Thurne Windmill Sunrise

Thurne is only a small handful of windpumps in good condition with many others being derelict. I have been to Thurne many times before but only on the same side as the windmill or on the river passing by on a boat. Having seen other images taken by other photographers I have been inspired to try an angle from the other side of the river. Setting the alarm for 4am I decided to travel there on a Saturday morning to explore the beautiful and soothing Norfolk Broads.

The route was straight forward except for the uneven dirt tracks right at the end of Cold Harbour Road after going through Ludham village. Care was required driving down this road due to the pot holes, which looked to as if landmines had gone off. 

Once parked up I equipped myself with the appropriate wellington boots, extra pair of socks, hat, scarf and torches. Not being here before I took the odd path which were a dead end thinking it was a shortcut. Usually when photographing sunrises or night time images I like to have been to that location previously so I know the location in complete darkness.   

To get the views I wanted of the windpump I needed to cross a small marshland that was between the main path and the clearing which I presume is private property which means I was most likely trespassing. This is the part where my trip took got very wet!

In order to get to the flat clearing where there were clear views of the windmill I had to cross mud submerged in shallow water where I underestimated the depth of the water and how much I would sink into it. I attempted to step onto foliage in order to spread out the weight, but my wellies sank below the waterline which gave me a shock and my feet with two pairs of sock became soaked. 

Soon as I reached the other side the wellies and socks came off and a futile attempt to dry them out on a cold winters morning began. At this point the sunrise was underway. With my bare feet I setup the camera onto the tripod and started to take images while squeezing out the water in between exposures.   

When planning sunrises I aim to be at the location well before the sun appears as with sunrises, usally an hour before the sunrise. I find the most exciting scenery happen before the sun actually comes up, the colours in the clouds are usually what provides beautiful scenes. The same can apply to sunsets and dusk. 

I took many images with and without a 10 stop filter using different lenses to increase the exposure time, to make the water more smooth to create mirror like reflections. I keep the ISO at 200 which is the lowest Fuji's go to (No idea why) and aperture around F/8 to F/11 on the Fuji 35mm 1.4 and I think F/8 on the Samyang 12mm F/2.

When capturing landscape images I like to set the camera to -1 exposure compensation to try and keep details in the sky as taking images in RAW mode will give me the flexibility to create a properly exposed image in Lightroom later on.

Soon as the sun started to make its appearance over the horizon I packed up my equipment and put the soaked socks and wellies back on to make the 20 minute walk back to the car

With my wet feet I had no enthusiasm to stick around much longer as the sun was about to come up over the horizon. This time I made more of an effort to stand on folded over reeds to support my weight which lucky worked. It did not take me long to return to the car and I drove the 1 hour home in bare feet which is an unusual feeling.

Churches Thunderstorms and Museum

Thompson Church

Last week has been another busy week for me. Following on from my coverage of the Blossom & Yarn Festival involving 6 local churches to raise funds to maintain the buildings I have been revisiting some of them to have another go at photographing them during sunrise and sunsets to create different and interesting images than I have already taken.

Blossom & Yarn at Griston Church

So far one of my favourite churches have been Thompson which take about 10 minutes to travel to by car, this last Saturday I set the alarm for 4.30am to get there for the sunrise having researched the angle of the sunrise with the building. It is full of character in a beautiful setting of sitting behind a mature crop of what I assume to be wheat. 

With the sun rising from a low angle in the sky, it creates side lighting that adds depth and character to an image. Using the camera's automatic bracketing feature I create 3 images in quick succession at different exposures to later merge into one image to capture enough information in the sky, building and the field to create a complete image.

Thursday's Thunderstorm 

A few weeks ago I missed a very active and angry thunderstorm and on Thursday night another storm was forecast. The reason why I missed the first one was because I was unaware and the BBC Weather app did not predict it where I was later informed other apps did.

Determined not to miss another storm I now use AccuWeather alongside the BBC one which I check a few times a day and when a storm is predicted an app called Blitzortung Lightning Monitor is also installed on my Android HTC device to monitor a thunderstorm, im sure its also available on Apple phones. This app tracks the activity of storms which is useful to have in the "Toolbox". I am very happy on the result and I will post another blog later in the week on how I took it in more detail.

Nature walk at Gressenhall 

I visited Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum located near Dereham with a couple of other people where one had an annual pass that allowed him to bring along of up to 3 other people free of charge with them.

Old bell at a display

The aim were to visit the gardens and nature trails in the hope of photographing wildlife  namely butterflies which I have yet to capture any this year! We also had a look around the many exhibits while we were there which provided a few photographic opportunities to see vintage Victorian period items.

This time next week I be on my Annual holiday along the Norfolk Broads with family on a hire boat. While I live in Norfolk and the Broads is relatively close it's a really beautiful place to visit and hopefully I can capture plenty of sunset and sunrises during my time there and hopefully if the weather is kind some astrophotography of the night sky which I have yet to take any good images.

On order is an infrared filter which I hope it to arrive in time to try a different type of photography and another external hard drive to keep my photos safe in an additional location.

Visit my Flickr profile to see many more images not on display here. 

Narborough Sunrise

On Saturday I visited Norfolk Wildlife Trust Narborough Rail line. I discovered this location earlier this year while looking for butterflies. Was asked if I had a picture of this location which was "Atmospheric". Only had macro photos of butterflies and bugs, it gave me the inspiration and determination to go out early and capture a sunrise. Atmospheric, to me means sunrise, sunset and mist etc. 

The weather forecast was overcast which was worrying. Complete flat cloud would have been a disaster, by contrast no clouds would be equally disappointing and boring. Clouds provide interest during sunrise / sunset as they change colour.

I arrived at Narborough with not much time to find a spot, ideally I should have arrived a bit earlier, took my time to get up. Found myself running trying not to miss the sunrise. I found a suitable and only location near the end looking over the farmland. 

Taking plenty of images while the sun was waking up. Settled on the above picture, a panorama made up of 4 portrait images wide using a method called HDR to ensure the image was exposed correctly. The file size is almost 60 megabytes, a 70 megapixel image. 

Visiting the same place many times allows me to familiarise myself with the location so I know where to go when I want a particular image, Narborough for example is good for butterflies and bugs, I have also seen fungi growing in the grass, however not this trip which was disappointing for this time of year.