Saddleworth Edges

Location: The Saddleworth Edges must rank as one of the best in northern Peakland, if not the whole of the Peak District.

Unlike most edge walks this is literally on the edge for the whole of the walk. The views are consistently dramatic, with deep valleys rimmed with craggy edges all around, and three blue sheets of water as a backdrop - an advantage to the photographer when the skies are a featureless blue or grey.

Even the last mile of the walk, on the Chew Road, has its moments - when you look up to the towering Wilderness Edge and Wimberry Rocks you could be in a remote Scottish Glen.

The trail can be inspected and downloaded to GPS from alternatively go to the EveryTrail site at the bottom of this post.

Although there are many good shots:

Raven Stones Brow

The Trinnacle over Greenfield

I've focussed here on the waterfall in Birchen Clough.

Waterfall High in Birchen


Camera Work: RAW(12bit), ISO 100, Focal Length 70mm, Exposure: 1/30sec at F8
UV & Polarizing Filter

Technique: The unprocessed version of the photo above clearly illustrates the difficult lighting conditions. The sun was very bright and shining down the Clough. The water on the rocks and the waterfall itself was clearly going to give blown highlights if I wasn't careful. I could have exposed for the highlights but then I would have lost detail in all shadows - and there are lots of them! Every photo I've seen of this fall has been dark and gloomy - not at all what it was like. This was anything but gloomy it was a cheerful place, an ideal spot for a picnic!

I took the one shot using the matrix metering. Just point and shoot. I should have taken bracketed exposures but didn't and thanks to RAW capture I got away with it (being able to reduce exposure post capture). I was lucky again! I know it went through my mind but for some reason I dismissed the idea - why?

The same with White Balance - I relied on the Auto setting which is rarely wrong.

Post Capture: in Capture NX2 to overcome the over exposure and flatness of the original image, i.e.

Camera Settings: Adjust Picture Control - enhance
saturation and set sharpening to High

Quick Fix:

exposure compensation - 0.97ev
highlight protection - 100%
shadow protection - 45%
slight tweak to curves to bring out the midtones

set Black & White control points

Inspiration: As a general rule I don't like waterfall pictures. The fashion for blurring the water is over used; fine if you want to give a picture a fairy tale quality, but not in a place like this!

The whole area was bathed in warm sunlight and the rocks were warm and inviting - a good place to sit and reflect on how good life is. But at the same time the valley sides were very steep and I was going to have problems climbing out and over the waterfall safely. (There was no-one around and I could easily slip and break something).

I wanted to create an image that evoked those two opposing thoughts - inviting vs threatening - I think I've done it.

Style: Organised Landscape

Saddleworth Edges at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

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