Category Archives: Sunset

Keeping An Open Mind

Last Friday afternoon saw us heading for Whitby to deliver some stock to the Art Café. It was a lovely evening, so after a walk along the cliff top, we treated ourselves to a bar meal sat out in the sun in the beer garden at the Hart in Sandsend.

The sun sets just behind Kettleness Point in August and I had a couple of locations I wanted to try in mind, so we decided to stay and see what the sunset had to offer this evening. I had a different angle on the beach huts I wanted to try in low evening light, but sea spray from the high tide meant the shot wasn’t going to work that evening, so I headed for the pier instead. As I sat waiting for the sun to set, a heavy bank of cloud gathered over Kettleness Point, so my chances of getting a good sunset were rapidly diminishing. However, conscious that it never pays to leave a sunset location too soon, I decided to hang on and see what developed. As sunset approached it became clear that the sky over Kettleness wasn’t going to play ball, but I could see that the sky behind me was showing a faint hint of pink. It’s well worth remembering to keep an eye on the sky behind you, as you never know what might be happening.

As the pink in the sky over the abbey strengthened, I decided it was time to shift my attention to that direction, so I gathered my gear and relocated to the end of the pier. I set up my tripod and camera and was just reaching into my bag to get my filter pouch when someone tried to squeeze past me. As I leaned forward to give them some room I caught my filter pouch on the lid of my bag and watched in horror as the pouch flew out of my hand towards the sea! Seeing 9 filters at roughly £80 each head for the sea below didn’t bear thinking about! Luckily the pouch hit the railings and landed on the woodwork, so all was well. I even managed to get the shot too.

I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s one thing having an idea about what you want to shoot, but it’s important to bring an open mind and work with the conditions you are presented with. It’s also a good idea to hang on until at least 15 – 30 minutes after the sun has set, as you never know how the afterglow might develop and you really don’t want to see a great sunset in your rear view mirror as you drive home do you?!800-1-12917-RB

Gullible’s Travels to Saltwick Bay

Ever conscious that the blog is still getting neglected, I have decided to write an occasional piece on our travels.

The sun sets and rises in the sea at Saltwick Bay for a few weeks either side of the longest day, so this is a really good opportunity to capture a shot with the setting sun illuminating this spectacular scene. However a bit of research is needed as the access is limited by the tide, so consulting my tide tables revealed that there was a window of opportunity early this week. Add in the complication of needing the weather to cooperate and the window of opportunity closes even further. Looking at the weather forecast, I reckoned that Monday was a good bet and would still leave Tuesday and Wednesday if the weather didn’t play ball.

As I arrived in Whitby on Monday afternoon, the sky was clear and bright, then suddenly clouded over around 5.30. Still I headed over to the car park at the top of the cliff in the hope it would clear again. I’d brought my tent in order to be able to capture the sunrise the following morning, so had about 30kgs of kit to lug down the cliff path. Once the tent was pitched, I was able to have a leisurely meal whilst relaxing to the sound of the crashing waves. Not a bad life really! Meal over and I met up with my good friend John Potter and his friend Keith Foster and we all had a good chat whilst waiting for the sunrise to happen. Considering how few opportunities there are each year to capture this scene, I was actually very surprised that we were the only photographers there that night. Last year I had to queue at the wreck!

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Keith favoured a position on the slab rock to capture the sun just poking round the cliff, whilst John and I set up nearer the wreck. As 9 pm approached (Sunset at 9.40) things started to get interesting and we thought we were in for something special. The sky did get good for a while, but ultimately the afterglow failed to light up the sky, so the show was all over before 10 o’clock.

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Show over and John returned to his camper van whilst I bedded down in my tent, with the remarkably loud noise of the crashing waves to lull me to sleep. It actually was quite soothing and sleeping on soft sand is quite comfortable, even so I didn’t actually sleep very soundly.

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It rained overnight and 3.30am soon came around! Sticking my head out of the tent showed it was very dull, so I went back to sleep for another hour. It was still dull at 4.30, but I was awake by now so it was time for action. In the end I busied myself taking some long exposures which I am actually quite pleased with, so it was worth staying overnight after all.

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Part of the reason for camping was to test my gear for more remote adventures, so I busied myself making porridge and coffee, both of which were a success. John had obviously decided to have a lie in and the sky was still dull, so it was time to break camp. Camping on sand may be comfortable, but the sand gets everywhere and it’s a nightmare to pack up both the sleeping bag and tent when they are full of sand. Lugging 30kgs of gear back up that hill didn’t fill me with a great deal of enthusiasm either!

All in all a moderate success and I’m now looking forward to my next camping trip.

Flamborough

I’ve been meaning to return to Flamborough for a couple of years, but other things always got in the way. I’ve been working on a project recording the Yorkshire coast at dawn and dusk for about 4 years now, but a couple of poor summers had meant I still had a few locations to complete and Flamborough was one of them.

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I needed to test my new camping gear in preparation for my forthcoming St. Kilda trip, so this was an ideal opportunity to combine the two. I arrived mid afternoon and did a quick recce, then decided to book a campsite, but the first one turned me away on the grounds it was a family only site. I ended up on a site a couple of miles away, which wasn’t ideal, then after a quick sandwich and a drink and it was down to work. The glare of the hot afternoon soon gave way to warm evening light and Thornwick Bay proved an excellent place to capture the sun setting in the sea.

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I managed to capture some nice stock shots, then just before sunset the sun burst through and cliffs were illuminated by golden evening light. Once these shots were in the bag, I returned to my vantage point to capture the sunset and I wasn’t disappointed. The pre-sunset sky was good, but the sky just lit up once the sun had set. Remember never, ever leave a sunset until well after the sun has set as the afterglow is often the best bit as it was last Saturday.

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I returned to my tent and set the alarm for early and got a few hours sleep. 4 am soon came around and I headed to Selwick Bay a couple of miles down the road. The sky looked interesting as I made my way down the many steps to the bay, but as sunrise approached, the sky lit up as it had done the previous evening only much better and what a sight! It’s moments like this that really make getting up so early worthwhile. The pink sky lasted a full 10 minutes, so I was able to work both sides of the bay and capture several variations on the scene, so all in all a very productive 24 hours.

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Whitby Sunset

A couple of weeks ago we joined some friends on a group outing to Whitby on what proved to be a bright, sunny afternoon. I didn’t feel very inspired in the afternoon, but once we’d adjourned to the Fisherman’s Wife cafe for some fish and chips, the cooler evening light started to look much more promising.

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While we were waiting for the sun to go down, we watched the amazing spectacle of dozens and dozens of fishermen turning up to fish on the turning tide. An hour later they all trouped off again with bags crammed full of mackerel, leaving the pier clear for us photographers!

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Once again it proved worth waiting for the light as we were treated to a spectacular sunset. There’s nothing worse than heading home empty handed and seeing a great sunset in your rear view mirror.

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Sutton Bank Sunset

I’ve been trying for a few years to capture a winter sunset at Sutton Bank, but one of our early attempts a couple of years ago end when Janet slipped and broke her ankle. It was a sunset to die for, but I didn’t think she would have appreciated me going off for half an hour to capture it, while she laid in the mud in agony waiting for the ambulance!

I did manage to capture a reasonable sunset at Sutton Bank early last November, but I wanted to see if I could do any better, so I decided to try again last Friday. The sky didn’t look too promising when I arrived and it was generally quite dull, but the sky did colour up beautifully just on sunset.

It’s one thing going with a particular image in mind, but you have to keep your mind open to other possibilities and in the end I came home with an interesting, but totally different image to any I had imaged.

Shooting the Heather

Flushed with success from last year’s heather shots, as my Saltersgate and Janet’s lone tree on Egton moor shot were used as front covers and Janet’s shot went on to be published another 3 times. We were keen to produce some more heather photos this year, but changeable weather conditions, a short window of opportunity coupled with high winds conspired to make this quite difficult.

We took another trip onto the moors on Saturday and the weather was lovely, but the heather was already past it’s best and it was windy once again, so I stuck the ISO up to 1600 and pressed on as the sky was great and we were unlikely to get many more chances like this.