|Landscape Group visit to Northumberland|
|This year’s Landscape Group weekend trip saw 12 members and partners travel to Northumberland to photograph iconic coastal and moorland locations. We are very pleased to say that the ladies outnumbered the gents on this occasion, and also that three of the party have only joined the club in the last 12 months. The story of the trip is best told through the eyes of Kate Stephens, one of our new members to both Landscape Group and Devizes Camera Club:
“I joined the club in September 2019 as an inquisitive but amateur photographer and was delighted to learn after just a couple of weeks that the club was organising a trip to Northumberland to visit and photograph some of its most beautiful places. As it is a county I have long yearned to see i eagerly signed up and on the 10th January 2020 a number of us set off in the early hours with a rendezvous time of 6.00pm at the hotel in Alnwick. Some had travelled the previous day as the weather was set fair and indeed proved to be just right for almost every day.
After a very clear run accompanied in the first part by the setting beautiful full Wolf moon. we arrived in Northumberland at approximately 12.30 and keen to get started went to Druridge Bay for our first Northumberland photographic experience. Here we found an interesting snaking estuary making its way to the sea amongst gentle sand dunes with soft tones of blues and yellows. I for one felt like we had definitely arrived!. From here we went to Amble and found the wonderful photogenic features of a pier, a castle across the estuary, pastel coloured beach huts and a lighthouse! As the light started to fade we continued to Alnwick and met our fellow travelers as arranged.
Day two was an early start in order to go to the magical and mystical Holy Island and Lindisfarne. A dry, cold and very windy day brought opportunities to photograph the castle as the sun rose although not on this occasion, with any particular colour. There was much to explore on the island and we all went our separate ways in order to discover all it had to offer. With water starting to be blown onto the causeway we shot back across with great haste at 12.30 and our little group of four continued to Whitely Bay to photograph the lighthouse on St Mary's Island. Here the conditions were just perfect with sunshine, lovely clouds, choppy seas and of course the wonderful lighthouse. We even managed to see a seal which really made an already fantastic day, almost perfect. Not content to rest on our laurels we then made the trip to Newcastle for sundown in order to photograph the illuminated Gateshead Millenium bridge. Although we had a little light drizzle it was definitely worth the trip.
Day 3 saw the group up early again to photograph Bamburgh Castle at sunrise. Although a beautiful location the bright colours of dawn did not appear but everyone certainly saw the potential of this hugely photogenic location. I joined the group at 10.30am to make the trip to Housesteads in order to walk approximately 2.5 miles along Hadrians Wall to Steel Rigg, taking in Housesteads Crags and the Sycamore Gap, both very beautiful locations. The walk was challenging as it was very cold but the scenery was outstanding and it was so pleasurable taking turns to walk with different members of the group and chat about all manner of things and sometimes pause to take photographs together. Arriving at Sycamore gap just before sunset the idea was for the group to carry out some astro photography; the hope being that the stars and Milky Way might just make an appearance and provide an even more stunning backdrop to the famous tree. The cold beat about half the group and we made our way back but those who stayed and endured the plunging temperatures, were, eventually, treated to a starry sky which broke through the cloud cover. I very much look forward to seeing their photographs.
Day 4 and another early start in order to photograph Dunstanburgh Castle at sunrise. It was very cold and the intrepid amongst the group ventured out across very slippery boulders in the half light to reach an advantageous position. Those of us who didn't feel up to that found our own angles and greatly enjoyed the spectacular location. We then enjoyed the castle from the southern side as the sun came up and we walked along the coastal path to Craster. Craster was 'closed' so we returned to Alnwick and the wonderfully cosy location of Barter Books where we all enjoyed brunch next to the open fires. The afternoon was our own and we took the opportunity to photograph Alnwick Castle and then have a relaxing afternoon in our hotel rooms.
The final day saw us up early to return to either Bamburgh or Dunstanburgh Castles for the promised colourful sunrise and it did not let us down. The group of us that went to Bamburgh were treated to one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in the most stunning location. We all stood poised with our cameras and took repeated photographs until the 'show' was finished. I don't think it was possible to take a poor photo of this amazing occasion. Making tracks for home we stopped once more at Whitely Bay to cross the causeway to St Mary's and I was so pleased we did because we got the chance to photograph a colony of Atlantic seals which were languishing on the rocks behind the lighthouse. This brought to an end a hugely enjoyable, interesting, instructive and fascinating trip to Northumberland. Thank you to all who planned it for us and guided us to so many beautiful locations and to the experienced members who were very amenable to sharing photography tips and I'm quite amazed and proud to say that 90% of my photographs were taken on manual!!” KS Images by Kate Stephens