Most towns and villages have a legend or two, and Hole of Horcum in North Yorkshire is no different. According to folklore, a giant called Wade scooped up a huge clod of earth resulting in a hollow that is 400ft (120m) deep and wide. The reasons for Wade’s actions seem to differ depending on who you ask, but however the hollow was formed it has created a landscape photographer’s dream. In the right conditions, the area offers spellbinding banks of mist blanketing the area and the morning sun throws shafts of light onto the land. In winter, snow transforms the area into a stunning white vista offering the kinds of moments every photographer prays for.

Gathered in the cold and blustery early morning air, Tom Mackie and four AP readers survey the land and discuss their tactics for the day.

‘This is a prime location for showing off the gentle undulations of the heather-covered landscape,’ says Tom. ‘You’ll find all sorts of beautiful details here, such as bracken and rosebay willowherb, that we can use in our foregrounds to great effect. Beyond that, you have nice strong lines and S-shapes that can guide the viewer’s eye through the location. There are also a few barns and farmhouses that we can potentially use as subjects.

Photo by Andrea Hargreaves

‘We’re going to be covering various techniques to create exciting landscapes using composition, filters and depth of field,’ he says. ‘The light is a little flat today, but that’s fine because in a location like this, evocative and dramatic images are a given.’

Tried-and-tested tools, such as polarising filters and neutral density (ND) graduated filters, can help to bring out the best in a location. ‘Using polarising filters, we can increase colour saturation and, weather permitting, darken the blue skies to give us deep rich tones,’ Tom explains. ‘We’ll also be exploring ND grad filters, which we can use to control and balance the exposure of our images. As we’re going to be faced with bright skies on top of landscapes where we want to retain the detail, this is going to a particularly useful tool.’

As well as Hole of Horcum, Tom and the AP readers also plan to explore Falling Foss in May Beck – a stunning natural waterfall that is one of North Yorkshire’s best-kept secrets.

Your AP Master…

Tom Mackie
A former contributor to AP’s Photo insight series, Tom Mackie is one of the world’s leading photographers. He has spent many years as an architectural, industrial and landscape photographer, and has a penchant for panoramic photography.

Tom has published several books and written numerous articles for photography magazines. He also lectures on photography and regularly holds workshops in the UK and abroad.

The AP readers…

Andrea Hargreaves
Andrea likes to capture wildlife, urban portraits, abstracts, action and travel photographs. She uses a Canon EOS 60D with a Canon 18-200mm zoom. ‘The day was relaxed and informative,’ she says. ‘We learned how to use graduated filters and their benefits in landscape photography.’

Phil Hargreaves
Phil’s favoured subjects are aircraft, landscapes, travel and wildlife photography. He shoots using a Nikon D7000 with Tamron 17-50mm and Sigma 70-300mm zoom lenses. ‘We learned to assess the view from different sites and different angles,’ he says. ‘We also looked at how to compose the image.’

Adrian Ward
Adrian likes shooting events, festivals, macro flower photography and landscapes. He uses a Nikon D60 with a Sigma 18-250mm lens. ‘This has inspired me to do more landscape photography,’ he says.’ I’d forgotten how colourful the North Yorkshire Moors are.’

David Walker
David enjoys experimenting with different subjects, but landscapes remain his firm favourite. He uses a Canon EOS 500D with a 15-85mm lens. ‘It was a great experience,’ he says. ‘Tom got me thinking about focusing and composition in ways that I had never considered before.’

Would you like to take part?

Every month we invite three to five AP readers to join one of our four experts on a free assignment over the course of a day. If you would like to take part, visit for details of how to apply. Please remember to state which Masterclass you would like to attend and make sure you include your name, address, email address, daytime telephone number, some words about your work and three or four of your images.

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