Saying Goodbye to 2016 in Dorset

Wishful Thinking

For my last shoot of 2016 I was hoping it was going to be a special one.  However, hope and reality are rarely the same thing.  Inspired by the images I had seen in Mark Bauer's new book Photographing Dorset, I thought I might try and capture a misty Colmer's Hill.  It's a location which I've visited but never photographed and given that there was a lot of fog about and it was close to home it seemed like an ideal location.

The weather forecast was predicting some fog but also a lot of cloud.  My concern was that though I might have the fog or mist, without some decent light from the rising sun the image might be a little flat.  Filled with optimism and eagerness I decided it would be worth a punt though!

Colmer's Hill

Arriving at Colmer's Hill around 07:15 I had arrived in plenty of time.  Sunrise wasn't for another hour, but there was still just enough light to walk up the hill opposite Colmer's Hill without the need for a head torch.  

Plenty of mist but with flat light and invading sheep it's not the image I was hoping for.

Plenty of mist but with flat light and invading sheep it's not the image I was hoping for.

At the top I got all my gear setup and tried a few compositions.  Though there was plenty of fog around the surrounding hills, it soon became apparent that the low level cloud was going to block the light from the rising sun.  So while I was happy with the compositions I was finding the flat light wasn't giving me results I craved and no amount of post processing was going to fix that.

Still feeling slightly optimistic I stayed around a bit longer.  I've left a location too early before and regretted it so I didn't want to be too keen to depart.  In this case things didn't get any better.  In fact a herd of sheep decided they were going to play Pacman on Colmer's Hill putting an end to my hopes of a good image.

However, as I knew the risks of coming to Colmer's Hill based on the previous nights weather forecast, I had a plan B!

Golden Cap

While researching Colmer's Hill in Mark's book I also took note of a nearby location called Golden Cap.  I thought this might make a good backup location should things not pan out at Colmer's Hill.  It was only a short drive from my previous location so I had little to loose.

For this location though I was going for a change of camera.  I switched from my trusty Nikon D750 to my DJI Phantom 3 4K with a view of taking some aerial shots of the coastline.  I've shot coastal images with the drone before and I've really enjoyed the experience.  You can see my first video on drone photography below.

A brief appearance from the sun provided some nice light on the land.

A brief appearance from the sun provided some nice light on the land.

It was another hill climb up to Golden Cap, but given all the luxuries of Christmas, it was one I welcomed!  After catching my breath at the top of the hill I soon got to work with capturing some images of the coastline. 

One of the benefits of shooting the coastline with a drone is the ability to point the camera straight down.  This often provides a unique and interesting perspective.  However, for a brief time the sun did produce some interesting light on the land so I had to change the position of the camera and drone the get the shot.

I had a lot of fun flying the drone along the coastline looking for compositions but this is my favourite of the day:

The coastline around Golden Cap

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

So while my morning out in Dorset wasn't the big success I was looking to end 2016 with, it's always good to get out with the camera and practice.  One thing is for sure I will be visiting Colmer's Hill again in 2017.  Maybe it will be my new Bowerman's Nose!

So how was your 2016?  Did you get out for one last shoot?  What are your photography plans for 2017?  Let me know in the comments below.  Happy New Year to you all!