Ilkley Moor Sunrise

I said I’d go back, and I was true to my word.

This week, as I’ve been driving to work, I’ve witnessed some beautiful colourful sunrises. I thought it would be worth trying my luck by returning to Ilkley Moor to capture the sunrise over the rocks.

I take my hat off to landscape photographers. They really are dedicated to their art. Up at stupid o’clock, wait in the darkness not knowing if you’ll bag the shot (and most of the time they don’t!) Out in all weathers and in the remotest places on Earth. Though almost in my back yard, so to speak, I had a taste of that this morning.

By the time I got to the Cow and Calf Rocks, there was just enough light to see where I was walking. The only problem was I had to get around to the other side of the rocks to get the shot I had in my mind. As I walked around them I realised I wasn’t going to get it. The ground fell away and I couldn’t tell if it was a gentle slope down there or a shear drop. Besides which, it was windy; and I mean windy! (20mph winds with gusts of up to 60mph). I’d only just crested the peak when it hit and I didn’t think it was worth taking a tumble in the dim light, so I weighed up where I was and set up.

Rule number 6: The best tripod is the one you have with you
It’s at times like this that I’m glad I bought the tripod I did. I’ve always held by the truth that you should never scrimp on a tripod – go for the most you can afford. Yet you have to get a tripod with a bit of heft, but not too much heft that you feel like your back is going to break as you carry it. I’ve had numerous tripods in my time, but I’m becoming more and more impressed with the Sirui traveler tripod I currently have. Only once did a gust carry it off the ground slightly, the rest of the time it stayed well and truly put.

As I started shooting I began to realise that the camera was struggling with the light. Even with an exposure of 30 seconds the ground was a bit dim, plus the sky was brightening and I was loosing the impact. Out came the ND grads and the flash and I finally got what I came for, and despite the winds, I had so much fun fighting them.

Ilkley Moor sunrise

having packed up I started walking back to the car and suddenly saw a mitten someone had left on a bench for someone to find. The little lost item in pink and white reminded me of bagpuss. I’m not usually a fan of monochrome images with a single item of colour, but I thought it would work for this. I’ve also added the old photo filter in Gimp, in honour of the saggy old cloth cat from my childhood.

mitten on a bench

It started to rain just as I got back to the car. I may not have got the salmon pinks and golds I was looking for, but it was a great way to start the day and well worth it.


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