Sunday, 10 December 2017

noticing patterns

10th December 2017, Newton Point and Low Newton, 8am

A late night last night but I was up and out before the sun. It was -5C but there was no wind so it was a beautiful frozen world.

It seems the gulls sit on the sea and try to ride out most waves but if there's a big one going to break on top of them they take to the air. They seem to play a merry dance with the breakers.

Once you notice the pattern in the behaviour the rest is patience and timing.

Not all share patience for this sort of thing...

Portraits of a frozen landscape: Wandering the frozen coast at -5C early on a winter morning can be a joy if you're wearing the right clothes!

The wind had dropped away and a heavy frost lay across the grass of the dunes, the seaweed on the sand and the leaves among the trees. Once I saw one pattern, I saw patterns everywhere.

The exmoor ponies must have had a chilly night but they're designed for much colder conditions than a bit of frost!

Back to the beach for a last look at the sea lit by the morning sun before heading home for breakfast

10th December 2017, Howick, 3pm

At this time of year we enjoy a winter walk around the grounds of Howick Hall.  Last year I started to photograph the winter vegetation and the beautiful frozen leaves but there were so many I had to walk away.

Same thing this year...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

waves part 2

9th December 2017, Craster shore, 8am

I wanted to find a location a bit closer to the action.  Just N of Dunstanburgh Castle, the waves were huge but cold and grey as they were in the shadow of the castle's crag.

Further on past the castle I saw the angle I wanted.

The sky was building up to a brilliant sunrise and it would have been nice to see the effect of the new light across the sea.

Sadly life got in the way and I had to turn for home before the sun came up.

A last look back at the sunrise sky as we headed home...

Friday, 8 December 2017


8th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 7:30am

We were at the beach far too early for sunrise (it was due at 8:20am).  It wasn't a problem as I love to be on the beach as the darkness fades and the light comes over the landscape and the sea.

It was -1C but at least the stiff breeze was behind the dunes.

I sat on the freezing dune and looked out over the sea. It was 20 minutes before sunrise but how many times have I photographed the sunrise at Embleton Bay and Dunstanburgh Castle? (don't answer that!)

As usual my challenge was to find a different angle - what's today's story - how can I make a photograph that captures the atmosphere unique to today? I noticed the waves rolling in and thought it was worth having a look through the 600mm telephoto lens I happened to have with me this morning. When I saw the composition through this lens I saw the photograph for today.

I knew I could capture the waves technically, now the new challenge was timing. I could see a flash of light on the wall of the wave just before it broke and this was the moment I wanted to have in my photograph.

I sat there snapping away watching wave after wave rolling in to the bay until my fingers got so cold I had to call it a day.

We were there long enough that the sun rose and changed the light completely. By then we were on the beach so Daisy could have a run about so the angle changed too.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

moving to the right

6th December 2017, Dunstanburgh, 7:30am

Sunrise is now well to SE (or to the right of the castle from this angle) as we get towards the winter solstice.   It will be February before the sun comes back to shine through the castle windows.

Two very different alternative photographs of the same view...

7th December 2017, Christon Bank, 2pm

Daisy does like to stick her nose through a gate...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

My Morning World

5th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 7:30am

Before the sunrise

Here's the view in a panoramic video...

Down on the sand and the pre-sunrise sky was beautifully reflected on the wet sand.  

It needed a little something though...

5th December 2017, nr Chatton, 10am

I lead an archaeology walk every week for holidaymakers staying at the HPB complex at Lucker Hall. Today's light was extraordinary and revealed more details of the carvings than I had seen before.

These are neolithic (ca 4,000 years old?) and are very precious reminders of a group of people long gone from this place.  They are mysterious and wonderful to behold.

Monday, 4 December 2017

to the beach and back

4th December 2017, Embleton bay and Christon Bank, 8am

We started on the beach at sunrise and walked back to the village.

There is a 'supermoon' at the moment.  The moon is a bit closer in its orbit but it did look impressively big as it drew closer to the horizon and clouds drifted by.

The Monday morning transatlantic flights on their way to Amsterdam have left their mark across the sunrise sky

Here's a short video of the sunrise...

Meanwhile, Daisy was on the look out for pals....

If I could paint I would. Painters can interpret the landscape much better than photographers. They can add their own vision through a myriad of choices of paints, brushes, papers, canvasses, and of course their own artistic style. Photographers have some technical skills at their disposal and of course have their own artistic style. Photographers are also better at 'the decisive moment'. Capturing an instant of time in a way that no painter ever can as they are always working from memory (unless of course they're painting from a photograph!).

That's why I'm drawn to a photo-journalistic approach to photography as I feel it best utilises the photographic medium's advantages.

That said I have my moments of experimentation with more abstract images where the photograph resembles a painting even if it is actually an unedited, true photographic record. That's the case here. The trees' reflections are photographed just as they looked but the result is an impressionistic feel. The art here is in the composition and knowing what to leave out.

4th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 4:30pm

It's lovely to be on the beach as the sun sets and your eyes adjust to the darkness...

Sunday, 3 December 2017

a break from the city

3rd December 2017, Dunstanburgh, 8am

We had a city break in York yesterday with an overwhelming number of other people!

It was fun but it's good to be back where we belong.

3rd December 2017, Newton Point, 3pm

Sunset colours just after 3pm

An hour later and the last of the colour is still in the sky as we all head homeward.