Friday, 6 December 2019

Whitby, Day 3

We awoke this morning, after a brief spectacular sunrise, to a grey and gloomy day which, as the day progressed degenerated into rain.  Following another excellent breakfast we packed and loaded the car and then wandered down to steps to the East Pier.  By this time the wind was biting and bowing up somewhat.  Heading back for coffee, we stopped off at Fortune's Kippers where the were just loading up the smoking ovens with herrings and bacon.  We bought some of each to bring home.  What is there not to like about a good kipper.  After coffee in the old chapel jet museum and restaurant it was back up the steps one more time to beging the dirve home.  Not straight home, however, as we called in at Burton Agnes Hall for what is rapidly becoming a traditional visit the the hall which is beautifully decorated for Christmas.  We find that it gets us in the mood for the festivities to com.
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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Whitby, Day 2

Another fabulous day of weather with cloudless skies all day but the biting wind and low temperatures meant a cold day.  When we looked out first thing the eastern horizon was tinged with vivid orange.  Tea in bed and then down for a relaxed 8.00 am breakfast and off to Sandsend.  There was just enough beach for a beachcombing mooch and some photography.   The groynes here always make for interesting subjects. The next port of call was the Danby Moors centre where there was an excellent exhibition. Lunch was a picnic high above the Esk Valley with wonderful views.  One of my favourite places.  Another mooch on the beach and then it was back to Whitby and shopping for some and photography for others.  Peter and I were after some golden hour shots of the old town and then some twilight images from the steps.  We were a tad early for twilight so to avoid frostbite we retreated to the Board Inn for something brown and frothy.  On our way back up the steps the light was perfect.  Shortly we shall be heading for The Marine on the harbour side to sample their pre Christmas menu.  Another good day.
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Whitby, Day 1

We woke to a cold and frosty morning and were soon packed and ready for off.  The journey went well and we parked up at Boggle Hole nicely in time to enjoy our picnic lunch in the car.  As we walked down the steep slope to the beach with the youth hostel to our left, we could see that the tide was still well in.  Slightly surprising as it was coming up to low tide but we were obviously in neap tides.  Not a problem but we were not going to get the really low tides which makes beach combing just that bit more exciting.  On the plus side the weather and light were excellent so we were able to potter to our hearts content; Heather drawing and me  photographing.  I was delighted to be able to try out the new Fuji 100-400 with converter.  There were redshank and oystercatchers  on the beach and I enjoyed stalking them. The results on the back of the camera seem excellent. 
The town was very quiet as we wandered round and so we quickly headed back along the beach.  We arrived at Whitby Youth Hostel just before Peter and Linda and it wasn't long before we were enjoying a preprandial in our room before heading out to The Magpie for our traditional fish and chips.  As usual it was excellent,  the best we know.  Of course it would have been rude not to call in at The Black Horse for a swift half to help gird up our loins for the steep climb up the 199 steps back to the hostel and the land of nod.
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Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Hidden in Plain Sight

When we think of landscapes or landscape photography, it is easy to think in terms of the grand vista, however, I find that I am increasingly inspired by much more intimate landscapes. The mudane, overlooked, unnoticed micro-landscapes that are all around us. At times these are easily recognised for what they are, but at other times they may be more mysterious and abstract. John Ruskin said "Give me a broken rock, a little moss and I would ask no more, for I would dream of greater things associated with these. I would see a mighty river in my stream, and in my rock a mountain clothed in trees." I completely empathise with this statement; Ruskin was also fascinated by the smaller scale of nature as well as the wider view.
My inspiration is not the wilderness of wide-open spaces but wilderness on a much smaller scale. Robert MacFarlane writes 'I had started to refocus. I was becoming interested in this understanding of wildness not as something which was hived off from human life, but which existed unexpectedly around and within it: in cities, backyards, roadsides, hedges, field boundaries or spinnies.' The mountaineer, W.H. Murray, also wrote of the same experience as long ago as 1951. 'Through the very uncertainties of our climb my mind became unusually observant, embracing many simple things that commonly pass unregarded. While searching for a handhold the eye would alight on a blade of grass peeping from a crack, and see the amazing grace of its fluting, the fresh brightness of its green against the rock; and although the joy was that of one second the memory lived on.'

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Monday, 2 December 2019

First session with the seals.

I hadn't visited the Atlantic grey seal colony at Donna Nook for a few years so it was a delight to be back today.  Despite not getting there until 10.00 am, I was pleased to get into the main car park for free rather than pay £4.00 for the overflow car park.  It was a beautiful still and sunny day and ideal conditions  for photography.  My canon gear was already parceled up ready for part exchanging at Wex for Fuji gear and so I only had my Fuji XT2 body and a 55-200 lens but this was perfectly adequate and I relished  the lightness.  Recently a chronic bad back and the after effects of open heart surgery earlier this year meant that carrying the heavy canon 500 was becoming increasingly difficult.  I am looking forward to working with the much lighter Fuji system.  All in all this was an excellent day.
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