Category Archives: Moors

Follow Your Own Path

Follow Your Own Path

Janet kindly bought me a copy of the “Masters of Landscape Photography” book for Christmas and it proved a really interesting read. Marc Adamus did lots of processing on his images while others did very little. Some carried out lots of preparation, prior to a shoot, while others preferred to “freewheel”. Johnathan Critchley shot in black and white, while Tom Mackie preferred highly saturated colours.

It all served to confirm my own opinion that there is no “right way” only “your way”, so always follow your own path, be it in life, or photography. Sometimes I’m happy to just get out there and see what the conditions have to offer, other times I have a specific image in mind and it becomes like an itch, I can’t settle until I’ve scratched it.

So, it was with my latest mono image. I really liked the images we produced at Strensall Common, exactly one year ago. I loved the delicate branches on the birch trees and the fine detail in the frosted grasses, but as a simple soul who loves simple images, I wanted to reduce the image even further. Ideally, I needed a thick layer of snow to smooth the foreground even more, with just a few stalks of grass sticking through, but I was going to have to be patient and wait for some snow to come.

As soon as the snow fell a few weeks ago, we headed straight for Strensall, only to have the snow peter out before we got there! So more patience required. When the snow finally returned last Thursday it was game on, but where to go? When it snows heavily, travelling becomes difficult and parking even harder! Being constrained to stay local by heavy falling snow, we headed for one of our favourite locations and there infront of me was my perfect tree with some vegetation sticking out of the snow! However, driving snow in my face made it impossible to keep the lens dry, so this image would have to wait for another day. 

The following day dawned dull, grey and un-inspiring, but with a thaw forecast overnight, we had to give it one last try, even if it was to only be a recce of the location. As it turned out, the conditions were favourable and I even found a simpler clump of vegetation to add my foreground interest, so job done, I could go home happy and not worry too much about the impending thaw.

Ryescape Exhibition

As artists living and working in Ryedale, we are lucking to not only live in a beautiful place, but we also have the benefit of support from a remarkable Creative Economy Officer in Yvette Turnbull whose enthusiasm for and nurturing of creatives is infectious and her support both active, constructive and generous. We have been lucky enough to benefit from Yvette’s support over the years and for that, we are eternally grateful.

As an example of this work, Ryedale District Council have produced a map, called RyeScape – the map is designed to help make the most of all Ryedale has to offer culturally – it shows Galleries, Artists’ Studios, Public Artworks, Theatres, Art Centres, Museums, Heritage Attractions, Festivals and Events.  It also highlights landscapes of particular cultural importance and Ryedale has many!

In addition to the RyeScape map, twenty of the Ryedale artists are holding an exhibition to support and promote their work, also called RyeScape.  Ryedale District Council have worked in association with Ryedale Folk Museum, who will host the exhibition in their gallery at Hutton le Hole. The show will be on during Easter and the May Day Bank Holiday, so it is a great time to visit this beautiful area.

A Baa-rilliant Day On The Moors

Tuesday was due to be snowy, so I set the alarm for early and headed down the lane near home to a location I’d had in mind for a while. As the light came up it all looked promising, but just before sunrise, a snow squall blew in and obscured the colour in the sky, so I headed home for a coffee and a warm up, then loaded the car for a day out on the moors.

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Despite all the dire warnings on the news, the Whitby moor road proved to be clear apart from a little slush, so we pressed on towards Goathland in the hope of getting onto Egton moor. As it turned out the council had done a great job ploughing the back roads and we made it up to the crossroads above Grosmont without any problems. Understandably the Egton moor road hadn’t been ploughed, so I was faced with walking the last half mile to the famous lone tree. It was fascinating to see such a large area of pristine snow untouched by human, but absolutely covered in bird and animal tracks. As I reached the tree, the snow wasn’t quite deep enough to fully cover the heather, so I wasn’t able to produce the pure white image I had in mind. Two disappointments before 9 o’clock, this was proving to be a difficult day!

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After Egton moor, we backtracked towards Goathland and suddenly spotted some sheep on a bank near Two Howes moor. Janet had the camera on her lap ready to go and as we jumped out of the car the heavens opened and a blizzard started to fall horizontally. At first only a few sheep came to see us, then more, then loads more, until we must have had nearly a hundred. I crouched in the lee of the car to shelter as the sheep lined up on the bank, whilst Janet headed into the group like the pied piper of Goathland. As she walked away they all followed, then she turned back towards the car and they all followed her back again, what an amazing sight! They were obviously hoping she would feed them. We left this scene smiling and hopeful we’d some good shots in the bag, but with all the milling about by the sheep, who knows what we might have got. As it turned out, we’ve come away with a set of good images.

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After Goathland, we headed for Egton Bridge in the hope of getting to Danby, but met some ice on a sheltered hill so failed to get up the slope towards Limber Hill. A quick detour back to Egton Bridge and we stopped for a nice lunch at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Egton Bridge, where a cheery landlord served us a huge beef sandwich, lovely!

Suitably refreshed we headed for Lealholm on dry roads and little snow! A quick look up Fryupdale, soon showed we wouldn’t be going up on to Danby Rigg as that hill hadn’t been ploughed, so we backtracked again and ended up at Fat Betty to marvel at the wind sculpted snow drifts.

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Then on down to Bell End where the light on Hill Plantation was great so we stopped for another shoot only for the sky to cloud over with another squall just on sunset.

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A grand day out with mixed results, but now we’ve had a chance to review our images it certainly looks like having been a productive one with a whole flock of sheep images that we are really pleased with and quite a bit stock as well.

Heather Workshop on the Beautiful North York Moors

Exciting News!

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 enquiries@milburnarms.com

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Bridestones

As the autumn colour gradually increases along with the chances of getting mist in the valleys, I set my mind to thinking of a good location for capturing autumn colour. I’d tried both Newtondale from New Bridge and also further north at Levisham, but neither location had started to turn yet. I’d been to the lake at Dalby the previous week to shoot the dawn light and noticed that the trees were turning nicely there, so I decided to take a trip to the Bridestones to see if I could get both autumn colour and mist in the valley.

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I got up before dawn on what looked like a most un-promising dull, foggy morning in the hope that I would get above the fog higher up past Dalby. As I made my way through the forest drive, the fog persisted, but I pressed on and hiked up to the Bridestones. I spent an industrious hour shooting dew on the cobwebs and berries whilst I waited for the light to come. As the sun rose higher in the sky the light improved, so I tried a shot of the Bridestones with a bracken fern in the foreground, then eventually I spotted the first signs of blue sky above me, so I changed my location to shoot the clearing mist in the valley.

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As the sun rose even higher, the light started to illuminate the bushes in the foreground and the light turned beautifully warm on the surrounding area, giving me the type of scene I was looking for.

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Wild Flower & Cotton Grass

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.