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Causing a Big Splash

17 Aug

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

The dancing surf

This was taken some time ago as I was walking the lovely Dorset Coast Path and I arrived at Chapman’s Pool, a delightful bay nestling between the headlands of Houns Tout and St Aldhelm’s Head. It was a beautiful evening, the sun was beginning to set and I decided that I would try to capture the moment. This cluster of rocks made a good focal point but I wanted to create some movement by including a dancing wave so I waited, and waited, and waited…….!

Wave after wave rolled in and I held my camera up in readiness but they all just fizzled out. Even when seemingly giant waves came towards the shore, they made no significant splash when they hit the rocks; despite their promise, they amounted to nothing. I almost gave up but then this tiny wave came in, well I almost ignored it as it was obviously not powerful enough to give me what I wanted! But do you know what, that tiny wave created a splash bigger that any of the larger waves, and I got my picture 🙂 !

I like the picture – am I allowed to say that when its one of mine? It might be because I knew the picture I wanted to create, I planned it in my mind, and I captured it just as I imagined it, and that is always satisfying. It could be because it reminds me of a fabulous evening with the sand beneath my feet, the gentle breeze on my face and the sound of the surf rolling up the beach as the day faded to night. It could be that it reminds me of a great day’s walking. Anyway, back to the wave……

Why it happened, I am not sure. I guess it was more about timing than size and that the little wave broke at just the right time but it made me think about life. Often we think that we are insignificant and that we are not making much impact in this huge sea that is our world. That we see others who are seemingly creating a big splash, a noticeable impact with their high profile lives, leaving their mark whilst we are just ordinary people who go by seemingly unnoticed.

Its a bit like the often told starfish story where thousands of starfish have been stranded on the beach after a storm. A young girl is walking along the beach picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the sea when an old man approaches her and says, ‘Why are you doing that, there are thousands, and several miles of beach, you can’t possibly make a difference’. She bends and picks up another one and throws it into the ocean saying, ‘It made a big difference to that one’.

So I guess, aside from hopefully enjoying the picture, the message is – if you ever think you are insignificant, just remember that you are uniquely you, one of a kind, and you make a difference in your part of the ocean in a way no one else can.

And remember too that often its the smallest wave that makes the biggest splash!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

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A Picture with a Story 4……

3 Aug

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

The unusual case of the trapped dog!

Today, we are back on the theme of dogs……and what a strange tale this is! We are turning the clock back over 30 years, back to the days when I was an active freelancer who carried his camera gear absolutely everywhere. And not just one camera either. In those days, I would carry my 35mm gear over my left shoulder and my medium format gear over my right shoulder, even on family outings and holidays. The reason was that a lot of publications insisted on 120 transparency film only, considering that 35mm cameras just didn’t give good enough results. My medium format camera of choice varied over the years but at one time I carried a Mamiya RB67 studio camera with me. In the other camera bag I would have two 35mm bodies, one with transparency film and the other with black and white negative film. Plus , of course, both bags would have lenses and other equipment, and even a tripod.

Having reached a certain age, I just have no idea how I managed with all that gear whilst on holiday or whatever with my family. But I guess when you are young and keen to get on as a freelancer, you just do whatever it takes. Anyway, on this day, carrying my equipment proved useful as I came across a rather unusual incident involving a dog!

Scan 21

We were in Salisbury at the time, and in the market area there are underground toilets. A dog owner went down the stairs, leaving her dog at the top, and the dog, seeing her owner through the parapet wall, pushed her head through the gap and of course couldn’t get it back out again. When the owner came back up, she tried, the people around all tried, and in the end the fire brigade were called. They tried but failed initially until someone had the bright idea of buying a large tub of grease which they smeared all over the dog’s head. Finally, with a ‘S-l-urrpp’ the dog’s head popped out. I should add that Trixie was perfectly fine and suffered no ill effects 🙂 !

Of course, this was the pre-Internet days so as soon as I got home, I rushed into my darkroom, which was in my garage, and processed the film. Having allowed the negatives to dry, I later went back out to print the best negatives onto 10″ x 8″ glossy paper as this was the industry standard. Having allowed those to dry, I then had to compose and type a letter to go with them, add a self-addressed return envelope, package it all up and send it off to whatever publication I thought would be interested in using the story. In this case, I printed several lots as I knew that more than one magazine would like to run the story, although of course I had to make sure that I did not send the pictures to competing magazines as this was not the done thing.

This particular piece appeared in ‘Weekend Magazine’ but the pictures and story featured in several others as well. Of course in these days of digital photographs and Internet, pictures like these can easily go viral but in those days the only viral things were the illnesses we picked up 🙂 ! I’d like to add that I got paid handsomely for my efforts but I think all I could say is that I got paid. The ‘handsomely’ bit didn’t come into it……but it was always a thrill to see your work in print anyway! I used to regularly scour the magazines in the shops to see if any of my pictures had been used.

Back then, I had a ‘normal’ job as well so my freelancing took place in the evenings and at weekends. I spent so many nights out in my garage darkroom which had no heat, even in freezing winter weather, and often till the early hours of the morning too. Oh, and it had no running water either so the prints had to be washed under the outside tap…….brrrrr!!

I guess one thing this story does show is that its always worth carrying a camera with you as you never know what you might come across 🙂 ! But at least these days it can be a lightweight digital camera!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A Picture with a Story 3…….

2 Aug

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let your hair down...

You probably know the story of Rapunzel, but in case you don’t…….

Young couple – pregnant wife – witch living next door with a veg garden full of rapunzels (basically lettuce) – wife has craving – husband goes scrumping – wife wants more – husband goes back for more – husband gets caught by witch – witch says ‘take all you want but give me the baby’ – husband agrees – baby handed over – witch locks girl in room at top of tower with no stairs – girls hair grows very long – witch visits every day and climbs up to room at top of tower using girl’s hair as rope – handsome prince comes – when witch leaves, climbs up to see girl also using hair – comes back often – fall in love – get caught by witch – thrown off tower and blinded – girl banished to wilderness – prince blindly wanders wilderness – couple meet again – fall into each others’ arms – prince gets sight back – both go off to his kingdom (well actually four of them as she has had twins by now) – live happily ever after!

I find this historical story factually challenging, the main issue being who on earth ever got a craving for lettuce 😉 ! Where is the law that says a baby is good barter for a lettuce? Also, how did the witch get to the top of the tower carrying the baby in the first place as there are no stairs? How did she climb up when the girl’s hair was growing – I’m sure a two year old’s hair wouldn’t have reached the ground? How come princes are always handsome? How come no frog was involved? Why do they always live happily ever after?…………:) I could go on!

So I was walking White Nothe after another wonderful day on the Dorset Coast Path and the sun was setting and turning the sky a delightful shade of orange. As always, I sought a suitable place to capture the sunset but then I saw this old, ruined tower which I thought would make a great silhouette, especially if positioned so that I could get a nice sunburst as well. I’m not sure if this is the actual tower that Rapunzel was held captive in, but if not, then it is one very similar.

Strangely, although I have walked this part of the coast many times since, I have never seen the tower again, just an old fence post that stands in the same place 🙂 ! Maybe it was demolished.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A Picture with a Story 2……

31 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

The mysterious case of the flying dog!

Sunset at Man o' War Bay

Today, I am continuing my theme of pictures with stories attached. Yesterday, I put up a post about a ‘fake?’ picture, although that depends entirely on your viewpoint. Here is a link to that post.  Today’s post though is not about the picture at all as the picture above is 100% real and undoctored, as, I should add, are most of my pictures. This is about the events surrounding the picture!

This was another occasion where I had been walking all day, timing my walk so that I would arrive at a suitable spot to capture the sunset, and on this occasion I decided that Man o’ War Bay on the Dorset coast would be perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed my day even though I was carrying all my camera equipment, tripod and so on, and I arrived at the bay in good time to set up for my shot as the colour was building in the sky. I decided on a longish exposure to catch the movement of the water and to create a nice wet, reflective foreground and I set my tripod up and waited.

When all the conditions were right, I took the picture above, and I was pleased with the result and got ready to take more shots when I heard a noise to my right. I was stood next to a 150 foot high cliff and the noise I heard was the sound of stones and small rocks falling down the cliffs onto the beach. This is not unusual where there are unstable cliffs as you often hear the trickling of stones that have been loosened by the weather. As I looked to my right however, I got a shock because coming down with the shower of stones was a dog! He had plunged from the top of the cliffs and was seemingly ‘running’ down the cliff face.

It was over in a split second but seemed like it was in slow motion – it was one of those surreal moments. The dog hit the beach with a thud and a very loud yelp, and just laid there! I ran straight across to the poor animal to check him over and I comforted him for a long time whilst he recovered. Fortunately, and amazingly, he seemed to have suffered no ill effects from his fall apart from being seriously winded, and after about 15 minutes he stood up somewhat unsteadily and eventually ran happily off down the beach. Whilst he was recovering, I could hear his owners calling him from 150 feet above my head and I shouted out to them that he was ok. I’m not sure if they were expecting him to run back up the cliff but that’s the way it seemed! In fact, the only way for them to reach him was to run along the clifftop to reach the steps down to the beach which I assume they did.

I often wonder what saved that dog from death. It could be that dogs also have nine lives 😉 ! It could be the fact that the cliffs at the point he fell are not quite vertical. It could be that he was a long legged, athletic looking dog and was somehow able to at least partly keep his feet. It could be that he was fortunate enough to fall onto shingle rather than onto one of the many large rocks that also litter the beach. Who knows, but the happy fact is he did survive.

The problem for me of course was that since sunsets are fleeting, by the time I got back to my camera having done my vet impersonation, the sky had lost all its colour. So on that lovely evening, after humping my camera gear all day in order to get some competition winning shots, I in fact got just one picture. But, hey, there will be other sunsets and I’m just glad that this lovely dog was ok.

I guess the moral of this tale is that if you are a dog owner and you are walking the clifftops…….well I think you know what I am going to say………keep it on a lead! Otherwise you might just spoil some other photographer’s pictures 😉 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A Picture With a Story…..

29 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

I thought I would just do a short series on what I have called. ‘A Picture with a Story’. These are all pictures that have a story behind them which is not necessarily the obvious story 🙂 ! Some of these will have been taken in unusual circumstances and others might be of unusual subjects, and the first of these I have entitled, ‘What Might Have Been’!

What might have been

 

What Might Have Been

It was a cold February day when I set out on a 16 mile walk. I anticipated a good sunset so I did what I often do and planned my walk so that I would arrive at a good spot in time to capture the setting sun. On this day, I decided that Corfe Castle would be just such a spot so that I could capture the castle in semi silhouette against the sunset sky or that lovely post sunset glow that can be so special with its soft light.

Now the problem with such a long walk, especially in winter is that it is difficult to gauge the time right so that you have an enjoyable walk but still get to take some photographs at the end. Arguably perhaps you should do one or the other, enjoy a walk or just take pictures, because then you can get in position with lots of time to spare. But I was determined to do both! And in fact it all worked out perfectly and I reached the top of East Hill perfectly…..except the weather didn’t play ball!

I could see the sun setting beautifully as I was walking along Nine Barrow Down, and even took pictures of it although with nothing of interest in the foreground, but then ‘Murphy’s Law’ kicked in and the sun did what it often seems to do – by the time I had reached the castle, it had dropped into a bank of cloud on the horizon to be seen no more. And no post sunset glow either, just a dull grey sky! But I took my pictures of the castle anyway because I had an idea how I could achieve what I wanted.

Back home, using Adobe Photoshop, I amalgamated two pictures, using one picture of the castle and dropping in the sky from one of my earlier pictures (the two pictures are above). The result is pretty much what I had in mind. But it does pose a slight moral dilemma, especially if you are a purist photographer. Is it right to manipulate an image? If so, how much manipulation is too much?

I actually don’t have a problem with it if you are producing an image which is obviously manipulated as with a lot of fine art. With a ‘normal’ landscape though I am less comfortable with heavy manipulation although I think this is more about people trying to pass the final picture off as genuine when in fact it is not.

In my case, both pictures were taken the same day and in fact had I walked quicker and reached the castle 15 minutes earlier, the main picture is exactly the picture I would have captured….hence my title, ‘What might have been’. In that sense it is genuine anyway…..or could have been. Plus of course all photographers process their images and make adjustments and enhancements on the computer, be it to increase contrast, brighten a picture up or whatever. This is something that has been done since photography began. Even if you go back to the old days of ‘steam driven’ film cameras, we were pretty adept at manipulating black and white prints in the darkroom using bits of card or our hands, or a second negative, so it is nothing new.

At the end of the day, image manipulation is all part of the overall creative process to produce a final picture that is pleasing or meaningful to look at, but I guess I am a purist at heart and with landscapes particularly I prefer to get it right in the camera in the first place. Besides which, it means less time spent at the computer and more time out on the trail, and that’s got to be good 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

Under the Arch

27 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Riding

This was taken yesterday on a rather lovely walk which took in part of the trailway that was once the track bed of the Somerset and Dorset Railway, otherwise known as the S & D (or Slow and Dirty 🙂 ) ! The line ran from Bournemouth to Bath and it closed in 1966.

This bridge carries the trailway over what is now a footpath and as I walked through it, the contrast between the lovely red brick arch illuminated by the warm tungsten light and the much cooler light beyond caught my eye. Being evening, the balance between the two different light sources was perfect for the picture I had in mind but I needed a bit of human interest……….and so I waited, feeling like I was lurking suspiciously for something 🙂 ! Anyway, my wait was rewarded as this cyclist conveniently dropped down the ramp off the trailway and turned to ride under the bridge and I managed to get my picture.

It isn’t a classic landscape nor necessarily a pretty picture because the arch is quite functional but I love the effect and the depth created by the lines of bricks. I also love those beautifully warm brick tones and the semi-silhouetted cyclist to draw the eye. Most of all perhaps I love it because I had a picture in my mind and it came out exactly as I had planned, and that is always satisfying.

I hope you like it too.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

Welcome to Welcombe!

11 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

One of the other places I visited in Devon was Welcombe Mouth, and it was something of an adventure!

Welcombe Mouth

Welcombe Mouth

I set out in the early morning driving down narrow, single track country lanes, often with grass growing down the middle giving the feeling that you are in some lost civilisation, to reach the small village of Welcombe.

From here, I took an even narrower road signposted Welombe Mouth – I say ‘road’ but I use the term loosely! In fact the ‘road’ became a track that became rougher and more overgrown the farther I went down, so much so that I began to wonder if I had taken a wrong turn and that this was just a footpath. Then, just as I was thinking about reversing all the way back up it, the way opened out and the bay came into view with a rough area of flat ground that could be described as a car park 🙂 ! After the drive, the view that presented itself was a revelation, almost as if I had passed through some portal into another world!

Welcombe Mouth

A Revelation of Rock Strata and Rock Pools

Although not the easiest place to get to, Welcombe Mouth is a truly delightful spot. It is a secluded cove sheltering between high headlands where a stream makes its way into the sea having snaked its way down the valley. Here, the rock strata has been crumpled and turned up on end causing jagged rocks to line the beach running from the land to the shoreline. In between are rock pools, shingle and sand, and much to explore.

Rock Pool

Pools Aplenty

Jelly

Jelly

Where the stream meets the coast, it tumbles and dances joyously down the rocks in a beautiful waterfall that just shimmers and sparkles delightfully in the morning sunshine. It chatters cheerfully as if it is pleased to see you. A series of stepping stones just above the waterfall carry the South West Coast Path across the stream for grateful walkers.

Welcombe Mouth Waterfall

A Dancing Waterfall

Welcombe Mouth is a place where you could happily spend a day as there is so much to explore and its seclusion makes it special. One could just sit for hours and soak in the atmosphere of this lovely place, and feel completely detached from the real world. Apparently it is popular with experienced surfers but there were none here on this day. In fact there was no-one else on the beach.

Limpet Campsite

Limpit Camp Site

The only sounds are the sounds of the sea as the Atlantic rollers endlessly arrive at the beach like some perpetual motion machine, dispensing their energy as if spent from the efforts of reaching the cove. Despite their endless power, the sound is gentle and relaxing and it is amazing to think that long after I have gone home, the waves will still continue to wash the sand…….for centuries to come. This is one of the wonders of nature and one that I never tire of watching.

Welcombe Mouth

Welcombe Mouth from Above

Eventually of course I did have to go home, but not before climbing one of the headlands to reach a lofty perch from which to view the bay. Then, I made my way back up the rough track with the sound of the waves diminishing and fading behind me. The memories of this place will linger though!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.