A new guide to photographing the Yorkshire Dales is a must for aspiring landscape photographers, says MADELEINE HOWELL
AS a travel photographer, Ellen Bowness has been all over the world – the Arctic, Cambodia, America. But her heart lies in the north of England and especially in the national parks.
Thanks to a host of books of landscape photography, these parks are accessible to even the most resolute of armchair travellers. But what about those more active types who want to go out and capture their own photographs?
Ellen decided there was room for a series of photographic guides to aspiring photographers designed to take them to the best places to get photos.
“I’m fascinated by landscape," she says. "I thought a guide for photographers would be useful, as the parks are so big, and it’s easy to forget what we have on our doorstep.”
Her idea was to writes guides that offer practical advice for everyone from the aspiring beginner to the seasoned professional photographer.
Being a native of the Lake District, her first guidebook covered the Lakes. But she had no doubt which national park to cover in her second book.
"The Yorkshire Dales are still on my doorstep, less than an hour’s drive," she says. "And Yorkshire has so much variety, with the limestone pavements, the field patterns. And it’s so green and lush at the moment.”
The Photographer's Guide to the Yorkshire Dales contains more than 50 spectacular locations, from the well-known such Ingleton Waterfalls, Pen-y-ghent and the Ribblehead Viaduct to places further off the beaten track: places you otherwise mightn't know were there.
The 'Lone Tree', on a remote section of limestone pavement, isn’t even on a footpath, Ellen says. "It’s really off the beaten track. And Winskill Stones is up a tiny road north of Langcliffe, which seems to lead to nowhere."
For each location, there are directions to the nearest parking places, maps with grid references to take you to the exact location, and even a guide as to how far you'll have to walk and how difficult it will be.
Ellen gives tips on the best times of year to visit certain locations to get the most interesting photographs – and even the best times of day. Her attention to detail goes as far as including a table showing the times of sunset and sunrise at different times of the year.
“There are suggestions for the best time of day for each place," she says. "Some aren’t suitable for sunset, some are fine all day. Woodland is at its best in autumn, and in summer the buttercups and wild flowers in the fields photograph beautifully. The colours of Ilkley Moor are astonishing in the light of the sun.”
Naturally enough, the book is beautifully illustrated, although not all the photographs are hers. "A lot are from local photographers – it's very hard to always be in the right place at the right time," she says.
Some of the locations are popular, but others are forgotten gems.
“No one ever goes to West Burton Falls, but it’s so photogenic," Ellen says. "It’s minutes from its famous cousin Aysgarth Falls, where they filmed Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Aysgarth has a National Trust Park, but the lesser known West Burton has to be one of my favourites.”
The Photographers Guide to the Yorkshire Dales, by Ellen Bowness, is published by Long Valley Books, priced £12.95. It is available on Amazon.