With fog forecast for Saturday morning, there was only one place to go. Well, that’s not strictly true as I had three places in mind depending on how thick the fog was, but all of these places were in West Dorset. In the end I plumped for a spot overlooking the Marshwood Vale which I had visited on several previous occasions, although not with my current camera gear which is capable of giving me much better quality shots than before.
I had tried and failed in this spot only a month ago — a big bank of cloud to the East ruined any prospect of sun playing with the mist — so I was determined to try again and hope for better luck this time. There’s something really satisfying about driving to your destination and seeing fog forming in the valleys — knowing that when you arrive, one piece of the jigsaw is already in place. I really like “my” viewpoint — its so quiet and peaceful and a great place to spend a sunrise, spectacular or not.
This was a relatively quick visit. Last time I miscalculated my driving time and sunrise woefully and arrived a good hour sooner than I should have. This time I was there about 25 minutes before sun-up and got straight down to the business of setting up my gear and composing a shot. The distinctive tree-topped Colmers Hill — a landmark I always have trouble with from any other viewpoint — provided a nice distant focal point to my compositions, and with the sun rising very close it, I also had some red sky on the horizon with which to play.
It was fascinating watching the fog in the valley move along it in waves and I rattled of a number of pre-dawn shots in both portrait and landscape formats — each one similar yet, due to the ever changing nature of the fog, quite different.
Once the sun came up I waited for about 20 minutes for it to move out of my field of view and rise a little so that it would illuminate the top of the fog. Maybe it was just something to do with the orientation of the sun at this time of year but I did notice that there were some really interesting rays breaking the mist and providing another pattern to go with the recession of the hills eastwards. I spent another 10 minutes or so rattling off some more shots and then knew it was time to go. Very often I will hang around far too long and the best light will have gone, yet I will still be shooting. Today I knew I had a “good un”, packed up, stood for a few more minutes taking in the view, and went home for an eagerly anticipated breakfast.
I really must get over here a bit more often as there are a number of different viewpoints to be had …