Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Quick Stop At Muker

On our way back from Hawes last weekend, we came over past the Buttertubs and into Swaledale where, at this time of year, the entire valley bottom is bright yellow. We had to get back to Richmond for a certain time, so unfortunately I only had around 45 minutes to explore the fields around Muker - this is never, ever enough time for this part of Swaledale - but I just had to make do...

Upper Swaledale has pretty much always been one of my favourite places, since visiting East Gill as a wee lad - and for some reason I never get taken up there as much as I would expect. I have lived most of my life just 40 minutes away and yet I can probably count the occasions I've dragged my family up there, quite comfortably, on my hands alone. In fact, I have never, ever, walked the walk from Keld to Muker at any time of year - never mind when the fields are like this.

So... having only 45 minutes, I really had to get a move on to make the most of this special occasion for me.

First, was a very quick stop off at a little waterfall by the road. I had forgotten it even existed, but had been reminded by a photo by Colin Gregory a while ago (I think). I have no idea how I forgot about it, it is pretty difficult to miss whenever you drive up this road, but still... here it is:

Waterfall by the Muker-Keld road. Definitely would be more spectacular with a little more rain...

We then drove the extra few minutes down into Muker and put half an hour on the ticket for the car - so the time really had been set in stone now... the next task was to get into the fields the other side of the village. As one might expect at this time of year, with the absolutely amazing wildflower meadows, there were plenty of others out for a walk. One of the most difficult parts in the taking of photos was managing to put these people out of shot whilst still retaining a nice composition and without being able to wait for them to pass. Quite a challenge!

For this reason, I largely decided to go for something a little different and used a wider aperture, more shallow depth of field and got low down. In this way the walls between fields could block the view of as many people as possible, and you'd really get a feel of being in amongst the flowers. It was to be landscape with a twist - nice bokeh; the flowers are obviously a large aspect of these shots so it is nice to draw focus away from these and onto the barns at the top of the shots as well. You never really see that so thought it would be worth a go. As well as this, I tried to put a bit of angle on a lot of these, a more snapshot kind of feel. If I ain't gonna do typical landscapes, I may as well explore something new entirely. So, here is what I got...

If anyone hasn't visited upper Swaledale - do so! In May/June you have views like this, and around the hills at the top of the valley in the last shot (around Keld) you will find more waterfalls than you could ever dream of. I'm hoping to get back up here for a full day in 3 weeks time... fingers crossed that the flowers haven't all disappeared! This section of Swaledale is quite easily my favourite place in the world - now just to persuade Keri that she could live there too...

If anyone has any comments/criticisms I'd love to hear them on these ones... what does anyone think of the snapshot/almost portrait feel of some of them? Are the colours too much? I experimented a lot here so am interested to know!

See you all next week!


  1. The first meadow picture is absolutely staggering! Breath-takingly beautiful!