A solo photo trip at the beginning of December 2019 taking in some of England's Jurassic Coast, which is absolutely stunning!
This was my first solo weekend photography trip post retirement. Using an article in one of the magazines that I subscribed to, much planning had gone into this trip on locations, timings & tides taking in best places for sunrises & sunsets ( at really civilised times in December!).
Arriving at my base in Swanage late on Thursday afternoon gave just enough time for a quick walk to get my bearings but armed with a camera of course! Darkness fell whilst out & as I walked away from the centre, looked back across the beach to see the pier & harbour lit. Normally for such a shot you'd need filters & a tripod - I had neither with me but fortunately, both my cameras have good noise reduction built in so I could shoot at a relatively high iso & for stability, I found a signpost on the edge of the beach with a big enough flat top to rest my camera on. A short timer delay on the shutter release to avoid creating camera shake & Bingo!
Up early the next morning, I set off for the headland beyond the pier in the darkness so as to be set up ready for sunrise which gave me shots 3 & 4 in the gallery. These type of shots have vastly different light levels between sky & land so if you want to take in one shot, you need filters; principally a Neutral Density Graduated filter. As the name suggests, the filter gradually blocks out some light in one part ( the brightest) of the shot, allowing sufficient light to get to the darker parts. The 4th shot also has a solid ND Grad filter which helps to create the milky effect on the sea & extend the foam as the tide flows back. Unfortunately, this proved to be the end of shots at these times of day as, in trying to move positions, I slipped on the muddy slope & whilst managing to protect my camera on the way down, the graduated filter didn't fair so well!
Day two of my trip was a "non camera" day as I'd decided to re-visit Bovington Tank Museum, which I'd last been to during a family holiday at around the age of 10. Like many things, the intervening years had resulted in significant development of the museum, compared to the way that I remembered it!
Day 3 had a packed programme, starting with an old mining site - there are numerous of these disused sites along/around this part of the coast but I chose Winspit. Parking in the local village, I had a couple of miles to walk to get to the site but it didn't disappoint, in terms of stunning Jurassic Coast. Shots 5 & 6 were taken here & again, the difference between the two is again, the use of a ND filter - from memory, around 6 stops - to create the smoother surface on the sea. Next on my visit list was Corfe Castle. The classic shots of this site are early morning from an elevated position so as to capture mist in the hollows around the hill on which the castle sits. With my acrobatics on the first day, this wasn't an option to me but nevertheless, still wanted to visit the castle. Shots 7, 8 & 9 are of the castle & the last one makes it very clear why the site was chosen - the view in all directions was stunning and some distance.
My next sop for the afternoon as the sun set was Lulworth Cove & you have three shots from here. The first is taken from the beach giving shingle as foreground interest, the next shows the bay from the western cliffs above catching the setting sun beautifully on the cliffs giving them a golden hue. The final shot was taken from a similar position but changed slightly to create a "leading line" of the fence coming in from the right, leading the viewer's eye into the bay. This one also had a long exposure filter which softened the clouds & smoothed the surface of the water compared to the previous shot.
During my research for the trip, I'd read about the village of Tyneham, commandeered by the military in 1943, presumably for D Day preparations, and left un-inhabited ever since so creating an almost "frozen in time" effect. Whilst I'd found it on Google Maps, all weekend I'd been looking for signage to it but failed to find any until my journey back from Lulworth Cove. The village sits in the midst of MOD ranges but these are open to the public most weekends. As a result, soon after following the sign, I found myself on a single track, winding road which climbed gradually. Before arriving at the village, I spotted signage for a viewing/photo spot so pulled in & took the last two shots in the gallery there & I think the final one is my favourite from the whole trip - just goes to show that despite all the planning, " right place, right time" can pay just as big a dividend!
I did continue onto the village but have to say that it was something of an anti-climax after the last shot, perhaps since I arrived so late - it was pretty much dusk - so didn't get a chance to shoot anything in the village or the adjacent bay, which I'd read was very picturesque. Hey, ho, I'd only scratched the surface of this beautiful part of our coastline in my 4 days there so there's always a reason to go back...........