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.. :-)
I’ve just returned from another trip to Iceland. I was asked by an Icelandic hire car company to take some photographs for them, more of that to follow, but having been given the keys for one of the company’s flagship super Jeeps, a Toyota Land Cruiser Adventure model, I set off last Sunday for few days that would allow me to visit some of my favourite places as well as some new ones.
Being the time of year it is, the category ‘F’ mountain roads have just been opened in Iceland allowing access to the highlands and the interior of the island. These areas are cut off and inaccessible for much of the year but with a vehicle specially adapted with 33″ wheels and jacked up for greater clearance to allow for fording of rivers and streams, I was looking forward to some adventure and some great photography. The cars are adapted by the same company that has provided similar vehicles for BBC’s Top Gear Icelandic Adventure programmes so I knew that being in charge of one of these vehicles was going to get me to where I wanted to be, having a lot of fun in the process.
As the end of the first day of shooting came around and the sun began to sink lower in the sky, I looked around me, standing outside my apartment in Selfoss, and I knew that the day wasn’t going to be over quite so soon. I would have to be off out again after something to eat. No rest in the land of the midnight sun, the conditions were good for a particular shot I have been wanting to take ever since I started visiting Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss is a very beautiful waterfall with the added bonus that you can get behind the falls, if you’re prepared to get very wet and I knew, by consulting the Photographer’s Ephemeris, (an application that allows you to gauge the position of the sun at any given time and season, anywhere in the world) that the sun would be in perfect alignment with the waterfall as it started to set at around midnight. This I knew had the potential to make a very nice photograph.
Behind the falls with a tripod, my D800e and my 14-24mm super wide-angle lens, I had to the equipment to hopefully make the best of what was shaping up to be a very nice sunset. I say sunset, the sun barely dips below the horizon meaning sunset rolls into sunrise. The D800e is weather sealed so it can take a certain amount of soaking, a very important feature I realised as the amount of spray the water was generating became apparent to me. I was quickly soaked, as was the camera and lens but with a chamois leather at the ready, I was able to remove the lens cap, quickly wipe the lens and fire of a couple of shots before the lens was covered in water droplets. I repeated this process until I was sure I had my shot. At least I hoped I had my shot because as the temperature started to dip along with the sun, I was getting very cold as well as very wet. I beat my retreat.
Here’s the shot I came away with. I think it was worth the discomfort and it was good to know how well the camera and lens coped with the wet. I hope that you enjoy the photograph. I enjoyed taking it despite, or maybe because of, the difficult nature of the shot and ending up drenched in the process of taking it.. :-)
14mm f/11 1/10 sec. ISO-50
We’ve been having some very pleasant sunny days here in Cornwall over the last couple of weeks. The wind has been cold which has kept the edge off the heat which for me is a positive thing. MS Symptoms are exacerbated by the heat, perhaps this is why I’m enjoying Iceland so much. The weather today is warm, muggy, dull and wet, quite a change so I’d thought I’d cheer myself up and process a picture I took of one of my favourite signature view down on Chapel Porth beach the other morning. The tide was coming in allowing me to capture a nice reflection of the Wheal Coates engine house in the sand. Wet feet were the inevitable side effect but it was worth it I think. Hopefully the sun will be back with us by Sunday..