Photography,  Travel

Nidd Gorge, Harrogate

The stunning Nidd Gorge presents walking trials and breathtaking scenery along the banks of the River Nidd.

There has been much controversy of late surrounding the Gorge, as plans to build a bypass to ease the increasing traffic congestion in Harrogate would mean the area would be all but destroyed, and this would of course be a terrible shame - as hopefully some of the photos in this post will show.

There are several official trails around the Gorge, but my route today started from the car park at the bottom of Bilton lane, then down the hill and onto Milners Lane, right in front of the Gardner's Arms pub. From there, the footpath is well signposted and the relatively easy-paced trek takes you down to the banks of the river. From here, I followed the river downstream until I arrived at the wooden footbridge.

(Click on any image in the post to show the larger versions)

Today I took my main camera, the Canon EOS 5D mkIII, with Canon 24-105mm lens and the excellent Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG Art lens.

Working my way back upstream from the bridge, my aim was to take some long-exposures of the water passing over the weir, however I was quite disappointed to arrive at said weir and find that there was virtually no water passing over it! Never mind, plenty of water to find some good material, and a few spring snowdrops to boot.

I then stumbled upon a rather splendid reflection of an old tree in a very large puddle:

Reflections
Reflections

Then further upstream I arrived at my final destination along the riverbank walk - the magnificent Nidd Gorge Viaduct. This majestic structure stands at 104 feet above the river and was built in 1848.  It was part of the now-defunct railway line which used to run to Ripley, Ripon and Thirsk, carrying freight and passengers until it closed in 1967. It now forms a section of the Harrogate-Ripley cycle and walking path know as the Nidderdale Greenway, and famously also appears in one action-packed scene from the movie Paddington 2!

So the viaduct was the place for me to drop anchor and get some long-exposures in the bag. I've not done much of this type of photography so far but the little I have done has got me hooked. There is something quite magical to me about the the ethereal-effect of the water, that to the eye is constantly moving - but by shooting a long exposure, the river takes on a milky aspect that transforms the mood of the shot.

The photo below was taken with the Canon EOS 5D mkIII with Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens, 41 seconds @ f/16, 100 ISO, and using a Lee Big Stopper from the 100mm Lee filter system.

Nidd Gorge Viaduct
Nidd Gorge Viaduct

I felt that the shot lent itself well to a black and white conversion too. This is something I have never been a fan of until I went on a workshop recently, and I must admit it is growing on me. Here's the conversion, see for yourself. Which do you think is the better version - colour or black & white? (please comment below)

Nidd Gorge Viaduct
Nidd Gorge Viaduct

The final part of the shoot was to climb the path that leads back up to the top of the viaduct (not easy - be careful, especially in wet conditions) which is well worth the effort for the views from the top:

So I hope you agree, this is one supremely majestic area. If you have not yet embarked on this lovely walk - or any of the walks around the Gorge area - get on it, you will not be disappointed.

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