Lyme Regis is that seaside town that you imagine exists but don’t really believe it. Picturesque is the word you are looking for. From The World Famous Cobb to the Jurassic Coast there is plenty here for some landscape photography of Lyme Regis.
Situated on the A3052 halfway between Weymouth and Exeter on the south coast of the UK. This little fishing town/holiday destination lies at the bottom of a steep hill and the roads are narrow. Parking is well catered for but you have to pay for it in the summer. No seaside town worth it’s salt and vinegar would go without any fish and chip shops and here are some of the best in the country. Lyme Regis certainly suffers from no small amount of gentrification but on the whole it still retains it’s historical charm.
The bay is bookended by the Cobb and the east end of the town. There are beach groynes made from stone and can create leading lines. The Cobb itself can be the subject of your photo or a vantage point overlooking the harbour. There is a large park that surveys the beach, providing great panoramas of the bay. Unfortunately sunsets are obscured by the land so are rarely significant enough to include in your composition. Sunrises on the other hand…
The buildings at the east end in particular are very characterful and there are nicely coloured beach huts to add to the scene. You get plenty of locals and tourists walking along the promenade and there is a decent enough night scene if you want to add some people into your image.
With such a variety on offer anything goes in terms of equipment to take. You could be going for an ultra wide panorama of the bay to picking off locals with a long lens along the promenade. If you are into your drones then The Cobb and the harbour itself make for some great footage. On top of the Cobb it can be significantly more windy than on the beach. ND filters very useful here to smooth out the water.
I really enjoyed doing some landscape photography at Lyme Regis and the Cobb especially is a very photogenic landmark. Add to that the character of the town and the Jurassic Coastline backdrop and you have a lot of options. Maybe not the most accessible of places but then again not many of the good landscape venues are.
The best thing about a place like Lyme Regis is that there are many options available to you should the conditions be less than perfect. You should always be able to come away with some interesting photos.
You can see my recent landscape photography of Lyme Regis in my YouTube video Highway To Devon.
Or if you thinking of going to Corfe Castle then see my blog post on there.
If you live in the south of the UK and consider yourself a half decent photographer you will, most likely, have already seen some amazing landscape photography of Corfe Castle.
Situated on a hill that punctuates The Purbeck Ridgeway that runs east to west through the Isle Of Purbeck, this castle was destroyed in the English Civil War. It’s owned by the National Trust and so is the land surrounding it. Be aware if this if you are planning on some drone photography as they are banned on their land.
For most people getting there by car they will arrive via Wareham along the A351 and this brings you into the town with the Castle View Visitor Centre on the left. There is also more parking if you carry on and take the next right. It is busy in the summer and parking can be difficult although I did notice it was significantly easier at sunrise and sunset which, of course, is when you will be wanting to shoot the castle.
It’s easy enough to get to West Hill from either of these car parks, look for the sheltered path opposite the visitor centre, but to get to the east side requires a longer walk. Whether you are there for sunrise or sunset and want the sun in the background or behind you will determine which side you need to go to.
Due to the nature of the Purbeck Ridgeway and the Isle of Purbeck itself there tends to be regular occurrences of mist and fog and this can create awesome vistas of the castle. It’s the landscape photographer’s dream to have such an iconic and photogenic venue perched on a hill with elevated vantage points either side. Add the mist, fog and unhindered views to the horizon you really have an epic photograph opportunity. From West Hill you can see right over to Poole Harbour and just as far in any other direction.
The temptation is to go the top of the hill but there are composition friendly vantage points lower down the hill too. Look out also for the Swanage Railway steam trains that run close to the castle. Time it right and you can add an extra element to your shot. You would think that this site would be littered with tripods but not to my experience.
Lenses. For decent landscape photography at Corfe Castle you will definitely want 24-70 and 70-200 or equivalent. Wider than can be useful if you going to want a lot of the sky in. In terms of filters graduated NDs are more prevalent than polarisers. Take the sturdiest tripod you got as it can get windy up those hills. Bare that in mind also if you going in winter in terms of clothing, gloves, tea etc.
If you live within a hour’s drive than I would say definitely. Apply the usual rules – try to avoid weekends, check weather forecasts and get there in good time for day/night transition. Even if you are unlucky with the light it’s still an interesting place to spend the day/evening. The Purbeck Ridgeway provides such great vantage points. There’s much more here than just landscape photography of Corfe Castle.
You can see my recent visit to the Corfe in my YouTube video https://youtu.be/JPcYTNPYGpM
This trip featured a lot of grey skies so making interesting landscapes was a challenge. Solutions to this ranged from framing the shot with trees to using gradient filters and black and white to create balanced compositions.
Soon after waking up we got a visit from airport security. He kindly asked me to move on as traffic control thought that I was too close to the runway! Errr ok sorry about that. To be fair to me there were signs saying where you couldn’t go and I hadn’t crossed that line. Quickly looking for another place to park we happened upon Sopley Woods and this turned out to a nice wood to get some shot of so out came the camera gear.
I tried to fly the drone in this wood but the software in the control system wouldn’t let me take off. Restricted airspace. Too close to the airport. I had only planned to fly it at about head height in amongst the trees as I was aware of the situation. I paid a lot of money for this drone and it’s great that it has such technology. DJI Spark if you are interested.
After that it was on to find another place to spend the night. I am realising that it’s going to take a lot of planning to find good places to park. It doesn’t help that I have so many pre-requisites. Phone signal, dog safety, dog exercise, photograph opportunities and van security to name a few. It’s not easy. I need to find and make more use of online maps and information.
However I lucked out and found a small car park leading onto Castleman Trailway. Presumably this is a very old by-way and it goes for many miles. Rivers, bridges, nature reserves all accessible by foot or bike. Out came the drone and a good walk for Lupa.
So far the trip has been going well if a little uninspiring in terms of locations but I reluctantly called my vehicle insurer to inform them of my new situation. Self-employed photographer living full time in a van around europe for a year. “Oh’ they said. They also said “sorry but that means that your current policy is not longer valid and we will cancel it in 7 days”. Just like that. 200 quids worth of insurance cancelled. Thanks a lot. It gets better then then gave me a new quote of £1400! So one thousand more than it was!
It seems that it’s the self-employed photographer part which is the problem. I have friends who full time in their campers around europe and they pay £350 ish. This is a real problem. It’s a lot of money.
Today we went to a caravan parts shop in Wimborne. The fridge isn’t cooling as well as it should and I worked out that this is due lack of ventilation at the rear of the fridge. So I needed some vent grills. This shop had some old items on the shelves. I get the feeling that camper van/motorhome industry has been around for a long old time.
Unable to resist I succumbed to the desire of fish and chips. This trip definitely has a budget and takeaways can’t be a regular thing but I’m still celebrating starting the trip so.
Looking for somewhere interesting I remembered an industrial estate on the east side of Bournemouth International Airport. I used to go there in the trucks. Seemed like a good place to go, maybe even get some night photography of the planes. Once we got here however the usual parking spots had been fenced off so we had to go into the estate itself and found a spot with a view of the runway. Sort of. Funny thing was not one plane landed. For the whole evening. Nothing.
With still a few things to sort out and the possibility of meeting up with a good friend on the 31st, before I leave the country, I decided to go and find a nicer place to stay for a bit close by. I knew that the eastern edge of the New Forest would have something and we found a place called Smuggler’s Road near Ringwood. This turned out to be a good move with space for Lupa to roam around and the weather is excellent to these days. Spent the day organising the van, I brought way too much stuff, and later got the drone out for some practice and filming.
A few walks for Lupa and soon enough the day is done.
So the journey begins…After 2 and half years of working and saving and then 3 months of converting the van and planning the whole trip the day finally arrived to leave. With the emotions of saying goodbye to everyone, the apprehension of what lay ahead and the blatant excitement of it all I have to admit i feel a little overwhelmed. Honestly as well there is more than a little “what the hell am I doing?”. Spending a year or more in a LDV Convoy with my dog? Are you deranged?
Despite that we went to Avon Beach near Christchurch, Dorset where Lupa had a swim and I rode the emotional rollercoaster. Quickly it came apparent that we couldn’t park in the Avon Beach car park overnight so I plotted a route north in the sat nav and before long we found a lay-by with no restrictions and also no view. But I don’t care. It’s the first night on many and it’s just brilliant to finally be on the trip.
I was in the workshop on Friday and looking over the evolving campervan I could see it was coming together. Still a lot to do but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will be many tricky stages to come with the conversion but I feel like I can overcome those situations now.
The thought then occured to me that pretty soon I will be packing in the last items before climbing into the driver’s seat and heading off on a year long trip around the whole continent! Culture shock is a phrase that springs to mind. I have been so focused on getting the money saved and now getting the conversion done that I need to stop and think – “you know you are actually going to do this?”
Travelling through Europe and wild camping is going to be such a huge change from the life I am living now.
So I returned from a weekend in Paris yesterday and have edited the best shots that I took while I was there. The weather played nice and we actually had really nice skies on the sunday so we went into the old part of Paris.
This city has an incredible amount of character and history…