Veils of water

Chris Sansom explains how he obtained these stunning images of Janet’s Foss, a waterfall near Malham in North Yorkshire…

Shot 1

Shot 1:  A 4 minute exposure at f/16, using the Canon 550D.  The 17 mm angle wasn’t quite as wide as I would have liked, but it still gave a nice view of the falls and the large log.

Shot 2

Shot 2:  I tucked my jeans into my socks and clambered across a log going over the fast flowing water, using the tripod to stabilise myself.  At the other side of the water I was able to wedge my tripod between the rocks and mud. Again, the shot was f/16 but I went for a 5 minute 22 second exposure to capture a little extra movement and expose the dark foreground.

Shot 3

Shot 3:   This time the camera was positioned in the water.  My tripod stands around 2 metres high, and at this point it was in water a metre deep. Fortunately I was able to get the desired angle, looking across the smaller falls with a view of the main fall and pool of water.  This one was back to a 4 minute exposure.

Shot 4

Shot 4:   An 8 minute exposure to really get the movement.  I was lucky enough to catch a little of the golden sun glow across the higher rocks.

Shot 5

Shot 5:  This went even further, with an 11 minute 23 second exposure.

Shot 6

Shot 6:  For the final shot I put the tripod just on the edge of the rocks, as shown in the images below. As I was just focusing on the turbulent water and the light was going, I went for a 16 minute 10 second exposure to really maximise the smokiness of the water.

All the images were taken using a B&W ND 110 screw-in filter and Vanguard tripod with Alto+ 264AO head.

About Janet’s Foss…   Traditionally, in late spring the local farmers would bring their sheep to Janet’s Foss and wash them in the pool below the falls, so that their fleeces were clean and ready for shearing in June.   ‘Foss’ is Norse for ‘waterfall’, and ‘Janet’ or ‘Jennet’ is thought to be the name of a fairy who was reputed to live in a cave behind the falls.

A professional wedding photographer based in Leeds, Chris runs Sansom Photography in partnership with Verity Woolf.  Check out their website and WordPress blog for examples of their work.

Images copyright © Chris Sansom


  1. Impressive dedication! The water looks sort of ghostly and timeless.

  2. What a beautiful waterfall and pool. The details of the shoot shown in the photos are very helpful. The story of the fairy is darling. It is indeed a fairy-tale-like place.

  3. ordinarygood says:

    We are fascinated with water aren’t we Jo? Wonderful photos of such a lovely spot. I love the fairy tale and the detail regarding the word origin for “fosse”. I can just picture the farmers washing their fleeces while the fairy danced behind the water with glee.

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