As part of our celebration of North Yorkshire and the Dales, we’re featuring some of the wonderfully talented people that make it so special and do their best to capture its beauty for all to enjoy. Mat Robinson is a photographer who has a rich passion for the Yorkshire Dales and is very proud to call North Yorkshire his home. Having such wonderful landscape on his doorstep enables Mat to explore the region with his camera throughout the seasons. We recently shared a pot of tea with Mat to find out more and showcase his wonderful images.
What is it about North Yorkshire that makes you happy to call it home?
Having grown up in Richmond, North Yorkshire, I was always going to be biased towards the place, but regular days out as child, exploring Swaledale and Wensleydale, cemented my love for this area. An obsession with waterfalls, which are plentiful around these parts certainly helped too. The landscape here varies hugely, providing something for everyone. From the classic Dales views, to the limestone scenery around the Three Peaks, the chalk landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds and the sandstone moorland of the North York Moors to the flatlands of the Vale of York, there’s a bit of everything. There’s also the people… there’s nowt like saying hello to every stranger you meet whilst out wandering.
..”there’s a real comfort in the solitude you can find in these parts.”
When did you start photographing the Yorkshire Dales and how does it inspire your work?
Oddly enough, I actually got involved in photography, taking it seriously, whilst doing my PhD down in Sheffield from 2011-15, with the Peak District as my playground. But that never stopped me from heading north whenever I could to shoot the places I love in Yorkshire (spending many, many hours on trains in the process!). Now, living in York, I have better access to both areas and love nothing more than heading out at the crack of dawn or visiting as sunset approaches, to capture the views I was brought up on, in the best light. I’m proud of the beauty around where I live, and love to share it with the world. It’s difficult not to be inspired when alone on a windswept hill as the sun disappears over the horizon, there’s a real comfort in the solitude you can find in these parts.
What do you try to capture most in your work?
There’s often a lot of talk in the photographic community about clichés and trying to avoid the classic views – but I think that really undermines the reason many of us visit these beautiful locations. The Yorkshire Dales are not always easy to photograph compared to some other National Parks but there are a number of well-known spots that just can’t be missed. I love both trying to capture these well-known views with some dramatic light to show a new side to them alongside finding some new locations that are perhaps less photographed.
What season do you love the most?
This is a tough one. Autumn is the obvious answer, and it is beautiful… with colours everywhere. But I could equally say that late summer is wonderful too… as the heather blooms and the moorland turns purple. But I just have to go with winter. Not any old winter, but a decent snowy winter. There’s something magical about the Dales in winter, as the dry stone walls stand out against the white fields and the higher hills turn into snow capped mountains. The drama is increased hugely at this time of year, and there’s no better feeling than laying the first footsteps in untouched snow.
You can view more of Mat’s work on the links below. Mat runs workshops and 1-1 tuition in the Dales, York and Peak District, there is more info on Mat’s website:
Mat recently published a guide to the Dales with Snapp Guides – http://snappguides.co/portfolio-posts/yorkshire-dales/