The Norfolk Coast (the unusual case of Britons wanting less sunshine...) by Laura Daly

Ah, bank holidays.  Bank holidays are those wonderful British creations that are basically a permission slip from the government that excuse us from work (we won't mention the countless people that actually do have to go to work...sorry...).  The first bank holiday of May prompted a trip 90 minutes up the road to the Norfolk coast in the hope of creating some lovely landscape images.  We were at a slight disadvantage in that we would be on the coast at the worst time light-wise for photography but, hey, it made it more of a challenge.

First stop - Caister-on-sea


Light was very harsh on the beach (unsurprising, but still annoying), so I first started looking for details instead of wider vistas.  The tide was rushing out (or in, we couldn't tell as every time we thought we had decided our feet were drowned) and using a Lee Little Stopper I played around with some extended shutters.  There were some nice colours, with the frothy white sea and the (very clean) sand dotted by dark pebbles.


The only real option when shooting the horizon was a black and white conversion.  The colour raw looked OK, but pretty contrasty and full of shadows, washed out colours and  caused weird artifacts when processing to try and correct.  I'm not a massive fan of the image above, but I thought it was useful to show, not least for the fact that it reminds me to try and make something, even if the light is not ideal.  I do like the strong contrast and the movement of the sea, which was enough for me to include it here.  I used a Lee Little stopper and tripod to introduce motion (the Big Stopper was too much as you lost the pebbles on the left completely.  For some people that would have been preferred, but that's what makes photography great - do what you like!).

Ocean fisherman-

There were a surprising number of sea fisherpeople (there was a woman too - surely you cannot call her a fisherman?) on the beach.  I think this person was actually in the process of fishing, but it was almost impossible to spot the line stretching into the water.  He had some friends to the right who were setting up, but I really liked how alone he looked, but also how happy he was to just sit and wait for a bite.  This conversion was actually done with the Nik Silver Efex software (which is now free - see Nik Collection) and it added some grain, a slight vignette (which I actually toned down) and a nice colour cast.

Second stop - NT Horsey Wind pump

The wind pump at Horsey is currently being renovated and so there's the little brick stump building, and not much else.  At least that's what I thought.

Flooded by a sea of wheat-1646

You can walk either side of the waterway, and down the right side there is a trail that leads round a field full of wheat.  I really like this image (possibly my favourite from the day) as it appears as if the little boating hut has been flooded by the wheat.  The colours were also great due to the sun being softened slightly by some wispy clouds.  Again, the trusty Lee Little stopper was great for introducing the motion, which I really wanted here to add to the flooding concept.

There was also a very small boarded walkway through the field to that hut, but it was behind an old barbed wire fence along with the sign.  It seemed a shame that people cannot go and explore, but I can see why - the water snakes its way round and through the land here and you don't want to take a summer dip... I couldn't decide which image I liked more.  Maybe it is the landscape version (right) as it looks a little brighter, but maybe the vertical composition of the left one suits the foreboding sign and, you know, leading lines and all.

Norfolk spring-1658

Time was getting on, so just before we headed for home, we explored the other side of the walkway.  This side ends in a lovely seating area complete with benches and a little grassy jetty-like square.  I set up my tripod there (to avoid including lurking dog owners in the image) and again got to work with, you guessed it, my favourite accessory the Lee Little stopper.  I try not to overuse it, but not only do I enjoy shooting the motion it creates and I love the colours it produces.

So, that was our brief day on the coast.  It was a struggle at times to find images, but it was still great practice to get out and use my gear.  And it was fun, which is the point, isn't it?

Mousehole, Cornwall by Laura Daly

August in Cornwall - normally ice creams, packed beaches, sunny skies and cream teas come to mind.  Maybe not such a great location in the height of summer for a landscape photography trip/summer holiday....or so I thought.  Over the ten days we were in this beautiful county, the weather (and lack of crowds) made for some great shooting, and I came away feeling pretty satisfied at the images I managed to create.  Over the next few posts I will be showing some of those images (including ones that in hindsight didn't work so well), and talking a little about how I went about shooting.  I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for more... Day 1, Mousehole.  Mousehole is a tiny village in the south west of Cornwall, more or less as far south and west as you can get in Britain (Land's End is only 20 odd miles away - more from this location soon...).  Its lack of sandy beaches and its exposed position on the east side of a peninsula actually makes it pretty perfect for some landscape shooting.  And luckily, the weather was a bit naff, cloudy enough to give the images a moody, more interesting look (a lot more interesting than a clear blue sky anyway!).  I had treated myself before the trip and added a Lee Filters ND Grad to my kit, so I was keen to see what difference it would make to my images.  I also dug out my Little and Big Stoppers, as my style seems to be veering towards the calm, more minimal long exposure look.  Lots of photographers dislike this kind of smooth water shot, as they think it is overdone and a bit cliche.  Sometimes I agree, but I'm trying to add extra elements to these kind of images to create a bit more interest...

mousehole coast-0832

There were a few things that drew me to make this image.  The bright green algae on the pebbles in the foreground, which leads your eye to the stepping stone layout of the rocks in the smooth still sea, and then the island in the distance, almost appearing to have a halo of light surrounding it.  I was a big fan of this stretch of coast, and the overcast skies created an appealing tone.  One of my favourite images I have taken in the last few months.

A Highland Adventure by Laura Daly


We've just got back from a trip to the Scottish highlands, and so begins the big task of selecting and editing the images to share! There were two main toys I wanted to play with on this trip; the Lee Little Stopper and the Nikon 16-35mm f/4. Both of these were bought specifically for this trip, and so most of the images were using one or both of these items!

This image was captured at the Bowfiddle rock formation in Portknockie. A really sleepy fishing town; it was so quiet here we had the little beach to ourselves.

Bowfiddle RockNikon D90, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 @ f/22, 24mm, 2.5 second exposure [Lee Little Stopper].

P.s. To get a really smooth sea, I could have done with the Big Stopper...


Rough Seas by Laura Daly

Hunstanton-mono-3427 The joy (and sometimes, frustration) of shooting outdoors is competing with the British climate!

The north Norfolk coast is almost infamous for the high winds and sudden downpours, and on Monday I experienced a bit of everything! However, this made for a more interesting backdrop to the North Sea. I felt this image was best suited to a mono conversion, with all the white horses in the sea and the clouds behind. [Nikon D90, 50 mm f/1.8 @ f/16, ISO 200, 1/80th sec]

On this trip, I also played around with my ND filters and got some interesting effects. More to come.