How To Photograph Stanage Edge?

Well, that's the question I have been wondering for the last few years. Having seen Stanage Edge featured on BBC Countryfile this week it's reminded me what a special location it is.

Beautiful views across the Peak District and a variety of fascinating details and rock formations. So it should be easy to photograph right?

Stanage Edge is close to home for me and as a landscape photographer that's great. Having it within walking distance as a practice ground for all seasons. It's been a 'go to' location and it's been interesting to look back on the images I have taken there.

Yet it's one of the most difficult landscapes in the Peak District to feel like you are getting an original photograph.

Tackling The Scale Of Stanage Edge

It's a landscape all about size.  The edge is roughly 3.5miles (6km) long and walking the entire length is well worth doing to appreciate how far that is. However for a photographer it's too large to simply fit it all within a single frame. I'm always one to give it a try though, and the black and white image below is my best attempt to convey it's winding, snaking size in a single image. It's also proven to be one of my most popular prints.

Making Use of Sheep & Climbers

Many photographers will approach the composition to include a part of the edge and the setting sun in the distance. Luckily, due to the great distance of the rocky outcrop there is plenty of variety in this approach.

Yet I don't think I have an image quite that kind in my library. I have always focused either on a part of the dramatic view looking away from the edge, or a view along it's face making rocks the primary centre of attention. I've also found that if all else fails there is always a sheep or a climber nearby to step in and create an interesting image.

Stanage Edge Rocks!

I believe there is endless potential to find abstract pattern and texture detail images by looking inwards. Landscape photography shouldn't just be about documenting the view. It's important to see what makes up the area you are visiting, be it the rocks, plants, trees etc. That doesn't mean it's easy to achieve an engaging photo here, but there is certainly a wealth of opportunity to practice looking in more detail at the landscape.

An Edge For All Seasons

Seasons play a big part in how I've photographed in the area. I tend to visit most often in winter as it's close to home so I can reach it even in snow. The view away from the edge is so wide that there is always plenty of opportunity for some golden light most times of the year. A long midsummer evening can also be a great opportunity to sihouette the edge against a colourful sky or even to look straight to the sky.

The Sky Is The Limit

I'd really love to try some drone photography around Stanage Edge. When I next get my hands on one it will be one of the first places I head to. If you already have a drone I'd suggest making a visit and trying to make the most of the biggest outcrops and dramatic views towards The Great Ridge.

In the meantime I'm going to have to keep experimenting and testing myself with my feet on the ground.

Hopefully this has given a few inspirations for the many ways you can photograph a single location. Landscape photography is all about making the most of the conditions you encounter.

Here is a link to see more images and purchase prints of my images from the Peak District and a few more photographs of Stanage below.

Danscape.co - Peak District Prints

I'd love to hear any stories you have about Stanage Edge or your own experience photographing the area.

Leave a comment or email me [email protected]


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Dan is a landscape & nature photographer from Sheffield in the UK.

Catch my latest travels on Instagram here.

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