Not Such A Bad View

Most mornings I get up early to have a 10 mile cycle ride before breakfast. I can’t complain about the views. Much of the ride is behind the dunes, but I get some views of the sea when I set off and at the far end of my ride. These are a few images I took right at the start, over a couple of days, just as the sun was rising.

This lighthouse, at the end of the pier in Amble, has a really ugly, reflective keep-out sign on the gate that people ignore and is horrible for photography. An early morning silhouette gets around the issue for me. People going fishing just climb over the gate and ignore it anyway.



Others get up early too.

EarlyMorning Bike Ride

The golden light of dawn cries out for coloured pictures, but sometimes the shapes and tones, accentuated by the low light, work well for black and white. A couple of those next time.




Worth Getting Up Early (A sunrise tutorial)

A check of the weather, the tides and sunrise time and direction made getting up early worthwhile this morning. I love watching the sunrise and I love photography, so what better thing to do than get up early and get some shots. I prefer sunrise to sunsets as the air is cleaner and there are fewer people about.

To get these shots I had to do a bit of scrambling over wet rocks, in the dark and carrying my tripod and camera bag. I made sure someone knew where I was going and I carried a phone.

I was a bit unsure about the cloud on the horizon as there is often a bank out at sea which hides the sunrise completely. When I got to the beach it looked like I was in luck.

A crescent moon was high in the sky and it was not easy getting it into one shot, so I created a vertical panorama, stitching two landscape images, one above the other.

Coquet Sunrise

Just before the sun rose above the horizon it painted the clouds with reds and oranges. Over the island the roosting gulls all took to the air.

Gulls rise

The light changes rapidly and constant attention needed paying to the exposure. I needed to reduce the exposure by two stops in less than a minute apart, which means the brightness of the scene doubled twice in a minute, and I could have reduced the exposure of the following shot even more. I adjusted the shutter speed, leaving the aperture at around f/11, giving me a good depth of field that I didn’t want to lose for these images.

sunriseThe reds faded so quickly it was like a switch being pulled. Then the golden light of dawn started breaking  through.
Golden HourThe sun started to appear above the horizon. Not only was the luminosity changing rapidly, but the colour of the light too.

Bright sunlight, like snow and water, can trick the camera’s sensor into under-exposing and so I over-exposed these shots by 0.7EV.Golden dawn

Shooting into the sun needs care. Looking at the sun through a lens can damage the eye, so I used live view for these shots. I also find Live View with the fully articulated screen easier when I am using a tripod.

My camera has a slip-down cover for the eye-piece. I use this to stop light leaking in through the eye piece when the shutter is open. I also have plate that replaced the eye cup that does the same job. If you don’t have either of these your camera then a piece of gaffer tape can do the trick. Leaked light can look like sensor dust.


Once the sun was up it was time to go and have breakfast…

but I just couldn’t resist shooting one last panorama from the cliff-top.

sunrise panorama

Grey Heron

When I was at junior school I went on a science field trip and the teacher was complaining about grey herons. “Apart from humans,” he said, “grey heron are the only creatures that kill for the sake of it.” I took him at his word and it tainted my opinion of the heron, until we adopted a cat. I saw taking great joy in playing with a mouse before killing it, which made me realise that his assertion wasn’t quite right. We then moved out into the countryside to live next to one of the Norfolk Broads and I got to see these wonderful creatures, which are known by their colloquial name of ‘hanser’ close up.

I have never seen a heron kill just “for the sake of it” and I don’t know if that assertion of the teachers was true. Looking back, I suspect he had a goldfish pond that a heron had feasted on.

Out on my bike early this morning I cycled past a few of these wonderful birds. I had hoped to capture photos of the three egrets there, but they were sticking to fishing in the shade of the far bank. Too far away and in far too little light for my camera.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

Grey Heron