Posted by: digibirder | October 3, 2011

Phew, what a scorcher!

We had been intending to get away camping for a few days, but the weather turned a little unpredictable so we thought that we would have to wait till spring for our next getaway. However, on watching the long-range forecast the other week, it became evident that we were in for a bit of an Indian Summer, so we rang up a campsite in the Yorkshire Dales last Monday, found out that they had room for us, and packed up on Tuesday and off we went.

We stayed on the Caravan Club site in Hawes, which is in Wensleydale (close to where we went for the day the other week), and it was in a very nice location on the edge of the village. Once we had set up the camper, we wandered into the village for some provisions, and then returned to relax before having our evening meal.

I had hoped for some nice sunrise and sunset images, but in the end I didn’t feel like rising early so we opted for just the sunsets. Having worked out where the sun would be setting, we walked around the local area to get into a good position. Unfortunately, there were some distant hills in the way, and the sky was too clear to give any good cloud colour. We returned to the campsite and went over to the facility block to wash the pots from our meal, but when we emerged from the washroom the sky had turned into a wonderful pinky hue! Unfortunately it was a bit too late, and dark, to get the gear ready again, so that one was missed.

When we camp in the summer, the daylight hours are much longer, and although we are tired, it just seems strange going to bed when there is still some light in the sky. However, now that the days are much shorter, it was going dark at about 7pm. Now that is too early to go to bed, but trying to read my book in the cosy camper was near impossible, as I was quite tired and kept nodding off. By about 8.30pm I was really struggling, so I decided I was just going to have to get ready for bed. Keith decided he was getting rather tired too, so by 9pm we were in bed, with lights out, ready for nodding off. Not unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long before I was fast asleep. What did surprise me was the time we woke up the following morning, which was around 7am. I had woken briefly during the night, changed position, and then fell asleep again straight away. I think it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages – certainly better than some nights at home in a large comfy bed. Anyway, that certainly put a stop to any thoughts of sunrise photos! Not that there would have been much colour, as the sky was a clear, cloudless blue.

We decided to walk from the campsite to Hardraw Force, a waterfall in a nearby village. In fact, it’s England’s highest unbroken waterfall, and access to it is through a pub in the village where you have to pay a small fee. On the way, there was a nice view back to the village of Hawes in the early(ish) light. The nice thing about the shorter days is that you still get long shadows even when it’s gone past the normal early morning and late evening ‘Golden Hours’ for photography. A little while ago I found a source of free presets to add to Lightroom and I downloaded one called Magic Hour Power, which gives a special effect to images taken during those Golden Hour times, so I thought I would give it a try on this image. The original, albeit also edited to some extent, is there for comparison.

With preset applied

As well as lugging my camera gear with me, I had also taken my tripod, as I knew it would be quite low-light conditions at the waterfall and I would not be able to hand-hold so easily, so with the heat and the sun beating down, I was a little frazzled by the time we arrived. It was a little cooler in the shade of the woodland, but then we were out in the open again for the return to the campsite.

A section of the Pennine Way going into Hardraw

Looking downstream from the falls

Another experiment in B&W

Looking back to Hardraw on the climb up to our return footpath

Towards the end, we did manage to cut the walk short, as I was almost ready to collapse by this time. Note to self: must get fitter. On this short cut, I spotted a good viewpoint for possible sunset images, so we drove back round later on in the evening – after our delicious barbecued sausages. However, with the skies being clear again, as you can see from the first two images from earlier in the day, there wasn’t really much of a sunset to shout about, even when enhanced with graduated neutral density filters.

After another good sleep, we had bacon and eggs for breakfast before heading off for a drive. It was still too warm to do another long walk so we decided to stick to short strolls from the car. First stop on the list was West Burton Falls, which is probably one of my favourite waterfalls. I have numerous images from previous visits, but I couldn’t resist taking more.

Magic Hour preset applied here

We then just did a bit of a tour round to see if we could spot any more potential images. I have a craft fair in December, and when I did the last fair, one of the organisers mentioned that she had a friend moving to Wensleydale and would like a photo of the area to give her as a gift, so it was with this in mind that I thought I would look for some nice scenic images. The Yorkshire Dales is known for the number of barns scattered throughout the area, so we were looking out for a viewpoint that would show this feature to good effect. Driving through the village of Aysgarth (also known for some nice waterfalls), we spotted a barn with freshly-painted red doors. We know it was fresh, as we passed this barn on the day we arrived at the campsite and we would certainly have noticed the colour had it been painted then.

With Bolton Castle visible in the background

Later, we went to take another look at Lady Hill (as photographed in my previous post), but didn’t really come away with anything spectacular, although the sky was a lot better than on the previous visit. We parked in a layby and ate our sandwiches, then walked a short way along the river to get closer, but did not see any real potential.

We then drove to the village of Bainbridge and called in to the tearoom for a scone and a pot of tea before heading back to the campsite.

On the campite there were signs of autumn showing, with several varieties of mushroom sprouting. Another camper was picking some of them for cooking. I overheard him telling someone else that they were safe, so I presumed he knew what he was doing. Behind our camper I found this little group against a tree (not sure if they’re edible or not), and I liked the backlighting from the late sunlight. I added some fill-light from a silver reflector to boost the shadow side.

Later that evening we went into Hawes for some fish and chips, then drove back to Bainbridge where earlier we had spotted a likely viewpoint for a sunset. Again the sky had been clear all day, so this was not as spectacular as I’d hoped for, but the colour was enhanced by the use of graduated neutral density filters.

Friday was again a very hot day, but we spent the morning packing up to come home and set off around midday, arriving home mid-afternoon after a very hot journey. All being well, we might get another chance to get away for a few days before packing up for the winter.



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