Rising at 5.30 am after a very fitful night’s sleep, thanks to the unpleasant effects of a bug I was suffering from, and stumbling into the bathroom to cough my guts up under the cold, florescent ambience, I was still trying to convince myself that driving down to Swanage the previous evening was preferable to staying home and, more importantly, leaving my comfortable bed behind.
But good thing or not, I was here, so it was time to make the best of it and strike out through the morning darkness to Swanage seafront, to see what variety of sunrise nature had decided to bestow upon me.
As it happens, she was obviously not in a generous mood, as the display was somewhat lacking in vibrancy. The sky was completely clear, apart from a big old ribbon of murky cloud settled along the horizon, doing its best to make the day’s entrance as subdued as it could.
|A couple of shots of the beach groins as the sun rises behind clouds, giving off a soft ambient light.|
It’s times like these, when a standard shot just won’t do the trick, that a bit of experimentation can mean the difference between giving up and buggering off, or getting something out of a less than ideal situation.
This morning (and as it turned out, for most of my trip) I was going to tinker with long exposures to make the most of the movement in the sea, and give a bit of interest to pictures that might have been a bit on the dull side.
|The water retreats over stones lodged in the sand.|
|The surf swells up in preparation to roll onto the beach.|
|The sun finally makes an appearance over the clouds below it.|
After feeling that I had exhausted the possibilities available, and now that the sun was soaring up into the sky, I bumbled into town in search of some much needed breakfast. Thankfully I found a place already open at such an early hour, and I was soon the proud, appreciative owner of a mighty sausage sandwich, which, I’m pleased to report, was heaven in a floury bap.
Now I was feeling a bit more human I headed to Peveril Point, a notable limestone promontory that forms the southern end of Swanage Bay. It is composed of Portland and Purbeck Limestone, used a lot in the construction of cathedrals and churches, most notably, St Paul’s in London.
The sky by now was a crisp clear blue, without a single cloud to spoil its sheen. Again, these were really not the kind of conditions I was after, it was all a bit dull. So I continued my long exposure triflings, hoping to catch the action of the waves. Luckily the tide was in a frisky mood, and I spent the next couple of hours snapping the water, as it hurled itself against the rock shelves that poked their heads above the surf.
|The exposure length allows the spray to be captured, but also keeps some of the movement in there.|
|I liked the way the water rolled over these rocks. I must have got about 50 shots of this I was so taken with it.|
|The long exposure has captured the turmoil in the ocean as it scurries around the steadfast rocks.|
After meeting up with my m’colleague Sarah, who was in town to administer a workshop, we took the short drive to Durlston Castle which looked rather fetching, perched on the cliff top from afar, but not so much when up close.
It was actually built in the Victorian age by a likely fellow who had made his cash in quarrying the local stone; George Burt. It was never built as a castle, but as a restaurant for visitors to Burt’s estate. And in keeping with that tradition, it’s still a restaurant, along with a gallery and a shop.
After wandering along the coastal pathways a while, we made use of the castle’s rich heritage, and had a half decent coffee on the restaurant terrace, before motoring on over to Dancing Ledges.
This former quarry and smugglers lair is only accessible by foot or boat, but only if you know what the weather and tides are up to, as more than a few have been swept to their deaths in the strong, deep currents that ply their trade around the rocky shoreline.
Luckily we were walking there, in fact, we fairly gambolled down the hill towards the coastline, well that’s a slight overstatement, as the hill was pretty steep, and the usual route had been destroyed a couple of months previously, and was awaiting rebuilding, meaning we had to take the ‘scenic’ route.
|A few shots of the surf as it tumbled over the textured rock ledges.|
Unfortunately the sea was by now very placid, so there wasn’t a great deal of action to be had. I took a few detail shots of the rocky ledges as the sea washed over them, but nothing really grabbed my attention to any degree, and we didn’t stay long.
The walk back was certainly interesting. The hill seemed to have gotten steeper, somehow, and longer, I just couldn’t fathom it. I put it down to the fact I was feeling a bit under the weather. It couldn’t have anything to do with my lack of fitness I thought, as I stopped for the fourth time, frantically rasping in the late afternoon air, my clothes an upright puddle of sweat and my heart beating out a rhythm to some unknown thrash metal standard.
Apparently in more lively weather, it can be quite mesmerising as the waves ‘dance’ upon the ledges, hence the name. Suffice to say, it would have to be bloody spectacular to get me back down there again.
The last stop of the day was Kimmeridge Bay for sunset. Which to be honest, was a bit of a repeat of the morning, but in reverse. The sun sank into a murky horizon, disappearing behind a smoky band of diffuse cloud, before the light faded to grey.
|The sun casts a warm glow over the bay before it disappears for the evening.|
|A few minutes later and the cool light of the evening appears.|
Drove back to Swanage feeling rather tired and debating whether to go out for a pizza, or pick up a couple from the Co-Op. Decided to save money and head to the supermarket. Big mistake, they were rubbish. 'Truly Irresistible' my arse.