Wedding photography at the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley Moor

Lucky shot? Or not? You decide!

So here is my wedding photo of the week for week 4.  I wish I could honestly say they were 4 consecutive weeks, I’ll try to post more regularly in future, there is loads to show.

This week I’ve chosen

wedding, photograph, Ilkley Moor, Cow and Calf rocks, rainbow

Elinor and Chris at the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley Moor

This is a photograph of Chris and Elinor on their wedding day, the 3rd November 2012. They have just approved their wedding album design, and this particular photograph – as you might imagine – features quite strongly in the design.
I’ve included it as a full double page spread all by itself, it will look amazing when printed into their wedding album.

I’ve been asked if it was ‘Photoshoped’ and the answer is – er no! I’m not sure you could even get a rainbow and embed it into a landscape so convincingly.  On the other hand, I’m sure someone somewhere will give me examples where that has been done. But no folks, this was ‘in camera’ (I’ve added a touch of saturation to bring the rainbow colours through). The shot was genuinely taken on the day, with the rainbow presenting itself as we were spending time with Chris and Elinor on Ilkley Moor by the famous Cow and Calf rocks. We were en route from St Mary’s Church, Horsforth, to The Craiglands Hotel just above Ben Rhydding.

Bloody lucky shot then, Steve !

Well I suppose it depends how you look at it! When Chris and Elinor first came to see me, they asked if we could stop en route for some photos, and they had the Cow and Calf in mind. We discussed it in principle, and I’m always happy to oblige this type of request – just look at the results which are possible. So it was no luck that we were where we were, in fact it was always part of the plan.

In fact the original plan was for Chris and Elinor to jump out of their wedding car, have a few photos on the grass, say 5 minutes, then back in the car and down to The Craiglands. The day before the wedding, I took a drive out to see the location. I recognised the potential, knew there was time in the schedule, so suggested we spend a little longer – around 20 minutes, and include a walk up to the rocks. Had we stuck by plan A, we would have missed the rainbow, which was gone within minutes. So being there when we were was was also all part of the plan – at least part of plan B.

Just before the rainbow came out, we were messing about on the rocks, getting some other shots – the ones I had in mind when we arrived on site.

Then came the moment of glory, the sort of stuff you can only be in the right place at the right time for. This stonking great, beautiful, bright, perfect, full rainbow opened up in the valley below us. Chris was ecstatic – it was right over the golf course!

So all I had to do was take the photo, anyone can do that, right? Well, I suppose anyone with an ultra wide angle lens accessible, who knows how to handle the contrast between sky and the ground, and where to place the bride and groom for best effect, has half a chance. No time for messing about, we had literally minutes.

Was it lucky that we had the lens to hand? Nope. It’s always in the bag, you never know when it will come in handy.

So I suppose there was an element of luck, in that you can’t book a rainbow to shine at 3.23pm on a winter’s afternoon. But the rest – being there, having the kit, knowing what to do with it, was always part of the plan.

And a massive thanks to Chris and Elinor for going with the ideas, I’m chuffed to bits it all paid off!!

That’s my story officer, and I’m sticking to it 😉


Unit 1, Sutton Grange Farm, York Road,

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01904 479063

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