Friday, October 07, 2011

The upper Ribble valley

click photos to enlarge
The River Ribble is one of the major rivers of the United Kingdom, joint 19th in length at 75 miles (120km) long. It flows from its source at the confluence of the Gayle Beck and Cam Beck near Ribblehead, through North Yorkshire and Lancashire, to where it joins the Irish Sea between Lytham and Southport. The Ribble has interest and beauty all along its length. Growing up in the area shown in today's photographs I spent much of my time along its banks, and on my return visits I often photograph it, delighting in its varied moods and sights. When I lived on the Fylde Coast I frequently photographed the Ribble estuary at Lytham in a wider way and through its details.

Looking at today's photographs you may well say, "I see the valley, but where's the river?" In the upper reaches the Ribble is usually tucked away, bounded by trees on its often steep banks. That is the case in both shots: in the smaller it is below the line of trees in the middle-ground, and in the main image its course can be followed from near the bottom right of the frame, past the field with lines of drying hay in the centre, and off to the left below the wooded cliffs.

I took the first photograph fairly early on a sunny late September day. The light was modelling the undulating land well, showing off the drystone walls, and giving the trees a solidity that will disappear with their leaves. The highest point of land is the distant Fountain's Fell, land once owned by the monks of Fountain's Abbey. Below and to the right is a large cliff face, all that remains of Craven Quarry, the place where I photographed the Hoffmann Kiln earlier this year. The smaller photograph was taken on an equally sunny day, but in the afternoon and from the other side of the valley. I took this one for the contrast between the unimproved fields in the foreground and the distant background that contrast in character and colour with the greener improved fields closer to the road, river and farm. This shot also shows off well the drystone walls made of the local limestone that are characteristic of the Craven area of Yorkshire.

photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

Main Photo
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 50mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On