I was visiting with my good friends Hanne and Klausbernd in North Norfolk again last week. I met Hanne and Klausbernd through our respective blogs and it was such a pleasure to see them again. The weather was superb, the end of August. It was evident that Autumn was nipping at the heals of summer first thing in the morning but during the day, we enjoyed glorious warm sunshine and I did something I thought I would never do in the UK again, I went into the sea. The North Sea at that!.
I struggled down to the water’s edge on my two crutches, dipped my toe in and was surprised to find the water was really OK so I went in further. As a wave crashed in, surging water, that suddenly seemed a whole lot colder that it had initially, up over my belly, that was it so I thought I’d have a swim.
Of course swim is a fairly loose term when you’ve two crutches strapped to your arms but I floundered about a bit for a while. The waves were quite large so it was a bit of a struggle but I was managing OK when I saw two people pointing at me. I figured at first they were a bit concerned about the guy with the crutches getting washed about by the surf but then I became aware of something in my peripheral vision. A dark shape. I turned to face whatever this was in the water and came face to face with the most beautiful seal with the blackest, deepest eyes.
We bobbed there in the water for the longest time, just blinking at each other. He ducked under the water, swam around me a few times but always bobbed back up again to face me. I honestly believe this seal was concerned for my welfare and when he was sure I was OK. He swam away. It was one of those very rare encounters with a wild creature when you know you’ve connected. It was incredibly moving and I will never forget it. These sea mammals are super intelligent and seem to possess something that sadly far too many human beings lack, empathy.
These photographs were taken on my previous visit to Norfolk. Norfolk with its creeks and salt marshes, broads and of course the ocean, is all about boats and I love boats.. :-)
When you’re cooped up inside looking at a wall to wall dull grey day, the last thing you want to hear from somebody whilst feeling sorry for yourself is that there is always a photograph to be had, regardless of the conditions. As landscape photographers we thrive on dramatic light and flat grey skies just do not provide the light we crave however, there is always a photograph to be found and on dull days, long exposures are always an option.
I mentioned before that there is a good reason why the Azores are so green. Moist warm air from the southern United States finds landfall in the Azores and has a tendency to condense over the mountains. Remember the water cycle from high school geography? The Azores provide a classic case in point.
All that said, the weather wasn’t perfect during my two-week stay on the island of São Miguel but we only had one, really dull day and armed with a Lee big stopper, I headed for the beach. The beach at Mosteiros was strewn with lava and rocks that would have been thrown up by the Sete Cidades volcano not so very far away. I loved the colours and textures of the different types of rocks found here and after finding my spot on the beach with a composition I was happy with, this is the photograph that I managed to get..
When creating pictures like this one, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re facing into the wind. I picked this spot on the island as I knew here, I would be facing directly into the north-westerly wind that was blowing and I would be able to capture the nice streaked cloud effect you see here. Despite having a Lee Big Stopper filter, I still had to close down the aperture to f/22 to extend the exposure as much as I could.
Having just returned from enjoying some lovely warm sunshine in Fuerteventura, here are some pictures I took when I was in Iceland in February. Quite a contrast.
When traveling through Vik (pronounced Vig) in Iceland, you can’t fail to notice the rock stacks that extend from the cliff into the sea. These rocks are known as Reynisdrangar.
The black beach at Vik can get very busy as can the beach at Reynisfjara just to the west of Vik with people wanting to view the rocks but a short drive east, just out of town and by negotiating a very rutted and decidedly icy and snowy track, I found myself on the beach with not another soul in sight. Just how I like it.
This blizzard had been following us along the coast all day, it was finally making landfall and as ever, the road conditions got interesting thereafter..
70mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-100
..And as always seems to happen whenever I get near a beach, even a beach at -10ºC or 14ºf with a fearsome windchill, I got wet. Whilst focusing on the rocks, literally, a wave curled around and snuck up behind me…
Reynisfjara is a black sand beach at the very southern-most tip of Iceland, not far from the village of Vik. The last time I visited, I’d just travelled through the most intense snow storm that had an army of ploughs struggling to keep the road clear. As I got onto the beach, there was a moment of respite and I could clearly see the storm continuing its journey up the coast..
45mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50
This post is dedicated to all those struggling with the heat of the summer.