A tour of the Yorkshire Dales

The yorkshire dales are pretty stunning – rolling green hills with limestone edges and pavements, waterfalls and woodlands, sheep and cattle and of course, lots of lovely walls making patterns throughout the landscape.

Here we have 5 360-degree pano tours linked in Klapty, they are:-


Taking in the lovely littondale and the road which climbs out of the valley to Malham.

Road to Malham

This is 1/2 way up the climb out of littondale so you get more of the cliffs in the shot


Just near to the Scalebar Force, there are a few craggy hills on the edge of ribblesdale. I flew the drone to 400 feet and a bit closer to them and all 3 of the 3 Peaks can be seen in the distance!

Gordale Scar

High above this most iconic of limestone features of teh dale, an amazing view of the topology of the area

Malham Cove

The 250+feet tall dry waterfall that defines the area, taken from very high above and far away to ensure no wildlife was disturbed. This shows us the green fields towards Lancashire and the rocky outcrops if you look into the dales.

Photoshopping Sunrays with Curves

Sometimes you only get a fleeting second of light and you’ll have to grab what you can with the camera you having your hands.

The story behind this photo is that we were walking to a limestone pavement to capture photos of trees growing out of rocks when one of the clouds opened and let the sun shine through for what was only a few fleeting seconds. This is the image I grabbed.

Luckily I did have a 2 stop neutral density grand filter on the camera so could protect the highlights to some extent but as you will see in this video the foreground is pretty much black and the sky is almost burnt out.

In this full length tutorial I take you through the steps to rescue something from this grab shot, starting from the raw file in Adobe Lightroom and working 2-in Photoshop with luminosity masks and curves layers to lighten the darks and enhance contrast.

Leeds Pubs in Lockdown

Leeds always had a thriving hospitality sector packed with innovative bars, traditional boozers and amazing restaurants. I’ve been part of the scene by probably drinking a little bit too much in many of these places, and also photographing quite a lot of food and drinks for bars, restaurants and hotels over the years. I even made a brand called shoot the chef for the food photography side of my business.

So as well as as being gutted that we cannot go out socialising in my favourite pubs during lockdown, I’m also well aware of many amazing people I’ve worked with who are seeing their businesses going through hell at the moment. Several clients have already closed the doors permanently. But with a little luck, the funding from the government will save the vast majority and hospitality will bounce back stronger than ever before.

The New Saturday

Having nothing to do on a Saturday these days, other than go for a walk, I decided to to take the camera into the city centre and photograph pubs as I walk past, to record this strange moment where living through. These are taken in the late afternoon when when things are starting to warm up on a Saturday, so it’s really strange to see places like Greek Street and Call Lane totally empty.

So here you go. A lot of photographs of Leeds hospitality in hibernation.

Storm Brewing in Leeds

Having I watched the most amazing spring from my garden during lockdown it seems a little bit unfair that the weather in June is dreadful for photography…. 

But one day last week the sky look like it was about to erupt at any second so I took the gamble of going into Leeds to see if I could get any decent moody sky shots. 

Luckily for about an hour, the sky did looks like something from a 1950s Dracula movie, with ridges of Darkness and light patches making wonderful textures. 

All of these photos are taken using the 24mm tilt Shift lens from Canon attached to the 5D Mark IV body, they are all handheld rather than using a tripod for Speed and I didn’t really want a tripod to act as a lightning rod if we did get a storm! 

To make sure I get enough light and dark eye bracketed two photos, One at around 0 or 1-EV and the other at plus 2 – helping me get enough information to have a good sky and a foreground you can work with. 

10 “Must SEE” Leeds Areas for Photographers

If you are planning a trip to photograph Leeds, where should you go?

Like most cities, Leeds Centre and shopping areas are largely bland (with a few exceptions…) and many shopping centres actually ban you from taking photographs inside. If you have a tripod they will definitely ask you to move along.

Having photographs Leeds since 2003 here are some of the highlights I would recommend to every photographer visiting.

All of these photos are from my own archives built up over fast approaching 20 years! The time of day and the weather when you arrive will dictate whether any of the buildings look like any of the following, these are my favourites from probably several hundred trips into town!

Also, please note that these are all copyright to McFade and available to licence if you get in touch via the contact form at the bottom of the page.

1 The Canal and River Aire

Like every city in the UK, the river and is always a great place to start and in Leeds we have, have the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool canal meeting right in the centre next to the train station – then flowing out east where where it becomes another canal which heads out towards Hull.

The first of these photos is the canal in the west of the city centre, the second is is a Footbridge at Brewery Wharf which is very picturesque and the final on is is on the east of the city just passed the Royal Armouries.

2 Park Square

This is quite an unexpected thing to find in amongst all the streets near the city centre, but you have a wonderfully kept grassy Square surrounded by lovely buildings, the most striking being St Paul’s building which has a Moorish architecture Style.

3 -Leeds City Markets

One of the finest buildings in the city has to be the front Facade of the markets on Vicar Lane. Incredibly decorative Victorian architecture with domes on each corner, little cherubs above the doors and a real feast for the eyes.

4 The Corn Exchange

London has the Albert Hall, Manchester has its majestic library and Leeds has its Corn Exchange.

There’s something about these round buildings which just looks cool, this one was designed by architect Cuthbert Broderick in the Victorian era and now contains lots of shops and food options.

Definitely go all the way around the building on the outside because each angle has a different feel and the light will vary throughout the day so you want to pick an angle where you have have some light and Shadow.

At the time of writing the security staff are more welcoming than anywhere else in the city allowing you to freely wander around with your camera and in most cases you can use your tripod, though it is very bright in there so you probably don’t need to

5 Leeds Museum

Following on from one Cuthbert Broderick masterpiece two another one which started out life as Leeds Mechanics Institute, then in recent years has become the Museum. They do allow you to go indoors with your camera and if you get caught short there is a toilet you can use for free.

The most interesting thing to photograph are the Majestic outdoor reviews of the building, it’s pretty imposing and you can get some really great angles if you move around.

6 – The Royal Armouries & New Dock

Just off to the city centre down the canal, you will find a little city called new dock – it was once called Clarence Dock but they have rebranded recently.

This is home to the Royal Armouries collection in a majestic building called the Royal Armouries, but it’s also a lovely watery dock area with interesting architecture down both sides. It’s probably the best place in Leeds for modern architecture and on a windless day you get perfect reflections in the water.

The security staff will probably approach you if you have a tripod and look professional, but so long as you are sure of them that you are doing it just For Fun, which I’m sure you will be, they leave you to get on with enjoying the area.

7 – Granary Wharf and the Dark Arches

Literally beneath the train station is a rabbit Warren of tunnels which are called the dark Arches, though they are not very dark these days because they have lit them up into a spectacular light show of colour.

When you walk down the tunnel you pass the brand new South entrance to the train station which is a gold bronze colour and a real space age thing to look at, then you finally arrived at the wash where there is a wooden looking building a hotel and a massive cylinder called candle Tower.

You also have two locks and a view of the train lines, so it is a bit of a feast for the photographer.

8 – Victoria Quarter and Shopping Area

The shopping areas are not the best to photograph mainly because overzealous security guards and hordes of people getting in your way.

But the Victoria Quarter is well worth a look if you are prepared to hand hold your camera and move reasonably quickly so as not to become a problem for the security guards.

It is a beautiful arcade on one side cold County Arcade, then there is a second one Cold Cross arcade which runs perpendicular through a covered Street. This used to be a normal Road but they put a massive window across the top which some say is the biggest stained glass window in the world.

The area is full of shops selling fine shoes watches clothing and food.

9 – University Area

The University area is on Otley Road and and is pretty expensive, with a mix of architectural styles from the ultra-modern broadcasting house which uses the same metal colour and Preservation style as the Angel of the North, a Car Park which resembles a cheese grater, traditional neoclassical old building, some concrete brutalist structures and lots more.

You’ve also got ponds in which to reflect things and staircases where you can put models, so it’s a great location away from the masses of shoppers and tourists.

10 – Leeds Town Hall

The Jewel In The Crown of Cuthbert trio of amazing buildings has to be the Stirling Town Hall with it’s neoclassical Pillars at the front and massive clock tower which dominates the skyline in this part of the city.

I’ve convinced the best view of this is from the Mr Foley’s Ale House, if you shoot from here sunset the light comes in from the left-hand side illuminating the front of the building leaving the right hand side In Darkness, giving the whole photograph of 3D appeal.

If it is dark you can set your tripod up there and wait for cars to rush by leaving the light trails in the foreground of your photo.

I hope that’s giving you some ideas and inspiration for your next visit in to Leeds city centre.

We do run workshops around the area so if you do fancy a guided to a please check on our workshops website whether there is anything happening around your visit – or even plan your visit to coincide with the workshop.

Our workshops are all at


And if you want to make any enquiries at all just fill in the form at the bottom of the page and we’ll get back to you straight away

Nightscapes 1 – The Art of Light Painting

NIGHTSCAPES 2018/2019 Begins!

It all started last night in Roundhay Park – our winter of light painting around Roundhay Park saw us using torches and gels to colour the world!

New for 2018 is a “Manker MK 35” torch – this claims to have a 1.4Km beam – it does shine a hell of a long way, and with its very narrow beam, its great for detail work. Think of it as a fine brush, whereas other torches are more like thicker airbrushes. 

This photo was just the MK35 torch pointing at the ground as I walked to the bandstand – you can see how narrow the line it makes is. 

I’ve been looking for a torch like this for years – hopefully, the high price tag will pay off when we go to Gordale Scar, where I hope to paint cliffs hundreds of yards away. 


NIGHTSCAPES is a course for experienced photographers, so we assume you know all the “techy” stuff – you can set ISO/SHUTTER/APERTURE, read your histogram and make changes etc. You do know how bulb mode works to get a 2-minute exposure etc. etc. 

So the technique really was all creative and torch-based. Here’s the process in a nutshell

  1. get a focus sorted
  2. compose the shot
  3. discuss the scene and what we could light
  4. work out colours – essentially we have yellow, orange, light red, dark red, purple, dark blue, lighter blue and green in the bag
  5. work out a route
  6. start the cameras and walk into the scene and do the lighting
  7. review the results – did it work? too bright? too dark? 
  8. learn from the first shot and adjust!

It’s really as simple as that – but all creative things can be boiled down to a few steps like that, a painting could be described as “1 dip brush in paint, 3move brush over canvas, 3 goto step 1” ūüėČ

Some results

We started at the top pond in the park. 

It’s got a fountain which you can colour with your torch if the “throw” is long enough – throw is the term for how far the beam goes. On this photo, the XM35, a “long thrower” was green, and the foreground (using my 3-LED Sky Ray wider thrower) was orange. This was the first shot with 2 torches in action. 

Next to test the XM35 with a very thick red gel, one which reduces the brightness of the torch massively, I shone it at the fountains for a full 30 seconds. Considering it’s one of the most powerful throwers you can buy, it’s not massively bright, so beware when using red gels – they do need a lot of lumens! (Lumens is a measure of torch power).

Next the band stand. 

This first one had us walking around with torches pointed at the floor to create a pattern of coloured lines. Then Lee went into the bandstand with the Sky Ray at the end to light the inside, I used the purple gel and XM35 to add a bit of colour to the outside. 

A pure shot, the outside was lit at the top with the XM35 from a distance, the lower parts with the SKy Ray and yellow gel at close quarters. A little light spill in the foreground created texture in the leaves and grass. 

On the way to the water tower, we stopped for a shot of the avenue – here we split up, green sky ray to the right, red XM35 to the left – this gives a nice mix of colour as you go into the distance. 


At the water tower, we started with lots of colours to create this early shot – it’s a bit like a Pride flag!

The idea was a red interior and blue top with the XM35, then green steps and yellow ring on the “patio” at the top of the steps. It came out very jolly!


Later on I tried just the purple gel, shooting inside the water tower. This was a 4-minute exposure allowing the stars to leave little light trails if you look carefully

Simplicity is often worth trying!

Another simple shot but with the green gel instead – this time you can actually see green in the oculus at the top of the tower

And finally an RGB shot – red was from behind the camera with the XM35, green with the sky ray from 9 oclock, blue with the XM35 at 3 oclock

And finally on the way back to the cars, we found this stunning leafless tree – so I demonstrated my shadow technique. 

Do you want to join us?

All in all a fantastic night – not too cold either – lots of torch work and virtually no need to teach any camera skills, which is the purpose of this workshop series. 

We are aiming it at experienced photographers who enjoy a new challenge – and don’t mind standing in fields, in the dark, in winter!

It’s amazing fun and well worth the effort.


Yorkshire Coast Photo Workshop

A foggy day on the coast

Driving up to the workshop I feared the worst – a day of rain and misery, with a group of photographers huddled together keeping dry

It was grim… 

But as Americans would say, when life gives you lemons, make a G&T…. or something like that!

And that is just what we did – the fog gave us a completely different look to the previous workshops we’ve run on the coast. We got landscapes which faded to nothing in the distance. Perfect for the cliffs on the Yorkshire Coast. 

Also, we had people on the beach at Whitby which faded with distance too. It was actually magical. 

The sea was out by the time we reached Sandsend, so we had to shoot the groynes without waves splashing over them – rather using them as reflections and framing people walking by.

That’s what I love about outdoor workshops – you’re never quite sure what you’ll get, but you can ALWAYS find something to shoot – and that is the most important lesson in photography. 

Night Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Night Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Ok, we’re really lucky to have a ruined abbey right on the edge of our city – and it’s got lots of free parking!

So each year I take a new group of photographers down there to light it up with powerful torches and sparks.

Here’s what we got up to this year – this is Feb 2018.

The group really enjoyed Light Graffiti – that’s drawing things with torches if you keep moving your body doesn’t appear in the photo, just the trace of where the torch went!


Ovenden Moor and Wind Farm

Ovenden Moor and Wind Farm

Photographers have flocked to this wind farm over the years – the bright stone on the road really stand out from the darker heather moorland, the large turbines create fantastic subjects and if you can get some rotation on them, preferably 1/3 of a turn, they look magical. 

I’d not been up since the old turbines were replaced, so popped up in Feb 2018 with my trusty 17mm TS lens and got a few images. 

I also popped down to a viewpoint I really like – looking down the valley into Luddenden.

Here are the photos 

A Stunning Yorkshire Dales Day – Ribblesdale and Malham

A 1-2-1 Workshop on a Perfect Yorkshire Dales Day

You always book workshops in the Yorkshire Dales with a sense of trepidation, and prepare yourself to explain what each location looks like “when it’s not grey, raining and grim”. No such worries for this 1-2-1 session with Jonathan – perfect weather for afternoon landscapes.

Perfect for me is a breezy day where sparse clouds pass in front of the sun making patches of light and dark. We got that in spades, so instead of starting at Gordale Scar, I decided to go to Winskill instead.

This is high above the Ribble Valley, a bit of a mecca for landscape photographers these days and has:-

  • fantastic views over the valley bottom
  • limestone pavements (small ones)
  • lots of interestingly shaped walls
  • a cattle grid
  • sheep pens
  • trees and bushes

So lots of elements to play with.

Winskill Photos

These show the changing light, shot with the 70-200mm, 90mm TSe and 16-35mm lenses.

From Winskill, we headed on towards Yorkshire Dales gem Malham Tarn, a lovely drive of a couple of miles Рwe stopped to capture a long straight on the road. It just reminded us of the shots of American desert roads, long straights. The clouds helped too of course


To the left, was a long wall which led to a farm and tree, so we got a shot of that.

Then changing lenses to the 16-35, I used the wall to lead the eye to a shadowy Pen Y Gent in the distance

Malham Tarn

Yorkshire’s second largest lake – of 3 apparently – is Malham Tarn, it’s a barren place with a cold, windy feel to it, and can be really dramatic with the right sky.

We got a decent sky alright, and really strong sun. This is where I showed Jonathan how to use the 10 stop filter. I use a Haida 10 stop – it’s a really thin screw in filter which allows me to add on top of it my Cokin Z-pro ND Grad system, without too much vignetting even at 16mm.

Anyway – here are a couple of shots with the 10-stop

This one is with the tripod almost in the water

This is further up the bank, so you don’t get too muddy!

Also around the Tarn we got some shots of rocks which were being lit by the low sun, and a couple passing by…

This as shot at F2.8 with the 70-200, just to do something a little different to most landscapes, where you’re getting everything sharp. You can still see the second rock and wall in the distance, but the main thing is the sharp foreground.

These 2 were just walking along to the lakeside – there was a decent sky – so got this at 70mm, then converted to black and white in Lightroom

Malham Rakes

It’s definitely the most photographed tree in the dales, maybe the UK or even the world!

But it is a great place to teach people who’ve never been – so I keep going back.

The sun was perfect as we walked across the field – low, bright, orange, it was going paint one side of the rocks a lovely warm tone…. We missed it by about 30 seconds. A bank of clouds engulfed the sun leaving the scene totally in the shade. Absolutely gutted and regretting eating that sandwich earlier, we kept going anyway.

Here’s proof that the light was amazing as we approached – this is looking down the valley from the tree we were going to shoot – but you can see the light.

The classic view, where the sun is to the right and should have been lighting the right sides of the rocks… alas it’d had gone.

This was my first tilt shift shot from here – so this is 2 landscape shots stithced together. The lower one got the rocks, the upper the tree and sky.

This is from the other side – with the sun on the left of the photo. I’ve used a bit of a coloured effect on the sky for a hint of warmth…

This is the shot above without any colouring – and a tripod leg

This photo is taken facing into the sky where the sun should be – you did get a bit of warmth in the sky. I’d got bored editing it though, so put it rhough Nik Ananlog EFEX and added a warm light flare to get the misty look!

This is the natural look from the usual side – again, tilt-shift lens creating a square shot with 2 landscape shots.

End of a perfect day

We ended at the rocks as the light had abandoned us, it really was a great day and the shots in this blog are just a few of the great variations the light gave us

Do you want a day out with McFade

If you want a similar day of learning in the¬†Yorkshire Dales, we’re always delighted to take you out for a drive around our favourite locations.

During the day we can show you everything we do, give tips on everything from using your tripod to bracketing images for HDR. It’s definitely the best way to learn if you want to get to the next level with your photography.

Just drop us a line at training@mcfade.co.uk and we’ll organise a great 1/2 or full day out for you.¬†

Wonderful Yellow Fields – Tilt Shift Lens

Yellow fields of Discovery

Discovering just what Tilt Shift can do is great fun – and you have to be hands on.

Sure, I’d seen 10 Youtube videos so had a good idea what I needed to do – but here are a few examples from my first landscape trip in summer 2017.

Tilt Shift Increasing that depth of Field

For landscapes, this is the main reason you’d use them. You want to get as much sharp as possible – that foreground flower to the distant mountain.

To do this I did this:-

  1. Got the camera perfectly level – tilt back to 0 and no shift at all.
  2. Worked out the exposure NOW – apparently, it goes pear shaped if you do it tilted/shifted!
  3. Switch live view on and focus on something 1/3 into the shot – in these, it was some flowers a little way in
  4. Zoom in on live view to something in the background – that tree in this case
  5. Now TILT – just tilt anyway – till the tree gets sharp.
  6. Move the live zoom view back to the foreground flowers
  7. Re-focus a little till these are sharp
  8. Go to step 5 and repeat – maybe a few times – till everything looks sharp.
  9. SHOOT!

Wow – it’s a lot of work!

But from these shots, you can see it’s pretty much sharp all the way through

Darn sun went in!

Sharp pylon, most of the oil seed is too – the foreground one was a bit of a pain though!

Great for blades of wheat

Another one looking down a wheel track – the tree was the background thing to do the tilt-focussing on

Tilt Shift Lens in Hunslet, South leeds

What is Tilt Shift?

If you don’t know what a Tilt Shift lens is, this chap explains it well. So take a look at this first if you’re interested.

South Leeds Architecture

There are some interesting new buildings in the south of Leeds these days – this first one is the Leeds College of buildings, created by Fuse Architects. For this shot I went to the middle of the road island ans¬†use the 17mm tillt shift lens. I took 3 photos – one with the lens shifted up, one in the middle and one down. So the view here is actually incredibly wide – and notice that all the vertical lines are – well…. vertical!

This next building is Indigo – taken just meters away from the college shot. It’s a HDR of 3 images, each 2-stops apart.

This building¬†is incredibly angular and the 17mm TS lens makes the most of this. I’ve left ¬†part of the image pretty empty as I’m sure in the future this area will fill with new buildings, so this will become a unique shot over time

Indigo again – from the same place as the previous shot, just rotated the camera through 20-30 degrees to the left to get both lanes of traffic and the traffic island in shot. The processing on this is very cool to compliment the “indigo” name ūüôā

New Dock, formerly Clarence Dock, has lots of linear architecture – here we have the armouries to the left, flats to the right and tower at the end. To get this view I took 2 HDR shots, one low down to get the boat and water, the other high up for the sky and buildings.

They were blended in Photomatix with the exact same settings and then a pano created in LIGHTROOM Рas that does the job and is INCREDIBLY easy to use. 

A different view of the college of building, I really like those green frames around the windows

A straight shot from the middle of the road – shadows lifted in LIGHTROOM, but other than that very little processing

Indigo again Рfrom the safety of the pavement this time! I saw this fella walking across the road Рas the lights turned green, he started to run, so had to get him mid-sprint! 

Outside New Dock – this is where I was parked actually, just loved the light reflecting off the top window.

It’s 6 shots HDR – 2 sets of 3 – made by shifting the 17mm lens up to get the building¬†tops.

Indigo from the other side – this is the view most will see of it, it’s at the crossing which goes to Crown Point Retail Park. The road to the left heads into town, so most traffic heads down there. You can see more of the building from this side, the overhang and the glass lower floors.¬†

Indigo Closeup portrait shot – you can do portrait shots with the tilt shift, just :-

  • put the camera into a portrait position,
  • roughly compose the image
  • get the camera level
  • shift till you get the whole building in there
  • shoot!

Another New Dock shot Рagain with a shift to get both the foreground water in, and the tops of the buildings in. 

Loved the light on this one – taken from the pelican crossing with a mother and baby looking on behind me

And finally, a panoramic using the tripod head’s ability to rotate. It’s just a case of start at the left, take a shot – rotate the camera a bit, then take another, then repeat till you get to the end.¬†

Stanley Ferry Marina – Stunning Waterway

Landscapes and Waterscapes @ Stanley Ferry

With a 17mm Tilt Shift Lens

I’ve had a flurry of outings to get used to the new lenses – this trip was to the Stanley Ferry area just¬†outside Wakefield, in West Yorkshire. I’d started out looking for decent wheat fields, but they were not lit that well with the sun – just looked like overgrown lawns, or like this next shot, have plastic all over them

So I tried a black and white – this is with the 17mm TSe¬†lens and a perfectly level camera…. not that you could tell in the unlevel Yorkshire¬†countryside.

Here is a wheat field and it wasn’t really that great – though the TILT function on the lens has got the nearest wheat stalks and the distance pylons sharp. It does increase your depth of field lots

Onwards to Stanley Ferry Marina

So on my way back home, I pulled off the M62 as I knew the Stanley Ferry area may look nice at sunset. This is a level shot to give and overview – the sheds opposite make and fix boats, and in the distance is the arch aqueduct. The canal flows over a river!

Shift Panoramic

This is the coolest use of the TS lens – you can do panoramic shots by taking 2 or more shifted shots. That means you twist a knob on the lens to slide the lens up and down – so here we have 3 photos – one was mainly sky, one was the bridge and the 3rd was mainly the water and path.

Individually they’re¬†ok – but together they look pretty cool. The angle of view is immense.

Stanley Ferry

This one is from the other side of the bridge – the light this direction wasn’t sunlit and cool. Again it’s a panoramic of 3 shots

Here’s the overview shot a little later – before I ventured to the other side of the Stanley Ferry Bridge

The other side of the Stanley Ferry Bridge

Here’s the bridge for starters. It’s a road bridge with a pipe bridge next to it… not very sexy really.

But look the other way on a nice evening, and you get this lovely English landscape – with a swan too. Loved the result of this image, bearing in mind you can’t really add a polariser to this lens, the sky came out beautifully blue and textured. This is another panoramic, a perfectly level camera and 3 shots shifted to capture the foreground AND sky.¬†

So having tried a tilt shift on landscapes – would I recommend one?

Definitely…. if you’ve got patience, it takes a while to set up and compose shots.

Super-Fast Spot Colouring in LIGHTROOM

Learn Spot Colour in Seconds

Using Adobe Lightroom

Spot Colouring is where you make a black and white photo but leave a part of it coloured. You may see it in wedding photography, and most famously in the film, Schindler’s List – a girl in a red coat dominates one scene.

The technique used to involve masks and photoshop – and a certain level of understanding for it to work.

However, with a few seconds tweaking, you can create the same effect without opening Photoshop or learning about layers and masks

Here’s the example of¬†spot colouring

In this street scene the red coat really stands out, but the shot it pretty ordinary Рso to try to make it more interesting, we made a spot colour with just the red coat

Here’s how we did it – in 3 minutes!

The spot colouring technique is very easy for this shot where the coat is bright red. It may be a bit more involved for different colours…. but hopefully, this 3 minutes will show you the basics of spot colouring¬†so you can try it yourself.

A Wet Workshop at Malham

January’s Malham Workshop 2017

We always run a landscape workshop at Malham in January fo those who’ve got a new camera for Xmas and want to learn how to take great countryside shots in the best area of the dales.

It’s also pretty close to Leeds and Bradford, so not far to travel.

This year we had pretty grim weather, not raining all the time, but a lot of grey skies and the occasional shower.

A Slight Deviation

So¬†when it’s grey and wet, you need a Plan B destination, for this one it was the stunning Scalebar Force, about 8 miles from Malham in the Settle direction.

Here I firstly taught the group about manual exposure – how using spot metering and a hand, can get the right exposure for most scenes! They’d never seen the technique before, so that was great.

Then we descended to the waterfall and got the shots you see here. These were my demo shots – just to show them a few ideas. I’ve got about 1000 shots of this waterfall…. so just packed the camera away and helped each delegate individually.

They’re all taken on the 5D Mark 4 with a 16-35F4 L and polariser


Here is a detail shot of the far side of the waterfall – used a longer lens to get this.

Road to Malham

After Scalebar, we headed over the Kirkby Malham road, stopping to get a few shots of the highland cattle by the road.

Just before Malham itself we stopped by the roadside to go over the metering methods again, and show them a few composition ideas. Here we have lead lines from the bottom left walls – they lead the eye to the cliff which is off centre (kinda the rule of thirds. This was taken with the 70-200mm lens.

Next we headed down to Gordale Scar – a few hadn’t seen this before, so it definitely got a WOW as we entered!

Above the main waterfall is this hole – always looks great with the stream pouring thorugh


On the way back to the cars, we got a few shots of the greens in the stream – you can see just how grey it was, note that this has been processed a LOT to get that sky detail… and has suffered a lot with halos on the sky line.

Next down to the lovely Janet’s Foss – this is around 15 feet tall and very pretty.

At the end, we were going to the famous tree on Malham Rakes, but the weather up there was horrendous – I did ask the group if they wanted to do it – but it was a resounding “no chance”. For once, I think it wasn’t worth it – the weather would have soaked the cameras and all the photos would have water spots on them.

Last Blast of Light

On the way back down from the Rakes, we got 10 minutes of warm light – really diffused through all the clouds and distant rain. We pulled over and got a few shots – all with Long Lenses.

Tornado Steam Train on Ribblehead Viaduct

A 50 year Wait – Tornado Steam Train Scheduled Service

I didn’t wait 50 years – but it was 50 years ago that the last steam train service ran over the iconic viaduct in the Dales.

It was only for a few days in February so I decided to brave the weather and head up there. I’d incorrectly assumed that every train would be steam, so had a shock when I saw about 6 normal boring ones going over the viaduct!

So I got a LOT of shots without the train on….

This is from the Ingleton side – the sun falls directly on to the arches, definitely worth a look if you’re up there

The sun was out for a while – but Whernside was properly in shadow for this one!

This was taken from the roadside as I was heading to Ingleton for some lunch

On the way back from lunch we had more sun – so thought I’d get a few shots as the shadow slowly engulfed the arches, one by one.

This is near White Scar on the side of Ingleborough

Back to the rocks, where I was for AGES


Really liked this crack in the limestone

Many hours later

I was stood on these rocks for nearly 3 hours – no 4G, unchanging light, tried hundreds of photos – bit of Focus¬†Stacking practice, which is really easy with the 5D4’s new touch screen shutter.

I’d almost given up by 4ish then people started gathering in the distance, behind the Ribblehead Pub.

The Kit and Settings

So got the 24-70mm lens on, ND grad (3 stop) in place and the polariser on. With hindsight, the polariser didn’t make much different AND forced me to up the ISO to compensate for the long shutter. After all – the train is moving, i guessed I needed about 1/100th at least for it not to blur.

  • F8

  • 1/160th

  • ISO 1000

All alone on the rocks

Amazingly I was the only person on these rocks Рwas expecting lots of company, but I think people were more interested in the actual train over the steam patterns.

I was looking for an epic landscape with hard, cold limestone in the foreground, then the bridge in the background with a long plume of steam as the train passed over.

I got lucky – it’s exactly what happened! And the rain stopped for the moment when the train actually passed.

It goes very slowly over the viaduct, so you can fire off many compositions as it passes – I’d have got 20-50 shots I expect – you just don’t want to miss out having waited for so long.

Colour shows how grey the day was – I’ve eeked a lot of texture out of that sky in processing.

Using a different white balance, taken from the limestone, you get a cooler vibe

The train leaves the viaduct, and doesn’t stop at the station! Ingleborough in the background too.

So there you go – I’m not a trainspotter and have no knowledge of steam, other than clouds of it look really cool on viaducts in the dales!


My Presentation at SHARE – Jan 2017

Showing my Work to my Network

Every year or so, we get to¬†present our business to the SHARE network group – it’s great to get more than 1 minute to talk about your offering, to make sure everyone knows the extent of what I do.

For a photographer – it’s a rare chance to actually show the work, rather than just talk about it. I’m selling a “visual” product – not an audio one, so it’s really hard to show people just what it is you do.

A Different Venue

We usually meet at Darrington, but today we met on North Street, Leeds. This was to accommodate a bunch of members who had a city centre workshop straight after SHARE. Had some great sandwiches – best I’ve had in a long time, we got lucky there!

Great venue actually – they’re called Henton’s; if you’re after an event space, get in touch with Charlotte Bates.

Technical Issues

The only thing that was less than ideal was the projector Рthe images looked pretty horrible compared to the view on my laptop screen.

I’ve never hooked up a 4K laptop to an unknown monitor before, so probably with a bit more fiddling I’d have got it right – but time was pressing and people were arriving!

The Presentation Slides

So here they are for you to view at the correct quality – well they’re small, but hopefully your phone/computer will show them at the right colour!

The 5 Stop Power Station Sunset Experience

Photographing Drax and Eggborough Power Station at Sunset

When it’s a windless day, I can see clouds of steam from Eggboeough and Drax power stations – which are 25-30 miles away from my desk in Morley.

Last week, I’d been desk-bound all day and saw a great sunset was on its way AND these clouds, so packed the camera and set off on the M62.

Eggborough Power Station

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – long lens shot with 70-200mm

The first point – don’t get too close and shoot them, I’ve done it, security are all over you like a rash and they really don’t like you being there. I’ve had long debates with them – but apparently, there are special laws which stop you photographing huge infrastructure locations. Maybe ring in advance to get permission if you want to get close.

So Eggborough – just a couple of miles up the A19 and turn right after a small hump-backed bridge, and you get the sun directly behind the clouds and towers. You want the steam to be backlit for the most dramatic effect. Also the sun can add so much colour to the otherwise white steam

Portrait version of Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – long lens shot with 70-200mm

These 2 shots were taken hand-held with the 70-200mm lens – then I swapped over to the 16-35mm to show the huge clouds and their curved paths more. Also, I could put on a 10-stop ND filter to extend the exposure from 1/400th to a full 30 seconds

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – wide lens with polariser and 10 stop filter

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – brightened up the grass on this one


Drax Power Station

Location 1

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

I found this puddle many years ago, just by chance I’d parked in a gateway to get a shot and there it was.

Was an obvious place to try a shot – the puddle was frozen over so the perfect reflections were slightly obscured, but I quite like the stark cold look it gives – especially compared to the warm clouds.

You could argue I should get rid of the power lines – they are a distraction – but surely a power station does have the odd cable around it ūüėČ

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax – Location 2

This is near a farm just past DRAX – there was a big pond nearby but was on private property AND the farmer was milling around, so thought better than trying to shoot from it.

It gave great close up shots of the steam as it was floating virtually over head

There were a couple of puddles there too – so got an ultra low reflection shot. Basically, the camera was touching the puddle when I took it… takes a bit of practice.

Mouse eye view of DRAX

This third location is from about a mile away in a field near the river Aire. It’s often full of arable crops, so you can get bobbing yellow oil seed or ears of wheat¬†in the foreground, today it had the beginnings of some wheat by the look of it. But the crops were too small to bother with, so we concentrate on the sky – the shape of the cloud as it floats away from the towers.

Cool sunset of drax from a mile away

This second shot is a faster shutter speed and processed to be cooler – lots of blue tones. Just a different feel.

Location 5 – Goole Docks

Once the sun had set, the power station looked dull and grey – but the sky to the west was still glowing all kinds of warm colours.

So I headed over a familiar route to some docks in Goole. I’d passed these 8 years ago and remembered they had some nice shapes and textures, as well as wonderful reflections of course.

A factory door opened and dozens of ducks sprang into the water…

Even cranes look pretty cool with a sunset going on behind them

More detail of this large machine – no idea what it is though.

Road warning signs – on the banks of the Aire at Goole

Sunset and industrial shade

Sci-fi movie processing style

Final embers of the sunset

Wensleydale – New Year 2017

Wensleydale for New Year

Wensleydale is one of my favourite Dales, it’s long, wide, full of waterfalls and lovely villages – and has nice cheese!

Cotter Force, Wensleydale

This new year I was up there with friends and popped out now and then to get some shots of the area – especially one fantastic sunset on New Years Day, where we went up Butter Tubs Pass. Looking back over the valley to Ingleborough was pure magic.

Ingleborough, from Butter Tubs Pass

Snowy grass in the foreground, dramatic skies in the distance, and eventually we got a rare Sun Pillar. I’ve not seen one before, it’s when the sun sets and lights up ice particles in the sky – looking like a fountain of fire.

Sun Pillar

The following day, I finally found Cotter Force – I’d tried before but went straight past it by accident! It’s probably the most accessible waterfall¬†other than West Burton, in a little rock fissure and all in the shade.


Cotter Force, Wensleydale

Cotter Force, Wensleydale

New Years Evening was a deluge, so when we went to Aysgarth Falls the river Ure was a torrent – perfect for Sam, this guy who’s a professional Kayak racer. He did a couple of runs for us, totally mental, but exciting to watch.

Lower Aysgarth Falls, Sam kayaks over it


We went to Hardrow Force too – England’s highest fall wzith a clear drop over 90 feet – and again it was pretty full compared to normal.

Hardraw Force

Walking across the fields between Simonstone and Hardraw was¬†relly pretty too – can’t beat the odd barn or tree for a Landscape photo.

Path from Hardraw to Simonstone

View into Wensleydale from Simonstone

The rest of the photos from the day

Moles caught and put on the wall…. not sure why

View to Hawes

Upper Aysgarth Falls


Upper Cotter Force

Cotter Force

LIGHTROOM tutorial – Landscape – Swaledale Waterfall

Is Swaledale the best Dale? 

There are so many dales, all with different character, all with different features. 

Swaledale is known for its steep sides, lead mines, waterfalls and 1000 barns – so lots to go at for the photographer

We went up there yesterday – Richard Spurdens with his new Canon 5D mark 4 and me with the huge 500mm lens. Boys and their toys. 

Here are a few from a quick play in LIGHTROOM – you can see the autumn colours were strong, and we found some really dramatic view points. That’s at the cost of being knackered after a long walk of course. 


The tutorial bit

Here’s the before and after of the photo we edit for you

At the end of the shoot the light died pretty fast and there was no sunset – so we found this waterfall. 

The sky and water were really bright compared to the surrounding leaves and rocks – I purposely shot the shot to keep detail in these bright areas, at the cost of underexposed “everything else”.

In this tutorial we explain

  • how to recover hightlights and dark areas
  • how to quickly and easily enhance areas with the RADIAL tool 
  • why it’s worth underexposing in these situations
  • why you should think VERY CAREFULLY before handing out your RAW files. 

The Video


Lightroom and Photoshop – Focus Stacking Tutorial

Front to back sharpness

Here’s how it’s done!

Even at F16 with a wide lens, you can struggle to get everything sharp in a photo. If you like getting a foreground object such as a boulder or stream in your shot – the background may get blurry – of the foreground may get blurry… it depends on where you focus.

How about doing 2 shots, 1 focussed on the background and the other on the foreground?

That’s what we did here – the video takes you through how to automatically blend these 2 shots in PHOTOSHOP.

The Source Images

These were taken on a tripod with the exact same settings Рjust the focus point changed. I used LIVE VIEW on a canon 5D mark 3 Рmoving the little focus box from the leaves in one shot to the actual waterfall in the other. Hopefully, you can see the focus difference on these 2 shots


The Result

This looks pretty much the same as above, but on closer inspection, you see both the back and foreground are sharp


See how it’s done

Lightroom Tutorial – Landscape – Ribblehead Viaduct

Yorkshire Dales Lightroom Tutorial – Ribblehead Viaduct

A sunset shot – without a great sunset

So you’re¬†driving up a long country road with no real signs of life apart from the odd farm or bird of prey, then all of a sudden this massive viaduct pops up!

That’s Ribblesdale – it’s full of stuff to photograph, and here is the best bit, right at the top of the valley.

In the summer the sun sets over the back of Whernside, so not so good for sunsets – but in the darker months, you get the sun setting behind the actual viaduct – so far more effective.

Tutorial Contents

It’s a full LIGHTROOM workflow – quite long and discusses how to make something quite overcast and disappointing into something a bit more exciting.

We go through each of the DEVELOP panels showing you ideas and even use NIK Silver EFEX to do a final mono edit.

Sepia Conversion – Silver EFEX Pro


The Video

Yorkshire Coast Photography Workshop – Photos

McFade’s Yorkshire Coast Workshop – 2016

We returned to the Yorkshire Coast for the 5th time this year – armed with cameras and tripods, out trip took us from Robin Hood’s bay to Saltburn via several stops, coffees and a bag of fish and chips.

Here is what we got up to on the Yorkshire Coast

Robin Hoods Bay

The classic Yorkshire Coast village – with a huge defence wall, rock pools and boats everywhere. We started here – and had lunch at a local chippy!




Selwick Bay

Our first stop here on a workshop – rather than Whitby, where you have too many people bustling around for you to get great photos at noon – we called in at this lovely bay.

The Nab is the iconic sea pillar you see in many of the shots.






it’s just a beach when the tide is out – but time it right, the sea comes in and makes misty patterns over the groynes, and on a good day, create huge waves which splash passing traffic.







This is always the highlight for me Рa beautiful little village, with a  tidal harbour, stunning views Рjust a classic where you can enjoy a few hours.









Saltburn on Sea

To fininish off we stop at Saltburn – it’s on the way home, has the only Yorkshire pier which used to be lit up below the deck. Twice now it’s not been lit!

This time we had a little intro to night photography before heading back homeward bound



ct2a7685 ct2a7689

Ribblesdale – Yorkshire Dales Western Diamond

Ribblesdale – a fantastic photography destination

Coming from Ribblesdale, I’m obviously biased – though I’m a good 20 miles downstream from most of these destinations

The Ribble is 70 miles long, starting at Ribblehead and entering the Irish sea at Preston. It’s a stunning journey down the valley, past Settle, Clitheroe and Ribchester – though these locations are all from Settle to Ribblehead

So here’s our pictorial guide to Ribblesdale

Above the valley

These are from above Langthwaite – take the Malham Road and you’ll find them.



Scalebar Force

A little outside of Settle on the Airton Road




Stainforth Force

A 30 minute walk from Stainforth – or you can park next to it if you’re brave!



Cattrigg Force

A steep walk out of Stainforth, or an amble down from the Malham road




Hoffman Lime Kiln

Just by the train track and road, near Stainforth – very easy access and parking



Ribblehead Station

A high station with track crossing, so you can get unique views – and park right outside it!




Ribblehead Viaduct

The best viaduct on the Settle Carlisle route Рamazing in this bleak landscape



063 ribblesdale yorkshire landscape

046 ribblesdale yorkshire landscape-Edit

A Few Other Views

Yorkshire’s Best Kept Secret – Knaresborough

Knaresborough Workshop Night

Yorkshire is full of little market towns, each with their market square lined with pubs.

Most would think of places like Thirsk, Bedale, Masham or Pickering – but there is one far closer to Leeds than all of those.

Knaresborough is just outside Harrogate and has all of the above. The square is a delight, there is a historic feel to the place with its huge castle ruins, and best of all for photographers, a mirror-still river which reflects a huge decorative train viaduct.

McFade’s Knaresborough Night Workshop

In September¬†2016, we took a group around the river area of the town – starting by the bridge at Mother Shipton’s Cave, then moving on up to the castle and back via the railway station.

We finished off by showing the delegates how the Pixel Stick works – which is always great fun!

Unfortunately, the sunset never really set fire to the sky – as this shot shows. It is the main road bridge over the river Nidd, taken from downstream.



Next we walked up the little river road and captured a few views up there as we approached the viaduct.



River Reflections

ct2a6080 ct2a6081

View from the Castle


Walk back to base

ct2a6093 ct2a6091 ct2a6095

Pixel Stick on the Bridge

ct2a6107 ct2a6108

People and the Pixel Stick

ct2a6111 ct2a6117 ct2a6115

The rest of the photos

Summer Nights Workshop – 2016 Review

McFade Summer Nights Workshops 2016

A look back over 12 fantastic evenings – but first some background

Where did the idea of Summer Nights Workshops come from?

Ever since I¬†took Photography seriously I’ve regularly gone out for smaller outings – usually with 1 or 2 friends. We’d find places to go, new things to try out and gradually get loads of ideas and locations to return to.

I found that it broke the weekend up and gave us something to look forward to. Gets you out of the “office mindset” too.

But also, if you just do “a bit” at a time, then built on it regularly – your skills just blossomed and grew.

What are McFade Summer Nights Then?

When I started McFade Training I did lots of weekend trips, bigger outings which cost more and were less frequent. This is probably what most trainers do – more people are free on weekends and you do make more money!

But I’d find that if you saw people every few months, they’d probably not have had reason to go out and practice what they’d learned at the last workshop. In fact, you’d be going over the same ground again to refresh their memories.

So it gave me the idea of re-creating what I’d done with John and Dave in the “noughties” :-

  • a regular evening to look forward to
  • a different location for each session
  • a load of different skills – from towns to landscapes, people to porches.
  • a gradual build up of skills and confidence in the regulars who came

How do you get the most from these nights?

Both financially¬†and in learning, the people who booked the whole series got the most. The evenings¬†were over 33%¬†less – meaning that even if you missed a few, you were still “quids in”.

Also I get to know where people’s skills lie if I see them regularly – I can introduce new things each session which¬†build on the last session.

It also gets people¬†out regularly –¬†people may not go out on their own, but if they’ve got a group session each fortnight, it’s in the diary and they turn.

Obviously, those who just “dip in” to the odd workshop that appeals have a great time too – it’s just they don’t get all the benefits of regular training.

It’s a bit like a personal training session for your¬†creative side!¬†

In¬†2017, we’re seriously considering offering this just as a “12 workshop series” – with no individual bookings. We’d love your feedback on that.

What do we do on these nights?

It’s relaxed and fun – that’s the main thing.

There are no egos or know it alls – no competitions or kit envy. It is usually people with basic DSLR cameras who just want to get better at taking photos. We’ve had a 15 year old and a few in their 70’s – there’s no age restrictions.

We try to cover a lot of ground between May and September, a comprehensive series giving people exposure to many topics, each building on the basics of photography – we usually start in towns in May, this year it was York.


We usually start in towns in May, this year it was York. Towns offer a bit of cover if it’s raining, some cool places for sunsets and they’re easy to get to and park.¬†Also I think people¬†rarely photograph towns – it’s a bit scary on your own – so going in group really helps people relax.

It’s dark by 10PM in May too – so you get your first taste of low light photography, which usually is a paradigm shift for most.

We also went to Saltaire – terrible weather meant we stood under a bridge for a while, but a series of creative challenges kept everyone motivated till we could shoot the weirs.


In June we did portraits. All in Leeds, all on location and with a mix of flash and natural light.

Portrait is tricky to get right when you’re new – you have someone rather than an inanimate object to photograph. Do you talk to them or what?

Well the main emphasis on the first one was using long lenses and wide apertures to avoid really busy backgrounds. That’s often the main issue with portrait – the person has all kinds of stuff going on¬†behind them. So stand back, zoom in and blur the background was a great start.

Next was The Blues Brothers – Brian, Chris and Gareth were fantastic but the weather was appalling. We retreated to the Dark Arches and got flashes out – which wasn’t at all planned, but was “real”. Stuff like that really happens – a lot.

The group had a fantastic few hours whilst I changed batteries in the flashes as they faded!


We are in Yorkshire so Landscape is all around us – it made sense to do lots of Landscape workshops. We went to :-

  • Harewood and Almcliffe
  • Burley and Ilkley Moor
  • Pontefract, Ferrybridge and the A1 Bridge
  • Beal and Eggborough

It’s fair to say the weather was mixed for these –¬†and Landscape really does depend on good light.

The Ferrybridge and A1 Workshop

These are all locations the people can return to on better days – but even on a grey night we got 3 great locations and proved that even a fading blue hour sky can look amazing when you know how. The pond shot below was taken on a virtually pitch black lake side!

44-summer-nights-ferrybridge 9-summer-nights-ferrybridge 52-summer-nights-ferrybridge 81-summer-nights-ferrybridge

Beal and Eggborough

Another location roadtrip which I first did in about 2005 – this was about fields, crops and their interaction with the canals and power station.

Again, not the greatest light for it – we learned about foreground interest, balance in composition, reflections and a cool trick at sunset where you make anything you can find into a silhouette with the sky colours blurred behind it – see the thistle below.

ct2a9560 ct2a9603-edit-2 ct2a9671


Harewood and Almscliffe

At last a sunny night – though it was cold on the boulders later on.

A 2 stop workshop where we showed everyone a bridge and weir we found by accident in 2008, then up to some iconic boulders near Harrogate.

Here we looked at the 10 Stop Filter, using boulders foreground interest, finding names and pools rocks and exposing for bright sun

ct2a3349 ct2a3322 ct2a3363 ct2a3374

Burley and Ilkley Moor

This was a very unusual evening – where the sun actually created lots of problems by the weir. The sky was cloudless and therefore boring, and the sun was going stright into people’s lenses creating all kinds of flare.

A nice problem in a way I guess – a little patience and it became less of an issue. Everyone got to try the 10-stop filter for themselves, getting a very smooth water flow over 30 seconds.

The cow and calf was pretty windy and cold – we showed the team how to create great sunset silhouettes again – this time with huge boulders rather than thistles. On top of the rocks are lots of names carved into the rock so we showed how to capture those with ultra wide lenses.

ct2a4004 ct2a3999 ct2a3987 ct2a0198-hdr-edit ct2a0183 ct2a0138-edit


We met at a lovely golf club to take photos of the TVR club’s wonderful cars – but it poured down, a washout.

Tricky suggested we rescue the night by going to the IKEA car park Рso over we went, only 10 minutes away. Unfortunately it was pretty busy in there Рso I had to get everyone a safe distance away with long lenses.

Gradually the customers disappeared and we got more and more space – the cars spread out and we had a final hour of sci-fi magic. The curvy cars and ultra austere concrete of the car park made for some of the best shots we’ve made over the years.

tvr-car-workshopct2a2506-hdr-edit tvr-car-workshopct2a2426-edit

Bonus at Brimham Rocks

A final landscape workshop up at Brimham rocks followed. We went armed with all the night painting equipment as it’d be dark by 8:30PM.

It was a good job as the sunset never happened and the rocks were not hugely inspiring as the sky went grey. But as soon as it went dark we found our stride and introduced everone to light painting, sparks and light graffiti.

It was great fun getting everyone involved – we had red boulders, stick men and all kinds of ideas flowing.

brimham-rocks-light-painting-7 tvr-car-workshopct2a3874

2 Towns to Finish Off


It’s most famous for Mother Shipton’s Cave and the railway viaduct – we photographed the latter, the cave was shut!

The Nidd was perfectly stil that night, so giving fantastic reflections for everyone. The start was at a road bridge where we had lots of boats for foreground – so the challenge was to use the boats in the composition.

After that we captured street scenes and the viaduct before climbing up to the castle – a very steep stairway which was pretty tiring, but we all got great photos of the bridge and its mirror reflection.

To end the night we had an hour of Pixel Stick fun – some Pac Man ghosts on the bridge then lots of other interactive stuff, with silhouettes and rainbows!

ct2a6068 ct2a6086 ct2a6080 ct2a6116 ct2a6108

Salford Quays and Media City

To finish off is a place went to photograph first in 2004 – The Lowry as it was then, but it’s graduated into Media City now.

A pastel sunset gave a lovely salmon sky as the sun set, then we were into night photography of all the amazing structures and rainbows of colour.

We actually finished at 11:20, an hour and 20 later than usual, as there was so much to shoot – a few left earlier – no one’s obliged to stay till the end!

So That’s All Folks

Summer is now over – we’ll be running weekend workshops over the winter in 2016-2017 and rebooting the Summer Nights again next year – so keep your eye out for them.

York Photography – A Beautiful City at Night

The McFade York Photography Workshop 2016

With its walls, river, minister and castle as highlights – and hundreds of other things to discover, I’ve always loved running Photography workshops in York.

It was drizzling, then fine, then raining… and that only adds to the scene. The watery pavements reflecting colourful light into the camera adds to the magic.

York Photography Ideas

The gallery before contains a few highlights from the workshop – these include:-

Minster and walls

Northern Europe’s biggest cathedral, a gothic masterpiece which dominates the city. The walls are older still, and provide a great lead line into¬†the Minster when taken from near the train station


The old butcher’s row – olde worlde in the extreme, usually full of tourists, so go late at night. The upper floors almost touch, that’s how they used to build them!

River and tour boats

The river moves slowly, which means it’s great for reflections – so those night colours and boats all look great if you take long exposure shots from a bridge.

York Museum

Three great looking wings of the old museum to enjoy, though there is a tree making a mess off the best angle! And usually a few vans in the way!

Clifford’s Tower

The last bit of the castle still standing is the keep, called Clifford’s Tower. It stands on top of a conical mound and has a famous silhouette, so you can get some nice sunset skies and use that as the foreground.

Yorks ancient streets

The Shambles is the king of the streets in York, but there are loads more around the Minster area. All the better if they are wet – the pavements come alive!

Reflections in the cobbles

And finally the cobbles… they’re all over the place, they look cool if you get your camera right on the ground next to them.

York Gallery

Here are a few from last night’s workshop – just click on a shot to open the large versions ūüôā

The Amazing Milky Way at Brimham Rocks

Shooting the Milky Way – If at first you don’t succeed…



Pack up your bags and go back another night!

That’s what happened with our legendary Brimham Rocks workshop this year – the first run was a wash-out¬†no sign of a star, never mind the milky way. Horizontal rain, cold, and no shelter anywhere saw us calling a halt on proceedings before cameras broke and people got hypothermia!

A few weeks later we returned, and wow – the results were magical!

Perfectly dark – no moon!

CT2A4430To see the milky way you need to be somewhere with little light… which Brimham is – but also if there is no¬†moon , you’re on to a winner as the sky will be lots darker.

It was a new moon which had disappeared by 7:30.

Techy Bit

With it being so dark, and there was a chance to get the milky way, we decided to expose to capture stars – so this meant:-

  • long exposures – 30 seconds
  • wider apertures, most at F4 or F5.6
  • High ISO – 800 to 1600

This meant that the skies had enough light in them to reveal the stars in post processing.

The Light Painting Bit

CT2A4435 With the cameras set to capture LOTS of light, the light painting was very different to usual Рrather than painting for 30 seconds to light boulders, 2-10 was ample, depending on the torch power and gel thickness.

So most of these shots were a quick wash of light, then we stood in darkness for the rest of the 30 seconds!

The Pixel Stick


We took it, but only did a couple of shots with it – still learning what to do with it to get effective shots – and in this location, it wasn’t really adding much to an already-amazing scene!


Again, we wanted to let the sky do the talking and help the boulders with a coloruful glow, so we only did a few wire wool wheels!

We did however do a few LED orbs – they were fun.

The Photos

2015 Photography Review 9 – September

September 2015

In september we :-

  • Ran our first night workshop in Leeds
  • Did some headshots for a CEO
  • Helped Xpand Marketing with their new location and rebrand photography
  • Ran a workshop in Ribblesdale, ending at Ribblehead Viaduct at sunset
  • Photographed Salford Quays at night
  • Shoot down at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Create product photos for My¬†English Summer
  • Even did a quick baby photo session…

See the rest of 2015…

Read about January
Read about February
Read about March
Read about April
Read about May
Read about June
Read about July
Read about August
Read about September
Read about October
Read about November
Read about December

See How Easily Focus Stacking You Gives Ultimate Sharpness In Your Landscape Photos

Focus Stacking in Landscape Photos

If you like to get everything pin sharp in your landscapes, Focus Stacking is for you.

If you shoot low with foregrounds which are very close to the lens, then it can be hard to get the background AND the foreground pin sharp. Focussing 1/3 of the way into a scene if often recommended, or using a “hyperfocal” calculator app on your phone can give you the best focus distance for a given aperture and focal length.

Taking The Guesswork Out РUse Focus Stacking

Rather than struggle to work out the best F-Stop and where to focus, we can create a “focus stack”. This is where you take identical photos, but move the focus through the photo.

In our example from Ribblesdale, we focussed on the tree in one photo, and the bottom right rocks on the second image.

The easiest way to do this on a CANON (and most other brands) is to use LIVE VIEW where you can move your focus box around on screen with cursor keys.

  • Put the focus box on the foreground, take a shot.
  • Put the focus box on the middle ground, take a shot.
  • Put the focus box on the background¬†ground, take a shot.

You can take 2 or more – though with smaller apertures (F11 or F16) and wide angled lenses (10-28mm say), the depth of field rarely needs more than 2 shots.

The Photos

These are the 2 photos – they’ve both been processed identically in Lightroom and exported as large files – ready for merging in PHOTOSHOP.

How To Stack

It’s surprisingly easy using PHOTOSHOP – there is a feature where you create a “stack”, then you merge the stack – and it’s done.

Here is a little video to show how it all works:-


Travel Photography – Literally!

Ever travel long distances as a passenger?

I do – as a member of a touring band, we sometimes cover hundreds of miles – and a few weeks ago, that involved going from Leeds to Inverness… and back!

Naturally I took the camera – for photos of the lovely Scottish city, but also to capture the band in action…

Then it occurred to me that the highlands were beautiful from the main roads, no need to actually go on country roads to see amazing vistas. But we had a schedule, so stopping was not an option.

So what about shooting whilst you’re moving?

What To Use

On the way up I used the canon 5D with the 70-200 lens – which gets you into the action, avoiding the road edges, hedges and fences. Try these settings:-

  • ISO 800 – 3200 – depending on the brightness of the day you may get away with 400
  • Aperture priority
  • F4-F11 – any smaller gave blurry shots due to long shutter speed and motion blur
  • Auto white balance
  • RAW mode

Take a few shots and check the sharpness – if you are getting motion blur, then up the ISO and open the aperture a little

OR try using Shutter Priority – Tv in canon speak

Set the shutter to at least 1/500th if you’re using a longer lens.

On the return journey I swapped to the 24-70mm, and a 2 stop ND grad filter. Mainly to get broody skies and a wider landscape view. The settings were the same.

200mm Shots

24-70mm Shots

Snow Photography in the Yorkshire Dales

Snow Photography at Settle and Malham

It’s not been the snowiest of winters, but on a trip out with Richard Spurdens, we were treated to some great Snow Photography opportunities.

Add to that fast moving clouds and ever changing light, you get infinite variety of snow photography without having to move far at all.

The trip started near settle where we got the bush and tree shots – lots of walls creating strong shadows on the white snow. Views across to Pen Y Gent were Impressive, using Richard’s 400mm prime you can see the walls and cliffs in detail.

From there we headed to Scalebar Force, which was snow free… we still got lots of photos, but that’s for another blog!

Finally we went to the inevitable Malham Rakes Tree for a sunset which never really got going.

It was cold – really cold – but we had a great day and got some great shots.

England’s Biggest Waterfall

High Force – Teesdale

It may only be 70 feet tall, minute compared to the giants in Yosemite or South America, but High Force, high up in Teesdale, is very impressive in flood – as it was on this day!

With it being winter, you can see the falls from the road through the leafless trees. Its too obscured to create a decent shot, but adds to the build up.

I tried 2 techniques on the day –

  1. using the 70-200mm I’d do fast shutters to capture the texture of water flowing over the cliff. These had fast shutters and honed in on then water rather than the surroundings
  2. using the 17-40mm – I used a 10 stop filter and ND grad to create a surreal texture in the water and clouds – leaving the rocks being the only “real” looking thing in the scene

Here are a selection of shots

Really bright sun behind the falls on this one


214 tynedale teesdale high force

Zoomed in to 200 mm to capture the top part of the falls

213 tynedale teesdale high force

Again with the 70-200mm, even closer in

210 tynedale teesdale high force

Added detail in the rocks with sharpening, used the 70-200mm to zoom in and avoid the sky
200 tynedale teesdale high force

Showing the contrast between hard, linear rock structures, and the chaotic flow of the water

192 tynedale teesdale high force70-200mm showing perhaps the best demonstation of the flow of water as it splashes down

191 tynedale teesdale high force

70-200mm taken from the approach path – this is quite a distance away, yet it’s already really loud and impressive

190 tynedale teesdale high force

Black and white version from the same view point

183 tynedale teesdale high force-Edit

Wider shot from the approach path181 tynedale teesdale high force 180 tynedale teesdale high force

Close up to the falls, we see the right falls – a very rare sight as they only flow when the tees is very high.

used the 17-40, a 10 stop filter and ND grad over the clouds to get a 30 second photo
107 tynedale teesdale high force

Same set up as the above, just gone portrait and used the boulders to “point” to the water fall. Clouds were blowing past pretty fast as you can see!

103 tynedale teesdale high force-Edit

Heavily cropped shot as there was lots of water blobs on the left of the shot – made this square shot and kept a little flare in the dark areas for interest, just love how sharp the stone looks in the foreground

102 tynedale teesdale high force

Tripod higher up on this one, so you get less emphasis on the foreground boulders.


099 tynedale teesdale high force

Taking advantage of the bright sunshine to get a high contrast shot

209 tynedale teesdale high force

Didn’t get many from this view point because of spray wetting the lens, but shows both falls nicely

089 tynedale teesdale high force

This went down really well on facebook!
217 tynedale teesdale high force 216 tynedale teesdale high force-Edit

Wider shot with the 70-200mm with small fall on the left 219 tynedale teesdale high force


Fake Blurry Skies… in 2 minutes

10 Stop Filters – All the Rage!

I’ve got one, have you?

Well no landscape or architecture photographer worth their salt goes out without one these days do they ? ūüėČ

It is the current fad – that surreal sky, those misty sea shores… you simply have to use them…

They are genuinely interesting to use, and I have on occasion used one commercially to make “people disappear” from photos.

So looking back at this photo of Clarence Dock, which it was called then, I wondered what it would have looked like with a 10-stopper.

Photoshop Stuff…

So here’s a very quick, purposely quick and dirty, way you can do the blurred sky thing.

It just uses…

  • Selections
  • Layers
  • Filters
  • Masks

Simple stuff really – as you’ll see when you watch it ūüôā


But what about the water?

Ten out of ten to Eva Pitt, who mentioned that the water should look different if it was a long exposure.

  • Well the main reason for it not being smooth in this instance is time – the video was supposed to be 2 minutes, it went on to 4… didn’t have time
  • having a smooth sky and choppy water is confusing – and confusion is a good thing, ask any NLP master
  • If you’ve understood the theory of how to do the sky, you could apply it to the water – so that part would be superfluous.


Bookings “go though the roof” with McFade Photos

A New Look Pays Off!

072 rare location shotsAnd2more


Having recently opened an events space in Leeds, our client needed some fresh shots to promote it.

So we created some of our “special HDR¬†images” of Lambert’s Yard¬†–¬†using a mix of angles and styles to show the features, and sell the place as a modern,¬†warm, fun, city centre venue to hold your events.

041 rare location shotsAnd2more

Since releasing¬†the photos their hit-rate on google has “gone through the roof”,¬†they have taken on an unprecedented 25 new bookings in a week.

We’re obviously delighted to have such a great impact on a new venture’s fortunes, and are looking forward to giving many¬†other venues the same treatment next week!

032 rare location shotsAnd2more


What difference could new images have on your business?

You may not have cool city centre venues for hire, but most of us do have images on our websites and social media – ask yourself…

  • What are my¬†current images saying about my¬†business?
  • Do they have the right “message” to my¬†clients?
  • Are they just filling the site, or are the enhancing the site ?

The Main Event!

Photography can be so much more than a “website filler” – it can totally transform how people view your business and attract a whole new demographic; they are the main event on most websites!


If photos of you, your team or your business in general are looking dated – don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0776655 83 75 or drop us a line at smile@mcfade.co.uk – if we can help, we will!

Lightroom Landscape Workflow – 3 Minute Mono!

Last Ditch Pitstop!

The Dales Experience workshop was somewhat spoiled by ice – the 3 roads to get to our favourite spots were impassible! So rather than panic, we grabbed loads of great shots elsewhere and on the way back to base, I remembered these trees on the side of the road near Airton

I don’t think anyone else really saw the potential – the sunset had come and gone, very little light and the tree was in the wrong direction for the last light anyway.

But the point of these workshops is to both show people how to get shots AND show potential locations – and this is one… so I stopped!

Under 3 Minutes to Cook!

This tutorial video (below) shows how I got from this unedited RAW file to the “MOODY MONO”¬†shot below in under 3 minutes using Lightroom – and that’s taking time to commentate in LIGHTROOM too!

Sure, you could do more, I think the tree trunks don’t stand out enough so you could get busy with the DODGE brush in Photoshop and make the grass brighter… but hopefully¬†you get some ideas for your future monos.

We go from this

264 yorkshire dales malham workshop-2

To this

264 yorkshire dales malham workshop

See our simple Lightroom Workflow – 3 Minutes!


Does your “editing” change over the years?

Just having a look for some shots and came upon a sunset at Semerwater – which I photographed in January 2008…. 6.5 years ago.¬†

2008 Workflow

Back then my workflow was a little different :-

  • Shoot RAW files
  • Copy files onto hard drive after a shoot
  • Import RAW files into Capture One – Version 3 I think
  • Make minor and “global” tweaks there
  • Export as TIFF
  • Edit and sharpen etc. in Photoshop CS (2/3/4)
  • Use action to resize and water mark if going to use it online

All in Lightroom in 2014

These days a huge amount, if not all, is done in Lightroom 5 – it’s more for speed and convenience than anything. The newer versions of Capture One produce fantastic results, but the interface isn’t so great, the workflow is slower and the program is full of bugs.

So I thought I’d import the CR2 files from 2008 into Lightroom and edit them as I do now, then compare to what I did in 2008.

Here we go…

The Gate in the Water

This was my favourite from the water’s edge – the RAW file is pretty blue, I was using Cokin P ND grads back then and they did give you a slight blue cast sometimes.

The first shot is a 2014 edit.

Looks like I preferred the blue hues today, though i did make the orange slither in the backgroud more pronounced. Also, the magical clarity slider helped with the cloud shapes, making them more textured,

_MG_2542 _MG_2542


Silhouetted Sign and Gate

So with this, I edited the wrong shot – though it’s pretty much the same scene shot from different sides of the gate.

Pretty much the same edits in both eras.


_MG_2548 _MG_2549


The Mobile Jetty

So this is a platform they put in the water in the summer for boaters to use. Loved the worn textures and bolted washers, so got up close with the wide lens and made that a huge foreground.

So in 2014, I’ve warmed the scene up and hugely increased the impact of the wood. Using mainly the brush tool in Lighroom I added clarity, highlights and sharpness. Looking back at the more restrained 2008 version… did I overcook the new one? Does the ease of adding clarity etc. risk pushing byond the boundary of realism? Borderline here….



_MG_2537 _MG_2537


The Farewell Shot

And finally, the parting shot, taken from the car, looking back over the wider scene of Semerwater

I’ve definitely gone for a different crop here, and also using teh Shadows slider, the foreground grass has a bit more texture than 2008. There seems to be a lot more going on in the new edit.

_MG_2554 _MG_2553


So if you’ve stuck with this very self indulgent blog, you’ll see that despite 6 years passing and a load of new tools in the photographer’s virtual tool case, I’ve been reasonably consistant.

Lightroom has made things easier and quicker,though not always better. Clarity looks great when zoomed out to full screen, but at 100% it can look a mess. It creates halos, adds noise and ruins fine details.

In Capture One 5 there was a Structure slider which did a better job.

I’d certainly recommend¬†editing a couple of shots you edited a few years ago – see how different the results are. Especially if you’re relatively new – you should see some big leaps forward!


13 Yorkshire Sunset Shots

Saddleworth Moor to Scammonden Bridge

May seems to be throwing up some amazing sunsets

Missing quite a few of them, I decided it was time to hit the road an get a few shots from the moors between Huddersfield and Oldham – loads of variety and drama there.

So here are a selection from the 2 hour road trip – mainly taken with a 17-40 lens with 2-stop ND grad filter on a canon 5D2.

The Photos…

092 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 105 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 089 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 064 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 056 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 050 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 038 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 029 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 021 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 009 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 016 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 014 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 044 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden

13 Photos of New (Clarence) Dock – Leeds

Clarence Dock or New Dock Leeds?

I’ve always referred to it as Clarence Dock, but the area was rebranded “New Dock Leeds” in 2012 according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Dock_(Leeds)).

Either way, the blend of architecture and water makes for a great place to photograph – even on dull days, dusk photos look great once the lights come on.

New Dock Leeds through a Sigma 12-24mm Lens

The purpose of this shoot was to try out a Sigma 12-14mm lens – I’ve shot with the Canon 17-40 dozens of times, would the extra 5mm make much difference?

Here’s a shot with the 17-40 at 17mm



And here is the 12-24 at 12 mm

leeds-clarence-dock-evening-april-2014_0103_4_5So as you can see, it does make a big difference – you can see all of the Armouries building on the left and all of the roundish building on the right.

It does open up a world of new possibility for city shooters.

The biggest issue with the lens is that you can’t really fit a polariser of filter system – it comes with a filter ring “thing” which slides on to the front of the lens. However, you get round photos if you use it… vignette is an understatement… it’s properly round.

So it’s HDR all the way – and here are 13 photos taken last night, all bracketed images (-2/0/+2 EV)

13 HDR Photos of New Dock



Leeds Shopping – 9 Photos from Briggate and Beyond

Leeds Shopping – Knightsbridge of the North?

Leeds does seem to have its fair share of shops. Posh shops. Harvey Nichols. Designer stuff.

I like the shop in the Victoria Quarter with Panerai watches best – often found lusting after the PAM 372, a huge watch which looks just about perfect on my wrist… shame it’s ¬£6000.

20mm HDR

So trialling my trusty new 20mm prime lens, I took the tripod around Briggate and the shopping area – weird light meant HDR, just to eek out a bit more detail in the clouds and dark areas.

Bracketing at -2/0/+2 EV was enough for the light conditions – no need to go silly and do 7 shots or anything like that.

Then to processing – in a nutshell…

  • Lightroom – basic tweaks – output 16-bit TIFFs
  • Photomatix – blend a few and create a preset which works
  • Photomatix – batch process the lot to 16-bit TIFFs
  • Lightroom – tweaks to colour, verticals etc.
  • Photoshop – more specific edits on a few of them


No ghosts!

One thing I’ve noticed with the new Photomatix 5 is that it’s better at auto-de-ghosting.

Ghosting happens a lot in HDR – if something moves between your 3 shots, you get ghosts when you blend. Think of a moving car… on shot 1 it would be on the left of the frame. Shot 2 in the middle. Shot 3 on the right. When you blend you’d normally get 3 ghost cars.

It just seems a lot better than it used to be – not perfect, but on the shots below take a look at the people.


The Photos


Trinity Church




Commercial Street




Albion Place




Albion Place





Albion Place








Smoking Old Lady of Briggate





County Arcade




Upper Briggate


Fire on the Moors!

The Grande Finale!

We started a series of Night Workshops back in November 2013 – 15 workshops taking people from Nidderdale in the north to Huddersfield in the west, Parks and moors, city centres and saw dozens of photos edited for the attendees.

The final night was thankfully a dry one, one with hazy moon light and little wind

We met at Saddleworth Moor and traversed a route around 3 stops where we did some light painting and wire wool spinning.

The still water in the reservoir was perfect for reflections – the result being a pair of glowing eyes with wild hair flying off in all directions!

Here are a few from the evening

5 Shots of Ferrybridge



2013 is no more… I needed some new shots so on Thursday 2nd of Jan, 2014 I hit the road over to Ferrybridge to see if the sun was hitting the steam clouds over the cooling towers.

It was to an extent, my usual spot by the canal gave some reasonable long exposure shots – and I found the bridge over the A1 which has become a popular place to stop for some dusk shots with the A1 in the fore ground.

The one above is a vintage looking thing – made with Nik Analog EFEX, a photoshop plugin which simulates techniques and cameras from a bygone era.

Just seems to give that 1950’s feel to the shot – like the earliest photos of motorways which we see on the telly.





So here’s another shot from the same vantage point

The railings on the bridge are too high for most tripods, so you can only really shoot from here.

The curve of the road mirrored the fence so thought a shot with that included would work. Also the little tree protectors looked pretty cool.





From the canal, a shot with a 10-stop filter making it a 30 second exposure in bright sunshine. Always surreal.

Reduced clarity and added blur give it a softer, dreamy effect, to compliment the soft steam clouds.





A slightly more zoomed in view of the A1 – taking in the carved hill side and path of the roads.





And to finish – a lovely warm shot of the canal.

Probably not a subject many would drive to, but giant cooling towers have always had a certain brooding appeal!






5 Yorkshire Coast Photography Locations

Visiting Yorkshire?

The coast is well worth a visit for anyone, especially photographers. Here are 5 places to call into with your camera. All these photos were taken on one day – Sunday 1st December 2013 – during a McFade Photography workshop, proving you can get a huge variety of subject in 20 miles of coast!

Robin Hood’s Bay



The steep road into fishing village Robin Hood’s Bay takes you through a labyrinth of tiny, steep cobbled streets and colourful cottages. On a bright day, contrasting black and white photos are perfect. This photo is next to the sea wall, using the walls of the alley to frame the brightly lit white building opposite.

As you get to the foot of the hill you’ll see boats, a lifeboat centre and the bay itself. It’s a long sweeping bay with stunning views down to Ravenscar. Photos of The Bay Inn are iconic – if you walk out onto the rocks and find a suitable rock pool, set your tripod low, you can get a prefect reflection of this iconic pub.





In Whitby Dracula, goths, steps, Cook and the Abbey are all secondary to Fish and Chips.

Not strictly true, but it’s rare to make visit without checking out one of it’s many fisheries – they all compete to be best, so the standards are high.

There are boats, whale bones, jet, piers and harbour walls, distinct architecture from different eras and much more at this, the busiest and largest of the 5 locations on this list.




You can see Whitby Abbey from Sandsend – it’s that close.

A long sandy beach with pebbles and attractively shaped cliffs at one end – as seen in this photo.

The main attraction for the photographer are the “groynes”, those wooden sand walls you see along beaches. These ones are old, knurled, sanded and weathered into beautiful curved shapes, revealing the rich wood grain. These are found by the sea wall in the village, alas they were under water yesterday – so we were unable to make the most of them. Best time of day is after high tide as the water is going out. You need to be there when the waves stop reaching the wall so you can stand your tripod safely.

We’d recommend waterproof boots or wellington boots, so you can let the waves pass under the tripod – then when it’s receding into the sea, start the exposure to capture the movement of the foam back to the sea.


The highlight for many coastal visitors is Staithes, the definition of a Yorkshire Fishing Village. Steep roads, houses stacked almost on top of each other, a tidal river which has boats banked or bobbing, a harbour wall on which to stand and “that” view made famous by photographers such as Joe Cornish.

_MG_8564 _MG_8606 _MG_8609



These 3 images are taken in a radius of 300 meters – you don’t have to move too far for a totally different shot.

Also, there’s something about going black and white, or sepia toned, which appeals to me. Maybe it’s because the place has no real modernity about it?

The scene from high above is lovely at all times, but in low light, when the streetlamps come on, it becomes one of the finest scenes in the county.



And finally, once it goes dark you pack up and go home – right?

Well no – a 25 minute drive from Staithes takes you to Saltburn and Yorkshire’s only pier (that I know of anyway).

A local genius decided to light below the pier – turning this attractive pier into a photographic treat.

Shoot from south to north, you get the red sky from Teeside.

Shoot from north to south, a far darker sky.

Shoot down the pier legs for some crazy perspective shots

Shoot wide lenses, shoot long lenses


So much choice…

One thing to look out for is sinking tripods – if you’re in a wet sand area, ¬†bed your tripod legs in well before you shoot, or you may notice “slurred” shots!


So there are 5 of the northern gems on the coast – there are far more further south, Scarborough, filey and the stunning Flamborough head, so don’t think this is list is complete. I just think this route is the best for variety and photographic opportunity.

Doing all 5 is certainly an amazing day out for the adventurous and fast moving photographer.

If I had to choose 1, it’d be Staithes – but happily, you don’t have to choose 1!


5 Landscape Photography Locations in Yorkshire

Such a HUGE National Park, where do you begin?

Yorkshire is a huge county and is full of amazing photography locations. It has 300 feet tall coastal cliffs and craggy inland limestone edges, long stone walls and burbling waterfalls. It really is a dream for photographers of all kinds, but where do you start our Yorkshire landscape photography journey? 

To help find the best places, and show you our favourite viewpoints, we regularly run Yorkshire landscape photography workshops in the Dales and the Yorkshire Coast, for more details of our days out in the dales, pop over to our Workshop website

View current workshops 


So where to start with your Yorkshire landscape photography?

This list could be easily 20 locations long, but we’ve kept it down to 5 which showcase the coast, dales and industrial heritage – the iconic images of the county. 


Firstly – What kit should you take? 

Before you go, we’d recommend you take with you some decent kit items – including:-


1 Flamborough Head – Caves and Cliffs

Just north of Bridlington, this outcrop is full of things like upturned boats, white cliffs and caves, rock pools and all sorts of other delights.

It’s certainly one of my favourite coastal locations – not as well photographed as it’s cousins up the road, Whitby, Scarborough and Staithes, as it’s probably not quite as “picture postcard” beautiful, rather majestic, dangerous and riddled with a smuggling past.


2 – Malham – Limestone and Waterfalls

If you’re looking for “impressive”, then Malham is the epitome of it in the Dales. The place has the amazing Cove, the even more amazing Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss (waterfall), a tarn and lots of limestones.

In these shots, we see a very well photographed tree on Malham Rakes, up above Gordale Scar. The rock formation is known as “clints and grikes” – they’re really deep in parts, several feet, so be careful not to drop anything down them!


3 – Aysgarth Falls – 3 Cascading Falls in 1 Mile

Aysgarth has a series of falls rather than one main fall – here we see the lower falls cascading towards the camera. The shape and variety of the falls could keep you occupied for a shoe afternoon if you’re feeling creative.

Ample opportunity for wide angle shots like this one, or long lens shots which hone in different parts of the falls. There’s also a shop at the car park which does nice ice cream


4 – Hardcastle Crags – Woodland Trail With A Beautiful Mill

This is a gorge above Hebden Bridge, near Heptonstall. It’s mainly woodland and a burbling stream which guides you up the valley.

It’s a great place on a sunny day when light peeks through the trees leaving a mottled pattern on the floor. After a good walk from the car park, you get to Gibson Mill, which has this wonderful mill pond at the back offering perfect mirror reflections on a calm day.


5 – Bolton Abbey – Classic Dales Landscape And Ruined Abbey

Bolton Abbey has featured the BBC2 series “The Trip”, where Steve Coogan falls in the Wharf whilst running over some stepping stones.

The stepping stones are a great feature as are the abbey ruins and woods around the river. There’s also a very thin part of the river called the Strid, where the whole Wharf goes through a 6-foot gap – surreal.

A little walk from the river up Desolation Valley gets you to 2 waterfalls – the falls in this gallery are the lower and largest, it must be between 20 and 30 feet tall and is probably one of the most beautiful in the Dales.

I prefer it in winter when you get some ice on it and the leaves don’t block the sunlight so much. It also gets lovely icicles.

Well there are 5 locations to have a go at if you’re after somewhere with photographic potential.


Other Yorkshire Locations You Need To Visit