Friday, 21 August 2015

Northumberland Landscape Photography

I have just spent a week up in Northumberland on a family holiday. It's been two years since I was last there and that was only a fleeting visit en-route to Scotland so it was good to be back for a longer stint. I stayed in the same holiday cottage in Embleton from six years ago. It hasn't changed much just new sofas! it's ideally placed for early morning sunrise shots of Dunstanburgh Castle which means that even with early summer sunrises I didn't have far to go. 

Embleton bay
Embleton bay 4.25am - an early start

First morning of the holiday (Sunday) I was up at 4am and down on Embleton beach it was a beautiful morning. Not much cloud so sunrise was a little non eventful and with the clear skies it was quite chilly almost needed my hat & gloves in July! I wandered along the deserted beach and then over to the castle picking up a few shots. By 6.30am I was back in bed to catch another hours sleep before the family were up for the day. Later in the day we all enjoyed a visit to Alnwick Castle gardens, but by mid afternoon the skies turned grey and the sun didn't make another appearance until Wednesday. 

Dunstanburgh boulders long exposure
Dunstanburgh boulders - making the most of the grey skies 

Frequently checking the BBC weather app meant I didn't even bother setting my alarm until Thursday. This time I decided to try and get a sunrise shot from the south side of Dunstsnburgh Castle (Craster end). It was quite breezy with quite a bit of spray so I decided not to venture too far from the castle due to reduced visibility. I was rewarded with a reasonable sunrise nothing spectacular, but worth getting up for. 

Dunstanburgh Castle sunrise
Dunstanburgh Castle sunrise from the south.

Later that day I spent an hour or two taking shots on Lindsfarne in the old harbour while Julia and the kids did some sketching. It's certainly my favourite part of Holy Island and generally doesn't get too busy. We had hoped to get across earlier in the week when the tides would have prevented crossing just after 10am, but the weather wasn't up to it. As a result the causeway was open till gone noon and by that time Holy Island was getting quite busy.

Holy Island harbour boats
Holy Island harbour boats

Thursday I set the alarm again, but instead of uncannily waking up ten minutes beforehand I was dead to the world at 4.12am. I poked my head behind the curtains and there was already a thin orange strip bound by dark clouds. 45 minutes before sunrise! I pulled my clothes on and jumped in the car and headed north to Bamburgh. The orange strip started fading so I stopped off briefly at Beadnell Bay. 

Fading orange strip - Beadnell Bay

Would I make it to Bamburgh or not for sunrise or was that it? I jumped back in the car and tried my best not to glance to my right. Head down and forge onwards. Thankfully it's less than a minutes walk to the beach and I made it just in time as the bottom of the clouds were starting to light up. 

Bamburgh Castle sunrise
Good morning Bamburgh - 4 portrait images stitched with PTAssembler

A nice sunrise over the Farne Islands and not a soul out to enjoy it. Three surfers and a lone dog walker did make it down onto the beach at 6am, 45 mins after the sun first popped up. 

Friday night I ventured over to Low Newton and managed a bit of a sunset (tricky on the east coast ) and then a fabulous moon rise over Embleton bay. 

Moonrise Low Newton
Moonrise from Low Newton

Alarm set again for Saturday morning, third time in a row, but after parting the curtains at 4am to be greeted with grey skies I returned to bed for a much needed lie in!

All in all a great week I was a little disappointed at the start of the week with the weather, but as ever persistence paid off.


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