• Daniel Wretham

Landscape Photography Blog, November 2020

This is an account of my landscape photography in the month of November 2020, the success, the failures and everything in between.

October had been a funny month for me, I had some mixed success but in truth I was pleased to see the back of it and looked forward to better times in November, or so I hoped.

My plan was to go out and capture the very last of the Autumn colour in the forest but the weather and the government had other plans, but more of that later.

Sunday the 1st of November

There was no other word for it, it was desperate times, Lockdown was coming in 5 days and I needed to get as much landscape photography trips in as I could before the 5th, There was one big problem though, The wind.

It was absolutely blowing a gale out there with gusts of up to 50 mph and I really didn't fancy it, sure there was a chance to photograph the big waves that were crashing into the rocks on the coast but frankly I was so over that and didn't want to do it.

To be honest I find it uncomfortable, stood in the teeth of a gale while getting blown around all over the place shooting at super fast speeds in order to avoid camera shake and getting covered in sea spray, potentially ruining my gear and even worse possibly risking danger of getting hit by a wave and the unspeakable happening.

It really didn't leave me with much in the way of options to be fair, the sky was just a sheet of solid grey that looked less than inspiring.

I simply had to get out though as I felt the pressure to enjoy it before we couldn't go again plus I had just started vlogging and wanted to keep the channel putting out content each week rather than stopping as soon as I had started, but equally I had to be enjoying it otherwise there wasn't any point in going.

I wracked my brains for ideas of where to go and what to shoot, the first things that jumped out to me were buildings, after all these wouldn't be affected by the heavy winds as they wouldn't move even if the camera did, but I had photographed most of the nice structures in Dorset over the years and really didn't want to keep revisiting the same locations over and over again.

My next thought was waterfalls as dull weather would actually be a bonus in that situation but Dorset only had a handful of these and most of them were right on the coast, so they had to be avoided due to the heavy wind.

There was however one I thought of that could have real potential, it was in a valley and that would mean it was hopefully out of the wind, so it seemed logical choice for a decent shoot.

The gear was packed and I headed out to Littlebredy, a beautiful ornamental garden which had a gorgeous waterfall in and after several weeks of heavy rain I was fairly certain it would be in good flow.

The added bonus was it was still Autumn and there was a superb acer tree there which had amazing autumn colour on it and the leaves drop down to the waterfall and give you loads of features to go at.

The drive down was interesting to say the least, several heavy showers and wind really doing its best to blow you across the road, and then worst of all about 5 miles from Littlebredy and the road was closed and I had just driven an hour to get here, fortunately I knew the area pretty well and diverted and soon found myself right down in the valley and because I was so low and shielded by the valley itself there was hardly any wind, result !

The walk into Littlebredy is always special, beautifully scenic and in full flow with its autumn colours, walking through the leaves which were carpeting the ground in autumn tones of yellow & gold and hearing that delightful crunch underfoot of them, I knew I had made the right choice.

I got set up and the wind was a bit of an issue still as I wanted to include the tree in my composition but it meant shooting at a very high shutter speed in order to freeze the trees movement but at the same time I really wanted to have a slightly long exposure in order to get the milky water effect on the waterfall.

I tried a mixture of shutter speeds and combinations and eventually got a shot I was pleased with.

Littlebredy Waterfall
Littlebredy in its autumn glory

The wind was getting up a bit more and once again the rain started to come so I got under the shelter of the tree for a while in order to shoot a bit closer up to the waterfall.

Here I was able to utilise a much longer exposure as there was no foliage moving in the frame to worry about, It had been quite a while since I had done long exposures and I really enjoyed doing it again, Im not talking minutes, more a few seconds but it was very satisfying to get the water blurred on the waterfall once again.