Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wicken Fen windmill at sunset

National Trust Wicken Fen wind pump under pastel clouds at sunset

I recently took a little trip to Wicken Fen for a spot of sunset photography, with a view to getting some shots of the iconic wind pump that stands proud amongst this wetland landscape.

The Wicken Fen nature reserve is Britain's oldest nature reserve and is one of Europe's most important wetlands, home to over 9000 recorded species including many rare plants, birds and dragonflies. It was the first reserve cared for by the National Trust, starting in 1899. It includes fenland, farmland, marsh, and reedbeds, and is one of only four wild fens which still survive in the enormous Great Fen Basin area of East Anglia, where 99.9% of the former fens have now been replaced by arable cultivation.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Grand Pier at sunset in Weston-Super-Mare

Sunset colours over the Grand Pier on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare

I had reason to be in Weston-Super-Mare recently, not something you hear often, but that is where I found myself nonetheless. And thankfully I had my camera with me, so I took the opportunity to head down to the beach for sunset, hoping to get some shots of the Grand Pier.

The pier is privately owned and is supported by 600 iron piles, and is 400 metres long. It has been damaged by fire on two occasions, in 1930 and 2008. Following the 2008 fire, which completely destroyed the pavilion, the pier was rebuilt and and reopened in October 2010.

The Grand Pier was originally constructed in 1904, and featured a 2,000 seat theatre which was used as a music hall for opera, stage plays and ballet. After the original pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1930 a new pavilion was built in 1933, which housed a large, undercover fun fair. In 1974 the pier became a Grade II listed building.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dorset day 4 - A surprising sunrise and a host of tall trees

Beautiful colours above Banjo Pier in Swanage Dorset

My last day in Dorset and I wanted to make the most of it, so I was up before the sun, with a view to getting some shots of the headland at Peveril Point. The weather did not look especially inspiring as I made my way through Swanage town and parked in the upper car park overlooking the piers.

Retrieving my gear from the car, my expectations were not exactly emboldened as the rain began to steadily fall. So I decided against taking the walk to the Point, as the conditions, as well as being determined to turn me into a soggy flannel, were opaque to say the least. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dorset day 3 part two - The remarkable Agglestone and a beautiful pine forest

Rows of huge pine trees topped with an emerald canopy at Studland Bay

Following on from my morning jaunt around Studland Bay Nature Reserve, we return to the action, and I use that word in the loosest possible sense, among the moorland of Black Heath. I didn't have a particular destination in mind, I was just out for a walk to see what I could see, when I spied a large outcrop in the distance that seemed too incongruous for it's surroundings to be ignored.

My curiosity sufficiently piqued, I changed course, and following one of the pathways that snake their way over the undulating landscape, I headed towards it. I didn't know it at the time, it was only later when I did a bit of research that I found out all about it, but I was bearing towards Agglestone Rock, also known as the Devil's Anvil, or the Devil's nightcap.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dorset day 3 part one - Sunrise sort of & Studland nature reserve

Tide movement under a dramatis sky at Swanage on the Jurassic Coast
My third day in Dorset, and I woke to a pretty dismal start to the day, the weather had obviously decided to urinate on my parade, but I was not to be deterred, and I headed down to Swanage seafront anyway, in spite of the dank conditions.

And I was right to do that, even though the sky was awash with thick clouds, the cool, ambient light had created a atmospherically atmospheric atmosphere. I took advantage of it and got some shots looking out to sea, where a thin, pale band of red had begun to present itself above the horizon, which was about as psychedelic as the sunrise got.

I then turned my hawk like attention to the seafront itself, due to the early hour the lights were still ablaze along the waterfront, and from my vantage point I had a good view of them. With the morning tide rippling and plashing over the stretch of golden sand between me and the gentle urbanity in the near distance, it was a peaceful scene, and I was glad I had made the effort to get out into the dawn air.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dorset Day 2 - Swanage splashes & Kimmeridge minerals

Waves spread over the beach at Swanage in the dawn light

I woke to much more of a promising dawn on my second day in Dorset, so I didn't hang around and I was soon zooming my way through the quiet streets of Swanage towards the seafront. I got there just as the sun was making its presence felt by throwing a band of colour across the horizon.

Unfortunately there wasn't much in the way of high cloud cover, so the sky wasn't going to be the most interesting I'd ever seen, but I wasn't complaining too much. I was also faced with a similar dilemma as I'd had the previous day, namely I had photographed Swanage beach and it's groynes many times over, so I had to find something a bit different to do, just to keep myself interested. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dorset Day 1 - Corfe Castle & Man O'War Bay

Ruins of Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset

Recently I spent a few days in one of my favourite places, the Dorset coast. It had been a little while since I'd been there last, so I was keen to catch up with a few of the many picturesque spots this part of the country has to offer.

I had arrived under an haze of evening drizzle, so there wasn't much I could get up to there and then, and a sunset was definitely not on the cards, so I pitched up to the accommodation and waited it out, hoping it would clear for sunrise the next day. It didn't.

But thankfully, it didn't take long for the rain to clear and it soon turned into a a rather nice morning. My first stop was to the old pier on Swanage seafront, I'd been there plenty of times before and probably got every shot there is to get of it, but I'd have felt remiss if I hadn't at least shown my face, it was only polite.