• Daniel Wretham

So, This Happened......

Updated: Sep 8

Amazing Light, Man O'War Bay, Dorset Sunset

Well, I thought i'd give the technical stuff a break this week and tell you what i've been up to and what i've got planned for the next few weeks.

Sadly it's that time of year when shooting every day becomes a major problem. The light starts to fade before you finish work, and your already on your way to work when the sun rises. It's a very frustrating time when the only opportunity you will get to shoot is on the weekends, couple that with the fact that it will be glorious weather all week and then come the weekend and it's your time to go out and what does it do ? Of course it will be high winds, monsoon like rain, floods, locusts !!! Basically everything possible to stop you from going.

Your photography withdrawal symptoms will go into over drive, the urge to get out will become a wild rage and someone could get hurt ! Ok so maybe thats slightly over the top but you have to admit it's a very frustrating time to say the least.

So how do we best deal with this ? Well, if you're anything like me you will have an absolute hoard of images sat on your hard drive which could do with a revisit, you will be amazed at just what you have on there that you had forgot in the excitement for the next shoot.

On the other hand you will also wonder why on earth did I not just delete that utter rubbish in the first place ?! (we all have a few of those) !

This brings me nicely to a point I want to make to hopefully save some of you a horror that happened to me. I kept all of my pictures on an external hard drive which had around 2 terabytes of my favourite images on until one fateful day that I accidentally dropped it. The outcome..... I lost everything.

Years of hard work and treasured images gone in a flash.

To say I was heartbroken was an understatement and I will probably never ever get past the fact that my site is now missing several key areas along the Dorset coast due to this loss, on the plus side....I get to visit them all again and shoot them hopefully in a better way than before.

I can't stress this enough, unless you have two back ups, you don't actually have a back up of your work.

These days there are so many free options with things like dropbox, cloud storage as well as a huge price drop in external drives.

I now run 2 x 3 terabyte hard drives and a dropbox account to keep all my valuable pictures safe.

In the event of a breakdown on one drive, I'm still covered.

Drives do break down, they have moving parts which of course can fail so they are never 100% safe.

You can of course get the latest SSD (solid state drives) which don't have moving parts and they are a far better option but they carry a premium cost to them, which is heavy.

A hard drive can be recovered by specialist companies but its pretty expensive and is never guaranteed to get all your data back, above all NEVER try and open the drive and recover the information yourself. I'm all for a bit of DIY but this is best left to the professionals.

On the plus side autumn is now around the corner and its probably my favourite season to shoot.

Beautiful misty mornings, golden colour leaves and diffused light, there really isn't much to not like about it so I intend to use my free time to plan in more detail where i'm going to capture these moments.

Winspit Sunrise, Winspit Bottom, Dorset

So the week started pretty well to be honest. I took a trip down to Winspit quarry along the Jurassic coast on Saturday morning and met up with fellow photographer Martin Dolan which was an absolute pleasure.

I generally like to shoot alone as I like to work in peace and in all honesty like the solitude and getting away from it all. It was an odd morning as we met in the car park, conditions looked far from great. It was very clear and not a lot going on, We debated our next move and while doing so noticed a small bank of high level cloud moving in from the East. This would do nicely so we did the trek down to winspit arriving roughly 45 minutes before sunrise.

Just before we got there some colouring of the clouds was visible and we knew we had made the right choice.

There was a bank of cloud just to the west of where the sun was coming up so I made a decision to focus on this area rather than directly at the sun as I felt it would give me the best colour and a better more even exposure.

The beautiful pinks started to glow up and two photographers went into overdrive working the light and moving round chasing it.

I don't think we even spoke to each other while we were shooting as we were both busy and focused.

Winspit Bottom, Winspit Sunrise, Dorset

It turned out to be a very nice morning and we both got several shots that we were pleased with and then the best bit, we sat on the rocks at Winspit having a coffee that Martin had taken with him in a thermos flask.

I have never done this and I have to say it was a fantastic experience ! A thermos was quickly purchased for the next trip and a firm friendship was formed.

It's very nice when you meet a like minded person who shares your passion for photography and we exchanged ideas and thoughts on the session.

Winspitt Bottom, Jurassic Coast

This session had proved to us both that shooting into the light wouldn't have been as effective as using the light to our advantage as it lit up the cliff face and rocks in front of us. We both felt we had made the right choice that day to do something different from the norm and felt we had captured the situation the best way we could on the day.

We had enjoyed our shoot and discussed plans for the following day which looked like it could be a good one on paper.

We were both going to shoot a similar area so once again decided to meet up.

We arrived in Bournemouth to a wet and rainy morning with a huge bank of thick grey cloud and I have to say it looked very poor that we would get any light at sunrise.

However we were there and we decided to wait and see what unfolded, there was a small break in the cloud which looked like it might do something, although what we were unsure of.

With ten minutes to go till sunrise and still no signs of colour it looked like a lost cause. Then it happened, The small break in the cloud began to get larger and an area of colour just started to peek through. We both grabbed our gear and made a mad dash for the area we were going to shoot.

Light quickly came through the gap and gave us a really nice soft colour glow to shoot at.

The swell of the sea was pretty strong and made some interesting foreground movement for the shots.

Bournemouth Sunrise

As the cloud parted spectacular rays started to flow through the sky and produced some dramatic results.

Bournemouth Sunrise

It was a really cracking morning and we were both very pleased we had stuck around and waited it out. It's rare that you get two good days back to back, and even rarer that it's a weekend !

Once again coffee was had and an enjoyable experience for us both and keen to have a review of our shots.

Bournemouth Sunrise

The rest of the week however was far less eventful, a few mad dashes to locations close to work when conditions looked good turned out to be fruitless which was a great shame but I couldn't complain after the great weekend I had.

So what did I take out of all of this ? Well, there was a good case for me to realise I don't have to constantly shoot alone and avoid people where possible, if you find a like minded individual then the experience can be enhanced and you can feed off each other and perhaps see something you were missing through fresh eyes.

It also gives you a chance to share a little knowledge and help someone out. Martin is a very competent photographer and knows his stuff, but i'm sure he won't mind me saying I tried to give him a little guidance while we were out into techniques he hasn't used and I think he was very pleased with the results.

Likewise I learnt some things from him too so it was very beneficial.

I also found that I enjoyed the experience of coffee on location ! This can't be praised enough, truly and eye opener and a reminder to sometimes just chill out and look and enjoy. Take in the whole experience and don't get so wrapped up in the aspect of shooting to capture the moment so intensely, Remember to enjoy the moment.

Waterfalls of Wales

So the week ahead of me is looking pretty bleak with no chance of shooting due to a very heavy work load which is pretty depressing but so typical of this time of year.

There is however light at the end of the tunnel, The week after I will be making a trip to West Wales to some new locations that I am very excited about.

For the past three years I have made at least one trip to wales each year to shoot the stunning coastline and waterfalls and I have to say I'm pretty obsessed with the beauty of the place. This year I will be concentrating on the coast again and a few inland shots but not so much the waterfalls, but theres one or two I will check out just to satisfy the urge from within.

As always a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog and shares them and for all the support with the site. It really is a big deal for me that so many people have been helping and encouraging me with this.

Happy Shooting,

Daniel Wretham

Landscape photography blog

Landscape Photography Blog