Updated: Apr 10, 2020
One of the most popular, picturesque parts of the Peak District, Mam Tor is well worth a visit. This location is great at both sunrise and sunset. I've also seen some fantastic shots done in the night time too- this is something I will be doing myself in the future. The sunset and the sunrise offer different compositions and I would find the position of the sun out before you go. I personally use an app on my phone called Golden Hour but there are many ways of getting this information. The road is the most famous place for photographs, although there are many other amazing photo opportunities to find here.
When I took this shot I noted that the sun was going to set directly behind the famous winding road. I also did some research and found that swallows migrate through the Peak District around this time of year. Here is an interesting post regarding bird migration in the area if you are interested https://www.birdguides.com/articles/migration/visible-migration-through-the-peak-district/. I was very lucky to manage to get all of this into one shot. You can however, make your own luck through multiple visits and thorough research.
The my favourite spot to photograph this valley is on the ridge (shown in photo below)
Its relatively easy to get to this location- just a bit of a climb. You can either get the train to Castleton and walk there (this would be a long walk). Or in terms of parking there are a few spots you can park and then hike there.
As shown in the photo (above), there's an official car park. With this one you will have to pay for your time there. It is one of the quickest ways to get there.
An alternative is parking here, there is a reasonable hike to get there 30- 40 mins but parking is free and its a pleasant hike.
The third alternative- you have to be lucky to get a space here! Is to park on the road itself. There are a few spaces dotted around so keep your eyes peeled as these are also free and its easier to hike from there than the other location. Although park here at your own peril as if you want to photograph the road your car will be in it too!
The gear I usually take here is tripod, 16-35mm lens, 70-200mm and my drone. I find that the wide lens is great for capturing the whole area and the tele you can get some more detail with. The tripod is for me essential during sunset and sunrise giving you much more flexibility with your shutter speed.
The shot above was taken on my 16-35 mm lens at sunset. This was taken on a tripod allowing me to use a longer shutter speed giving the movement in the clouds.
You can get mist in this location ie cloud inversions but as with the rest of the Peak District this can usually only be found during the hours of sunrise. It's very hard to come across this and I myself have never been fortunate to get any in this location.
In summary, this is a great location for photography and there are many other photo opportunities other than the road itself. Do some research before you go out and it will serve you well.
Thank you for reading,