Last weekend I finally managed to get a trip away to a beautiful campsite in Dorset. Dorset it seems is fast becoming my favourite county for a myriad of reasons, not least the abundance of incredible viewpoints for Landscape photographers. One such spot that has been on my hitlist for a while is Old Harry Rocks. A natural series of stacks which juts out from a peninsula down off Studland Bay. The challenge is that being right down at the end of a peninsula on the south coast makes is difficult to access, certainly not somewhere I can easily just pop down to in the morning.
A neat trick for you for taking great photos, totally free of charge, is to go to beautiful places at sunrise or sunset. Doing so will be 90% of the battle, the great photos almost take themselves.
My campsite for the weekend was Burnbake campsite, north-east of Corfe Castle. 10/10 spot with excellent facilities and quiet open fields for camping in. The breakfast van was a very welcome discovery and the bathroom and shower facilities were clean and tidy. It was also a perfect spot for accessing some of the local viewpoints.
Landscape photography is very weather dependant. All the best planning in the world can be instantly undone by heavy cloud, rain, fog, or a number of other weather conditions. Including, skies which are too clear. Having totally clear skies often leads to uninteresting landscapes with harsh direct light. This was a challenge I interestingly ran into at Durdle Door last year.
This time I had 2 nights booked in meaning I could wait for perfect weather, which I luckily got on Saturday morning. Just enough cloud to disperse the morning sun and give some beautiful colours, but not too much as to obscure it.
So 4am start, I drove down to Bankes Arms pub carpark which is a National Trust spot. From there it was around a 20min walk along the coast path to the viewpoint. From there it was quickly into the old routine of sit, wait, and watch the light evolve as the sun rose.
From here I took several shots, but the two I like the most are above and below. The above shot I think is more serene, its the moment just before the sun rose, in the morning twilight where the blue of the sky and sea is just broken by the emerging sunlight.
And the second, perhaps 10 minutes or so later, the exact same spot, just after the sun had risen. This shot is a little more dramatic with strong contrast in the sky and a warmer colour palette.
In either case, I think that this shows just how much timing can make a HUGE impact in Landscape photography, with around 10 minutes totally changing the lighting and look of the final image.
What do you think? Do you prefer the first or second? I plan on submitting one of them to my favourite photography magazine so feedback is much appreciated.