Follow me on my adventures as I visit different places and photograph stunning locations. Message
  • Day13

    Such a Day About Nothing

    November 6, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    I woke up to the sound of the wind this morning, though it wasn't raining - yet. The main photo today is a phone panorama through the front window which, I'm sure you'll agree, is another great view to start a day. Then the rain came.

    There has been a pattern on this trip, of poor weather before lunch then quite pleasant afternoons and today was to be the same again. The wind howled and the rain poured and some brave souls still ventured out onto the beach to walk their dogs. Not many though.

    My morning was therefore dedicated to sorting out competition photos for the photographic society and also catching up on email that had accumulated whilst I was out in the wilderness. However, I was eventually pleased to see things brighten up and a hint of sunshine appear.

    I spent the afternoon on the beach, taking a stroll and attempting, badly, to find compositions in the rocks and pools. The highlight was the appearance of a rainbow which I captured on my camera, but forgot to take with my phone.

    The footprint photos today are a bit on the bland side because that's what my day has been like really. As I sit in the van and write this, the sky is clear outside but the van is being shaken by the force of the wind. Long-exposure night photography just doesn't work when you have to keep chasing your tripod across the landscape.
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    Richard Shuttleworth

    Great views indeed, Rob. The final image looks a bit Bamboroughish to me. Enjoy the rest of your stay up North.

    11/19/21Reply
    RobCowell

    Yes, I was there but I’m back home now. I must post a final footprint and finish this trip. Already it seems ages since I was there.

    11/19/21Reply
     
  • Day12

    Bamburgh Castle

    November 5, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    My view from the window this morning isn't quite as good as yesterday but in only a few paces it gets much better, as you can see in photo 3.

    After breakfast I packed things away for my travels and set Google Maps to take me to Bamburgh and, if you've followed my travels, you may know I've been here before, towards the end of the Scotland trip. I wanted to visit again and see if I could get better photos than last time but there are other coastal photo opportunities nearby, so it was a case of go furthest north and work southward.

    The journey here was extremely scenic because Google took me on quite a number of small roads lined with trees which were displaying their full-on autumn colours. I arrived in Bamburgh with enough time to park up and be ready for a sunset photo. There was a sunset of sorts but the best of the colour was in the opposite direction to where I hoped it would be. Even so, I still managed to get three photos involving the castle which I'm happy with and the main photo today is one of them - the last one I took when it was almost dark. It's taken from my proper camera because the phone simply can't cope when the light fades - photo 4.

    Tomorrow is the last planned day of photography so hopefully the weather will be an aid rather than a nuisance, though the forecast does say gale force wind in the afternoon. Oh dear!
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  • Day11

    Too Good to Leave

    November 4, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Upon leaving the car park, the first task was to visit Kielder Waterpark so I could purchase a parking ticket for my overnight stay. I needed coins or 4G to pay last night and I had neither so I was relieved when the Ranger had allowed me to buy my ticket today.

    Kielder Waterpark is just over 3 miles from where I was parked and the drive there was stunning. It was so stunning that by the time I was purchasing the ticket I had decided to stay until tomorrow.

    The first photo here was actually the last of the day, but it makes for a good main photo. Part of the afternoon was spent doing woodland photography (this is Kielder Forest after all) and taking some scenic shots which often look great when I take them, but somehow lose their charm when I process them. I'll wait and see.

    It's now 6.30pm and outside it's totally dark so in a while I'll look to see if my photography is over for the day. I hope the skies clear not only because I'm in one of the best dark sky areas in England, but because the KP index earlier was 8.33 - I had a brief data connection at the Waterpark. The index goes from 1 to 10 and indicates the strength of the solar wind that causes the Northern Lights. That's really high so there may well be a chance the Lights might appear tonight.

    It was fingers and toes definitely crossed but that didn't help I'm afraid. For most of the evening there was the odd area of open sky visible but later it clouded over completely.
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  • Day11

    Morning View

    November 4, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    One of the advantages, or disadvantages depending on your viewpoint, is you don't always know where you will stay for the night when travelling in a campervan.

    So here I am, in Kielder Water car park having not set the alarm so at 9.30am this was the view as I peered out of the window. A solitary small van with two people preparing their bikes for the day with nothing else and no-one around except the colours of autumn lit by golden sunshine. Later, after I'd had breakfast, I grabbed the second photo before sorting things to leave.

    You may think me lazy waking at 9.30, but this place just kept giving and at midnight I was once again setting up the tripod under a magnificently clear sky. I was playing for a couple of hours then, towards the end as I photographed towards the northern sky, the camera started to 'see' the merest hints of pink and green, though to my eyes the sky was black. Was that my imagination, or was I getting the most subtle effects of an Aurora? Who knows, but there was definitely colour in the later captures that were not present in those taken earlier. Spooky or what?
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  • Day10

    Kielder Water Car Park

    November 3, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Given the weather forecast for the two weeks I'm away, I'm surprised I even got the opportunity to photograph nighttime landscapes. I had no idea what the forecast was for tonight, but just fancied taking the detour to the Kielder Forest area, simply to see what it was like.

    I'm heading toward the Northumberland coast and to get to Kielder involves a left turn at the right moment, then a drive of about 20 miles to get to the large reservoir where you are allowed to stay overnight for a small charge. This includes access to toilets but there's nothing else available.

    The final part of the journey was a frustrating drive, not because of bad roads or anything, but because there was the most amazing sunset. Yes, it was the best I've seen in ages but there were no safe places to stop that also provided anything useful for a photo. When I arrived at Kielder Water the display was almost over but I snapped it on my phone, which is the main photo of this footprint. But it's nothing compared to what came before.

    You can see the car park here is quite large, especially as I'm the only person here. Photo 3 is the view from the van as it was getting dark and you can see the clouds lurking ominously. A short time afterwards though, I was amazed to see the clouds part leaving a wonderful display of stars, one which was even better than I'd seen in Goathland ... by far.

    In no time I'd set up the camera and was photographing the Milky Way to the north - a view I don't often take because it's not usually all that visible compared to the view to the south. Here though, it was exceptional. Wow!

    At about 8.30 the clouds began to appear again and that wonderful sky started to fade away. A park Ranger arrived a little later to check I had paid for my overnight stay, then I was once again the only person here.

    The clouds stayed put but I was pleased I'd been able to see a clear sky while I was here. It was a very pleasant surprise in fact.
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  • Day10

    An Early Start

    November 3, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Sunrise is about 7.15am so I set my alarm for 6am so I could be up and ready at the car park to attempt a sunrise photo at a location not far from there. Upon peering out of the van window at 6.03, it didn't look hopeful for good light but I decided to give it a go in any case. Photos 1 and 2 give you the idea of how it turned out and photo 3 is the view from where I parked.

    A good chunk of the day, until just after lunch, was exploring the area from the car park and revisitng the sycamore tree to try to get that fresh take on the standard photo. The last photo in this footprint is another typical shot of the lonely tree, but not really what I was after. I bet every angle and composition has been done to death so it was never going to be easy, especially when most of the time the light was dull and flat.

    Having spent a relaxing time around this section of Hadrian's Wall, I got back to the van just as the rain started, so my next stop was the Visitor Centre cafe for a snack. I then began my journey northward again and to the Kielder Forest dark sky reserve.

    Within minutes of starting my journey I could see Sycamore Gap from the main road so I stopped for one last photo. Good job too, because the one I took here, that's still on the camera card, may well be my favourite of that perfectly placed tree.
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  • Day9

    Another Single Tree

    November 2, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    After a leisurely start and with everything in its place in the van, I began my journey northwards to a place called Once Brewed in Northumberland. In case you're wondering, there is also a place called Twice Brewed and it's pretty much next to the other one and yes, beer is involved in the naming of these places.

    Near Once Brewed, and not far from Twice Brewed of course, is Sycamore Gap where a single sycamore tree can be found ... in a gap. What you may not know about this tree is that it is probably one of the most photographed trees in existence because it grows perfectly placed between a dip in the landscape along the line of Hadrian's Wall. It's a perfect composition really.

    I've never been to see any section of this Roman wall so I was pleased to finally see it. Having parked the van it's about a 20 minute walk to the gap but if you take the route alongside the Wall, there are some steep ups and downs on the way which is why some people take the alterative route that isn't so steep.

    The photos here show the kind of terrain and photo 5 is the classic photo taken by thousands, if not many thousands more. The final photo was taken on my way back to the van along the lower route, which was much quicker and far less effort. It was the safest choice too, because the light was almost gone and I didn't have a torch with me.

    Having arrived safely back I then went to find a pub for my evening meal and then found my place for the night. Though I'd bagged my photo of that famous tree I wanted to get something slightly different to the standard shot, so I decided I'd revisit the location tomorrow, so my mission wasn't over yet.
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    Penny Pie

    Didn’t we go to Hadrian’s wall on our way back from Scotland? 🤔

    11/5/21Reply
    RobCowell

    I can't recall, perhaps we did bit I don't remember it. it definitely felt like the first time but I'm sure we never visited the exact place I was.

    11/5/21Reply
     
  • Day8

    Scarborough

    November 1, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Today was a trip to Scarborough which, as some of you may know, was a place of significance in my early twenties because my then future wife (and Penny's mum of course) trained to be a teacher there and I used to visit for a weekend roughly every three weeks or so whilst she was there. This is also how I know Elizabeth, because she and Sally became friends then and Scarborough is also where I Proposed and Sally accepted. Romantic or what?

    This visit was therefore an opportunity to stroll around the town and discover if the old haunts still existed and see how things had changed. Some areas of the town were different but along the seafront it all looked just as it did all those decades ago. Yes, there were slight changes but fundamentally it was pretty much the same, though thankfully there were not so many stalls selling seafood snacks which I simply have never been able to describe as food. There were definitely fewer fishing boats and more yachts in the harbour though - a sign of the times I think.

    One essential stop was to the Harbour Bar which is an ice-cream parlour in the style of an American diner, with yellow walls and red 'leather' seats and yes, it has not changed one iota and is exactly as it was in those student days. Even the strawberry milk shake was as I remembered it

    A quirky object found in one of the tiny back streets behind the promenade shops I have photographed for you to see - is this the next campervan? I don't think so, but I certainly found it amusing and an interesting take on a theme. I've certainly not seen anything like this before - have you?

    Overall we reckon we must have strolled four miles or so around the town and along the length of the seafront before we headed back to the car to return to Goathland. The skies had cleared too, so now you've most likely guessed I'd be out with the camera later in the evening ... and of course I was.

    My astro photography tonight was not far away, perhaps two or three miles from the village and up towards the main road to Whitby. The sky wasn't as clear as last time but I still managed a couple of photos before it also turned foggy. To be honest, I was struggling to find some foreground interest for my images so in the end I used my van to help with that. A photo of my van with the Milky Way as a backdrop: sad but true!

    I wasn't late tonight as I returned around midnight. This is because I don't want to be tired tomorrow when I head further north to Hadrian's Wall in search of another single tree.
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    Brian Glover

    A caravan on the back of a small lorry…. Novel takr

    11/2/21Reply
    Brian Glover

    Novel take on the “campervan” …. Don’t think it will ever catch on

    11/2/21Reply
    RobCowell

    No, but it cleverly done and must have been tricky to cut the caravan correctly to fit it to a pickup truck.

    11/2/21Reply
     
  • Day7

    Change of Plan

    October 31, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    The aim for today was to travel to Roseberry Topping, a 320m hill some way from Goathland but a location both I and Elizabeth wanted to visit and for walking. However, when I opened the curtains the view outside was dismal with the rain tumbling down, blown by a gusty wind and in no way was this walking weather.

    The morning therefore ended up as relaxation and chat and watching the water spray leaving the body of my van caused by the high winds. We both commented how, if the temperatures were lower and the rain was actually snow, we would be witnessing true blizzard conditions. But just like the previous days, at lunchtime blue sky arrived, the wind eased and the sunshine arrived.

    After a lunch snack we set off for a short four mile stroll in the local area, walking through the village then across the railway lines at the station (the one used in the Harry Potter films) then up the hill and out into the countryside.

    The ground was very wet and the streams in full flood. The main photo in this footprint is supposed to be of the stepping stones across a river but as you can see, they were now more like a waterfall so we had to turn back. The photos here hopefully give you the idea of what we did and saw.

    It was a pleasant walk and it at least got the muscles working and the blood flowing. The afternoon light was lovely and emphasised the autumn colours, then in the evening it was a meal out in a local hotel bar. A nice end to the day.

    It was definitely a different day than expected and probably the sort you should have on a holiday - no set agenda, relaxation, a bit of fresh air and a nice meal so definitely a holiday day. Tomorrow it's a journey back in time to refresh the memory of days gone by.
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  • Day6

    Whitby on Saturday

    October 30, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    The weather continues to be unsettled so it was just as well the day was planned for a relatively slow start because upon opening the curtains this morning it was dull and rainy. How unusual for this trip.

    As the time arrived to leave I was not hopeful the weather would improve but went anyway, which turned out to be exactly the right thing to do. Elizabeth dropped me off, leaving me to walk down towards the harbour area, and as I headed through the streets the sun began to break through the clouds and marked the arrival of lovely weather for the rest of the day. Just to prove it, the main photo here was taken on my way to get picked-up at the end of the afternoon and it had been like that throughout..

    My goodness was Whitby crowded, as you can see in the photos. This is great for the town of course - I believe around £1 million is deposited into the community over the three days. As suggested yesterday, there were more people in costume today but the photography was harder because it was tricky to isolate them from the busy backgrounds filled with people. There were way more photographers too, but life wasn’t impossible and I still managed to get photos I was pleased with.

    To show you more photos than the six per footprint allowed, I’ve split today into two footprints so read-on to the next one to see a few of my favourite ones from today,
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    Brian Glover

    My goodness … l am really surprised by the size of the crowds… i can understand the difficulties in framing a photo

    11/2/21Reply
     

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