Friday, 13 June 2014

Guernsey Landscape Photography

Just got back from spending May half term away with the family on Guernsey. Exactly two years since our last visit.

More than 90% of my landscape photography is holiday photography with the family in tow. The bulk of my photographic time is spent at either ends of the day. It does have the natural advantage that this is often when the light is best with the added bonus of possible sunrises and sunset thrown into the mix.

I'm particularly fond of small islands, since they usually give you the possibility of both sunrise and sunset shots. However, sunrise in June is unsociably early. Getting up at 4am to get to a favourable location is not much fun, certainly if there is no guarantee you will get a sunrise. In fact I only got up early on one morning, despite a favourable weather forecast the sun didn't make an appearance.

Morning blues - La Vallette bathing pools, 4.51am

 Much more appealing is at the other end of the day with sunset times around 9pm.

Sundown - Le Grand Havre, 9.05pm
I think Guernsey is rather underrated as landscape location, it has some cracking coastal scenery. In the week I was out and about I only saw one other tripod wielding enthusiast. I'm not complaining, it was nice not to jostle for position with other fellow photographers. Part of the magic of landscape photography for me is to experience the peace and tranquillity of being on a deserted beach or mountain witnessing a spectacular sunrise or sunset.

We were based for the week in the north west just a 10 minute walk away from Port Soif. It was great not having to travel more than a few miles to get to most of the locations I had planned to visit.

Wet rocks - Port Soif

Planning plays an important part to get the best out of any trip and I guess like many others I use Flickr and the web to search out possible locations. Don't get me wrong I enjoy finding new photo locations, but it's good to hit the ground running with a few key places already up your sleeve.

On any trip which involves coastal landscapes the tides play a major part. As the week progressed I was able to re-visit some of the same locations to get different shots.

Vazon - tide out

Vazon - tide in

The weather is also incredibly important and I was very lucky with a few decent sunsets and some changeable light. One day we took the ferry over to Herm. Two years ago we tried to make the same trip, but the ferry broke down and the rain was torrential, in the end after sitting on the ferry for over an hour we got off and got our money back. Our second attempt looked a little ominous, it started off a grey and damp, but once we had reached Herm it seemed to brighten a little. By lunchtime it was still grey, but the light on Shell Beach was really soft and delicate. Later on when the sun did come out the contrast was much harsher.

Soft light on Herm - Shell Beach
All in all it was a cracking week the family had a great time exploring and kicking around on the beaches and I came away with some pleasing photos. I would highly recommend Guernsey for both landscape photography and a great holiday location.