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Anoraks at dawn

With due respect to those further up north who are already well stuck into it... Winter is very late to the party round here.

Left: Pale wintery seascape, Climping, West Sussex

Nikon D800

50mm f1.4 Nikkor

ISO 64

2 seconds at f16


5th December 2015

Every season brings with it its own uniquely beautiful conditions and photographic opportunities. Winter, of all of them, is distinct in regularly offering the pale, pastel palette. I know that much of the time it can be dark, muddy and depressing - and seeing your breath float away through freezing rain at the bus stop on a dark, grimy Tuesday at 6PM in February can be a bit deflating... However and as ever, when things go right in the UK, winter days and winter vistas are magical. Watery morning light, veils of mist on the hills, dustings of frost across fields and hedgerows, freezing fog, skeletal trees, bare forests and blankets of snow on our rolling countryside; all lit up by oblique, low-altitude sunshine.

Anoraks at the ready... I'm ready already.

Above image: My first of only two or three frosts of the season since moving to West Sussex. Waterside pathway adjascent to the river Arun, near Arundel, West Sussex

Nikon D810, 14-24mm f2.8 Nikkor at 14mm, ISO 64. 0.6 second at f11, tripod

23rd November 2015

If, during winter, you are lucky enough to have the mountains of Wales or Scotland on your doorstep, or you have access to the Lake District and can regularly include it as a backdrop to your images... Well... I'm jealous just thinking about it. ;-) But, wherever you are, it is always worth braving the cold and getting yourself out for a clear, crisp daybreak in winter. The challenge of the temperature is easily outweighed by the relatively civilised midwinter sunrise times (around 08.00 where I am on the south coast, closer to 09.00 in the far north of Scotland) and the pale beauty of the vistas.

Above image: Frosty dawn in the Vale of Taunton, Somerset.

Nikon D810, 50mm f1.4 Nikkor, ISO 64, 6 minutes at f9, 10-stop ND, tripod

23rd January 2015

That's the serene side of winter; and then of course there are the storms. We've all seen those extraordinary shots of almighty waves crashing onto lighthouses or over sea walls with plumes of freezing foam and spray coursing high into the air, dwarfing the coteries of thrill seekers that tend to gather on such occasions. I have yet to capture a stormy seas shot like that but, as I am the proud owner of what I affectionately refer to as a camerak, I can and do shoot in wet and windy conditions.

A camerak is an anorak for your camera. It will set you back a few pounds on Ebay and, when you're out on a serious weather shoot, it protects your equipment from rain, sleet or snow. Only your lens' front element is exposed, the camera body is enclosed in water proof plastic (with transparent sections so you can view its top panel and rear screen) and it has sleeves either side so you can insert your hands and access all of the controls. I shot the below image in the wind and rain while using the camerak. I had to keep the lens cap on most of the time, remove it to acquire exposure or focus, wipe the lens clear of rain, put the cap back on, wait for the moment, remove the cap again and quickly fire the shutter. Wiping the front element of the lens periodically between shots keeps each image as clear of rain spots as possible. You are bound to pick up some stray droplets but using a cloth on location minimises any cloning work you will need to do later in post and, trust me, they're a pain in the butt if you have more than a couple and if you have lots, then the shot is pretty much unrecoverable.

So get your anoraks ready... Because it's true what they say: There is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes...

Above image: Rainbow, rain and rainstorm clouds at dawn, Doniford Bay, Somerset

Nikon D810, 14-24mm f2.8 Nikkor, ISO 64, 1/40 second at f11, tripod, camerak

18th September 2015

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