Time away is usually spent with my family, but in October half term 2019 I was fortunate enough to have few days away on my own. I took this as an opportunity to spend some time away in the beautiful surroundings of Dorset, my adventures of which I will now share, along with a few select images and descriptions of the locations I visited. The blog I have created is part 1, I have several images I wish to share from various locations from my previous visits. 

Most of the places I chose to visit have been lead by my desire to either get a specific shot from a given location, the time of year, or the conditions and light, some of which were unsuccessful on the first visit. As a photographer I sometimes feel you need a bit of luck, but you also make your own luck from the effort you put in to achieve the shot you're after.

I hope the information and details I have included in this help you out should you visit this part of the UK.

Corfe Castle was the first location I travelled to, and although I would have success here, it would take three visits before I left with something I was happy with. There are a number of places you can park near the castle for free, most of which are on the roadside, however being a National Trust member I opted for the car park on the opposite side of the road as this is also free to trust members.

To get to the vantage point where this image was taken, you exit the car park and bare right walking for about twenty meters before crossing the road, going through the gate and in to the field. You walk to the top of the field to your right where you go through another gate and bare left where there is a footpath. As you follow the path the castle will be on your left hand side with a hill to your right. This footpath splits after a short distance and you can either take the easier but slightly longer path paralleling the castle, or as I did bare right up the slightly steeper hill. Neither of the walks are very long and there are plenty of compositions available which ever route you take. You only have to google the castle to find plenty of images for inspiration, many of which will also prompt you on where you need to be.

As beautiful as this historic castle is to photograph, it really comes in to it's own when shrouded in mist. Not only does that bring the most magical conditions particularly when the light is right, but also many more photographers seeking those classic shots. It wasn't until my third visit did I get rewarded with those conditions, and I had to wait until sunrise had almost ended for it to happen. I counted ten others that morning, but there may have been others. Some were undecided on whether to stay as there was no mist on arrival, almost unexpected given the near perfect conditions and forecast.

I could quite easily have returned here every morning for the duration of my stay and come away with something different.

 

Kimmeridge Bay is located on the Jurassic Coast just half a mile south west of Kimmeridge village. As you approach the bay there is a hut on the side of the road, which when manned takes the £5 toll fee to park in the car park further down the road. There is a barrier at this point as well, and it's worth noting and checking the opening and closing times of this, especially if you plan on visiting for sunrise or sunset as it would restrict access both in and out of the car park.

From the car park you can't really go wrong in finding your way down to the bay, and depending on where you're planning to shoot will depend on which way you go down. Clavells Tower can also be accessed form this car park and is roughly a 10-15 minute walk to the top of the cliff where it is situated. By my knowledge this location is better at sunset than sunrise because of where it is situated, and certain times of year work better than others. Personally I'm not a huge fan of shooting in the sun, but on occasions and certain times of year depending on composition, this is unavoidable.

I came here on three separate occasions, one of which given my composition of Clavells Pier I had no option but to shoot in to the sun. The bay is also a popular with other photographers, but given the nature and layout of it, there is plenty to go at without tripping over someone else. That said, Clavells Pier is only small, and there were two others here on the evening I photographed it, and sometimes you just have to work together to get the shots you want if other people are in your composition. At the end of the day you're all after something similar and there for the enjoyment of what you do, so there is no point in being rude with others.

 

The image to the left was taken from the cliff tops near Clavells Tower. I'd sat in the car for a considerable number of hours drinking tea and watching the weather, as the forecast didn't bode well for sunset. Wind speeds in excess of 30mph and rain were not something I'd planned on getting out of the car to do photography in. However my patience paid off as the rain passed, and although still extremely windy and cloudy there were breaks in the sky where light was getting through.

Had the wind been at my back I wouldn't have attempted this shot being so close to the edge, however it was blowing in off the sea which was still tricky, but by crouching down it reduced the battering I was getting. I could have shot this at a higher ISO and shutter speed to freeze everything so the foliage was sharper, but it would detract and have a negative impact on the outcome of the shot as you wouldn't have got a sense of the conditions I was experiencing up there, but it's by no means a long exposure either.

 

TIP

When photographing by the coast be aware of your gear, salt water and spray from the sea gets everywhere, not just on your lens, but in all the other nooks and crannies, so it pays to give everything a good clean, and if need be strip down after you've spent time by the coast. I was constantly wiping my lens when shooting the pier and on the cliff top because of the spray. Nothing worse then getting home and realising an image isn't sharp or unusable, particularly if you've travelled hundreds of miles.