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. 

Sunrise wave splash on the beach at Swanage in Dorset
The rising sun lights up the exploding waves as they hit the beach groyne.

Thankfully the height of the incoming tide, along with the still quite gusty conditions meant that the surf was hitting the beach groynes with some force, and creating some interesting spray patterns. This was of course my cue to take a ridiculous number of pictures in an attempt to capture the most spectacular of them.

Four images of waves hitting a groyne in the warm light of sunrise at Swanage
A little montage from some of the many shots I took, showing the sun rising and the various shapes produced by the bursting waves.

Once I'd had my fill, I turned my attention to the waves as they rolled up onto the beach, and thanks to the rising sun, they were imbued with a warm light which looked quite eye catching, so I proceeded to fill up my memory card at an alarming pace, again.

Swanage beach wave is lit up by the sunrise light as it rolls onto the beach
As the wave rises it takes on the colour of the dawn sunlight.

Four images of breaking waves on the beach at Swanage on the Dorset coast
Another sampling, this time of the vibrant surf as it crashes onto the beach.

By now, any reasonable person would have sensed they were slipping into madness, and may have packed the camera gear away in an effort to regain a sense of mental stability. But I am not that person!

On my way back along the beach, I noticed that the splashing waves suddenly looked very inviting again, so I was soon trying my best to wear out the shutter button on my camera with a fervour rarely seen outside an amateur glamour shoot in a seedy studio.

Water movement captured at sunrise in a big splash on Swanage beach
As the tide came in further and was hitting the groyne slightly differently, it produced a splash with less intensity and speed, so the water could be captured with less movement.

Swanage beach on the Jurassic Coast at dawn with wave splashes on the beach
The waves produced some nice shapes as they slopped against the pillars, so it was easy to get carried away and just keep shooting.

Sanity eventually prevailed, and after taking more photos than I think I've ever taken in a single sitting, I headed back to the accommodation for some breakfast and to let my camera cool down. I then made my way over to Corfe Castle, as I had heard about a viewpoint I'd not visited before, so I was interested in having a gander for myself.

Corfe Castle between East and West hill in a panorama from Dorset
This panoramic image shows the ruins in the centre, flanked by both East and West hills.
To see the picture bigger just click on it, same goes for all the images.

Ruins of Corfe Castle atop a hill surrounded by the Dorset landscape
The historic remains lit up by the early afternoon sunlight. And yes, in case you're wandering, after this I did stop and get another pasty for my lunch. I did not have a choice.

I didn't stay long as there weren't that many ways the shot could be taken, although the sky by now was looking a lot better than in the morning. It was time to visit Kimmeridge Bay and see what I could see, which as it turned out, wasn't a great deal.

Thanks to the position of the moon, it was a neap tide (this occurs seven days after a spring tide, and is a period of moderate tides when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other), which means the tide never gets very low, and at Kimmeridge this is not ideal, as it means most of the interesting rock formations and fossils are covered over by water.

Not deterred, I headed over to the far shore and had a wander around the sculpted shoreline, as it was half term there were quite a few people about, but the bay covers quite an expanse so it wasn't difficult to find some quiet spots.

Black and white image of Kimmeridge Bay on the Dorset Jurassic Coast
The sculpted rocks snake away into the distance.

It wasn't long before I was snapping away at the detail on the rocks to be found at Kimmeridge, which really are quite varied and interesting, and yet again my camera was taking the strain of my trigger happy finger.

Kimmeridge in fact gives it's name to the term Kimmeridgian, a stage of the Jurassic period that is used the world over, thanks to quality of the rocks and fossils to be found in the bay. 

Kimmeridge Bay detail image of a rock formation and texture
A close up of a section of rock with it's various textures and colours.

Kimmeridge Bay close up shots of rocks on the Jurassic Heritage Coast
My final montage, showing a selection of interesting rock surfaces.

Once I'd had my fill of rocks, I hung around waited for sunset as it set in quite a good place on the horizon this time of year. As it turned out though it didn't really amount to much, I've never had much luck with getting a decent sunset at Kimmeridge, I'll just have to keep trying.

Sunset colours over Kimmeridge Bay and WW2 pillbox on the Dorset coast
This was about as colourful as sunset got that evening. The structure in the foreground is a WW2 pillbox.

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