After a somewhat overcast and disappointing summer, autumn has been welcomed by me with open arms. For me, it is the season when the landscape truly comes to life. Trees blazing red and gold, early morning mists that hang in the valleys and the first hints of frost, fringing the rocks and grasses of the higher reaches.
Saddleworth Moor is one of my very favourite locations. Despite its dark reputation, it is a place of wild beauty and with its varied landscape, a photographer’s paradise. Although you can see the high-rise buildings of Manchester from parts of the moor, there are areas that feel high and remote, with little prospect of meeting other people.
Across Saddleworth Moor
Ravenstones Brow looms over Greenfield Brook, where Holme Clough meets Birchen Clough. The climb up Birchen Clough is a little tricky in places, but it is well worth the aching limbs and wet feet for the breath-taking view from the top. The crowning glory is the Trinnacle, a three pointed rock that stands sentient over the steep valley.
West Nab; Light On Mist
Atmospherics are rarely in short supply during the autumn months. Arriving well before sunrise, I found Wessenden Head shrouded in thick hill cloud, with the cloud base skimming along the lower reaches of West Nab. A fortuitous gap in the clouds blew in just as the sun began to rise over the distant hills, allowing the sun to light up the cloud in the most vivid of orange.
West Nab; Sunrise Through Mist
Hill Cloud at West Nab
This only lasted for a few brief minutes, before the cloud closed again and the light was gone. Dropping back down the slopes of the Nab took me back below the cloud base, where the occasional blast of light broke through the cloud.
Pre-dawn at Curbar
Curbar Edge is well known amongst photographers for its autumnal cloud inversions and mid-October proved to be a very productive time. Word must have gotten out on this particular Sunday morning , as the edge was the busiest that I have ever seen it, with tripods crowding the edge at intervals over every few yards.
Autumn Dawn at Curbar Edge
Curbar Edge Above The Mist
What seemed like a promising morning at first, with such wonderful dawn colours, failed to produce the goods at sunrise, with cloud blocking the horizon. However, once the sun climbed above the cloud, light flooded the edge. Although by then, it was a tad harsh.
Autumn Sunrise at Bamford Moor
After braving the crowds on Curbar, for the next sunrise I fancied heading for a location that I knew I would have a good chance of being alone. Bamford Edge is just such a place, where it is very rare to meet anyone, despite having great views over Hope Valley and Ladybower Reservoir.
Early Light on Bamford Moor
I had hoped for some mist in the valley below, which unfortunately didn’t materialise. But I did get some wonderful warm light at sunrise and frost fringed rocks, caused by the biting cold.
Autumn Morning, Bamford Edge
As the weather becomes colder and we progress into winter, I look forward to those crisp, frosty mornings, dustings of snow, ice covered rocks and the beautifully photogenic conditions that winter will bring.
This blog was brought to you by Andy Hemingway.