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.
Aren’t fields full of wild flowers brilliant? Fortunately it’s been a great year for wild flowers this year with huge swathes in the fields all around Ryedale. Normally we would have to travel over to places like Wensleydale to get any quantity of wild flowers, but this year we’ve been able to capture them locally.
Buttercups have been everywhere and the Wolds are alive with Cow parsley and red & white Campion, and now the Poppies and Oxeye daises are bursting through. Traveling back from an exhibition we spotted a glorious bank of Oxeye daises in the middle of a village, so we just had to return to capture them. After that we pressed on up to Danby Rigg which was covered in cotton grass. We normally get some cotton grass on the moors, but this year there are literally acres of them.
Traveling back from Danby Rigg, we spotted another bank covered in Oxeye daises, so we just had to stop and record them as well. Swathes of wild flowers like this don’t occur every year, so we are working hard to make the most of them while they last. Poppies seem to be the one wild flower that is in short supply so far, but who knows, they are popping through all the time, so we might just get some yet.