Sunrise at Happisburgh

One Saturday morning I was determined to capture a sunrise after many weekend of being a bit rubbish. The weather forecast was to be good, this time of year the night is very short meaning I left home for the hours car trip around 2.30am. Even at this time the sky was bright which had me worried thinking I would miss the sun rising making the stupidly early wakeup pointless.

As the lighthouse is only next to the car park I didn't have to travel far to find a good view point of this Norfolk landmark. To my surprise I wasn't expecting to the light in operation considering it's no longer in official use (far as I know).

Using the camera's in built timer to trigger the bracketing sequence to create an HDR image later I worked out the flashes of light occur about every 30 seconds, timing the camera to take images at the time the light was visible was an interesting and fun activity which I often missed. 

The above image was taken just as the sun was rising which was directly behind me making the sky a lovely purple colour. HDR in this situation is essential to capture the sky and lighthouse correctly. 

Soon as the sun started to rise I pointed the camera in its direction with a 10 stop filter to create a long exposure to smooth out the sea which has worked out perfectly and I could not be happier with the end result. 

My secondary objective and partially why I chose to visit Happisburgh was to try and see Swallowtail butterflies at nearby Norfolk Wildlife Trust Hickling Broad which just happened to be closed.

It opens at 10am which is no good when I pulled up at 6am with the gate being locked and no nearby place to park elsewhere I went onto Norfolk Wildlife Trust Ranworth. The grounds are accessible 24/7, although Swallowtail butterflies were nowhere to be seen yet again. I just took macro images of water droplets on reeds and a snail. 

The search for Swallowtails is still ongoing, if I am still unsuccessful this year I will have to plan ahead and book a week of work in mid June next year to try again. Might be worth revisiting Happisburgh next year to see if another crop is growing as the classic and more popular scene with the lighthouse is when wheat is growing. 

Frosty Reedham Walk

Last Sunday along with a few people from the camera club we ventured out to Reedham, a small village along the Norfolk Broads near Acle. It was an early start with the alarm set for 6am. Not a huge issue as I get up at 6am daily for work. 

It was truly a winters morning with the temperature being -2 and I certainly noticed it while getting the car ready by scraping off the ice and with the door handles being difficult to use. Took sometime to pick up some of the group due to the roads not being gritted which made driving very challenging, luckily the car only slipped once. We soon arrived at Reedham and parked along the free parking by the boat moorings and meetup with the fourth individual for the walk.

I packed both my Nikon D7100 and the Fuji X-E1. As the walk was estimated to be about 5 miles I wanted to avoid the mistake I made while seeing the seals at Blakeney by not carrying any equipment I do not need and keep the weight to a minimum. Emptied the camera bag the previous night and repacked it with both cameras with the 18-105mm lens attached and 105mm macro which I almost left behind and some accessories that I keep in an old pencil case (usefull to keep small items together). 

With the temperature being so cold the landscape was frozen solid, including the still water on the broads. Walking was effortless as the earth pathways was like walking on concrete, a complete contrast to walking on sand a few weeks ago along Cley beach for the seal trip.

Who pinned up that high vis? ruins any pictures and not worth the effort removing it

The landmark we was going to see was Limpenhoe Drainage Mill built in 1831 that was built to drain the surrounding farmland. The windmill is derelict and is slowly decaying, however it was noticed a new door has been installed since one of the group had last visited a few years ago. A high vis jacket is placed right in the middle of the opening making any images of the mill itself worthless which is a shame.

I found the walk itself far more interesting than the mill we were going to see. Being up so early had the full advantage of the weather with the sun not melting away the frost which added to the interest of the landscape and objects. The sky was very clear, clean and crisp which made photographing such a pleasure, it was the most fun ive had in a long time. The quality of the light available was excellent which produced a variety of interesting images and strong colours.

Photographing landscapes is typically best either early in the morning or in the afternoon due to the position of the sun which changes colour and the sun rises and sets. The difficulty is getting up early enough to travel to a location, especially on a Sunday. This trip has given me the inspiration to make more of an effort to get out and explore more, especially in the morning. 

As I have recently discovered, exploring in the winter is fun and interesting with the colder weather creating a different feel to images. 

I hardly used the Fuji due to still getting used to the controls as I have yet to master the bracketing functions to create HDR images which I do when creating landscape images. Also the Nikon controls are easier to use while wearing gloves and i've yet to own a lens that is wide enough for landscapes for the Fuji.   

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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.