Swaledale Flower Meadows

Swaledale Meadows
Swaledale Meadows

Each year in late May and early June a natural wonder occurs in the Yorkshire Dales. The meadows come into flower. Throughout the pennine areas you see carpets of buttercups. Nowhere do you see a better display than Swaledale and most spectacular of all are the meadows of Muker, at the western end of the dale.

I said a natural wonder but this is very much a man-made landscape, the result of centuries of farming. The other typical, and very photogenic, feature of this landscape are the stone barns that can be found at the corners of many meadows. I don’t know the history behind their design but there is a high degree of consistency in their architecture and wonderful proportions.

Swaledale Meadows
Swaledale Meadows

I was visiting partly for photography but also to attend a party given by my friends Richard and Polly at The Old School Gallery in Muker. This gave me the excuse to bring the tent and spend that day plus the next photographing. The day of arrival was grey and drizzly but this has the advantage of bringing out the colours more fully. Here are the shots taken that day. The following morning I was up at four for the dawn but that can wait for the next post.

Swaledale Meadows
Swaledale Meadows

For this trip I dug out an old lens I haven’t used since I switched from film to digital – a Pentax 70-210 zoom. I don’t much like it for two reasons. First, it’s big and heavy on my already big and heavy Pentax DSLR. Second, I’ve firmly developed a taste for wide angle shooting over the years and I’m rarely satisfied with long-lens shots. For this shoot, though, the long lens seemed like it might help. That turned out to be true. It took some getting used to, especially focusing, but the quality is very good.

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