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. 

Berney Arms Windmill

Not being at work this week allows me to travel and living in Norfolk there are plenty of places I have yet to visit. Berney Arms windmill has been one of them since seeing pictures of these on facebook by other photographers.

Reaching this windmill isn't the easiest or quickest of places to get to,  Parking at Wickhampton: St Andrew Church NR13 3PD and following the paths down to the river which is quite a distance and I am unsure if all of these paths are public access. I believe you can walk from Great Yarmouth or Reedham. The easiest way would be to travel by boat.

The forecast for this week is to be unsettled which potentially creates interesting skies for landscape photography if you don't mind the risk of getting wet. When I have weeks off I try and make my photography interesting by having a focus with long exposures being the last theme and sunset & night time this time round. Leaving later in the day paid off as I had a great time seeing the sunset over the River Yare and the clouds soaking up the colour of the sun as it disappeared.

Rest of the week is going to be spent setting up my online shop using ESTY as the platform to sell my images which I aim to have ready for Friday this week.

Exploring Norwich & Narborough


I belong to a Facebook group called Norfolk Countryside Photowhere people post their photos that have been taken in Norfolk on a wide variety of subjects, usually landscapes, animals and birds. I find it a good resource to discover new locations to visit and enjoy. The admin team had organised a meetup in Narborough for Saturday but due to the weather forecast it was delayed till Sunday.

Only been to Narborough to visit the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve which is known for the butterflies in the spring and summer. 

I'm still learning the Fuji camera so I decided to just bring this instead of the Nikon to get used to it more and also to keep the weight down and I definitely noticed the difference. Also not knowing the route this was going to be a scouting and socialising exercise. This was the first time I had meet this group so I was more interested in listening (i'm not much of a talker) and getting to know them.  

The only point of interest I saw was an old disused derelict watermill. Otherwise the usual farmland and trees are plentiful. Could be better in the summer with insects flying around. 

A map for this walk can be found on the Norfolk Trails website or click HERE for the PDF download.


As Saturday was now free I decided to visit Norwich to see a friend and to watch a film at the cinema, Night At The Museum 3 is worth watching. I intended to do a little street photography that would be a good subject to take advantage of using a smaller camera which is more discrete. However I just wasn't inspired and moved onto my preferred type of photography of architecture.

After going back to the car to off load some light shopping I started at the bridge near the cinema taking images interesting buildings either side of the river which I have done before. What was new to me was following the river around to Jarrolds Bridge passing by Cow Tower that I had yet to see. Considering how close it is to Jarrolds bridge that I have visited many times is just stupid.  This time I focused more on the materials of the bridge. 

By the time the film had finished it was close to sunset and decided to hang around till it was dark. For sometime now I have been wanting to visit Jarrolds Bridge at night as i've been told it lights up and I wasn't disappointed. 

On the way back to the car I decided to go by the Cathedral where I setup the tripod and took a series of images to merge into HDR later. What surprised me is when processing the image on the PC the camera had picked up the stars that I was not expecting and add to the final image. Normally stars do not show up when taking images in a city due to the light pollution.

The next part is a bit technical and can be skipped.

After using the Fuji I have noticed a couple of drawbacks compared to the Nikon. When doing bracketing to take multiple exposures to create an HDR image later I am used to the camera keeping up. On the Narborough trip I was taking images to stitch into a Panorama and often I bracket them. On the Fuji I was waiting for the camera to write to the card which isn't a slow card and I never had the same issue when using the same card in the Nikon so it is the Fuji not keeping up which was annoying as I take the sequence of images in burst mode to avoid using a tripod and remote control.

On the Nikon I set the bracketing option to take three images at +/- 2 stops whereas the Fuji only goes to +/- 1 stop which can be an issue. I would need to get a newer version that has the ability to use wifi and remotely control and take each image manually as changing the exposure settings. The Fuji is a bit fidley to change while taking a sequence of images. 

That being said the X-E1 with the 35mm lens is a fantastic camera, the image quality coming out is excellent and I just love using the camera. Once you know the limitations you can work around them.   

Exploring Norfolk

Having time off work allows me to have the ability to explore Norfolk hoping to capture a few interesting photos. I typically plan to visit at least a couple of places on the same day. I revisited Holkham, Well, Norwich and Castle Acre. New places were Morston and parts of Great Holkham Forest.

Among the usual landscapes I like to explore, I wanted to take advantage of the colorful leaves still attached to the trees. My first attempt was Foxley Wood, however I decided to visit on Thursday, which happens to be closed so no pictures from there. I wanted to take pictures of  seals as I got that idea from twitter.

After some research the village of Morston was a good place to park. I was hoping to find a path to allow me to see them. This appears not to be the case, only useful if you want a guided tour on a boat. As I like to take pictures in my own time I wasn't considering this option. I saw no seals but the plentiful small boats around and the general landscape was interesting.

After talking to a photography club member later on I could have parked at Cley and then walk along the spit, but again I was informed that someone had tried this recently and the area was roped off and inaccessible. Another option would have been to see them at Horsey, which I may do within the next few weeks and also revisit the Windpump nearby on the same trip.  

I have been introduced to the idea of cropping images into a square format, not something I would normally consider but for some images it works.

Recently I have been thinking more about how I could sell my work, the current solution by Photobox is not ideal. I want to offer a simple, easy and complete item. Such as a framed and mounted image that I would assemble myself. 

Some questions I need to think about include, would the investment in the equipment needed to produce custom mounts and frames be worthwhile as I cannot find what I like available to purchase at a reasonable price and if I were to go down this route would anyone actually buy these.

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.