At this time of year the Lake District National Park can be very busy as scores of holiday makers are attracted by it’s dramatic scenery, popular walks and pretty towns and villages. It is during this time that I look to explore locations away from the Lakes.
Nine Standards Rigg is a hill in the Yorkshire Dales National Park roughly 2 miles south east of the small market town of Kerkby Stephen in Cumbria. It gets it’s name from the nine stone structures that sit just north of the hill’s summit.
It’s been on my list of potential locations to visit out for a while and so I took the opportunity to scout it out on the first Sunday of the school holidays.
I think it is important to scout out locations so that we have some idea of the compositions that we what to shoot when we return and so that we can judge when the sun will be rising or setting in the right position.
When I arrive on a location for the first time I like to spend some time wandering around trying to get a feel for the place, it helps me to get a rough idea of where potential compositions might be.
The first composition that I spotted was from the northern end and included seven of the Standards (6 and 7 kind of blend in together). I like this shot the eye is drawn from right to left along the line of the Standards and the bottom left hand corner contains some relatively interesting foreground. My only concern is the huge gap in the middle so conveniently filled by a couple of passing walkers – if I return could this be a good composition for a selfie?
Next I tried eliminating the gap and focusing on five of the Standards (the furthest two still blending together). Whilst this has potential for me it lacks a certain something that I just can’t put my finger on. Sometimes all that we have to go on is our gut.
When scouting a location it can be a great opportunity to try something new. In this shot I picked just one of the Standards and tried to make look as imposing as possible by laying flat on the ground and angling the camera upwards.
In the back of my mind I had the ‘rule of odds’ – if I was going to shoot more than one of the Standards it would have to be a composition that included three of them.
I focused on the three at the northern end settling on this composition. Now when I return I would like to include a little more space around the Standard closest to the camera but for me this is the shot with the most potential.
In my opinion the most important elements of a photograph are subject, composition and light. Knowing the composition that I want to shoot allows me to work out which direction I want the light to come from and therefore the time of day and the time of year when I need to return.
In this case I have decided that I would like the light to come from the south east meaning I need to return around sunrise during the winter.
Before leaving I managed to find a composition that included all nine of the Standards however I think the shot is limited by the unattractive foreground.
I look forward to returning to Nine Standards Rigg at some point in the future and when I do I now know which composition I want to focus on and when the sun will be in the right position significantly increasing my chances of getting a good shot.