Dorset Landscape Photography: Sunset over West Bay
22nd August 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography:
Sunset over West Bay

The sky was looking like it might provide some magic tonight with broken clouds across most of the sky, with part of t definately a Mackerel sky... always good.

I headed off to find a good spot and ended up on the seafront at West Bay, looking out across the rocks on the front towards Thorncombe Beacon and Golden Cap. The sun was going down in some layered cloud, but colour was already building in the sky above.

I setup my tripod, composed my shot and waited for the sky to fill in with more colour.

As I was waiting a friend rang and as I took the call, I turned and paced while speaking. The skies behind were definately filling in nicely which brought more hope for a great sunset.

A further 5 minutes and I looked again to the East and the skies were on fire. The setting sun had lit the skies with an amazing dusky pink and the high level clouds were glowing. I had to rapidly setup again to capture a few shots before the colour ran across the sky, so probably not the best composition.

As they say in the Panto's : "Its behind you", so one of the golden rules of photography : always look the other way too!

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2011, pt 2
16th August 2011 - 0 comments
One of the main attractions of the entire weekend is the Night Glows that took place on the Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Night Glow: a truly amazing event; where 26 balloon were tethered in the arena and we waited for darkness to fall.

The main sponsor of the event, Janguar, got their balloon up early, the XK8, while the rest got ready by laying out their balloons on the ground and tying them down.

Slowly, and to the theme tune of 2001, 'Also sprach Zarathustra' roaring out across the arena, the balloons were filled and came upright.

For a minute or so all was still and then the music started blaring out and with each beat a different balloon 'glowed' in the dark by firing its burners.

And then as the music came to a crescendo, all the balloon glowed together ....

The crowds of approx 100,000 people were either boogying around of recording the amazing event on digital cameras or their phones. An amazing evening which ended with a great firework display, which sadly went off behind us.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2011, pt 1
14th August 2011 - 1 comment
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2011

A weekend spent amongst the balloons, pilots and supporters of this acclaimed festival which attracts around 100,000 for each mass ascent. The festival ran over the whole weekend with many attractions taking place, including the Red Arrows, Night Glows and Mass Ascents across the Bristol skyline.

I arrived on Friday evening just in time to see the balloons drifting across the Avon Gorge and passing by the Clifton Suspension Bridge; a great sight at any time, but with all the balloons passing by, it made a true spectacle.

I was up and ready for mornings sunrise ascent on the Saturday morning, but due to poor weather and low cloud it was called off, so we waited for the evening mass ascent where 87 balloons gathered in the arena and took off within 30 minutes or so, spreading out across the skies.

With so many balloons in one place, it was fun getting interesting / unique compositions, but I hope you enjoy a few of the shots that I took over the course of the ascent.

Dorset Landscape Photographer: Beautiful Dorset
07th August 2011 - 2 comments
Dorset Landscape Photographer
Beautiful Dorset

No great sunrise this morning and the weather towards the end of the day looked terrible (its raining as I write), so as the sun was out this morning I ventured out .... and with no great hay/wheat sheves around, I headed up a hill I had seen many times, driving past it almost daily.

The hill in question was Shipton Hill, up behind Shipton Gorge, and it rises above the surrounding landscape with a tree 'haircut' on top.

The hill was easy to climb and the view from the top was wonderful. A great classic Dorset landscape. Green fields give way to the wheat fields that are yet to be harvested... the coastline showed West Bay, Thorncombe Beacon and Golden Cap in the far distance and the clouds above were streaking across the sky with the winds that were steadily developing.

A great walk and a great view. I hope you enjoy it too.
Dorset Landscape Photographer: Sunset over Hive Beach Fishermen
01st August 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photographer
Sunset over Hive Beach Fishermen

It was a glorious weekend down at Hive Beach & Cogden Beach last weekend. The wekeend finished with a great sunset as the remaining families played on the beach, setup their BBQ's and got out their fishing rods to try and catch supper.
Dorset Landscape Photography: Evening Fishing on the Jurassic Coast
26th July 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
Evening Fishing on the Jurassic Coast

It was a warm and sunny day today down on the coast and the fishermen were out for a large part of the day, but as the sun went down they headed for the beach with their families and BBQ's in the hope of landing some Mackerel or Bass for supper.

I went off to Cogden Beach, well known locally with fishermen and with the sun coming back round to the SW at sunsets, it made for a interesting shoot, directly into the sun.

Using the Nikon 70-200mm F2.78 lens which is an excellent lens, I setup and waited for the sun to almost set before shooting up the beach, across the fishermen and into the setting sun.

The guys close to me were saying they hadn't caught too much tonight, but the smells from the BBQ told me that at least some Mackerely had been landed. A glorious day.
Dorset Landscape Photography: Morning Mists across Bridports' Hills
25th July 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
Morning Mists across Bridports' Hills

An early morning today as I woke to see my village and the surrounding valley filled with swirling mists. I headed out to see what I could find and seeing it was lying across the Bridport valley, I went up to the hills behind Colmers Hill.

By the time I got up there, some of the mists were already rising and the sun was a little high in the sky, causing some high contrast conditions.

It was a lovely early morning start to the day and wonderful scene unfolded across the valley, the hills and across the Marshwood Vale.

The first shot was a panoramic using a 50mm lens in portrait mode, using 5 images, merged in Photoshop.

The second is using a Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 lens, which is a cracking lens, on a 2x converter. I roamed across the countryside using the viewfinder until I found a scene with fields and trees fading off into the distance and into the mist.

Dorset Event Photographer: Abbotsbury Swannery Round-up 2011
23rd July 2011 - 3 comments
Dorset Event Photographer
Abbotsbury Swannery Round-up 2011

Early Saturday morning saw another successful bi-annual roundup and census of the swans along the Fleet, behind Chesil Beach in Dorset, by staff from Abbotsbury Swannery and volunteers from across the country.

David Wheeler, Abbotsbury's Swan Herd said "This is the 16th roundup we've had at Abbotsbury and all went very smoothly." More than 750 swans were rounded up in the process where they are checked by vets, weighed, recorded and ringed where necessary.
A large number of the swans are known to be local to Abbotsbury but many are also noted as visitors to the area by their different coloured leg rings.

The roundup started on Friday with some 70 canoes slowly herding swans down from the Portland end of the Fleet where they were encouraged to stay overnight at Abbotsbury Swannery by a temporary boom across the narrowest part of the Fleet.

At sunrise on Saturday morning, the swans were brought ashore into holding pens ready for the census by 200 volunteers wading out or paddling canoes.

Once processed the swans were then carried back to the waters edge where they were released back onto the Fleet.

Swans have been recorded at Abbotsbury since at least the 14th Century, with David Wheeler able to trace his predecessors back to William Squilor, the Swan Herd for Abbotsbury in 1393.

In past years more than a 1000 birds have been rounded up. This year’s numbers are thought to be lower because of the high number of seagulls, crows and foxes preying on young cygnets around the lagoon.

Dorset Landscape Photographer : Celebrations at Hengistbury Head
05th July 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photographer
Celebrations at Hengistbury Head

This weekend saw the 50th birthday celebrations of one of my best friends. Along with my own, a number of us were celebrating our birthdays, so we gathered en-mass at the beach huts on Mudeford Spit, Hengistbury Head, overlooking Christchurch Harbour on one side and the Solent and the Needles on the other.

We stayed for 3 days and in addition to the eating, drinking, celebrating and general fun we all had, we were treated to 3 wonderful sunsets across the harbour.

The tides were Springs meaning high high-tides and low low-tides which gave the harbour an eerie feeling as we watched both dogs and humans 'walk on water' as the tide dropped, leaving boats keeled over on the mud and swans waddling across the mud-flats that remained.

Thanks to all the gang who turned up to help us celebrate in style .... Thx to Koves for organising so much of it all, and thanks to the weather, which was just glorious ..... sunburn hitting in now....

International Landscape Photography : Italian Riviera
26th June 2011 - 1 comment
International Landscape Photography
Italian Riviera

A surprise trip to the Italian Riviera, as a birthday present from my partner, to visit the small harbour of Portofino. Thank you Cerian.

Portofino is somewhere I had wanted to visit for many years, so this was a great surprise and an amazing experience. As someone who is not only in photography, but the sea, boats, yachts and great seafood, I was in heaven. Wherever you turned there was another megayacht coming into the harbour, or in some cases, mooring off outside as they were too big to come in. 150' yachts were two-a-penny. This was the playground of the rich and famous and great fun to visit for a few days.

History according to Wikipedia:
According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.

The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttoso di Capodimonte. In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town's natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa.

It was a hot and sunny weekend, so the sunlight was harsh all day long and the direction of the sun meant a large section of the harbour was thrown into shade after midday. I took many shots of the area, villas, yachts and harbour-scapes, so I hope you enjoy the small selection here.

Somerset Landscape Photography : Somerset Lavender
21st June 2011 - 0 comments
Somerset Landscape Photography
Somerset Lavender

I was on my way to Bristol, heading off for a weekend away, when I decided to pop in and see the fields at Somerset Lavender. Agreat place to visit anyway, but especially this time of year for photographers. The fields are amazing and the combination with the various type of lavender growing in the garden, the stone walls and the feild beyond give a great photographic opportunity.

It was a little early in the season, as the garden lavender was not yet fully in flower, but towards the end of June or early July, but before they start harvesting the main field, is a great time to go.

Somerset Lavender
Dorset Landscape Photography : Opium Poppies
16th June 2011 - 2 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
Opium Poppies

A number of fields across Hampshire & Dorset are being set aside for farmers to grow Opium Poppies as the medical institutions in this country are short of pain killers. A report on the latest copy of Farmers Weekly makes interesting reading, as well as providing some great shots for all of us who love poppies.

Dorset Landscape Photography : Wimborne Poppies
10th June 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
Wimborne Poppies

After the sunrise shoot up in Hampshire, I spent the rest of the day running round Wiltshire & Dorset checking out other poppy fields I knew about and finding new ones...

This one was seen across the fields near Wimborne and took some finding by car/walking, but once there it proved a good field, edged in tall barley ears, inter-mingled with thistles which were being polonated by bees.

It was a lovely location for poppies and the barley and thistles provided extra subjects too. I hope you enjoy the shots...

Hampshire Landscape Photography : Poppies 3
10th June 2011 - 0 comments
Hampshire Landscape Photography
Poppies 3

Having found that this poppy field was only 10 minutes from a good friends house, I spent the night with them (thanks Chris & Julia) and headed back to the field for sunrise.

A mix of clouds covered most of the sky and for a while it looked like rain was on its way, but at sunrise, the clouds on the horizon allowed the sun through for a few minutes.

The rain didn't hold off for long and I drove around the local villages looking for more subjects to shoot .... mists, rainbows, wheat .... too much to choose from. Here are a small selection from the downpour.

Hampshire Landscape Photography : Poppies 2
09th June 2011 - 1 comment
Hampshire Landscape Photography
Poppies 2

A second visit to the same poppy field up in Hampshire to shoot sunset across the field. As I arrived the field was looking great with diffused sunlight behind me and broken clouds across the field, made it look wonderful.

The sunset didn't happen as the clouds on the horizon thickened as time went by, but the earlier shots were worth the trip.

Dorset Landscape Photography : To Hell and Back
08th June 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
To Hell and Back

Or to the Hell Stone to be more precise.

As the sun set tonight well into the Northwest, the clouds began to glow, forming a fitting cover for the Hell Stone and with the sun forcing its way through the rocks, this was definitely 'The Fires of Hell'.

From local information ....

The Hell Stone, also known as the "Stone of the Dead", can be found on Portesham Hill, about a mile or so from the Hardy monument. It's quite an impressive 'dolmen' which was constructed around 6 thousand years ago. It probably looked a little different then than it does today as unfortunately it collapsed, and was later 'restored' in 1866 and possibly not in its original shape or position.

Local superstition and folklore has it that the Hell Stone was thrown at Portesham Hill by the devil from Portland, but in fact it was created during Neolithic times and was probably a burial chamber, which at the time of construction, would have been covered in earth and smaller stones to form a barrow.

It is the only known 'complete' Dolmen in Dorset and consists in its present form of nine upright stones topped with a single capstone around 10ft in length. Inside is a small chamber big enough to squeeze 2 or 3 people. Even though the Hell Stone is Dorset's only complete Dolmen it's quite hard to find and is not signposted on any of the local paths.
Dorset Landscape Photography : Sunset from Portesham Hill
06th June 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
Sunset from Portesham Hill

As the evening looked like it might present a great sunset tonight, I went off in search of a new viewpoint, up on the hills near the Hardy monument, over looking Abbotsbury and the hills and valleys of the area. The hill behind Portesham provided the spot.

A wild flower meadow provided the foreground interest and although its currently surrounded by wire fences and barbed wire so I couldn't get as close as I would have liked, the foxgloves provide some subtle colour.

The sun is setting between Pilsden Pen and Lewesdon Hill.
Hampshire Landscape Photography : Poppies
05th June 2011 - 0 comments
Hampshire Landscape Photography

Its been a busy few days over the last week, as I've been out to visit a number of poppy fields across Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire.

Living in West Dorset, it was a good 1 1/2 hour trip up to Salisbury Plain, on the lookout and searching for poppy fields. It took about 4 hours to locate this one, by which time I was ready to give up for the day and try again another time. My 'spotter' saw these through the hedge of the road and we dived into an industrial complex and found the field lying just behind the units. The 7-8 hours spent finding this field made it all the more worthwhile.

This was the first reasonable field I came across, with a good carpet of poppies showing and in good condition having recently flowered. The lighting was quite good too with a few clouds in the sky and the sun behind some high level cloud, offering diffused lighting across the field.

More to follow on the three counties poppy hunt...
Dorset Photography : Abbotsbury Swannery update
27th May 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Photography
Abbotsbury Swannery update

A quick run into Abbotsbury Swannery this week to see how the cygnets are progressing and to see the new arrivals. They are already well into the season now, with over 75% of the nesting birds producing baby swans. It was also feeding time as I arrived, so a group shot was inevitable.

A few young ones caught my eye this trip,so here's a few more cute shots of the cygnets...

Dorset Landscape Photography : First poppies of Spring
27th May 2011 - 0 comments
Dorset Landscape Photography
First poppies of Spring

As I was driving up to a lunch appointment this week, I passed by a field, with a handful of poppies out already. Judges at my local camera club are always going on about shooting things in "three's" and that a bit of red always helps a picture. I don't necessarily agree with them on either point, but here goes...