Scalesmoor: Sunny winter weather

December 14, 2013  •  1 Comment

Ingleborough Across ScalesmoorLooking across Scalesmoor past the large erratic boulder that sits on top of the limestone pavement lies Ingleborough, one of the three peaks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park It has been a struggle getting over jet lag following a four week trip to New Zealand. Coming from the warm bright days of a southern hemisphere springtime in to the dull grey and dark days of our northern winter has made the readjustment all that more difficult. 

One of the best ways I have found to overcome jet lag is to get out into the fresh air and have some exercise. 

Having the Yorkshire Dales on your doorstep is a distinct advantage. Earlier in the week, a couple of fine days gave me the opportunity to get out with the camera and capture some photographs in some of my favourite places around Ingleborough.


Scalesmoor sits on the northern side of Chapel-le-Dale. It possesses large areas of limestone pavements and rough grazing for sheep. It sits below the long ridge which extends all the way up to the summit of Whernside, the highest of the the three peaks. 


Scattered over the limestone are erratic boulders. They are relics of a distant past when rivers of ice filled these valleys in the last ice age 10,000 or more years ago. 


Picked up by the ice, these rocks have been transported until a warming climate caused the glaciers to melt depositing them delicately onto the bedrock below. Over the intervening years plants and trees recolonised the valleys before man came with his sheep and converted to landscape to the one we see today. 


I love this place, I often wonder how long this huge rock has sat there and how it came to be balanced upright. As the limestone pavements slowly erode in the wind and weather, beneath the rock is sheltered, so erosion occurs more slowly.  The result is the rock now sits slightly higher than the surrounding pavements.


How many more years will it perch there before it topples?

The big rock is not the only erratic but it is the largest and most impressive. Nearer the edge of the valley are these two.


The clouds in the background lend a hand to this composition. They seem to converge towards the top of the stone on the left as do all other lines within the image. Ingleborough balances on the right. The foreground stones and grasses mirror the radial pattern of the sky. They help to anchor the foreground.


The two stones in the left and centre foreground almost have the appearance of being thrown into water, the grass forming the "splash". 


The 17mm tilt and shift helps emphasise the converging lines whilst also providing an almost infinite depth of field.


The clouds have covered the sun softening the contrast but a patch of sunlight still falls on the flanks of Ingleborough across the valley.


Despite having wandered across the moor on countless other occasions, there's still plenty of scope for finding patterns in the limestone and rocks that I hadn't noticed before. Everyday offers different cloud patterns, different lighting conditions, all which subtly change the appearance of the landscape. 


Erratic and IngleboroughA black and white wide field panoramic image of the erratic boulder with Ingleborough forming the background under a dramatic sky.

Round Rock on LimestoneAnother erratic boulder perched on top of limestone. Ingleborough forms the back ground once again. The wide field image above is taken with the Canon 17mm TSE lens. It is constructed of two images stitched together in Photoshop. The camera is fixed on the tripod and the lens is shifted to the left. The first image is captured then the lens is shifted to the right for the second image. The advantage of using "shift" is there is no change in perspective or distortion as there would if the camera was panned. The result is the two images fit together perfectly. 


My wanderings brought me across this round boulder. The low winter sun is nicely placed to the front right of the subject emphasising its shape and form. 


The limestone in the foreground leads your eye towards the main subject; but perhaps the composition is a little unbalanced. 


Limestone on the left, grass on the right, is the image left side heavy? Perhaps a couple of steps to the left might have helped but the sun was causing too much flare on the lens and I couldn't find the same lead in line in the foreground. 


A change to a longer focal length might help make Ingleborough a more dominant feature in the background which could be another option.

I'll have to go visit this location again and experiment further, I'm sure there is a good photograph to be had here. 

Ingleborough and Ash TreeMulti image composite taken with a Canon EF70-200mm IS L looking across the limestone pavement towards Ingleborough with lone ash tree.

 Of course there is always the other side of the valley. Southerscales is also a great place with multitudes of photographic opportunity. One thing is for sure there are plenty of good photographs to be found in both of these locations and the fun is getting up there and taking advantage of such great locations. 

Hawthorn above WhitescarsLone hawthorn tree on limestone pavement.


Ann Allen(non-registered)
Fabulous photos - you have really captured the landscape. They are really beautiful.
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