Norfolk

Dawn sunburst - Blakeney marshes, North Norfolk. An amazing start to the day and well worth dragging myself out of bed for. I used a wide angle lens to emphasise the distance and a warming filter to boost the pink tones present in the sky to give this shot a fresh warm glow.

Norfolk


1 June – 6 June 2012
The magic of North Norfolk has been drawing us back to the county like a magnet for many years. Come rain or shine we just love it. The unique coastline and countryside always makes for an interesting stay and the wide open sandy beaches, salt marshes and rolling countryside with panoramic skies give North Norfolk its distinctive flavour. Inland in the open fields we have often seen hares running and boxing. Magical!


Morning light through the village of Blakeney, North Norfolk. A rare sight indeed not a soul on the high street of Blakeney and a chance to capture this beautiful North Norfolk village filled with colour and light rather than tourists and cars He says being a tourist and having a car. The scene was quite picture postcard.
Sharp, crisp, misty dawn - Blakeney marshes, North Norfolk. Out on the marshes at the usual up with the lark time but nothing to show for it for several hours.Id all but given up hope when suddenly the heavy mists rappidly lifted. The wood pigeon on the right was with me throughout and on the last minute before shutter release a comanion arrived and perched on the opposite fence. A central composition now most certainly evenly balanced.
Norfolk for us recharges the batteries and levels the soul. So, it was with great excitement and enthusiasm that we packed our bags and took the 3.5 hr journey back to one of our favourite villages – Blakeney.


The lovely coastal village of Blakeney is one of the most enchanting on the North Norfolk Coast. Blakeney started its life initially as an important medieval commercial port until the estuary began to silt up preventing all but small pleasure craft from gaining access to the main quay itself. The silting over time has led to a fascinating landscape of marshes, and mud banks, with many creeks and channels twisting and turning their way through the land back to the sea which attract many interesting and different species of birds.


There is one narrow village road running uphill from the quay through the village with pretty flint cottages (many for holiday rent), either side of the road and throughout the village and if you turn and look back and out to sea, the view over the marshes are wonderful.


Discipline. Each day I was out of the door at 4.30am and out onto Blakeney marshes. It was fantastic to have the start of each day all to myself and see the first glimpses of wildlife emerging along the sleepy back waters and in the shallow pools in the marshes. 


Avocet stretching - Cley marshes, North Norfolk. A beautiful bird indeed in every way. Captured feeding along the edge of a salt marsh pool fabulour to see the bird open and stretch its wings just at the right moment after a long time holding the lens from a crouching position.
Avocet in Blakeney marshes. One from another series of photographs taken in one of the many shallow ponds withing Blakeney marshes. Id been watching, waiting and hardly moving watching an empty pool crouching in the reeds willing the avocets to return one did Captured at some distance with 1.7 teleconverter added to the lens. Although the bird takes centre stage, the reflective blue water and the vertical pattern of the reeds was as much a part of the overal composition as the bird.
A walk on the wild side. One from a series of photographs taken along the beach at Cley, North Norfolk. It is illegal to photograph avocets on the nest without a licence fortunately for me there avocets were outside the designated roped off area and walking some distance away from their nests feeding. Id been lying as flat as possible on the beach weathering some passing showers, hood up to cut down any reflection from my face and bean bag in front over a camouflaged lens. The sun appeared at just the right moment an avocet Id been tracking walked into frame to capture my planned envelope focussed composition.
Reed Bunting, North Norfolk. The afternoon sun had brought many birds out, eager to catch up with feeding their chicks from the mornings downpoor. The birds were out, the insects were out and the 300mm lens was out
Up periscope The contrast between the saturated colours and the neutral white of the swan emphasised the colour in the composition the green halping the birs look whitere, the swan making the colours in the meadow appear even more intense.
 On the foggy days when the sun refused to show I utilised the mist and weak light to best effect by turning my attention to the moored boats along Blakeney channel (always good to plan ahead and check the tide times also), as their shapes in the wet sands led to some really atmospheric low key compositions.e.


4.30am dawn light - Blakeney marshes, North Norfolk. The geece and other birds had not begun to return to the marshes so early in the dawn a pity as their silhouettes would have been fastastic over the still calm and eiry waters. Alas, the scene was magical nonetheless.
Returning to the cottage about 7.30am and having the high street of Blakeney all to myself (very rare indeed), I couldn’t waste the opportunity to photograph this picturesque village bathed in brilliant sunshine with clear blue skies as a perfect backdrop. The softer light was in the perfect position to illuminate each composition just as I wanted to gain iconic views of this Norfolk coastal village.


Grabbing a few hours sleep again before breakfast (the usual routine), we would often head out along one of the many coastal walks stretching our own and four legged friends legs and enjoy the natural surroundings and fresh air. This was the time many waders had become active feeding along the mud banks and estuaries with plenty of sightings of Redshanks, lapwings, Oyster catchers, Terns and if you are lucky, a marsh harrier!


Afternoons was time for fun on the beach! Occasionally we’d glimpse a bird or two but on the whole they were much further out exploring the mud flats at the head of the channels and estuaries taking advantage of the low tide and the remaining rich pickings left behind in the retreating oceans wake.


One day in particular we had decided to visit Cley marshes further along the coast and pay a visit to the nature reserve. Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s (NWT’s) oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926 making it the first Wildlife Trust reserve in the country and it is one of our favourites. The reserve does not accept dogs though so we followed the public foot path around the edge of the reserve which leads out to the beautiful shingle beach along the coast.


The light was perfect – not too harsh nor too weak and seeing opportunities to photograph Avocets and Oystercatchers along the shingle beach, with the birds close and my telephoto lens wide open, I was able to achieve some really low ISO shots with beautiful bokeh backgrounds. 


Soon the light vanished as quickly as it appeared and it was back to the rain and the biting wind again but I was all aglow, delighted with my photo shoot and some cracking shots of some of my favourite birds stored safely on the memory cards!


Avocet on shingle - Cley beach, North Norfolk. The window of opportunity to capture these birds walking and feeding just ooutside the nesting area on Cley Beach did not last long at all right place, right time with everything in my favour it really doesnt get better than this
Misty dawn light - Blakeney, North Norfolk. Back down to the estury again the light did not last long and I had to work quickly. spotting the potential for this composition the day before I knew where I was heading for right in front of this red sail I was delighted to see the owner had left the boat moored in exactly the same place as the previous day the saturated colour in the red sail glowing in the rising sun was absolutely delightful compensation indeed for the 4.30am rise
The old boat - Blakeney Marshes. Positioning myself to allow the sunlit passage to more of less run parallel with the horizon and the prow of the boat to just break the horizon line too ensuring the stern dipped below it, I used a wide angle lens to emphasise the curving shape of the old boat stretching through the composition. The colours and textures were quite beautiful
Quiet dawn - Blakeney, North Norfolk. A Chilly start to the day the rains came and went all day but not before the early rise captured a wonderful etheral glow across the marshes and estuary at Blakeney.
Dawn light - Blakeney, North Norfolk. Promising weather ahead the glow in the early dawn sky became a day filled with sharp light and warmth across the marshes.