came away with a set of photos I’m really pleased with, which just goes to prove persistence always pays.
With the fields full of buttercups in Ryedale, the Yorkshire Wolds promised to be a riot of wild flowers and we weren’t disappointed. We passed through a heavy shower as we drove over early in the morning, but this only served to make the air clearer. We spent a happy morning watching roosting Tawny owls in Fotherdale, then headed to the pub for a leisurely lunch whilst dodging another heavy shower.
The sky cleared again mid afternoon, so we headed for Fridaythorpe to shoot a wonderful field of red and white campion. Once we felt we had done this justice we headed for Thixendale where we were able to shoot huge arcs of cow parsley and buttercups in Frendal dale, then headed off again to try and capture some more campion in Scoardale.
Conscious that the light goes off these deep dales long before sunset, we headed for one shoot at Horse dale, arriving just in time to catch the last rays of sunlight on the trees in the bottom of the dale.
We returned home 12 hours after setting out, happy in the knowledge that we had captured a really nice selection of images. Now all we need is for the poppies to burst into bloom.