on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

MOORSVIEW – Photographing the North York Moors & Coast

Exhibition at the Joe Cornish Galleries, Northallerton 14th Nov-19th Dec 2015

John Clifton

My photography began at my father's side - he processed and printed his own pictures to save on costs, so I did the same. I still hope to ‘dust off’ my darkroom gear at some point, but have spent the last few years learning to make great digital prints. I love the convenience that digital offers, and the immediate visual feedback it provides, but it is still that final analogue print that really ex-cites me. When not working at Trailblazer Outdoors, in Pickering, I am usually out walking the fabulous land-scapes of the North York Moors National Park. This is a place I find endlessly inspiring, offering a huge variety of scenery and subjects in a compact and accessible package. I am also co-organiser of #MOORSVIEW - a bi-annual photography seminar addressing landscape and wildlife photography on the North York Moors and Coast.


As I write the body of a man missing on the North York Moors for the last three days has just been found. Members of the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team, with help from neighbouring teams, the police, 9 rescue dogs with their handlers, and three helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras have been searching the Moors night and day since his disappearance.

The last few days have been sobering for anyone like myself who loves to walk on, and photograph the landscapes of, the North York Moors & Coast. They have highlighted the need to be well prepared when you head out - with the right outdoor gear for the conditions, and the knowledge and wherewithal to cope if something should go wrong.

The MOORSVIEW Seminar - which took place in Pickering, North Yorkshire last month - celebrated the beauty of the North York Moors and coast, whilst tackling the issue of hill safety for landscape photographers. Inspiring sessions on the photographic opportunities offered by the area were balanced with valuable safety advice from the Mountain Rescue Team, and on the use and maintenance of appropriate outdoor gear.

MOORSVIEW Exhibition Poster V3, JCG, 2,048 px, sharpened for screen

Now the MOORSVIEW Exhibition continues these themes - opening at the Joe Cornish Gallery, Northallerton on 14th November and running until 19th December. The exhibition features work by renowned local photographers Lizzie Shepherd, Dave Mead, Karl Holtby, John Potter, Richard and Janet Burdon, and myself. It gives anyone who could not make it to the seminar itself a chance to see some of the work that was shown and discussed.

The exhibition highlights the variety of landscapes encompassed by the North York Moors National Park - which offers a rich palette of colours and subjects throughout the year. From the yellows, pinks and reds of a Whitby sunrise, to the moody blues and greys of a rain swept Saltwick Bay. From the wild nature and lush spring greens of Riccaldale in Springtime, to the managed Summer blush of purple that sweeps across the grouse filled heather moorlands at Rosedale, Farndale, Spaunton, and beyond. From the wind blasted, big skied, russet topped ridges of the High Moors in Winter to the sheltered calm of secret patches of woodland, hidden in the depths of the Dales.

Raining Birches, Riscaldale - Lizzie Shepherd

Raining Birches, Riscaldale - Lizzie Shepherd

And as you take in these varied viewpoints, and the individual styles of the photographers on show, take some time to consider what was involved in making the images. Would you be prepared for the cold of the high moors in a snow storm while photographing sheep, or whilst waiting for the sun to rise on one of Whitby’s Piers..? Will your current jacket keep you dry and warm as the weather sweeps in from the sea, or across the moors - and when did you last wash and re-proof it..?

Do you carry sufficient water to keep you well hydrated in Summer, or do you tend to save that weight so you can carry an extra lens or two..? As you check your bag the night before a trip out, do you check the batteries in your head torch, or just the ones you carry for your camera..? Is your footwear appropriate for exploring the wilder reaches of whatever landscape you head out to photograph, and do you know what to do should something go awry..?

And as you ponder these questions, consider the efforts of the volunteers who make up your local Mountain Rescue Team. They give up their time and offer their expertise for no financial reward. The Mountain Rescue Service is entirely funded by bequests, voluntary contributions, and fund raising efforts - it receives no State funding. So the next time you see someone shaking a tin on a collection day, do give generously. Or maybe volunteer yourself, or do like I do and help out with some fund raising - you never know when you might need their help.

Misty Morning Middle Head - Dave Mead

Misty Morning Middle Head - Dave Mead

PC Photographic, Trailblazer Outdoors, and Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank all who bought a ticket for the MOORSVIEW Seminar - raising over £3,000 in the process.

Also the many people who helped along the way: Tim Parkin and Charlotte Britton of On Landscape for help with promotion, plus sound, vision, expertise and equipment on the day; Pickering Gallery, Pear Tree House B&B and the Joe Cornish Gallery for sponsoring hire of the Kirk Theatre; Pickering Gallery for staging the first MOORSVIEW Exhibition; Joe Cornish Gallery for staging the second; Sainsbury’s Local, Malton and Sainsbury’s, Scarborough for sponsoring refreshments, and the Black Swan Pickering for preparing the lunch; David Ward, Richard and Janet Burdon, Dave Mead, Manfrotto UK, The Black Swan and White Swan Pickering, Pear Tree House B&B, and the Joe Cornish Gallery for donating draw prizes; and the North Yorks Moors National Park Authority and Paramo Directional Clothing Systems for help with publicity and promotion. Discussions are just beginning to be held about staging another MOORSVIEW in 2017, watch this space for further details.


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