Shooting landscapes in Northumbria

Hi, a quick note to say that I’m away from the studio for this week. I’ll be traipsing around the Northumbria area with my friend Guy Edwardes, in the vain hope of getting some great sunrises over the four castles in the area….plus the angel of the north….plus some cityscapes. I’ll be out of email contact for some of the time, but most of the time I’ll be buried with post production. I’ll be updating this page as often as I can. The weather looks rather harsh…minus figures in the evening and only just over freezing during the day. There might even be a touch of frost and snow….lovely for scene setting. It’s funny how the right weather for landscapes is the opposite for a nice holiday.  It’s also a great opportunity for me to try out the new Canon 70-200/f2.8 IS II L alongside my usual f4 version.

I’m leaving my wife and kids to look after the studio while I’m away, so do contact us if you have something urgent that needs a chat about.

I’ll get some nice landscapes on here over the week and in the new year I’ll be announcing my new limited edition signature range of landscapes, that can be purchased though our on line gallery.   


Day 1:

Well…it’s a long drive to Northumbria. We took a slight detour via a very nice tree in Yorkshire. The weather was awful and only the low twilight photos were reasonable. We then hit a restaurant, then the hotel and then the bar…life is good! Shiela and Maria were great company and it was fantastic to meet Shiela after seeing her great work on flickr. It’s a small world. 



Day 2:

Up early for a potential sunrise around Banburgh castle….it rained heavily with dark flat skies….no fun and no photos. Back to the hotel for a hearty breakfast / consolation. Then the beach at Berwick proved great for some rock patterns. We managed some long exposure water flows in front of Banburgh castle, which worked well. but generally, the weather wasn’t on our side and much of the day was very cold and wet. To get the shots in front of the castle involved getting very wet in ice cold water and it really had to be experienced to be believed. I poured an inch of water out of my wellies once I got back to the hotel!


Day 3:

An early start to capture Banburgh at sunrise…which didn’t happen again. So it was back to the hotel for an early breakfast. We then headed to Dunstable Castle, where we sat in the car for 20 minutes waiting for the rain to pass. It’s about 1/2 a mile from the car park. I forgot to leave my phone in the car and while we were shooting on the rocks, an 8″ wave hit me side on and soaked my i-Phone 4 in my pocket. It’s toast.  The sky parted and allowed the sun to shine for a very brief 5 mins, just enough to illuminate the castle and for me to get my very expensive shot!  While the light was good, we went back to Banburgh Castle to re-shoot….as soon as we got out the car, the weather changed. So we set up on the rocky beach again and waited, it was worth it. The tide was right and I got some great moody moments. We then headed to a stone circle for some low light photos.


Day 4:

The plan was to get up early and head to Newcastle upon Tyne for a pre-dawn photo of the Angel of the North. But it was snowing heavily, which slowed us down substantially. The A1 was closed about a mile from our junction but thanks to the wonders of a SATNAV, we re-routed and arrived too late for a pre-dawn or sunrise. But the Angel was partially covered in some snow, which looked great…so time to adapt and shoot what was thrown our way. We headed inland to Hadrian’s Wall where we spent a long time waiting for the snow to pass…so we had a big snowball fight while we waited. Once we got a few tree photos we then back to Gateshead for some twilight photos of the Eye bridge…which due to the snow clouds and light pollution…looked fantastic!



Day 5:

At last! We got an early morning shot of Banburgh Castle. Unfortunatly, they didn’t switch off the lights before the biggest snow storm that i’ve ever seen hit us…back to base for an early breakfast. We travelled to Holy Island for some shots of the castle there and the weather was really changeable, between beautiful sunny moments, then a snow blizzard! Great shots though and well worth getting cold and wet for. Back to Banburgh Castle for some more blizzards…as soon as we got out of the car. We waited for the weather to improve and finally we got 2-3 great shots of the castle!  Back to Holy Island to shoot some interesting snow patterns on the causeway, just before another huge snow storm and the tide came in. We needed to get to another hotel and on the way, we spotted a lone tree. With the help of a very powerful torch, we painted with light and the tree looked sensational! probably the best photograph of the week so far!


 Day 6:

We headed to Dunstable Castle for an early sunrise…navigating through 2 ft of fresh snow around Alnwick, we’d loved to have photographed the castle at Alnwick but it’s under scafolding, so it wasn’t worth the trouble. We were greeted with promising skies, so we loaded up and started our walk to the castle through the fresh snow. It was bitterly cold and by the time we got to our set up point a blizzard had engulfed us and the visibility was down to about 10 feet. Lol! So much for a sunrise!  By the time the sky cleared, we managed one shot and then the light was too strong and it was time to return for breakfast. We checked out of the hotel and made our way around the Northumberland National park looking for nice trees to photograph on our way. We passed Chillingham and then onto the M6 homeward bound.