New year, new resolutions. One of them is that I'm going to do more photography and update my blog content fortnightly. We'll see how it goes. :)
I had two days holiday left from last year so I decided to take them and go somewhere to shoot seascapes. Winter is the best time to visit the south coast of the UK. Most of the time both the Sunrise and the Sunset happen in the right directions giving perfect shooting conditions. And also not to forget that you don't have to wake up too early and stay up too long for that. But there can be a disadvantage, the weather. It can be rough sometimes. I don't mind the cold but can't take strong wind. Fortunately it wasn't windy at all this time. Last time I visited the beautiful Jurassic Coast in Dorset three years ago. Then I picked probably the most famous rock formation, the Durdle Door. I really had a success with the image taken there as I won a nice camera backpack on a competition with it. You can see it clicking here.
On the first day I had to leave home just before 4am to be at the coast by Sunrise. That's why I wanted to choose a location which didn't need too much exploration. Lulworth Cove is very easy to approach and there is a car park right next to the beach. This is what I picked. I arrived at about 6:30am. The Cove itself is beautiful but as a composition on a photo it's very difficult to shoot. But just next to it there is a rock formation which is just as gorgeous as the Durdle Door. It's called Stair Holes and that became my target. I walked up to the cliffs still in dark and set my tripod up after finding a suitable composition. The conditions were just ideal with temperature around freezing but almost no wind and lots of high clouds on the sky. The last one was the most important for me. I was awaiting the sky to really catch around Sunrise and luckily it didn't disappoint. I started to shoot app. 20 minutes before Sunrise and carried on taking different kind of long exposures ranging from 4 second to 90-100 seconds. I also tried to do some exposure bracketing so I took pairs of photos. First underexposing a bit for the sky and then overexposed for the ground. I have to say that this year started really well. The photo I processed was one of the longer exposures with just over 90 seconds. It became become my first ever Explored photo on Flickr. This means it got more than 58000 viewings and was favourited by 800 people. I feel really pleased.
If you want to see in full HD resolution on Flickr, please click here.
After finishing on the location, I decided to visit my "old friend", the Durdle Door, which is actually only a 20 minutes walk from the car park. It's still breathtaking. I walked down to the cliffs and took some photos just for myself to remember and of course including one with my backpack. :) I didn't know where I was going to go in the afternoon so I also tried to find a composition here. But after 15-20 minutes I gave up as the best I found was not surprisingly a well shot one so I rather left it.
I returned to the car park and before leaving I just walked up to the other side of the Stair Holes cliffs.
Leaving Lulworth Cove I decided to drove to the nearby town of Wareham and have a hot chocolate just to warm myself up. Sitting in the cafe I decided that I was going to spend the afternoon and the Sunset discovering Kimmeridge Bay. It's a very popular photo location so I expected not to be alone there. The weather forecast said light clouds so it was a 50-50 chance for a nice Sunset. I arrived around 1:30pm and there were only two other photographers except me. I quickly had a chat with them and agreed where we were going to shoot in order to avoid being in each other's compositions. Then I walked up and down the beach looking for possible shooting options. Unfortunately the conditions were not ideal but there was still 2 hours till Sunset.
I walked back to my car and waited there hoping for better lights. It improved a bit as Sunset got closer. There were bit more pronounced black clouds in the sky not just the general middle grey tones. I returned to the previously chosen spots and took some photos. Having these black clouds I rather focused to capture the moody atmosphere of the bay. The contrast between the sky and the ground wasn't too high, no graduated filter was necessary. I tried to play only with the polariser filter to highlight the cracks and the interesting edges of the rocky seabed. Finally I kept one image shot straight after Sunset and processed it low key. I think I managed to convey the dark and moody condition of the location on that day. It's kind of the opposite of the sunny sunrise of Stair Holes from the morning but I like this type of atmosphere as well.
Finishing here I drove to my accommodation which was in Weymouth. In the B&B I checked next morning's forecast but it didn't seem promising. I had no clear idea where to go so at the end I decided for Portland, where the lighthouse stands. It's again an easy accessible target no need for too much exploration. As I've already been here I knew where I wanted to go. I woke up only 5:30am and with a 25 minutes drive I reached there. It was dark and the sky was heavily clouded. I had no hopes for nice photographs. And because Portland Bill Lighthouse is situated at the tip of the island it's much more exposed. It was rather windy. I only left my car a half an hour before Sunrise and walked just 5 minutes. I set up my tripod and shot some compositions in both directions. Without proper light they are not great but good enough to remind me in case I return one day in better conditions.
On the way back I stopped at Fortuneswell which is sitting at the northern tip of Portland. It is the highest vantage point of the island so I walked a bit searching for a possible afternoon photo location. I found this spot within a 15 minutes walk from the car park which seemed just perfect.
I spent the middle of the day in Weymouth doing some shopping and having a warm meal in KFC. I was still interested in Kimmeridge Bay and wanted to try my luck again so I decided to go back there instead of shooting Sunset from Fortuneswell. Because I already knew the possible compositions I only returned to Kimmeridge one and a half hour before Sunset. Not much better conditions welcomed me than the previous day. Just when I arrived a nice Tyndall effect appeared so I shot a couple of images and stitched them into a panorama at home later. But this was the most interesting scene of the afternoon apart from the fact that a photo workshop with a couple of photographers just took place in the bay.
A half an hour before Sunset I went down to the beach but the lights didn’t improve. I took some photos but it was rather just playing with the interesting triangular shapes of the rocky seabed.
Overall I was satisfied with this little trip. I had nice relaxing time there and I brought back two photos I was happy with. I hope this year carries on like it started.