Now its been a very long time since I've written a blog post about a single session, instead preferring to list a few in one post, but this time at Corfe Castle it was special, REALLY special and I just had to share it with you.
Lets face it, Corfe Castle in the mist isn't a very original shot, in fact its been done to death by every landscape photographer out there, but with good reason, its EPIC ! and it's also on the bucket list of pretty much every landscape photographer out there too.
We all know just how popular it is, and you only have to look at the amount of landscape photographers on West Hill when mist looks likely to know, its packed out with hopeful photographers all preying that the weather gods will deliver them the perfect conditions, it rarely does.
Now you don't just turn up at Corfe, get epic mist and sunrise and go home, oh no its just not that easy. You see theres mist and theres mist, and neither is the same !
A forecast of mist doesn't mean you're guaranteed the epic shot of Corfe Castle, far from it as you need the mist to be just right, not too sparse, not too thick, not too high and not moving too fast.
Corfe Castle has a habit of mist obscuring it completely leaving landscape photographers disappointed and waiting wondering what to do next. It also has a habit of not conforming to the weather forecasts and when it looks like guaranteed mist Corfe can surprise you and have none, while all areas around it are covered in the stuff, frustrating right ? You bet it is.
So when you finally get the right conditions its a humbling and euphoric experience, and its even better when you capture it all on video.
The night before I had been watching the forecast like a hawk and it was looking good, really good but I had been here so many times and it just hadn't panned out so I wouldn't let myself get too excited about it but there was a twinge of excitement fighting to get out inside of me.
I awoke extra early, around 4.30 am and looked out of the window, there was hardly any mist which was a bit of a downer but I knew the area behind my house wasn't that prolific for it so it could be better nearer the castle.
I wanted to be at Corfe Castle a good hour before sunrise as I have found the blue hour to often be the very best time to shoot there.
I set off full of anticipation and excitement, while keeping an eye out for the usual misty areas and tell tale signs on the way and I wasn't disappointed.
Small pockets of mist lined the roadside and tantalisingly hung a few feet off the ground, and I knew this was a really good sign, in fact the closer I got to Corfe Castle the better the mist got in the areas.
I arrived and knew it looked perfect and I couldn't get up West Hill fast enough, not many people were there at this time but I knew that would soon change.
I got set up super fast and composed a shot ready for the moment to take it, it was still very dark but I could see a carpet of mist stretching out and intertwining with the castle structure.
The sun was still a good 40 minutes from rising above the horizon but it was giving the sky that morning glow that we all love, despite being fairly clear it really did look rather nice.
I took a few shots in the blue hour and knew I had got exactly what I had come for, It just looked right and I could have quite happily packed up there and then but I was going to wait it out for a while longer yet.
Several more blue hour shots were taken and a pano was done but sadly no matter what I tried I just couldn't get it to stitch in photoshop which was a bit of a disappointment so I had to abandon it.
The shots were fairly similar but I liked each of them for the formation of the mist as it cascaded over the castle like a giant wave giving endless new patterns and interest.
I was at this point super happy with my shots and all this was before the sun had even come up.
I decided to wait a little while longer to see if I could get a shot of the light hitting Corfe caste and sending the shadows onto the mist itself, its a pretty striking image but it just wasn't happening, the mist had turned to more of a haze and I no matter how long I waited it just wasn't going to be the shot I wanted so I decided to call it a day and trek back down West Hill.
As I was loading up the car and getting ready to go, safe in the knowledge that I had bagged a couple of decent images I had a sudden thought, why am I going ?
Conditions still look great, not from where I was shooting but there was mist & light if I could just find a better location to shoot it from.
With that I turned the car around and headed up to Kingston area which is high above the mist and had the added bonus that the light was coming from that direction, well more the side but close enough.
This shot required a seriously long focal length, at the very limit of my range in fact, 400 mm.
When I arrived I just knew I had made the right choice as not only was this the best face of Corfe Castle in my opinion but the mist looked absolutely amazing as it rolled through obscuring the village then revealing it in waves as the morning light brought all the details alive.
I couldn't get the camera set up fast enough and waited for just the right moments to get my shots as the mist revealed a decent portion of the castle, it was an awesome experience and after a while when I knew I had shots in the bag I just sat and watched it unfold.
I couldn't think of anywhere I would have sooner been than here right now watching mother natures display of mist & light and to think I had very nearly gone home and missed out on this.
I took another panorama image too as I love to have these for large format prints, plus I just really enjoy taking them too !
I had been lucky enough to have a session of a lifetime and wanted to share it with you all, I was fortunate enough after I finished to share it with several other landscape photographers who were shooting from a little further around and we all couldn't believe our luck and just how good conditions had been and swapped stories of our joy at seeing such an incredible spectacle.
When I got home and processed my pictures I just knew I had a winner and one that I wanted to print and frame on my wall and I did exactly that and boy did it ever look stunning, words cant express just how pleased I was with the finish of this print and I would go as far as to say its the best print I have ever done. (You can order one by clicking CORFE CASTLE PRINTS)
As I said previously I was fortunate enough to record the whole shoot and you can see it below, but I wanted to write this blog to convey the feelings I had at the time as its hard to do that in a video when you're rushing around and missing out lots of it, but its well worth a watch!
Dont forget if you need any information about how to photograph Corfe Castle, the best places to park, best times etc then you can read it all in my CORFE CASTLE LOCATION GUIDE which is super informative and will give you everything you need to know to get your best Corfe Castle pictures ever !
As always, Happy shooting