Cromer is a small seaside town on the North Norfolk coast. I visited Cromer whilst staying with fellow bloggers Hanne and Klausbernd in Cley next the Sea. Cromer is very popular with families looking for a stay at home, good old fashioned seaside holiday.
There are records of a pier at Cromer dating back to 1391 although then it was more of a jetty. In 1582 Queen Elizabeth I granted rights to the inhabitants of Cromer to export wheat, Barley and Malt with the proceeds to go toward the maintenance and well being of the Pier and the new town of Cromer. In 1822 a 210ft pier was built of cast iron but this structure only lasted 24 years before it was destroyed in a storm. The current pier at Cromer was completed in 1902 and opened to the public. Today the pier has a theatre, bars and restaurants and is a popular place for an old fashioned promenade.
I’ve posted before about Jökulsárlón. Jökulsárlón is a glacial lake fed by the same glacier, Vatnajökull, that I spoke about in my last post. Huge icebergs that calve from the glacier edge, float in this lake, some for many years until finally, currents send them on their way to the sea. You can see my first post from the lake here. It was also at Jökulsárlón that I saw the seals lazing on the ice and I posted those photographs here.
Visiting for the second time, I found my way onto the beach where some of these icebergs, having made it to the sea, are then washed up onto the black volcanic sand. Huge diamond like chunks of ice litter the beach for hundreds of yards. I happily spent a couple of hours, watching the action of the waves on these huge blocks of ice. These are the photographs I took whilst contemplating this beautiful spectacle.
Leaving the lake behind we soon hit the blizzard that was looming on the horizon in the photographs above. Looking for petrol, we came upon a frozen waterfall, Systrafoss, (sister falls) cascading down smooth rock at Kirkjubæjarklaustur. With the snow falling so heavily, we clearly weren’t seeing it at its best and is definitely on the list of places to visit next time..
When I posted my photographs from Godafoss yesterday, I mentioned that it was difficult to gauge scale from the pictures and that I would work on that. This morning I was up at 6am, the weather forecast was good and I thought I might get some nice pictures of the falls as the sun rose on our way to Mývatn, a large lake not far from Akureyri. Pictures from there later..
As it turned out, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise. According to the old rhyme, red sky in the morning, shepherds warning, we were in for some rough weather later on (it did snow very heavily as we drove home this afternoon) but for me that was fair exchange, as the sun peeked over the horizon, the whole area was bathed in a wonderful pink light.
As I set up to take my pictures, I managed to persuade my friend Chris, without whom this whole trip would be next to impossible, to walk back along the track from where we were parked to the road, cross the river and then hike along the opposite bank of the river. We’d pre-agreed where I wanted him to stand and with a series of arm waving gestures, he knew when I was about to set off a long exposure and he promised to stand very still. He stood very still for much longer than was necessary but I had no way of letting him know when the exposure was done.. :-)
I think the tiny figure of Chris, standing on the rocks above the falls does exactly what I’d hoped.. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them despite the frozen fingers in the -12°C morning air.. Click on the images for a clearer sharper view.. :-)
While we were at the falls, I took the opportunity to do a series of long exposures using a 10 stop ND filter. Here’ another of my pictures from today. Loads more to follow at some point..
Extremes of temperature are not good for people with MS. Extreme hot or cold tends to exacerbate symptoms. One of the ways MS used to be diagnosed was patients would be put in a hot bath to see if symptoms got worse or new ones appeared. I knew I was rubbish at dealing with heat. I was a little worried about how I’d deal with the cold.
The thing about being hot though is, unless you have air conditioning, not something common in homes in the UK at least, you can take so many layers off but it’s very difficult to cool down. The good thing about the cold, in my mind at least, is that you can usually warm up.
I took precautions before I came to Iceland. I have two layers of merino wool thermal underwear, thermal socks, T-shit, hoody, fleece, windproof parka, trousers and windproof over trousers. I have a merino wool balaclava, woolly hat, and two hoods. I have snow boots on my feet and on my hands, I have fingerless gloves so I can operate my camera and windproof waterproof mittens to slip on in between shots. With all this gear, I’m managing to keep nice and warm and with my usual medication and the help of friends, I’m coping.
It’s a real hassle getting the top layers on and off every time I stop the car because I’ve seen something I want to take a picture of. This is a frequent occurrence but it’s so worth the hassle. I used to be a real sun worshiper. I’d have chosen Florida or the Mediterranean any day but the heat would be so hard for me to deal with now. This suits me brilliantly and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Get out there and get on with it if you can, ask for help and take it when it’s offered..
Tomorrow my friend and fellow blogger Poppy and her husband will be meeting us here in Akureyri. How cool is that? I can’t wait.. :-)
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis do not need an introduction I suspect. This is one of those natural phenomena that most of us wish to see at some point in our lives. Many people travel to Iceland just to get a chance to see the Northern Lights. It was certainly one of the things I hoped to see when I got here. Getting to see this spectacular light show is a bit hit and miss. It’s very much weather dependent, clear and dark skies are needed along with plenty of solar activity.
I visited Siglufjörður in the far north of Iceland yesterday and was lucky enough to witness this amazing light show. Here are a couple of the pictures I was able to take.. more to follow I hope.. I’m off hunting the Aurora again tonight. A little more locally to Reykjavik this time.. :-)
Click on the images for a clearer, sharper view..
Porthnanven is somewhere I’ve been before. The dinosaur egg beach as it’s affectionately known is one of my favourite places. There is something really special about this beach and it’s what got me up at 2 am and out the door by 2.30 to travel an hour’s distance to be on the beach at half past three, waiting for first light.
It came surprisingly quickly as it would this time of year but before the sun rose too far, I was able to do some painting with light. The flashlight that had got me onto the beach at low tide, in the dark and in one piece, became a useful device for lighting my scene.
When I was processing this shot, I couldn’t decide between the blue hour, ‘straight from the camera, no white balance adjustment’ photograph or the one where I’d adjusted the white balance to compensate for the light at the blue end of the spectrum that dominates at this time of day. This has the effect of warming the picture slightly. Which do you prefer?
Click on the images for a sharper, clearer view ;-)
Following our trip to Polperro last Monday, Tuesday was down on the itinerary that I’d put together for my good friend and fellow photographer/blogger Poppy, as a dawn shoot at Godrevy Lighthouse. With the alarm clocks set for 3am, wheelchair and camera bags loaded into Poppy’s camper (the wheelchair would come in handy after the Godrevy shoot) we set off around 3.45, joining the A30 (the main road west) from the slip road just as the heavens opened and ahead of a large truck. Gaining speed and with trucks restricted to 60mph we thought we’d leave that truck behind but in a cloud of spray and buffeting wind, the truck came thundering past us.
With Poppy’s VW camper, affectionately known as Chester, doing its level best, we kept pace with the truck. A narrow section of the A30 approaching I suggested to Poppy it might be an idea to get ahead of the truck as it would surely struggle on the bends and hills. Not sure we’d manage it with the truck ignoring all sorts of laws, a good downhill section coming up, followed by a slight incline, seemed the best bet to make our move. With the first rays of light streaking the sky and both of us willing Chester on, we took the truck and as we passed I looked up into the cab, no driver, honestly, I couldn’t see anyone behind the wheel. I kept this to myself as very quickly the truck was once more bearing down on us and as we both began to feel we were in a reenactment of Steven Spielberg’s first film, Duel, we hung on tight.
We made it onto the narrow section of road ahead of the truck but strangely, and I have followed many trucks along the narrow section of windy road at a snail’s pace, this truck wasn’t fazed. With the constant glare of the truck’s headlights in Chester’s mirrors, we began to get a little worried. There was a small overtaking section coming up and I began to question whether the truck would make another move for the lead but we managed to stay ahead. I was beginning to wonder however why we’d bothered to get there in the first place, this truck was not hanging around. I began to wish for a patrol car to pull out and pull the truck over but that didn’t happen but perhaps, if we’d been behind, the truck would have slowed and slowed. We were certainly getting the sense that the driver was toying with us.
Shooting around the next roundabout that heralded another section of dual carriageway, the truck was still with us. Poppy hung on to the wheel, dropping a gear as we began the next incline. Surely the truck would have built up enough momentum to take us this time but suddenly it was gone. No turn off visible the truck just disappeared. Breathing sighs of relief and with the turnoff for Godrevy approaching, we realised with a laugh what amazingly good time we’d made. We’d be on the rocks and in position for the rising sun in no time.
The squally showers that had dogged our run down the A30 seemed to have cleared as we made our way onto the rocks and into what has to be the most challenging conditions in which I have ever tried to take photographs. The wind was howling, dead on shore and the waves were crashing, the spray being whipped into the air and flung at us with such ferocity I began to wonder if we’d get any pictures after all. We both set up though, we’d come this far and survived our encounter with the truck. Graduated neutral density filters seemed like the order of the day. At the very least they’d keep the spray from the lens. With the spray and the dew point soaking everything, I think I spent more time mopping up and cleaning the filter to steal a few shots than anything else. However, here’s what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of taking it. :-)
I posted a picture a few days ago from my recent dawn shoot at Trebarwith Strand. This was the scene about an hour and a half later. The sunshine had made significant inroads into the shadows..
Taking pictures like these mean making certain sacrifices. Apart from waiting the four and a half hours on a rock in the cold to get the shot, when you’re totally engrossed in what you’re doing, you tend to miss certain important little details like a rising tide and getting wet seems to have become the norm when Chillbrook gets anywhere near the ocean..
The following pictures depict the scene behind the long exposures and apparent tranquillity that belie a surging, roaring surf that was threatening to knock me off the rock. The rock I was perched on is about 8 feet, at it’s highest point, above the channels either side that have been carved over thousands of years by the actions of the surf and the stream that runs down on the left.
Bearing this in mind, you’ll get some idea of the height of the surf and crashing waves that were surging shoreward whilst I was taking the long exposures My Wellington boots were of little use as I found myself standing in about two and a half feet of water when this particular wave came ashore.
24mm f/22 1/10 sec. ISO 100
This photograph was taken at Trebarwith Strand. The exposure was 6 minutes turning the crashing waves to smoke. The rising sun can be seen reflecting off the island (known as Gull Island) a couple of miles offshore. I think perhaps the people who named this particular lump of rock, lacked a little creativity.. ;-)
24mm f/22 346 sec. ISO-100
Back in Cornwall, this shot was taken on the rocks at Trebarwith Strand at first light. The exposure time was 10 minutes at f/11, ISO-100. The star trails distinctly show the rotation around the pole star and gives some notion to the fact that we’re hurtling through space at an incredible rate. It’s all quite mind-blowing to me, trying to get a sense of the scale of the universe in which we live, how it all works and where we fit into it all…
Dawn really has become my favourite time of day of late and my experiences yesterday morning just confirmed my belief that there is nothing quite so glorious as sitting on a beach, on rocks or on the top of a cliff waiting to greet a brand new day with your camera primed.
This is a series of photographs, some long exposures, some regular shots that document the changing light over the course of about 45 minutes as the sun rose. I used a graduated neutral density filter to allow for a balanced exposure given the brightness of the sky, shooting directly into the sun.
If you’re thinking of buying a set of graduated neutral density filters, I wouldn’t bother with the soft variety. It’s important to position a hard graduated filter correctly to ensure you don’t get a line across your picture but I don’t believe a soft grad ND filter is a substitute for not positioning your filter correctly in the first place.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. Click for a clearer sharper view.. :-)
By the time I took this picture, the last in this series, the water was lapping around my feet and I was being splashed with salty water each time a wave crashed in. Although the sea appears misty calm in these long exposures, the waves were probably 4 or 5 feet in height and were breaking over the smaller of the two larger rocks. It was definitely time to pack up and retreat a little. Well a lot actually. The tide was rising almost faster than I could move over these oversized pebbles with backpack, tripod and crutch.. ;-)
24 mm f/11 1/30 sec. ISO-100