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It had been a cold December night and the frost was still on the ground when I set off on the forty minute drive to this favourite part of the Yorkshire Wolds, which is about fifteen miles east of the city of York. The steep-sided valleys that characterise the wolds landscape were carved out by glacial erosion during the Ice Age, and the contrast between the still frosty shadowed valleys and the sunlit upper slopes rewarded my patient wait in near zero temperatures. By the time the sun had risen high enough to light up this hawthorn tree it was past 9.00 am, but it would be another hour or so before I felt its warmth through my layers of clothing.
This location is near the top end of Frendal Dale, one of several attractive curving dales that branch off Millington Pastures not far from the market town of Pocklington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. David Hockney painted a series of artworks all around this area in 2004 (he was born nearby) which culminated in a major exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, but despite this it is still usual to have this beautiful peaceful scenery to yourself.
My camera of choice was a medium format panoramic film camera loaded with Fujichrome Velvia 50, and it produces transparencies approximately 6cm x 17cm. The camera is totally manual, and due to the changing light I had to keep checking the exposure using a separate digital spot meter. To make sure that I had the picture I wanted, I bracketed exposures and, in fact, used a whole roll of film because there are only four exposures per roll due to the wide field of view! I love this camera because it forces me to slow down and concentrate because mistakes are costly.