Tag Archives: long exposure

Embracing the Creative

5 Aug

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

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while or who have read my about page will know that I set it up in order to bring together my passion for Dorset, walking, cycling, nature/the outdoors, and photography in a way that would hopefully interest and entertain the reader. So it usually comprises articles about these subjects. But that poses a problem!

You see, I have always resisted being put in a particular box or being typecast as one particular style of photographer e.g. a landscaper or whatever. Yes. I take landscapes because I am out in the countryside a lot but I am not solely a purist landscape photographer. I actually enjoy all forms of photography, landscape, street photography, portraits, macro, conceptual photography, or frankly the out and out experimental and creative.

The danger with this is that you may be seen as ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, or that followers may not be interested in half of the posts. People who like my Dorset posts for instance may not be interested in my more photography based posts. Does this matter? I’m sure that some would say that it does and that to increase your following and keep your readers you need to specialise and have a constant theme rather than generalise as then people will know what to expect. Then again, I guess that depends of the view of individual readers as some might actually prefer variety rather than continuity or sameness. Its a bit of a conundrum that I haven’t yet bottomed out – how tight or how loose should a brief be in order to keep the blog interesting? Maybe I should have two or three different blogs 🙂 !

Anyway, today I thought I would share a picture that definitely fits in the creative category and it is all about Embracing the Creative, albeit it was taken in Dorset and in the outdoors, and features a tree so does fulfil some of my criteria……sort of 🙂 ! I called it ‘Forestry Man’!

Forestry Man

Old Age

I actually went walking along the River Stour and I carried my tripod as I thought some long exposure shots of the river might work well. Having taken some typical landscape shots though, I decided to have a play and get creative and this shot is one of the results. You see, we are all part of the created world, whether human, animal, tree, plant, bird or whatever and at the end of our time here, our bodies return to dust. So, in reality, is there much difference between us and say a tree when considered over millennia? Well of course, we have a soul so the end is not the end for us, but the body and the tree aren’t dissimilar really – we are both part of a greater whole and will eventually age and erode. I’ve tried to show that in this picture.

On a technical note, I guess I could have sandwiched two separate images together to get this effect, but I didn’t, this was all done in camera by using a long exposure.

If you are one of my ‘Dorset’ or ‘landscape’ followers then just gloss over this blog entry – normal service will be resumed shortly. But hey, for a moment, why not Embrace the Creative?

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.

Sea Mist

3 Jun

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

One more shot in our theme for the week which is all about using blur and movement to improve shots or simply to give a different effect. For this one, we are going to one of my favourite places, the quirky and rugged Church Ope Cove, on the Isle of Portland.

Church Ope Cove

Sea Mist

Sea Mist

Church Ope Cove gets its name from the fact that above the beach, Portland’s first church was built. Combined with this is the fact that the beach sits below an opening in the cliffs, allowing access to the shore, hence the Ope part of the name. The beach is in reality sandy, but quarrying debris has covered the sand so that the cove is now rocky, those rocks being worn round by the action of the sea. It is an area with a mysterious feel to it and one where there is much to explore, so I always enjoy a visit here.

On this occasion, there was a lovely surf washing in and out over the rocks and I wanted to capture the effect of that by blurring the water so I used a long shutter speed, holding it open for 65 seconds. The result was this dreamy, misty feel, although of course, it is not mist at all, just blurred surf. I decided on a simple composition, focussing on the only two rocks that stood above the surf level, and just including a small part of the headland beyond.

To me, this sums up the shoreline here, rocks being constantly washed and smoothed by the ever active, never ceasing waves. They roll in like a perpetual motion machine, an amazing wonder of nature. I never tire of watching it.

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.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

The Old Pier

31 May

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

To continue with my theme of using blur and movement rather than freezing the action in order to give an alternative view of Dorset, we are today paying a visit to the remains of a very old pier in Swanage, a lovely town on the Dorset Coast Path.

The Old Pier, Swanage

Swanage

The Old Pier, Swanage

This is the original Swanage Pier that was opened in 1861 in order to serve the quarrying industry. Stone would be brought to Swanage from the coastal quarries and a pier was needed in order to offload this stone from the ships. Originally a tramway ran along this pier so that trucks could be used to transport the stone inland – the rails are still in place along the sea front paths. With the coming of a passenger steam service to Poole and Bournemouth, a second pier was needed and this was built in the late 19th century.

Due to a combination of the new pier and a declining stone industry, the old pier fell into disrepair, so much so that all you see today are the wooden piles that remain jutting out of the water. What was once a busy and active pier, has become nothing more than a resting place for gulls…….oh, and a huge magnet for photographers 🙂 !

This is a place that has been photographed countless times, and more often than not, the technique used is to set the camera with a very long exposure, in this case, 90 seconds. This has the effect of totally blurring the water in order to create this seemingly perfectly flat sea that looks almost as if it has iced over. It also has the effect of blurring the clouds. This technique therefore simplifies the scene, highlighting the only solid parts, the pier and the headland beyond.

This is a technique that can in my view be over used, and at one time it seemed that every picture involving the sea was a long exposure, such was its popularity amongst photographers. So much so that I was once contacted by a magazine editor who was looking for a picture of a particular bay, and when I asked him what he wanted, he said, ‘Anything that is not a long exposure’! You see, if you are not careful, even trying something different can quickly become very same-ish!

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.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

A walk on the wild side…..with the camera!

7 Nov

It seems to me that there is often a bit of tension between walking and photography!  By that I mean that sometimes photography spoils a good walk.  Why?  Simply because you can become so engrossed in trying to capture the ultimate competition winning shot and almost miss what is going on around you.  And then when you get home and you haven’t got the prize picture you were hoping for, the day seems fruitless.

At some point I decided that I would either walk and focus on the countryside and surroundings, just taking the compact camera to capture memories of the day or I would go out specifically to take photographs and take the DSLR.  That way I enjoy walking or I enjoy taking ‘real’ pictures rather than trying to do both on the same day and getting neither.  In reality it rarely works and I often end up trying to do both because I find it difficult to switch off from thinking ‘photography’ and there is always that nagging feeling that today just might the day when the light, the scene and the conditions are perfect……..and you haven’t got your camera!

Well on this day I did go out specifically to capture pictures……although I still managed to walk nearly 10 miles!

I was heading for the coast as I really wanted to capture something of the ruggedness of the Dorset coastal quarries and the somewhat grey, overcast and even stormy day was perfect for the purpose.  My outward route started in a small village and then followed an inland path known as The Priests Way, so called because in olden times it was the route taken by the priest as he covered the two villages at each end.  On the way I passed the rather strange tiny bus stop below – clearly meant for little people ;)!

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A bus stop for little people 😉

Near the end of the track I turned south and headed towards the Dorset Coast Path, passing the rather unusual wall below.

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Getting ahead 😉

Having reached the coast, I first headed for my favourite quarry.  I think the reason I like it is that it is tiny and little known, in fact you could easily walk past it and not even realise it is there.  But climb down into it and you find yourself half way up the cliff face, all alone and with just a sheer drop below you – the picture below was taken on an earlier visit.

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On the quarry ledge

Sat on that ledge is a great place to eat lunch whilst watching the waves crashing onto the rocks below.  I wanted to get a picture that illustrated a quarryman’s view so I set up the camera and tripod to do some long exposure pictures to bring out the contrast between rocks and water.  At the processing stage I turned the image into a sepia toned picture as it seemed to suit the subject and my intention.  The result is below.

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A quarryman’s view

From this point, my route took me along the coast path, passing numerous quarries of varying size along the way.  Rather than stop at each quarry, I chose the ones that I wanted to capture, each time setting up my camera, tripod, filters etc…….which of course I had to pack away again before moving on.

At the next quarry, I stood looking out at the sheer vastness of the sea and sky and the perpetual motion of the waves and clouds, ever moving and ever changing.  In a feeble effort to record what I felt, I set up the camera again for another long exposure shot to give the feeling of movement and the ever changing scene.

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A vast, ever changing scene

Looking down, it was again the constant action of the waves pounding the coastal rocks below that spoke to me of the hard conditions that the quarrymen must have endured as they transported the rocks away from the cliffs in small boats before delivering them to the larger barges waiting further out to sea.  This must have been a seriously hazardous occupation and I cannot imagine what it must have been like manoeuvring huge rocks between vessels whilst both were being pounded by waves.

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Off the quarry ledge

And the waves are just relentless, like a giant perpetual motion machine, they never stop, never tire, but continue to pound the coast, gradually eroding the land.  Minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, the waves come and the tide ebbs and flows, sometimes gently and sometimes powerfully but never ceasing.  It is a wonderful thing to watch….and frustrating to try to capture in a single image!

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Perpetual motion – the power of the sea

Eventually I left the quarry and headed up to another of my favourite locations, a barren and exposed headland with just a few stark buildings, buildings with a history.  And again, I wanted to capture the feeling of the barrenness, the exposure to the elements, rather than just the scene itself.  This is what I call the fourth dimension in a picture.  Not an easy task as the wind was whipping across the headland and the light was going fast.  I set up the tripod and shot the pictures below which I later converted to black and white as this really does help to bring out the mood well.  The first was taken using a wide angle lens to bring out the huge expanse of the sky whereas in the second I focussed more on the cottages them selves.

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On the barren headland

The row of cottages is in fact a group of old coastguard cottages built in 1895.  The coastguards and their families were originally housed at Chapman’s Pool, far below but moved to the top of the headland when these cottages were built.  These in turn were vacated in 1950 following complaints about the remoteness of the site and difficulties getting children to school. The building to the left originally housed the cart that contained all the life saving equipment.

I decided that I would do another long exposure shot which I gave a dated feel to in the processing.  The streaks are the movement of the clouds.

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From the dim and distant past

In addition to the cottages, there is a Norman chapel on the headland.  This square, squat building in fact contains features that indicate it may not have been built originally as a chapel and there are suggestions that it might have been erected as a watchtower for the nearby Corfe Castle allowing for early sightings of enemy ships.

However, it is built in the centre of a low earthwork of Christian origin and records show that there was a paid chaplain in the time of King Henry III which tends to contradict the earlier suggestion.  I guess we will never know for certain but either way, it is a wonderfully bleak and open place.

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The old chapel

With the light fading and with it my hopes for a glorious sunset, it was time to pack up and continue on my journey back to the starting point of my walk.  Walking along the cliff top in the gathering gloom is always special with the gusting wind in my face and the storm clouds overhead.  It was a fitting end to a glorious day out with the camera.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Your friend
The Dorset Rambler.

If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.