Now we are moving into autumn, and my summer of busy weekends is over, I have the time to get out and about at the weekends to make the most of golden hour photography at achievable times. This weekend I was itching to get out and about and, despite having had too much wine on Friday night to really warrant getting up before sunrise, come 05:30 I was up and in the car, heading for Colmers Hill in West Dorset. This is an oft photographed location, some might say a bit of a cliché, but it is so distinctive on the skyline around Bridport, with its three conifers breaking the skyline, that you can’t help but notice it as you drive past on the A35.
I have seen plenty of eye-catching shots of this place, and have previously captured distant shots of it, where it forms a point of interest in a larger panorama, but I want a shot of it as the focal point of the whole image, so off I set at 05:30 on Saturday morning to have a pop. I arrived a good 45 minutes before sunrise to my chosen parking spot, and headed off in pursuit of a good viewpoint. After a bit of faffage, I climbed the adjacent Quarry Hill, but the view from the top was not what I wanted, looking down onto Colmers Hill instead of having the summit trees breaking the skyline. So I descended and found a spot half way down which showed promise. The tripod was set up and I waited; the sky looked good with broken cloud suggesting a decent view for sunrise. However, as I sat and waited, so the cloud built up such that, well before sunrise, I was sitting under an overcast sky which was neither red, nor would have allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate to illuminate the scene before me. Realising that this was not to be my day, I chose just to enjoy the quietness and freshness of a September morning in a part of the world that I am lucky to live in. Eventually I got up and headed home for bagels and fresh coffee for breakfast.
Having not got the weekend photographic bug out of my system I checked the weather forecast and raised my hopes for Sunday evening. I had my eye on Woodbury Common in East Devon as I have been there plenty of times before but, oddly, never at sunset when the low golden light would light up the scene of heather, (what remained of the) gorse, and pine trees to produce a vista to excite us landscape photographers.
However, just as I got there, a big bank of cloud to the West blocked the sun, and I sat there waiting and waiting for, well, nothing as it turns out. So, time to turn tail and head home for the casserole I’d put in the oven before leaving, and a consolatory glass (or two) of red wine.
I exposed one shot all weekend – a recce shot at Colmers Hill. I didn’t bother at Woodbury. I could just sit here and mope, pissed off that I didn’t get any more photos to show off to the world (or the few people who follow this blog and my Flickr stream anyway). But what’s the point in that? Nothing ventured, nothing gained – next week I will be out again, weather forecast permitting. I am determined to get some good material over the coming months.