I’ve got to admit – I’m sat here feeling a little sorry for myself. Checking the forecasts for this weekend suggested that yesterday afternoon was the best chance for sunset and today’s sun rise would be none existant. How wrong they got that!
I don’t usually ever wake up at home when the sun is coming up, but today would have to be the day I did. I looked out the window to clear skies with a few wisps of cloud lit up in a fiery orange and I could see that there was a low mist lying around….I don’t live in the Peaks and in a relatively low area so I knew something special was happening.
Webcams verified the amazing sunrise in the Peak District and so did the endless Facebook updates and a couple of texts from friends rubbing it in. Pictures are starting to emerge too….but you just can’t win them all can you?
Anyway, back to what I originally intended to write about, my sunrise at Birchen Edge on New Years day.
I’ve never done a sunrise on New Years Day before, usually too late a night the night before but this year I didn’t fancy the usual and decided a sunrise would be a good way to bring the year in, so I was up early and set off for a sunrise.
One thing I’ve noticed recently is I’m struggling for locations in the Peak District at sunrise that I feel like shooting. I need to make a plan of locations for the future to go to. I’ve got a few on the list that require big walks in (maybe something for wild camping) but closer ones I’m lacking.
I originally turned up to Curbar Edge, I sat parked there for a while and decided I felt too uninspired to shoot here. It was still fairly dark as I was there in plenty of time so I made a choice to move to Birchen Edge. A tough location for sunrise due to the position of the sun but I felt I could have a bash at it.
On arriving at location at Nelsons Monument I knew I was in for something pretty good, there were passing storm clouds and rain as I waited for the sun to come up and I knew it should make some quite dramatic light.
This first shot was just as the sun was starting to come up, it turned the clouds into a lovely colour and because the rocks were pretty wet they were able to take on some colour and reflect the light which is good because usually I prefer direct light and in turn this means some of the colour in the clouds has usually disappeared.
The monument you can see is called “Nelsons Monument” in honour of Lord Nelson.
A few minutes later and a slight change of composition allows a shot showing the sun coming up, the first sun of 2013.
Next it was time to have a go at a landscape shot, this allowed me to capture the rock formations “The Three Ships” which have all been carved with a name of Lord Nelson’s ships.
As I said earlier, Birchen Edge is quite a difficult edge to capture at sunrise and as I also said there were passing storms. At one point there was a nice rainbow in the distance which I tried to capture but it just wasn’t to be as I was shooting into the rain and couldn’t keep the filters clear.
As the minutes passed, the golden light got more intense, though it was very difficult to make compositions. However, I had always wanted a shot of The Three ships up close and now was my chance. I’ve tried to capture these formations before at both ends of the day but they’re very awkwardly positioned.
Arguably they look better and more like ships from the other side, but at this point the lighting was sublime and I was more than happy to oblige and take a photo of them. Lining myself up in such a way my shadow wouldn’t be cast on the foreground, ensuring I got all the rocks in nice and tightly and having the dead ferns point in a triangle to the ships I was happy with my composition and came up with this shot:
So that was my New Years Day which I was quite pleased with and glad I had made the early start. Hopefully there’s many more sunrises like this in 2013 and equally good light at sunset…if so I’ll be a happy bunny and I’ll quickly get over missing today’s sunrise!