It is said that persistence is one of the greatest attributes that a landscape photographer can posses. Having discovered yesterday that there was a cave to get past the point from Byer’s Hole (or The Wherry) that might give access into the bay at 2.1m over datum it seemed obvious to have another go if the weather forecast look good – which it did.

I got round the point at 0630 with 2.0m over datum hanging onto the cliff to steady myself and timing the waves – the last 2 meters involved bolder hoping to avoid going over my wellies. The cave was easy and I was on the beach with more water than I had seen before and off to the arch for 0739 sunrise. There was a dark cloud but a free horizon so a nice sunrise but no post glow as the sun then went ‘into’ the dark cloud.

Off Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Off Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Rangefinder at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

By 0840 (low tide 1.0m over datum) I was at the point on the entrance to Byer’s Hole taking a photo Byers Hole-Prof Ian Purves-20130209-0840and met a nice local bloke who was heading off to winkle ‘harvest’ just past Lizard Point. I mentioned the tide and seemed to have no anxiety so we got talking – he regularly uses the cave then climbs the cliff – he also comes down this way! He also mentioned you can walk to Marsden Rock but once past Lizard Point the rocks get bigger and its a bit of a scramble – might have a go.

In post processing I noted some diffraction again – I have got into the bad habit of using f/16 in the dark as it gives more chance of getting foreground and horizon in focus plus it gives slower shutter – comparing one shot when I opened up to f/8 from f/16 and took the identical shot you can see the blurring.

Personal learning notes

I was using the D800 and Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF.2

  • Diffraction can be seen in the images over f/8.0 (especially f/16) – got to stop using apertures over f/8.0 unless I really need to
  • The Lee filters are great – whilst I can apply a grad filter in post processing you get some noise pulling the foreground – note the images with 18 point star on the sun (from Zeiss 21mm) this was missing with the Cokin filters.
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Having been to Lizard Point a few weeks ago I had been disappointed that the tide prevented me from taking a set of dawn shots of the arch. Today was the return trip with the only favourable tide in 2013!

The upside was that I discover that maybe it is possible at other times of the year – more of in a moment. The downside was it was a cold miserable dizzily day and the sun was nowhere to be seen – not anything vaguely resembling golden hours – except a bit of glow from Sunderland. So I took few long shots then raced back to the point for the tide – I only had 1hr 15 mins on the beach as the low tide was 1.28m at 0750 with sunrise at 0744.

I got round the point at 1.5m over datum with a 60cm swell – had to time it between waves at the apex.

Lizard Point

Coming back I noticed a cave in the rock above me and so explored it – it comes out where the blue circle is (on the iphone photo below) – its a bit tight but its a good 4m above datum.

You can go up to where the blue arrow is and you are faced with the rock face in the inset its a ‘difficult’ climb and a bit loose, there is a metal stake hammered in where the red circle is – that helps. If you are competent scrambler you might risk it? … coming down is another thing I wouldn’t recommend it especially in the dark … plus the top is very loose.

Route

The route round I have been using is the red arrows – below where the head of the second red arrow is where the tide is lowest.

Rather than climb up you should come back onto the beach, if you can, and then lowest point is mid the first red arrow – maybe 1.8m above datum though its protected and in wellies I bet 2.1m is OK.

On my way back to the car I noticed this sign naming ‘Byer’s Hole’ (as on OS Map) as The Wherry – the sign is right above the entrance to the beach.

The Wherry Whitburn

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Last week I had a spare hour in London between meetings so I thought I would go to Landscape Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Theatre its on until 9th February 2013. I really enjoyed it – one of the images I liked was by Heather Athey “A bracing morning” and so I thought I stop by Tynemouth on the way home from Old Hartley to check it out – especially as there was a bit of surf. It turned out to be far more interesting than I expected.

North Pier Tynemouth

You drop down the hill next to the priory entrance and park on the headland above the sailing club. Then walk towards the gated entrance to North Pier past the sailing club. On the left of the entrance is a viewing ‘terrace’ and some steep steps down to the beach. I arrived at 1000 with a tide of about 3.2m above datum – I guess you can get on the beach anywhere below 4m but there is a surge that caught me mid thigh a couple of times when I had been standing on dry rock (my new Paramo Aspira pants coming to the rescue) so be careful.

The view is amazing and awe inspiring. In early February the sun is south of the pier so you don’t get the light like Heather found – I need to check The Photographer’s Ephemeris to see when the light might be good.

North Pier Tynemouth

North Pier Tynemouth

Anyhow it seem the pier’s construction took over 40 years (1854–1895). In 1898 the original curved design proved inadequate against a great storm and the centre section was destroyed. The pier was rebuilt in a straighter line and completed in 1909. As a consquence there are foundations beyond the wall on the seaward side that cause amazing waves with heights you normally couldn’t possible stand safely as close as I was on the beach. Got to go back in a heavy sea.

North Pier Tynemouth

North Pier Tynemouth

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Three weeks ago I went to St Mary’s lighthouse with a low tide and noted a sunrise shot of St Mary’s Lighthouse was going to come from further north – probably around Old Hartley. So with a high tide at 0710 with 4.7m and sunrise at 0753 I thought it was good chance!

It was pitch black at 0700 when I arrived at the car park (see map below) and there was one photographer in the car park setting up (sorry forgot your name – let me know if you read this – he did mention Putting Photography First on flickr). Anyhow he pointed me at the dark line down the cliff south of the car park and said it was a set of steps.

Down the steps and I can say that its not a place to be with a tide 4.8m above datum! Also it wasn’t the view I was looking for initially – I’ll come back to it later (as I did about 0845 when the tide was 4.2m over datum and much more comfortable).

I walked south and attempted a few dodgy descents on the cliffs but finally found a low set of fence posts in an L Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tideshape where the cliff had fallen away (see map) – its muddy and lose but you can scramble down to the beach where it was rocky and about 0720 when I got there – its probably safe with 5.0m above datum but there will be no foregound rock so 4.7m was ideal there are clearly other shots as the tide drops maybe as low as 3.0m over datum?

There was a dark cloud on the horizon and there was not going to be a horizon sunrise perhaps a cloud one. Anyhow by 0800 I decided to pack up and go to Tynemouth (next post) but predictably just as the tripod was on the bag the clouds changed pink – unpack ;-) – I also used my new Lee 100 system filters – a 0.9ND and 0.6ND Grad Hard.

Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tide

Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tide

By 0830 I set off back to the car park and on the way dropped down the steps to have a look – some great light.

Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tide

Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tide

Sr Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn with High Tide

I went onto Tynemouth – see separate post.

In post processing in Lightroom 4.3 I didscovered that the D800 is about 1.5 stop dark with the Lee filters – with my old Cokin filters I did notice this however the colour cast with the Cokin is not present with the Lee nor is the dreadful flare – this is a little flare if the filter is 90 degrees to the sun.

Personal Learning Notes:

  • Need to read more about filters and draft some notes on utilization of Lee filters

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