Dorset Project II

Dorset Shoot 2013

Dorset Shoot

Need to get an early morning eerie look to Corfe Castle. It has to be very early to get the Sun rise further to the east of the ruin. So need to position on the west mound.

Landscape gear

Natural Light

Bring light snack for early morning


Here was the plan for the day, could not have been simpler.

Destination Corfe Castle:
03:00 Warm up car, safety & fuel level check
03:25 Leave to GB’s in Wokingham
04:00 Leave to mine in Fleet
04:30 Leave to target destination: Purbeck (Corfe Castle)
06:30 Setup kit and waiting on hill
07:18 Sunrise

Oct 7th 2013
Okay, we were trying again almost a year later in the hope that we could get the right conditions for that shot. An eerie look to the ruin, was it going to be today we wondered. Up at 03:35 we over slept, by just a few minutes. Sent an SMS text to PB only to have returned notice that he overslept too (oh dear). You see we were all going in a single vehicle this time. Mind you, we had a quick chat where he confirmed there was fog outside (great news!).

Coffee and a bagel, wash and dressed MC and I were waiting by the door. Actually not for too long as we saw break lights shining through the door pane. We were on our way to Purbeck at 04:37, “…seven minutes late…” I said. Soon on the M3 we travelled for a constant speed well within the speed limits as we followed a patrol vehicle from almost the start till the Andover exit. Then soon after we quickly rectified coming off at a junction too early, mistakenly thinking we were picking up the M27.


Well almost a couple of hours later, a few miss turns, but we got there and guess what. No fog! Where had it all gone, there was nothing at all. The ruins could be clearly seen together with stars in the sky. This time it was pitch black with no moonlight to shine the way up the hill for us. Again that climb seemed like a gym workout of 20-30 minutes on the Stairmaster.

So we decided where along the hill we would setup and wait in hope of a glorious Sunrise.


Whilst setup, as you do you hit the shutter a few times, do some checks at least to ensure you can actually take a picture. Then a cry comes up the hill from PB “…guys can you see this…” To our amazement the clear view we had from one hill to the castle ruin began to mist up out of no where. It was a sight to see.


Quick sort the camera out and shoot…


What we found was that the mist varies through the early morning in density till the Sun finally rises, so it’s a question of waiting for what scene you like.



Dorset Project

Dorset Shoot

Need to get an early morning eerie look to the castle. It has to be very early to get the Sun rise further to the east of the ruin. So need to position on the west mound.

Landscape gear

Natural Light

– Eat better before heading out on a trip like this
– If using satnav, be sure it’s one you trust, better yet have a map
– Need to hit that gym and do some exercises, you’ve got to be fit

Dec 7th 2012
It was an early start for Mike and I getting up at 03:00 and being ready to leave at 04:00 (only mad men). With only a cup of coffee and toast as nourishment, we set off headed towards the M3 in a spitting rain condition (not a good sign). By the time we hit the M27 wipers were on full and we were in heavy rain.

At just passed A338 which is the Bournemouth turn off I was dependant on a memory of the area I had seen on a map and Satnav. With our meeting point schedule for 05:45 we had plenty of time for getting lost (and we did). Satnav got us lost losing its way or understanding of the roads in the area. Seems like it worked better when held by my passenger anyway. After ignoring and following my nose and memory Satnav picked up again the scent for our destination and we arrived at Corfe Castle on time.

It was not as cold as expected, in fact not as cold as we would have wanted in order to get that eerie mist around the ruin. But we did have a welcoming crescent moonlight that created a silhouette of the ruin, which immediately presented a picture making opportunity. We had plenty of time to get up the adjacent West Hill which was to be our shooting location.

The climb effort got us by surprise, just how fit you need to be. Looks like the authorities have anticipated the photographer or painter and have made a stairway to almost the top. Careful where you tread, mud and large sharp rocks are all about. There’s evidence of sheep too, so that change of footware when returning to the car is mandatory.

You can set up pretty much as high as you dare really. The moonlight was superb as it served as the ideal modelling light in anticipation of the Sunrise. No mist or fog, but that was not going to stop hitting the shutter button when the eventual moment would arise.

Nov 27th 2012
PB has suggested this and the take up has been very good. MC should be coming with me in the morning. But this is an all day shoot as well.

Plan for 7th Dec 2012

1. Corfe castle at Dawn – be there for 5.45am – 6am, as we will need to find suitable access path.
2. Breakfast
3. Scope out Durdle door locations and / or any others
4. Lunch
5. Kill time
6. Set up at Durdle door – opportunity for around 3 – 4 separate shots
7. Drive back



My other shot I placed here, Durdle Door images were a washout as the wind and rain sent us away to our vehicles and on our way home.