I don't very often get a Saturday off my day job (Sales Manager at a Porsche specialist) so when I do I try and make the best of it. This Saturday my girlfriend and I went across North Yorkshire to Bolton Abbey near Skipton. The estate runs to around 30,000 acres of land and is home to the ruined 12th century priory.
Leaving Scarborough the day didn't look promising, a heavy sky brought frequent downpours as we headed through Pickering, across to Helmsley, down Sutton Bank, through Ripon and out towards the Yorkshire Dales. As we stopped for a bit to eat in Ilkley and had our picnic at the Cow and Calf Rocks on the edge of Ilkley Moor (baht'at!) the sun started to come out and it turned into a really nice, if very windy, day.
I was hoping to do some long exposures at the Cow and Calf but it was so windy that even with a sturdy tripod I was going to get camera shake, I was struggling to stand and the cold wind bit through clothes and made your ears sting.
Back in the car we headed for Bolton Abbey. You pay £6.50 per car entrance fee which gives you access to the grounds and also parking in any of the three car parks.
Walking around the ruined priory a bride and groom were just having their wedding photos taken, a superb backdrop, I'm sure the photos will have turned out well, I was pleased to see that both photographers were using Canons too!
We walked around for a fair while, mainly along the banks of the River Wharfe which was in flood due to winter rain water coming down off the hills.
This shot was the one I chose, I liked the tree on the left side to give a sense of scale and the distant hills framed the shot. I used a Canon 17-40mm lens on my Canon 1Ds Mkii and a Lee 2 stop soft graduated ND filter to give the sky a little more contrast. Another way would have been to use my circular polariser but with such a wide focal length there was a danger of unwanted effects from the CPL so I stuck with the ND grad to keep the sky nice and blue. A soft grad was preferable to a hard as a hard would have darkened the tree to the left noticeably and would have left me with more to do in post processing. As it was all the raw file needed was a touch of contrast and the white balance setting.
I must bring this blog post to a close, I am planning an early start on Sunday morning to photograph the sunrise, it is a really clear night so fingers crossed it will be a good one.