Jul 1, 2015 - by Robert Rhead

Tucked away on the Dorset coast near the small village of Worth Matravers lie the coves of Winspit and Seacombe, both rich in naval history, geological importance and landscape photography interest. Arriving an the public car park in the village centre, the coves can be accessed via a 30 minute walk across footpaths and fields towards the sea. With a seeming lack of signs to guide walkers at footpath crossings, I ended taking a right turn down the fields and discovering Winspit first.

ISO200 - 16mm - f/18 - 1/60 sec - 0.6 soft ND grad - Lee polariser

With it?s set of old quarry reaching back into the cliffs, Winspit is an interesting find for walkers and photographers alike. Whilst up on the cliffs by the quarry I noticed a small group of yellow flowers on the precipice, positioning myself very carefully I was able to get a shot down onto the cove using the flowers as fore ground interest. The addition of a 0.6 soft graduated ND filter allowed me to compensate the exposure for the much brighter sky and the polarising filter I used helped to enhance the blue-turquoise colour of the water.

Down into the cove the Jurassic rocks reach out into the sea which during lower tides reveal a great deal of detail and interest in the worn and eroded stone.

Seacombe Photography
ISO800 - 16mm - f/13 - 1/250 sec - 0.6 soft ND grad - Lee polariser

Seacombe cove is roughly an mile further along the coast and is home to the infamous wreck of the Halsewell East Indiaman sailing ship which broke apart on the rocks at Seacombe in 1786.

Seacombe Dorset
ISO800 - 16mm - f/13 - 1/250 sec - 0.6 soft ND grad - Lee polariser

Similar to Winspit the rocks of Seacombe protrude into the surf and reveal an array of rounded, eroded holes and cracks as the tide recedes, making wide angle shots with wonderful foreground interest easy pickings for the landscape photographer. After getting the sunny shot from on the cliffs overlooking the cove the clouds rolled in to dampen down the light. When the skies are flat grey and fairly uninteresting I like to make use of the Lee Big Stopper ND filter to create the interesting ghost effect of the moving water. During the long exposures with the Big Stopper filter it is vital to cover the eye piece of the camera, preventing light from entering the camera body and ruining the picture. I make a conscious effort to remember to close the eye piece shutter on the D800 but I did forget (again) for the first few frames. If your camera does not have a specific eye piece shutter you can use a small piece of black tape to cover the opening.

Leaving Seacombe and walking the strenuous footpath back to Worth Matravers on my way to my next location, Old Harry Rocks. The three chalk formations that protrude from the cliffs just east of Studland are familiar with landscape photographers and tourists alike. I knew that at that time of the year the sun would be rising behind the rocks which could make for a great photo so after arriving at the general location in the evening I decided to park the camper van and have a quiet evening before marching along the footpath towards the rocks in the mornings pre dawn darkness.

Old Harry Rocks
ISO400 - 16mm - f/13 - 4 sec - 0.6 hard ND grad

With a chill in the morning air I walked the roughly one mile track towards Old Harry Rocks, hoping I would be the only photographer there ?which I was. The sun had not yet risen but the dawn glow was present and growing on the horizon behind the chalk stacks. For the increasing light above the horizon I added the 0.6 hard ND graduated filter to compensate the exposure differences and took a variety of shots to find the composition I liked the best. With a small outcrop of yellow flowers on the edge of the cliff and the sun just breaching the horizon I got the shot I liked the best.

Old Harry Rock marks the most eastward end of the Jurassic Coast and denoted the end of my journey east. A return to Mupe Bay which wasn't accessible earlier in the week was now planned. After leaving Studland I made my way back to Lulworth and began on the trek across the footpath past Fossil Forest towards Mupe Bay. A lovely cliff edge walk which ends on a precipice overlooking the rock formations popular to landscape photographers. Getting closer than comfortable to the edge over hundreds of feet to the crashing waves was necessary to catch the only bit of foreground interest available, onlookers thinking I was mad ?but all in the name of art.

Mupe Bay
ISO100 - 16mm - f/16 - 1/8 sec - 0.6 soft ND grad - Lee polariser

The bay itself is accessible by descending down steep steps to the rocky beach. Large layers of rock stick out into the water over which the waves crash, making for strong photography compositions with line and movement. The sun was now very bright with very little cloud in the sky ?not the best conditions, so I decided once more to don the Lee Big Stopper and capture the last photo of my tour.

Mupe Bay
ISO100 - 16mm - f/16 - 30 sec - 0.6 soft ND grad - Lee Big Stopper


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