Sea Of Pink - The Story Behind The Images

1 June 2015

Having returned from a recent photographic trip to Scotland, there was quite a change to the landscape around RSPB Bempton, with the appearance of the red campion. Parts of the reserve and beyond were covered in the lovely pink flowering plant, creating quite a transformation.

One evening in early May I decided to take a walk along the cliff top beyond the RSPB Bempton reserve in search of possible locations for a sunrise shot, which would include the red campion. Around 45 minutes/1.5 miles walking later I found what I thought would be a great location for a sunrise shot, whereby when the sun was high enough to light up the tops of the cliffs, it would really make the colours of the campion pop. Below is an iPhone shot I took that evening showing my chosen spot, which in the evening is mostly in shadow, as the sun is setting behind me.

Sea of pink - red campion along Buckton Cliffs

A few days later the forecast looked promising for the following morning, so I decided to see if I could get the shot I had in my mind. With sunrise being just before 05:00 at this time of year, and a 30-45 minute walk in the dark awaiting me, I set my alarm for 03:00 to make sure I was there in plenty of time to get set up.

Walking through the RSPB reserve in the dark was quite eerie, as I could see eyes shining back at me from the light of my head torch, which I am thinking could be foxes, roe deer, or possibly something else.

On reaching my destination I put on my extra jacket, as although I got quite warm from the walking, once I stopped I started to get a little chilly. It was then a case of setting up the tripod and camera, and waiting for some light to allow me to compose my shot and focus for maximum depth of field.

As dawn started to break there were a few clouds around, which I wanted to add some interest to the sky. It was now a case of waiting for the sun to come up over the horizon and light up the campion.

Twenty minutes after sunrise the sun eventually hit the cliff tops and transformed the landscape in front of me, from dull greens, yellows and pink, to vibrant colours. With that I started taking photographs, and continued to do so until the sun was just too bright. Below is my favourite from the first session. It was a good start, however I would have preferred a little more cloud, and I knew that there was still more campion yet to flower.

Sea of pink - red campion along Buckton Cliffs

A week later I headed out to the cliff tops again, however this morning I wasn't greeted with the conditions I was hoping for. Instead of a little cloud in the sky, it was wall to wall clouds and quite windy, so I knew I wasn't going to get a nice sunrise.

I decided to stick around until daylight appeared, and chose a filter which would allow me to make a long exposure, showing the moving clouds as streaks in the sky whilst smoothing out the sea.

Sea of pink - red campion along Buckton Cliffs

Three days later and the forecast looked good again, so the alarm was set for 03:00, and I made my way to the cliff tops. The conditions looked good, and there was also a little more cloud in the sky to that of my first visit. As the sun rose and lit up the cliff tops, it was again a case of taking photographs as the light continually changed.

Sea of pink - red campion along Buckton Cliffs

The image above was my final shot from this location for 2015, and I will return next year for sure, as I continue to strive for better images.

Keywords: bempton, campion, buckton, landscape, sea, cliff, yorkshire

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