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January 8th 2022 - A trip to Durdle Door

2021 was the year that I fell in love with Woodland Photography, and if the point of these articles is to be open and honest, I probably got a little bit too obsessed.

I saw a fair bit of personal development in my photography, whereas other aspects of my life felt a little out of control. Rather than fix the bigger issues, I hid in the woods and took lots of photos. My images were getting a bit of traction on social media and some attention from landscape photography magazines (the word ‘some’ is doing a lot of work in that sentence) and that delivered the dopamine hit my low self-esteem needed.

However, spending so much time focussed on photography won't be possible in 2022. This year I’ll be moving house, taking on a new project at work, the cost of living is ever increasing so I'll be broke, and frankly, I miss spending so much time with my family. Therefore opportunities to be out with my camera will be ‘fewer and farer’ between (all things being relative!).

A change in the Instagram algorithm also brought home how much of my 'traction' was based on spider webs and magic, rather than image quality, so any perceived pressure to continually post images from woodlands to keep my 'following' happy was lifted!

So for my first trip of the year I thought I’d revisit an old favourite location – the very unwoody Durdle Door.

Durdle Door is one of the most popular locations for photographers in the UK, and social media is saturated with images of its iconic Geography. I like it because it’s a good walk, with just the right number of hills to make you feel like you’ve achieved something, but without actually having to ache like mad the next day.

I’d just missed the opportunity to shoot the sun through the Door itself, but as it was Winter, sunrise would be at a reasonable hour and my wake-up time was a quite luxurious 6am. I’d be joined on the trip by my photo (and real-life) friend Simon Lewis. The MetOffice and ClearOutside gave a good chance of a nice sunrise, and this looked promising as we approached the top of Swyre Head via the secret back route (I say), however as is often the case, by sunrise all the clouds had disappeared and I had to work much harder to try and get some photos.

Despite the lack of interest in the sky, the light was nice, and I managed to capture a couple of shareable shots looking towards the Door (although my favourite view looks back towards Bats Head, with Weymouth and Portland in the background).

After capturing a few of the iconic views I thought I’d zoom in a bit tighter and have a bit of a play. My favourite focal length for landscape photography is definitely in the 150-250mm region (I use DX crop to help me get that far), and I love the more intimate shots that focus in on details of a scene.

The wind was up and there was a good amount of wave action throughout the morning, and although I wasn’t able to capture a portfolio shot, it was good to be practicing some seascapes after a few months away (I should say the blown highlights in some of the images has been caused by lazy editing rather than poor shooting technique...I really!)

After a few hours I lost all feeling in my extremities, so it was time to slog it up the hill and make our way home. There was even a nice sunset at the end of the day which I captured from my bedroom window.

On reflection not a bad day, although the exercise was better than the photography for the most part.

Tune in next time for my next destination blog - will I capture a portfolio image this year? (who cares!)


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