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Landscape Photography Blog, June 2020

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

This is an account of the trials of a landscape photographer during June 2020, the highs & the lows, everything there to give you a true reflection of how it is.

June started much as May had finished, full of blue sky, not a single cloud and very warm temperatures, exactly the last thing a landscape photographer wanted to see.

There was however hope on the horizon, Wednesday the 3rd was forecast for cloud & rain with potential for thunder and maybe even some rainbows !

Wednesday the 3rd of June

The forecast was very changeable throughout the day and I kept a close eye on it but in reality I knew it would be a gamble.

I had decided to go to Old Harry Rocks as the sun was coming up right in front of it and on the weather radar it appeared to be right on the edge of the cloud.

A shrill 2.45 alarm call cut through me like a hot knife through butter and I looked outside to see pretty much cloud with the odd gap, it didn't look great I have to say but I was going to go for it regardless as I had been stuck in for a good few days and I needed my outdoor fix.

Walking down to Old Harry Rocks there was a very small gap and a tiny bit of colour there and things looked better than I thought they would but as soon as I got there the gap seemed to close up and and all colour disappeared from view, annoying.

I waited it out till sunrise and never even saw the sun come up at all it just got slightly lighter and this was not the start I wanted to the month.

Huge rain clouds were coming in from behind me and I made the decision to head back to the car park confident I wouldn't be missing anything, lady luck was actually with me on this one as I got about a few hundred yards from the car and the rain started and boy did it come down on the drive home.

Roads were overflowing with water and the plants and countryside got a much needed drenching after so many days of hot weather

The rest of the day was spent in the hope that there would be some sun & rain together so rainbow hunting could happen but it just wasn't to be as the cloud remained far too thick for the light to come through.

Thursday the 4th of June

The forecast had a really high humidity level for a certain area but the wind was a little too high for a proper cloud inversion I felt, but there really was a good chance of something occurring so I decided I would start the morning in North Dorset chasing some mist or potential fog, either one would work for me.

Upon hearing the 3 am battle cry however all plans went out of the window, the wind was just too much and I felt the chance of any mist was minimal so but the coast looked quite reasonable so I made a mad dash to Portland to try my luck.

Portland is around 45 miles from me so its not a decision I take lightly but it seemed the best of a bad lot really, when I got there the wind was howling and the cloud cover looked fairly thick but there was a gap coming into view so I might get lucky.

I set up my composition looking towards Portland Bill lighthouse with the sunrise directly behind and started the waiting game.

Portland was rather strangely completely devoid of people, probably due to the daft time needed to be up for sunrise but it was a welcome relief for me frankly.

Some colour was starting to show behind me but I really wanted to stay put with my shot that I had in my head but it wasn't looking to exciting and the colour behind me kept irritating me like a mosquito bite and eventually I just had to scratch it and rushed over to another composition to try and capitalise on it.

As soon as I got there the colour started to fade typically and worse still it was now lighting up behind me where I had already been, I rushed back to my original spot and recomposed but the colour in the sky just wasn't working for the shot and I kicked myself that I had messed around rather than just waiting and trusting my gut.

In all fairness it wasn't a fantastic sunrise so I hadn't missed out too much but my indecisiveness had absolutely cost me a shot.

I decided to give it a few minutes for the sun to clear the cloud bank and cast golden light on to the lighthouse in order to salvage something.

I set up my position and waited and as expected the light came out from behind the clouds and cast its golden glow on Portland Bill lighthouse, I took the shot and it was ok but nothing special, I doubt I would keep it as frankly I have better shots from the same position, it felt like I was just going through the motions a bit.

Portland Bill Lighthouse
Id shot it in better conditions, but a last gasp save maybe

It was a bit too windy to photograph the thrift that was blooming and the light was right behind which would have caused shadow issues so I called it a day and drove the long painful journey home when you know you didn't really bag anything.

Sunset was looking more and more interesting so I decided to take a drive to Sturminster mill which is a solid 40 minute run for me, some really angry clouds were building and sunset looked like it could have be really nice.

I got to my chosen venue only to find a barrier over the front and a sign saying closed due to Covid-19 which was a nightmare as only a few days earlier it was open, im pretty sure the owners just wanted to stop any crowds which is fair enough I guess but I was pretty annoyed having driven that far for nothing and seeing good sunset about to happen.

I tried to get somewhere of interest but it just didn't happen and I had to watch amazing light from the car while driving home after a very frustrating evening.

Friday the 5th of June

I didn't get up for sunrise, conditions just weren't that inspiring really and the lure of a warm bed and a lay in were too much to resist, although the dog made sure the lay in wasn't too long as he wanted his walkies.

The day was looking quite overcast and windy but there was pockets of light breaking through which was the sort of shooting I really enjoyed if you went to the right places to capitalise on it.

I had a chat with my good friend Tim Monaghan who was also itching to get out and we decided to meet up while socially distancing and go and shoot an old barn in Dorset that has a lifting field towards the end that I felt would be perfect for capturing some rolling light along its flanks.

We walked down the field and both found suitably different compositions about 60 yards from each other to be safe and to ensure we both got very different takes on the main subject, the barn.

Light was rolling around nicely and a few pictures were taken then off to the left a huge weather system came into view, this meant only one thing, we were going to get very wet.

We had the option to rush back to the car and stay dry or wait it out in the rain, I had a waterproof jacket with me so I was up for the wait, Tim however didn't and was in shorts to boot but decided to handle it like an absolute boss and stood there getting soaked to the skin ! You legend !

When the rain finally stopped the light came back into play and I watched as it rolled across the flanks of the hill like gods own torch shining light across it.

I waited for just the right moment and took my shot, I knew right there and then I had something special that I would be really pleased with.

I decided to get home and have a look at it to see if it was as nice as I hoped and I wasn't disappointed, Probably my favourite shot of the year to date.

Sixpenny Handley Dutch Barn
Light at the dutch barn, finally a keeper

I was ecstatic with the picture and uploaded it onto Instagram, my elation was short lived as the following days saw at least 8 different people go and take the identical shot which was seriously disappointing, but what can you do ?

The silver lining is this that this picture went on to win Fotospeeds #FSPrintMonday competition on Twitter which I was over the moon with as it was my first time entering it !

Cant ask for a better outcome than that ! Thank you Fotospeed !

I headed out in the evening in search of more golden light and had found a nice composition of Knowlton church but it was from a serious distance away and I wasn't sure the 400 mm would cut it so I went to have a look and find out.

As suspected the 400 mm was falling a little short of the mark even in portrait panorama stitch mode and the wind was relentless making sharp pictures impossible despite ramping up the ISO it just wasn't happening.

I called got a day and headed for home with a brand new location to go at on another day.

Saturday the 7th of June

Mist was again forecast and I was super excited, I knew exactly were I was heading but also knew this area rarely receives much mist so I had a back up plan of another area in mind just in case.

I was up at 2.45 am and boy was it a struggle but I eagerly headed out to my chosen venue, there was mist but not a great deal so I decided to drive to my back up choice about 10 miles away only to be greated by thick fog, a real pea souper.

I wasn't sure quite what to do, risk waiting it out for the fog to burn away ? or turn back to my original choice and try there, I decided on the later and went for it, when I got there the mist had got even more sparse and panic set in, I still had time to drive back to my back up venue but it was going to be close !

I rushed down there and the fog had got even worse, I had spent half the morning driving round to several locations only to find no shots were on, I was really frustrated.

I decided to wait it out at a valley in the hope it would clear when the sun came out, and wait I did for what seemed like an age and finally the light hit and cleared out the fog a bit giving me an opportunity to grab a wide panorama of this misty vista.

melbury folds
light & mist, maybe a keeper ?

I wasn't sure if I liked the end picture but it was as best as I could get on the day so I decided to sit on it for a while and see if I changed my mind.

I went out again just before sunset in an attempt to explore the new composition of Knowlton church, there was some seriously interesting weather occurring, lots of rain clouds and light out so it seemed I was in with a good chance.

I took a pano with the 400 mm lens but I just wasn't feeling it and decided to bin the shot off, I could see Horton Tower in the distance and it was lit up with the low evening sun so I raced down there to get another pano of this from the roadside.

I have to say I was really pleased with the result, the low sun gave the colours and incredible saturation and while some will think its just the edit it really wasn't it was like this and looked so incredibly vibrant and lush.

Horton Tower
Horton Tower Panorama 16:9 ratio

I decided a 16:9 crop suited it best having originally gone for a 2:1.

The final result was this and I was super happy to have got it in those conditions.

Monday the 8th of June

I decided to go back to the barn for sunrise as it was coming up right in front of it.

The morning was pretty clear with some cloud behind me, but clear would work for this location I thought but was proved wrong as the it just looked way to bland and needed a dramatic sky if it was going to work, I shot a few but it just wasn't looking that good.

Dutch Barn Sunrise
2:1 Panorama But it just looked to bland and boring sadly

I was going to wait for the sun to clip the horizon and shoot it with a sun star but It just didn't really work so I decided to call it a day and took a shot of the crop lines looking the other way as the light hit which worked well but still wasn't a keeper, again a disappointing morning considering all the effort I was going too but I kept reminding myself that I wouldn't get anything sat at home.

lead lines
Not a keeper, destined for the bin

Its times like these where you do question things though, the effort SHOULD be worth the reward but it rarely is, this is why we treasure those rare times where it actually all goes right and you finally get rewarded, I felt I was due a reward, don't get me wrong id had some decent shots recently but mornings hadn't been that kind and I had been really going full on with it and it had taken its toll on me.

I headed out in the evening as it looked like it might be quite good but only a couple of miles into the journey I knew I wasn't feeling right and needed sleep so I simply turned around and went home rather than push myself and risk a problem, the sky looked good at sunset but I didn't care, I needed the rest and my body was telling me that.

Tuesday the 9th of June

Again mist was looking likely or potentially fog which my gut was telling me would be the most likely outcome so an alarm was set and this time I had a back up plan for the fog, if my landscape choice shot wasn't on I would head into the nearby forest and hope to catch some misty woodland or better yet some rays of light coming through the canopy.

Once again all this went out the window as I woke up Tuesday morning and I set off to North Dorset only to be informed by my good friend Martin Dolan that there was no mist there and I should abort the trip right away.

Its worth pointing out here that I network with a few others for exactly this reason, we all know each other well and are all trusted friends committed to helping each other and getting better pictures, if we all go to different venues and its not looking good the others will let you know what their choice is like and if you should change direction and head there.

It works really well and Im super grateful to this bunch of great friends.

I decided to divert to Horton tower as that area was showing a little bit of mist, it teased like a mistress as it rose and fell along the flanks of the tower before sunrise.

One minute there was nothing then back it came engulfing the tower, what I really needed was the morning sunrise to come up and cast its golden light on the tower but it just never happened and the mist finally called it a day and left at which point the light finally came but it wasn't the shot I had been chasing so hard so I decided to divert elsewhere in search of better conditions, while driving to my venue if choice I came across a beautiful lone tree with some stunning curving tractor tracks in the wheat, topped off with a large foggy cloud right behind it, it was as if someone had said what would a landscape photographer ask for in a perfect scene, and there it was served up in front of me so not one to miss an opportunity I took my shot and was instantly happy that I had rescued the morning.

I think the image might be a bit of a marmite image but for me it really worked and was one I was super happy to have captured. The tree was in perfect isolation and it made me think about the current situation with Covid 19 and it seemed a very fitting tittle, Isolation.

Lone Tree

I drove further on to see if there were any other opportunities awaiting and came to an old favourite, a tree lined avenue that was beautifully regimental in its appearance as it echoed into the distance.

The trees were just starting to get a bit of glow on them from the morning sun which was nicely defused by the fog and they had a lovely field of wheat growing alongside them, again the scene had just been presented to me on a plate and I made the most of it.

Im not 100% with the shot yet but I'm leaning towards liking it more than not but again I will sit on this one and see if its a keeper over the next week or so.

Moor Crichel
Spring Echoes

After I bagged these two the sun was starting to get a bit too bright and while there was a chance of getting some more possible shots I chose to just enjoy the moment for a bit then head home.

I had pushed hard over the past few days and once again I was feeling it, The next few days looked a bit poor on the weather front so I decided to stay home and recharge the batteries as well as catch up on so more jobs.

Some pretty severe weather was heading for Dorset, flash floods and lots of rain according to the weather but Thursday afternoon could possibly bring some rainbows with it so I would be back to it then.

Thursday the 12th of June

The morning looked horrible so I took advantage and had a lay in to energise myself a bit more and went in to work to sort out a few bits, just as I finished I came out to see a monster weather system approaching and cursed my luck that I hadn't brought the camera with me, The forecast was sun and rain which meant as soon as I got home and got my camera I would be heading to Corfe Castle, my own personal nemesis.

I have been chasing full arch rainbow over Corfe Castle for five years now and still not got lucky, to make matters worse an amazing shot of it had just been captured by my good friend Rachel Baker which was on one hand devastating to me as I had worked so hard for that shot but on the flip side I was absolutely over the moon for Rachel as she really puts her time in for Landscape photography and thoroughly deserved such an amazing shot.

Unfortunately and rather predictably I stood in the rain getting soaked but the rainbow never came, just a really hazy sky, I just couldn't crack it at this place sadly !

I waited around for quite a while but it was fairly obvious nothing was going to happen so I called time on it and went home.

The evening looked like it had a bit more potential so I decided to go out again and went local to White mill bridge as the sun was setting behind it.

When I got there some nice high level cloud was present and it looked like it could happen.

I surveyed the scene in front of me and one thing really bothered me, a big branch had beached itself right in front of the bridge and had all manor of weed and gunge hanging from it and it looked really unsightly so I decided to wade out and remove it for not only the benefit of my shot but also the benefit of the river itself.

It took a while to get it out and I managed to get a boot full of water for my trouble ! But the scene looked much better now so it was worth it.

Sadly the clouds did that all too familiar thing where they go clear right above you but a small bank of cloud blocks the light from the horizon killing your chances, I knew it wasn't going to happen but like a glutton for punishment I waited it out to the bitter end.

Two trips and I hadn't taken a single shot on either of them, Frustrating but I kept telling myself I wouldn't get any shots staying at home and sometimes you just have to take the gamble, win some lose some.

The weather over the next few days was taking a nasty turn, lots of wind and rain so again I decided to catch up on some print orders which had gone mad for June for some reason.

Saturday the 13th of June

3 am cried out the alarm clock, get up GET UP ! I really didn't want to, I had a look outside and it looked quite reasonable, some decent cloud and with clear patches in it too so I dragged myself out and headed out to my chosen venue.

Pretty much all the way there it had looked good up until I arrived and the clouds all disappeared except one large bank of low cloud on the horizon, it wasn't what I wanted for this shot.

Sunrise was an hour away and I decided to just stay and watch for a while rather than dragging all the gear on the long walk to where I wanted to shoot from.

Things didn't improve sadly and about 10 minutes before sunrise I decided to call time on it and go home.

I was at the very height of frustration, I just couldn't seem to catch a break at the moment and after checking in with several others it seemed they were having much better conditions this morning which just made it worse and I cursed my choice of venue vowing not to return there for a while.

I had been revisiting the same few spots constantly recently trying to get the exact shot I wanted from them and to be honest it had all got a bit stale so I decided I would start heading out further away to some new stomping grounds, still within Dorsets boundaries, but for that I would need the weather on my side so it might have to take a back seat for the week.

The coast was really calling me back but I was desperate to avoid this for anything other than sunrise in order to avoid coming into contact with people but there were very few place that the sun was still coming up over the water and I guessed other landscape photographers would be flocking to these too so I had a look at my little black book of locations and decided to try inland for the next few days around west Dorset instead just to keep it fresh, but as with anything conditions would ultimately dictate where I ended up.

While out scouting the late evening light became quite good and as I was driving home via Corfe Castle I couldn't resit stopping off to capture it.

I was pleased with the final shot, a 6 image panorama but the reality was I had shot it better before so this image wouldn't end up in the gallery but it was still nice however to get some decent light.

Corfe Castle
Nice light, but I had it better already

Sunday the 14th of June

I decided not to bother with sunrise as conditions just didn't look that great to be honest but I decided to have a scout about at a local venue looking for new compositions and checking out areas of interest.

While out shooting some nice side light on Corfe Castle I noticed a decent bank of cloud behind me which looked like it had real potential to light up, however it wasn't really in a position to be shot from where I was so I carried on with the side light but I wasn't really happy with the shot as it just lacked the impact of other angles.

Corfe Castle
Great light but that was about it

I couldn't get the bank of cloud out of my head and there was only 10 minutes till sunset and I needed to get somewhere that I could capture it with a nice composition, but there wasn't anything really special close by other than the river Frome at Wareham, it wasn't ideal but it was all I could get too so I made a mad dash to get there.

My original thought was to try and find a composition of the church there but when I arrived there it just wasn't in line with the cloud bank so I had to settle for a bridge with another small church in the background.

The sky was going to kick off and I could see the clouds starting to turn, I composed for a standard shot then decided to do a panorama of it too so I could make the most of the sky.

I was fairly pleased with how it turned out but the funny thing was I just wasn't that interested in shooting big sunsets anymore, I much preferred shooting the light before it.

When I first got into landscape photography many years ago its all I wanted to shoot yet time had changed me and my tastes, funny how things change.

Don't get me wrong, I will continue to shoot them but I just enjoyed them less than I used to.

River Frome, Wareham
Sunset over the river Frome

Monday the 15th of June

The forecast was set for mist, and I knew exactly where I was headed.

Corfe Castle is without doubt shot to death and there's very few new shots you can do from there really but I had scouted a new composition for it that I thought might work, but it was at real range, the 400 mm might only just about cope in panorama format.

The alarm sounded and I excitedly looked outside, there was mist and the shot was on, there was just one problem with this shot I had to walk through a cow field to get to it, only a short distance but enough to make me really panic about it.

When I got there around 4 am the cows were thank fully fast asleep and further over the field so I raced through it and into the safety of a fenced off field.

Corfe looked kind of murky and the shot I wanted was heavily reliant on light coming from the side onto the castle and in truth I wasn't sure I was going to get it.

Sunrise happened further round to my right and in all fairness it was quite nice but the position I was shooting from didn't lend itself to anything so I stuck with my original plan and kept to the castle shot.

At this time I was joined by the legend that is Mark Bauer and as we shot we both had a catch up, Mark had elected to shoot from the other side of the field where the cows were and we both shared our panic over them !

While Mark was shooting, a cow decided to take an interest in him and picked up speed, Mark decided quickly to change fields at which point the cow decided to charge at him and he jumped into the same field I was in, this it appeared had woken the beast in the others and they all came over and started mooing right at the wall and we both wondered if cows could jump walls because the seemed pretty keen to get to us.

The escape route was now completely cut off by angry cows and we looked around for another exit and found one further down the hill, I asked Mark if he could run fast because I wasn't going to be slow if they came through !

Fortunately after about 40 minutes they lost interest and we were able to make an escape the way we had come.

Corfe Castle Sunrise
Presunrise glow at Corfe Castle

I wasn't sure about this picture, kind of sat on the fence a bit as I go from liking it one minute to hating it the next ? I like the mood and atmosphere of the picture but im not so keen on the lack of details in it, but i'll sit on it and see and maybe it will make the cut ?

After showing it to a couple of lads who's opinion I really trust they assured me it was all good and I must admit this really did make me relook at the image and eventually I was good with it and it made the grade, and oddly enough it really grew on me and I ended up liking it!

Talk about going round the houses !

Rather than go straight home I decided to stop off at a local forest as the fog was still fairly thick in there and I got a couple of shots I was pleased with but the day had been a bit of a blow out for the shot I had gone for sadly.

Wareham Forest
Mist and fog in the forest (Panorama)

Wareham Forest
Last of the fog burns away

I had to have a bit of a rest during the day as I had pushed very hard this month and was paying for it and I decided I wouldn't go out that evening, that was until I saw some possibilities in the high level cloud that was floating abut and the excellent light that was falling on the landscape.

I decided to head to White Mill bridge as i had a feeling it would be exactly as I wanted it, golden light on the inside arches and light bouncing off the trees.

I got there and I wasn't disappointed, it looked fantastic and I quickly raced to get my shot.

Not all the arches were lit due to the angle of the sun but as the centre two were lit up it looked pretty effective.

I took my pictures and again knew I was happy with them and was feeling pretty pleased with myself as all the efforts were finally being rewarded.

White Mill Bridge
White Mill Bridge 6 shot panorama

Tuesday the 16th of June

The forecast for today was much the same as yesterday, but with extra low cloud which wasn't ideal but the forecast had been wrong a lot lately so I set an alarm just in case.

I looked outside and it was wonderfully clear and with mist !

The bag was thrown in the car and I couldn't get out fast enough, Today I would have my revenge on Corfe Castle I hoped.

I scoped out my original composition and it just didn't look as good as the standard West hill shot so I diverted and headed up the steep steps.

As I got to the top I just knew today was going to be a good day, the mist was present but not so much that it covered everything, but enough to keep it rolling through nicely.

I set up and waited for the light to come, I took a few of the sunrise but it wasn't spectacular and I had that shot before but today was all about the moment the light hit, I had been after this for a long time.

The mist actually behaved itself well for a change and did exactly what I hoped for which was to split where the main hill of the castle was and with a small bit of gentle wind push over the top of the hill giving wonderful streaks as it passed by.

The colour in the sky was starting to fade but there was still a beautiful pastel orange yellow glow which suited the scene perfectly and as I took the shot I knew I had nailed something special, a quick check to make sure it was sharp and I was happy and then moved further along the hill to nail a panorama shot that I wanted.

Corfe Castle Mist
Simply perfect, everything went to plan

The idea was that as the light hit from the left you get a wonderful warm glow on the castle and hill but behind it where the light hadn't quite hit yet it would be a much cooler tone giving a really nice contrast to the shot.

I waited for the light to hit and took my shot, or series of shots as it was a pano, again I knew I had hit the mark instantly but a quick image review to make sure, magic.

I couldn't wait to get home and see these images but I wasn't going to process them yet as I had tired eyes and I really wanted to make sure these were done well as they were portfolio quality shots.

But I decided rather than race home I would go the opposite side to East hill to catch the light hitting the castle.

Corfe Castle Mist
First Light on Corfe Castle (Panorama)
Corfe Castle Mist
Corfe Castle from West Hill

After I made the steep climb up east hill I was feeling fairly shattered and was nervously watching over my shoulders at the free range cows that were wondering what was going on, I shot a quick panorama and some standard ratio shots and the cows were right there so I called time and made my escape down the hill leaving the mooing cows to their own devices.

The East hill shot wasn't anywhere near as good as the others but I still liked it and decided it would have its place.

Corfe Castle East Hill
First light on Corfe Castle from East Hill
Corfe Castle East Hill
A closer view from East Hill

I went out again later that evening more for a walk about really than photography, I was quite content with the shots I had over the past few days which was just as well as I was about to hit a bumpy patch, well when I say bumpy I mean more mountainous !

Wednesday the 17th of June

The forecast was a real changing affair throughout the day but eventually I settled for a spot in Wiltshire that was forecast sun & mist with a wind speed of around 2 mph, it sounded perfect.

I drove the hour plus I needed to get to my chosen location and I knew once I was close that it would be a write off, It was a real crash back down to earth moment as I had been on such a high, I waited in vain for a while but the whole place was thick with fog and it just didn't look right, dejected I decided to head straight for home rather than waste any time there.

100 mile round trip and I didn't even get the camera out of the bag, oh how I wished I had stayed in bed and caught up on some sleep but that is just how it goes sometimes, I knew it wouldn't be the last time either.

Thursday the 18th of June

I woke up early and looked outside, it didn't look good, murky and uninviting.

I decided to see if any of the others were going out and one sounded very excited and was saying yes he was off and I should absolutely go too, I really couldn't see it but his enthusiasm was infectious and just like that I decided I would go and do another 100 mile round trip to Colmers Hill, it turned out to be a stupid decision and I should have trusted my gut.

Nothing but haze, wind vastly higher than forecast and frankly a more horrible view for a picture would be hard to imagine, I turned around and went home again fully dejected and having not even got the camera out of the bag yet again.

The forecast for the next few days was rain and there were no more misty mornings on the horizon which was a bit of a shame but we had been spoilt this past week so I really couldn't complain, Time to have a catch up at home and more importantly, get some sleep.

A solid week of 3 am or earlier starts had given me a serious kicking but I had enjoyed some decent results to justify it.

Friday the 19th of June

I hadn't bothered with the morning as the conditions looked fairly ropey to be fair and had written off the idea of photography for the day.

I very rarely have a drink but decided this evening to have a hard earned cider and was enjoying it in the garden, then the clouds started to part and reveal a wealth of high level cloud that I just knew would catch.

Only problem is I had just drunk a small bottle of cider, which I knew in reality wouldn't put me over the drink drive limit but I simply wasn't prepared to take that chance so was resigned to staying at home and missing it.

Time was ticking by and I could see it was going to be amazing, there was around 30 minutes to sunset so its not like I could even get to a decent location but the sky kept getting better and better, so I did what any normal sane landscape photographer would do at this situation, crack open another bottle ? No, TAXI !

A short taxi ride away to a local bay and I was ready to get to grips with the sunset, the bay was full of old boats that were essentially wrecks and had been abandoned, well it used to be.

To my horror when I arrived there it seemed most of the old fallen warriors had been removed and now the bay was pretty sparse, There was however one boat of interest left and I didn't really have a choice as the sky was starting to turn.

I won't bore you with the details but the sky went mad, absolute fire sky and I shot the lone boat convinced that I would have a nice result.

Checking my pictures on the way home they looked ok, but when I got them on the monitor they just didn't look good.

No matter how much I desaturated them they still looked wildly out of control like they had been over processed but its really just how the sky was.

I tried several different images but the same result on all except for the last one where the sky looked much better but I had made a rookie error and the boat I was photographing had another boat just behind it which was sticking out but I just hadn't noticed it at the time so what could have been an ok shot also ended up in the bin which was a shocker as I had paid out for a taxi for nothing ! lesson learned.

Sunset Panorama
Something about the sky I just didn't like
Boat Sunset
The sky was better but I just didn't like the subject
Boat Sunset
nice sky but the rest of the shot had nothing, binned

Saturday the 20th of June

I hadn't been out to shoot poppies this year, frankly I had been appalled by the way photographers and the general public had treated them and I didn't want anything to do with it.

Several fields had been named and locations made available and the public had absolutely rampaged through the fields with no care just walking through them in order to get an "Insta shot" trampling them down.

On top of this a location had got so out of hand they had to block off car parks and verges and issue no parking orders simply because people behaved like animals and gave no thought for other people, parking dangerously and caused several near accidents, I say animals but in all fairness at least animals cafe for their environment unlike these idiots.

Understandably I had left it all well alone, then an opportunity came my way, A friend had been given permission to go onto the grounds of the white/pink opium poppies to photograph them and I was allowed to go to !

We got to the field in question but as we did my heart sank as I knew too many of the petals had dropped already to make it a decent shot.

We hung around and visited various fields and took some shots but conditions really didn't go our way as the light was constantly blocked by thick cloud.

I came away with a handful of shots but nothing worth posting up and I chalked it up to another fail for the month.

Monday the 22nd of June

There was a dreary forecast predicted for almost everywhere I looked, there was however one exception, Corfe Castle.

The problem was I had shot it a few times recently and didn't really want to go back but there was mist potential and it was the only place that looked like it.

I decided to go and shoot it from far away, a beast of a shot that took all of the 400 mm length and could easily do with a bit more.

Conditions were a bit hit and miss to be fair, when I arrived there wasn't much mist at all but it did start coming in and I took a few shots but I knew in my heart that they weren't up to much and would probably end up in the bin, a reoccurring them recently.

The light never really came and the shots just looked a bit bland, no real contrast to them.

Corfe Castle Mist
Im not sure what it was but I just didn't like it ?

I decided to sit on this shot for a while in the end and see if it deserved a place, I couldn't put my finger on exactly why but I just wasn't feeling it, Maybe over dosing on Corfe Castle as I had been there a lot recently ?

Tuesday the 23rd of June

I hadn't fancied going out in the morning as the clear skies really didn't do a lot for me and it remained like that for most of the day, that is until around 7 pm where some very interesting high level cloud started to build and I was out like a rocket to Shell Bay to shoot one of the floating house boats, as I arrived the cloud still looked good but the beach however was a different story.

I had literally walked into my worst nightmare, a beach packed full of drunk idiots and kids going crazy, I wanted to turn around and go home right away but I thought I would hold out for a short while just in case people started to leave as it was now 8 pm.

The screams of excited kids and then the shouts of angry drunken parents rippled through the beach and I felt shame and being human frankly.

Peoples behaviour was terrible, the only saving grace was I was slightly further away from everyone but as I framed up my shot the kids on paddle boards decided they wanted to be in it and kept waving and splashing around in front of the boat I was trying to shoot, at this point I either left for home or committed murder, I wisely chose the first option.

As it happened the sky went pretty clear and was fairly uneventful but it was enough to put me off for life frankly and I vowed not to break my rule of coastal shooting in the evenings during lockdown, mornings only from now on.

Friday the 26th of June

I had a couple of days break from photography as the heat was extreme but I needed to get some more enjoyment out of my photography after the other nights trip so I decided to head out for sunrise with my good friend Tim Monaghan who could always be guaranteed to make you laugh and have a enjoyable time with no matter what the weather, exactly what I needed.

It was a 2.45 am start and it was painful but I drove down to Old Harry Rocks and met up with Tim, keeping a social distance of course.

The weather didn't really look too good but there was a gap on the horizon which was trying to open up but it was very hazy.

There was a small bit of colour forming in the gap but in truth it was nothing special and I had shot it in better conditions in the past so instead I enjoyed the banter with Tim as we watched some lightning strike in the very far distance and wished it would come this way, but it didn't.

Regardless of getting no pictures in the morning I had a great time and Tim cheered me up no end, Thanks mate.

As the evening rolled around I had decided not to go out but as it always does at times like this the clouds changed and it looked like sunset could be quite nice.

I grabbed the bag and headed out to one of the opium poppy fields but to be honest it was a real disappointment as most of the petals had fallen but I would have to make do as I didn't have time to get anywhere else.

The clouds were reflecting some decent light and nice red & orange tones lit up in the sky and I took a shot, but once again my heart wasn't really in it, poor location choice on my part.

Opium Poppy Sunset
Could have been great, but wasn't

The shot had a nice sky but in short it just didn't do anything for me and I didn't like the processing of it so it was binned off like so many others this month.

I reminded myself, a pretty sky doesn't make a picture, you need all the elements.

Saturday the 27th of June

Once again I had sacked off the sunrise as the weather just wasn't there and I was feeling pretty frustrated so come the evening I was eager to get out but just couldn't face a weekend near the coast, it would be bedlam.

I went out for a drive and found myself near Horton Tower and I hadn't found anything better so I decided to stop by, once again I was somewhere I had shot to death but the option for trips further away just wasn't available to me at the moment so I would have to make do.

The sky was fairly clear and I half heartedly took a pano of the tower telling myself that blue sky images are always in demand even if I don't like them.

It was a nice enough shot but I had it better in the past so it was a bit of a waste of time really to be honest and the image would not end up on the portfolio.

Horton Tower
Just another same old shot, binned

Sunset was due in the next few minutes but there was nothing much going on at Horton Tower so I went the short drive down to Knowlton Church just in case something special happened, it didn't !

There was a small strip of pink across the sky and that was about as exciting as it got to be fair, not a picture worth keeping so again it was binned off in favour of previous better conditions.

Knowlton Church Sunset
Another one destined for the bin !

Monday the 29th of June

Another poor day started and I was glad I had stayed in to be honest but as the day unfolded there looked like a possibility that there might be a bit of colour at sunset but it was a real 50/50 moment so I decided to stay fairly local and try something a bit different, a local bridge that had a rather interesting metal structure that would potentially make a decent lead line.

I wandered down to the bridge and low and behold most of the right hand side walkway was closed off, typically the side I wanted to be on. I just couldn't catch a break this week.

The cloud that was out seemed to be coming in towards sunset area so I quickly took a shot with the sun over my shoulder to get the light on the bridge, it gave it a steely blue feel to the image and while it wasn't a portfolio shot I still quite liked it.

Twin Sails Bridge Poole
Blue Steel Bridge

The sun went behind a cloud bank but the clouds above were still reflecting light and colour nicely but the only problem was they were all on the left hand side and I needed to be on the right hand side of the bridge on the closed walk way, I couldn't see anything wrong with it and the barrier wasn't really stopping me from getting to it, I kept looking at it and decided to talk a walk over to it.

As soon as I got to the barrier and started to squeeze inside it a voice came booming over the bridge speakers telling me in no uncertain terms not too !

I couldn't argue as I was bang to rights and the cameras had obviously been watching me so I crossed back to the other side which I knew would cost me the best of the colour.

I took the only shot I could from that angle and it was again just a so so shot, nothing special and wouldn't earn a place on the portfolio but that was about as good as it got.

I had enough and called it a night and headed home.

Twin Sails Bridge Sunset
Nothing special but ok

The 30th rained most of the day so that was pretty much the end of my month, it had been an interesting one really.

The first half of the month had got off to a great start and strong images were coming thick and fast but the second half of the month fell flat and I barely got anything at all despite putting in maximum effort, just the way it goes sometimes.

Besides the pictures it has been a successful month with a few positive things happening such as being supported officially by Kase Filters now, something I'm really proud to be a part of and the fact I had been field testing a new filter for Kase for the past month, the new 0.75 Hard grad filter which you can see details of HERE and of course a win on Fotospeed competition so all in all I couldn't complain, but I still did !

Next month as previously stated I want to go further afield and get some fresh locations but I just hope the weather starts looking better as at the moment its just not playing ball and if Im going to drive a reasonable distance then I want to know I'm in with a chance at least.

Finally print of the month for July will be Refraction at Knowlton, It will be on Matte NST Bright White 315 gsm paper from Fotospeed and looks absolutely stunning in print.

You can see more about this print and special offer by clicking HERE

This print looks exceptionally good on A2 size paper

Dorset Landscape Photography Prints

Click the pictures above for an expanded view.

As always, Thanks for reading and wishing you all a spectacular & safe July.

Happy shooting.

Daniel Wretham


Landscape photography blog

Landscape Photography Blog

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