20 Dec 2014

Dorset in December

This month I have spent most of my time working in Dorset and along the Jurassic Coast, with two workshops running back to back. We had a good mix of weather conditions during both workshops and also found a couple of nice new vantage points along the coast. The priority on these workshops is coastal photography, as the sun rises and sets out to sea at this time of the year, casting warm sunlight along the coast for much of the day.

We were lucky to capture a particularly good sunrise at Durdle Door one morning. This is one of a number of successful images taken as the colours changed.

Although this view of Durdle Door was taken at sunset, I wasn't too keen on the colours in the scene and thought it was much more effective in monochrome.

One of the priorites during my winter workshops along the Dorset coast is to capture both a sunrise and sunset through the natural stone arch of Durdle Door. This only occurs during the winter months.

The full moon setting over Bat's Head viewed from Durdle Door.

Have I seen enough of Durdle Door for a while?......probably not, actually!

Although this was a landscape workshop I like to make use of any good photographic opportunities that present themselves. In North Dorset several short-eared owls have been hunting over their regular wintering grounds. As all my clients were interested in this we spend a couple of afternoons trying to capture some good shots of them as they hunted over the long grass.

The short-eared owls were not an easy subject and we had to rely upon them coming close enough for decent sized images.

We had several overcast days during each workshop and this is when I tend to start thinking in monochrome. I much prefer to convert my images to black and white in Silver Efex Pro than to overly boost the natural colours in a rather dull scene.

The old pier at Swanage taken using a 10-stop ND filter for an exposure time of four minutes.

Looking up into the canopy of a small group of Beech Trees against a white winter sky.

When the weather is particularly poor and we've had no decent sunlight all day I like to try to inject some interesting lighting into at least one shot at the end of the day using a powerful torch. The two images below of a small ruined church were taken on the same afternoon. The first image was taken just after the time of sunset and the second one about twenty minutes later, when it was dark enough to illuminate both the church and the foreground landscape with a torch whilst retaining some light in the sky.

Taken at 4.25pm, 30 seconds @ f11 ISO200

Taken at 4.42pm, 120 seconds @ f11 ISO400

The image below shows a rather unfamiliar Dorset landmark! When the swell from the so called "weather bomb" reached Land's End in Cornwall last week we decided to drive all the way down there to capture the waves hitting Longships Lighthouse. This is just over a mile offshore from Land's End and I used a 600mm lens with 1.4X extender to capture this shot. The waves were not quite as ferocious as I'd hoped, but much larger than those along the Dorset coast, so it was worth the journey.

Portland Bill Lighthouse taken well before sunrise when the beams of the lighthouse are more prominent.

Kimmeridge Bay is a great location for sunrise and sunset photography.

Both workshops went very well and we captured some nice images. This is only a small selection, so I will try to include a few more in my December newsletter, which will be going out to all those who have subscribed to it in the next few days. All 33 of my workshops are now fully booked for 2015, including the next set of Dorset workshops, so please email to register your interest in 2016 workshops. I will be starting to send out booking forms for these after Christmas.

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