Mother Cap & Padley Gorge

I do enjoy photographic trips to Derbyshire, be it to the Peak District if the weather is predicted to be fine, or historic buildings such as Bolsover Castle, should the forecast be less favourable. One area I had never yet visited however was Padley Gorge, being almost on the outskirts of Sheffield, so less easy to get to by public transport from Leicester, especially on a day trip.  Fortunately Jo Freer, who had organised some great local trips over the summer during our camera clubs closed season, had been looking further afield. Now that the season had started, Jo had planned a trip up to the Peak District on Sunday, first to the area  between Hathersage and Upper Padley which encompassed Mother Cap and Padley Gorge, followed by an early evening sunset shoot at Curbar Edge.

Not having felt too well over the past week, I was somewhat reluctant to put my name down to go, however discovering that at least a dozen or so members were intending to visit in several cars, I decided to say yes late on Thursday evening, as we were leaving the club after our weekly meeting. Early Sunday morning turned out to be rather dull and overcast, and the drive up did takes us through patches of light rain and mist which was less than encouraging, however the forecast for later in the day was a great deal more favourable. At the very least we would all have a day out in the fresh air even if photography was going to be problematic, however shortly after arriving at the Surprise View car park, the sky did start to clear and by early afternoon it had turned into a very pleasant October day.

Over the years I had seen quite a range of photographs of the area so had a rough idea of what I might encounter, but being my first trip, I decided to hedge my bets with equipment and bring along a tripod as well as two camera bodies both with short focal length lenses. A Nikon D800 with 14-24mm f2.8 for the really wide angle shots + a D810 with my ‘go to’ 24-70mm f2.8 for everything else, and although a longer lens may have been useful, that does add significantly more weight to what I would already be carrying all day.

Although I did use the tripod on several shots, shortness of time meant that the majority were taken hand held, adjusting the ISO between 100 and 400 depending on the prevailing light, also the amount of tree cover in places was a governing factor requiring a higher ISO, as the leaf cover was still quite high. Only close inspection of my results will show up any camera shake as nether of my lenses have any form of V.R. (vibration reduction) it’s fortunate that as both body and lens combinations are quite heavy, holding them still is far less of a problem than I find with lighter equipment.

These are a few of my very first impressions of an area in the Peaks that I will most definitely be returning to, knowing I have barely scratched the surface of its photographic potential. Lack of time resulted in some of us having to forgo the sunset at Curbar Edge, leaving it for a future visit.



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