Tag Archives: Seascape

Can you believe it Josh got up at 0545 to go take photo’s – well done dude. He’s been talking about learning photography for sometime now and the start was this morning.

It was a cloudless morning so nice sunrise and catchlights.Josh Purves

Teaching Josh I managed to get most of my pre-sunrise (bar one) and actual sunrise out of focus I opened the aperture a touch and forgot to shift the focus anyhow as you can see I swapped lens just after sunrise and spotted the error when I stuck the Zeiss 21mm back on – what a numpty – I ordered new glasses last week!

Josh’s shots

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn Old Harley

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn North Pier Tynemouth

Not a bad start he even did his own edits in Lightroom going to pick up on some of learning needs tomorrow.

My shots

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn -Prof Ian Purves-20130302-0825

The second of the right was my first shot with a Lee Big Stopper had to adjust white balance a bit – I must get round to that filter blog I keep talking about.

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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

Open Space Web-Map builder Code

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Well I saw a few images of the sea stack and rock arch just off Lizard Point on which Souter Lighthouse stands at Whitburn (note: several images mistakenly call the point Souter Point – which is further south and seems to have its own arches). So I started to look for any information on access but couldn’t find anything on the internet! As the tide was going out with a low tide at 1028 and sunrise was 0822 I thought well it can’t be that hard … oh dear. Looking at satellite images on google maps there seemed to be a path down to the beach (Byer’s Hole) which is to the south of the beach on which Lizard Point is at the North end  (this beach is not named on OS maps) – still with me. So off I went and got there at 0715 (ended going through South Shields due signs at the Tyne Tunnel – needed the A1300).

Fishermen at Byer’s Hole near Soutter Lighthouse Well the lighthouse car park on the map had a gate which was closed – so I parked across the road (see map below). Entering the gate on foot there was a tarmac path just behind the gate which I followed (it was pitch black but I had a head torch). At the end I went to the cliff edge and turned right and there was the path! By now it about 0730 so 3 hours from low tide (last new moon was 2 days ago so its a spring tide). On the beach (Byer’s Hole)  I went north towards the point and met a fisherman he said he’d never gone round the point as you could get caught by the tide and didn’t know any other way into the next bay. So I had a look at the point and the tide was too high. As a consequence I spent the next 20 minutes exploring the cliff top in the dark – there is no way down. I headed back to Byer’s Hole and met Craig McNair we got down to looking at the sunrise and taking a few shots from the cliff top.


Sunrise from point South of Byer's Hole near Souter Lighthouse W       Souter Lighthouse and Arch at Lizard Point from point South of

Sunrise from point South of Byer's Hole near Souter Lighthouse W

When we had finished it was about 0900 so I set off to see if I could get round the point. The fisherman was still there, eating some sandwiches! Yes it was just possible to get round climbing the low rocks (the higher rocks look OK but they are not on the other side) so I had 1.5 hours to low tide – therefore at least 3 hours. For those wanting to do this you need to understand the tide tables – the tidal height was 1.4m from datum (I think 1.5-1.6m is minimum to get round if you balance a bit on the rocks rather than wade) and low tide was going to be 0.8m from datum and it was two days after a new moon. Please understand the tides or you will be trapped I could see no way out further up the beach. The climb round the point wasn’t hard but there was about 30cm of water to wade at one point (you need wellies). The walk North up the beach was easy the rock not at all slippy and the arch at these tidal heights was easy accessed. I was back at Byer’s Hole by 1030 and could walk easier round the point.

I had set off with the hope of a sunrise through the arch – I don’t believe this is possible at any time of the year but have seen one which is perhaps 30 minutes after sunrise and in July – I think it must be one arches of the two further south [note 14-01-2013: checked it is the further south one ... so it is not possible]? But none the less pleased with the 100 shots I took and the few I selected, it was fun to explore – a great morning ;-)

Stacks and Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitbur
Inside the Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitbur

  • Update 08 Feb 2013: went back to Lizard Point poor day but route update in this blog
  • Update 09 Feb 2013: went back to Lizard Point again see blog

Click icons to see car park and site
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Why did I go the forecast said it was –1C and rain! Anyhow I did go and there was a glow on the horizon from around 0730 – a couple of vaguely decent shot were to be found before it started sleeting and I couldn’t keep the lens free of water.

St Mary’s Lighthouse was built on St Mary’s Island in 1898 on the site of an old monastery which used to have a light to guide ships – a history of the island can be found on the friends site.. The current lighthouse is 38m (120ft) high and has a tidal causeway joining the island to the mainland. It was decommissioned in 1984 but acts as a museum.

I thought I might be able to get a sunrise from behind the lighthouse where there are some large pools which should be clear at mid tide. The tide today was 0944 so was going out whilst I was there. It isn’t possible to get pre-sunrise shots on the island and include the lighthouse so I focussed on the rangefinder which is behind the lighthouse. Looking at Flickr it would seem the car park further North near the mast (Old Hartley) it the best spot to be – though I might try again someday with the pools behind.

Personal Learning Notes:

  • I need to get a waterproof cover for camera and lens! [Note 14 Jan 2013:  Got a Storm Jacket SLR PRO Medium from Wex]
  • Check out Old Hartley [Note 2 Feb 2013: I did see post!]

Click icons to see car park and site
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So yesterday Simon Owens recommended Chemical Beach in Seaham and I was intrigued by the sea stack, the posts, the wheels (but these would be under water due to tide) and the arch. Plus looking at few other photos was encouraging. The weather forecast was good and so it was a go – the plan was see what there was but also try to get the sun through the arch. Great metaphor for drawing you into a new day – loved it since the “The Bridge” in Namibia!

Sunrise at The Bridge at Spitzkoppe in Namibia

Sunrise at The Bridge at Spitzkoppe in Namibia

Simon gave great directions (see map below) and I parked in the dark in the first parking bay, hopped over the barrier and headed left. Really glad of the new wellies it was steep and muddy – the path curves back on itself as it goes down and you have to hop over the large granite boulders – not easy in the dark! On reaching the beach it’s a shale one and there was a feint gold glow on the horizon.

The beach got its name from Seaham Chemical Works which occupied a nearby site in the 1860s. By the 1890s, both it, and Seaham Iron Works, former occupier of the Dawdon Colliery site at Nose’s Point, were ‘disused’. The wooden piles on the beach were supports for a rail track used by wagons for tipping mine waste from Dawdon Pit into the sea. In the middle of the beach is a magnesian limestone stack (Liddle Stack) and the far end is Nose Point where the arch is through to Blast Beach.

Sunrise At The Cave

Sunrise At The Cave by Dave Brightwell

It was 0730 by the time I got to Nose Point at the far end and it was clear the tide was too high (high tide 0944 neaps) to get round the first part of the nose you clearly need low water (and probably not a neaps one) Dave Brightwell has a great photo of the arch on Flickr (see right) – even this is too high a tide to see through but I am sure it can done. So I got down to looking at the stack and the posts.

Thanks Simon, some of the photo’s below (click for lightbox) and perhaps some others in my North East Gallery.

Personal Learning Notes:

  • Visit Chemical Beach at low tide to check out the arches
  • The D800 auto colour balance gave different results today compared with yesterday and so did Lightroom? Back to explore colour balance with ND filters!

Click icons to see car park and site
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Well having spent what remained of December editing Namibia photos and then cooking for the rest I thought it was about time I got out! Inspired by a couple of photo’s in one of my Christmas Presents Joe Cornish’s book First Light, having checked a) the weather (good … possibly a little fog), b) sunrise (0832) c) angles in the The Photographers Ephemeris and d) tide tables (high tide – neaps @ 0751) it all looked perfect! I got up at 0545 for a 50 minute drive (top down) and set off for Embleton – pitch black when I got there so thankful for the head torch I set off on memory of the path … took a detour along the beach ;-)

I had in my mind silhouetted menacing castle high above me with matching menacing cloud pointing towards the doom in the castle! I wanted to pull in some of the round (cannonball) basalt boulders (random link to Namibia) to add to the metaphor and was hoping for a golden glint on the rocks that Joe had found. Sunrise at Dunstanburgh Castle, NorthumberlandAs an aside my wife loves these blurred sea scenes so I set out to add them as much as possible – as it stands she is my only critic! … and the kids will tell you … criticism is one of her specialities (she’ll never read this) …

To being with it was very dark stuck with 30 sec and f/8.0 and shifted ISO up. Unfortunately I had forgotten my glasses so I couldn’t trust my assessment of the liveview on close focus so broke a rule and shifted to f/11.0 and guessed focus (using my Zeiss 21mm). The feelings I had hoped for where present … did I capture them? As the light arrived I stuck a ND8 filter on to keep the shutter slow. Simon Owens arrived he’d been South first and decided the North was a better option, its great to meet people on dark beaches ;-) He gave me a great idea for tomorrow … you can wait!

- 20130105 - 075459 - Prof Ian PurvesSo having processed the images I think I got there … except the golden light (it was red). Biggest problem in post processing was the white balance. Especially the ND8 effect it was a real challenge deciding how to pitch it … go with the Lightroom dropper (Temp: 20,000 and Tint +50) or stay darker and more blue/green … I did the later. Interestingly so did Simon.

Also the filters created a slight vignette … I have known for awhile I needed to change my Cokin set … what to do Lee or Hitech Pro?

There are more photo’s in the Northumberland gallery and one image I took a different white balance approach is below.

- 20130105 - 083131 - Prof Ian Purves

Personal Learning Notes:

  • Explore colour balance when using ND filters
  • Decide which filter route to go down Lee or Hitech Pro

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