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Kisdon Force, Swaledale Autumn

There’s still plenty of autumn colour in the Yorkshire Dales at the moment, if you go looking for it. The trees aren’t all bare and in dull weather trees and rivers and falls are the best subject.


I went to visit my friends Richard and Polly at The Old School Gallery in Muker, where I have some pictures on show. Richard showed me a picture he’d taken recently, a rather good close-up of a small waterfall enhanced by fallen autumn leaves. He was using it in a magazine article he’s writing to illustrate what kind of pictures he doesn’t want photographers to submit to his gallery. I thought it was pretty good but he was trying to make the point that he wants to see more unique and original work. I then had to break the news to him that it was just the kind of shot I’d travelled up for and would be happy to get.

The falls just up the valley in Keld, especially Kisdon Force, are so naturally beautiful that it would be a shame not to present them in what I think of metaphorically as a “head and shoulders portrait”. If you’re going to photograph George Clooney or Scarlett Johansson you don’t need to have them doing cartwheels to make a good shot. In fact it would be a shame not to present their natural looks in a simple way. When faced with something or someone of exceptional beauty I think you need to try harder to find a simple shot that captures the essence of the thing.

So, I think these shots are probably of the style you may have seen before but I hope I’ve been able to use that style to do justice to the subject.

If you want to know about the location these falls are easily accessible from the village of Keld in upper Swaledale. Park in the car park and follow the signposted path along the river. The first falls you see, by the bridge, don’t seem to have a name. Kisdon Force is further along. Follow the path downstream with the river on your left for perhaps half a mile until you see a sign post for Kisdon upper falls then follow this. You can also get to the lower falls this way but it’s pretty rough.

All shots taken with the Olympus OMD-EM10.


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