Sea lavender and sailing boats.
Whilst I love photographing Suffolk sometimes it is nice to have a change of scene so this weekend we headed to Norfolk in the camper van for a couple of days of photography. In July this means early mornings, late evenings and some downtime in between.
The North Norfolk Coast is one of my favourite places and it is particularly lovely in the summer – busy, but lovely despite the crowds. The key to avoiding a landscape full of people is definitely to get up early. At 4am the countryside is deserted and we had the landscape all to ourselves.
We photographed two locations at sunrise – Wells harbour on the Saturday and Burnham Overy Staithe on Sunday. Saturday dawned clear and blue with a fresh breeze, whilst Sunday was much more moody with some good cloud cover and not a breath of wind, so the reflections in the creek were beautiful.
I have to admit that a 3.30am start is always a struggle but the time that you get in the landscape is definitely worth the effort. Even if the sunrise is not the most vibrant, the experience and the sense of aloneness and oneness with nature is (in my opinion) worth the loss of sleep.
Burnham Overy Staithe is becoming one of my favourite locations on the Norfolk Coast. It is a quiet backwater surrounded by salt marsh on one side, grazing marsh on the other with an attractive quay backed by an eclectic mix of architecture. The creek is scattered with traditional white clinker sailing boats and the whole area has a timeless feel to it.
July on the Norfolk Coast is sea lavender time and the salt marsh from Burnham to Blakeney was covered in a purple haze. I love photographing flowers as part of my landscapes so it was great to see so many on our drive along the coast road. There were numerous fields where the edges had been sowed with companion planing and other fields that were just wild meadows. We saw swathes of blue chicory, poppies, ox-eye daisies and rosebay willow herb and loads of ragwort growing in the dunes at Holkham which made for interesting compositions. When I am photographing flowers I love to use the surrounding foliage to ‘shoot through’, getting up really close so it forms an out of focus vail across the image. This gives the photo a soft dreamy effect.
During the day the coast did get busy, the weather was hot, the sun was shining most of the time so it wasn’t surprising that there were a few people about. But if you walked far enough it was possible to escape the crowds. A stroll along the creek at Morston on a falling tide (paddling required) was a perfect way to escape the crowds and it was lovely to see the landscape change as the water drained from the salt marsh. I spent a lot of time shooting with a 70-200mm lens and playing with my depth of field, throwing the foreground and background out of focus. This gives a layering effect and helps create depth in the image. I find this technique allows me to be more creative in the mid part of the day when the light is harsher.
Norfolk has some lovely scenery and the countryside looks beautiful in the summer. It is well worth photographing but if you want to escape the crowds then I can highly recommend an early morning sunrise shoot. The experience is definitely worth the effort.
I am running a one day Norfolk workshop on 14th October where we will be exploring 3 very different locations on the Norfolk Coast. You can find out more here >>
The gallery below shows some of the images from my summer weekend in Norfolk. If you would like to see more of my Norfolk images you can find them in my Norfolk gallery. My 2024 Norfolk Calendar is also out now.