Saturday, 20 January 2018


20th January 2018, Embelton Bay, 8am

There was a burst of red-orange colour as we drove towards the beach but it had faded well before the sun came up.

Lacking any reason to sit up the top of the dunes waiting for a sunrise we wouldn't see, we dropped down onto the beach for some running about.

On the beach the light was all silver and blue.

Friday, 19 January 2018


19th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 7:30am

A quick sunrise dog walk just me and the curlews.

I'll be back here leading a history walk for guests of HPB Lucker Hall later this morning followed by lunch at The Ship Inn at Low Newton.

It's a good way to make a living.

19th January 2018, Ship Inn, Low Newton, 4pm

A walk in the fading light to our favourite pub.

Daisy was quite content on my expensive jacket!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

in the corner

18th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 7:45am

Half an hour before sunrise and the colour is limited to a small corner of the sky

A few minutes before sunrise and the light has spread wider from the sky to the beach

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


17th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 8am

The first sunlight was absolutely vivid on the bracken on the dunes this morning.

Daisy has two tactics to avoid having her photograph taken.  Shut the eyes then walk towards the camera.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


16th January 2018, Embelton Bay

After a few days in Glasgow filming in a recording studio, it was good to be home

We're back.
Swapping the city for the empty beach.
Trendy cafes for sunrise skies
And one-way conversations with the dog
This is my life

Saturday, 13 January 2018

chilly in the wind

13th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 8:30am

Sometimes the joy of being outdoors comes from a grim masochism. There’s a satisfaction from being wrapped up against the elemental forces of winter weather. You can appreciate the drama without being so cold you can’t function. At best it’s a delayed hedonism for that moment when you’re back home in the warmth.

Daisy and me sat up the top of the dune sheltering as best we could and we watched our friends (doggy and human) battling home against the wind.

Friday, 12 January 2018

shades of cloud

12th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 7:30am

Thick dark grey cloud for the last couple of days has meant it never really got light.

It was like night time when we first arrived today but unlike recent mornings it did get brighter thanks to light grey clouds.  The daylight revealed a misty seascape with the other end of Embleton Bay invisible.

A few oyster catchers scuttled along the beach and otherwise it was just us.  I always feel that this landscape belongs to the wildlife and we are just their guests.  After a quick photo we moved on and left them to their wormy breakfast.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018


9th January 2018, Howick gardens, 8am

On a dark, grey, winter day I was expecting to find shapes and textures around my walk. I did, but also some surprising but beautiful winter colour.

Monday, 8 January 2018

cliche or classic?

8th January 2018, Cannonball Boulders, 8am

As we walked up towards the castle it was a long time until sunrise but the sky was calm and beautiful

Many of the photographers visiting the Dunstanburgh Castle area of the Northumberland Coast are after this one shot of the so-called 'cannonball boulders'. I've seen hundreds of beautiful, if similar, images of this scene. I've been here a few times myself. Today I noticed there was no-one else there so I wandered down to the twisted limestone outcrop of saddle rock and set up my compact camera on my 6" tripod to see what I could make of the movement in the sea.

The main limiting factors were not gear related:  The cold wind was blowing relentlessly into my face robbing me of concentration and patience and the sub-zero air was freezing my hands into numbness.

One day I'll maybe come back with my SLR and all the kit - or maybe I'll just stick to my normal wanderings. There's so much more to photograph than just this one location.

This one is a 3 second exposure

This one is a 0.4" exposure

8th January 2018, Beadnell Bay, 11am

A beautifully shiny beach for my morning run...

8th January 2018, Football Hole, 4pm

Looking east with the sunset somewhere behind me. The wind is fierce and chilly. Out over the sea sits “the belt of Venus” an atmospheric phenomenon where pinky-red light is scattered from the setting sun to colour the sky on the opposite side of the sky from sunset. Between the horizon and the belt of Venus is the dark band of the Earth’s shadow. No, I don’t really understand it either but it’s quite cool and very beautiful

Sunday, 7 January 2018

on the level

7th January 2017, Embleton bay, 8am

Sunday morning walk
Waiting for sunrise again
I do this a lot

I write a haiku
To pass the time until dawn
At peace with my thoughts

I was rewarded by a sunrise worth waiting for.  The skaith is a very interesting shape this morning.

(The horizon is not truly horizontal in this photograph.  When I made it 100% level, an optical illusion meant that it looked squint.  After much deliberation about the Correct Thing To Do I decided to publish the version that looks right.)

Friday, 5 January 2018

dogs on a dull day

5th January 2018, Embleton Bay, 8am

A grey sort of a day.  Not much in the landscape caught my eye until I saw Daisy silhouetted in a small batch of brightness

Later I turned my attention to the Lowry-esque figures of the passers by on the beach.

5th January 2018, Football Hole, 4pm

I wasn't going to bother sharing these photos to the blog as they are just phone snaps from a very dark and windy afternoon.  People really liked them on Facebook so I thought I should add them to the blog.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

grey to orange

3rd January 2018, Embleton Bay, 8am

Before sunrise it was all greys and blues this morning with last night's rain clouds breaking up and heading East

 As sunrise came closer the wee patch of orange spread across the sky.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


2nd January 2018, Embleton Bay, 8am

Today's message is to get there half an hour before sunrise.  The light is often at it's best before sunrise.

This was the pre-dawn colours at 8:15 am

...and at sunrise at 8:35 when most of the colour had drained from the sky

Monday, 1 January 2018

that which remains

1st January 2018, Howick Gardens, 1pm

Not every walk turns into a photographic assignment but sometimes the light and the story just leap out and have to be documented. I make no apologies!

Today's walk around Howick Gardens was bathed in low winter sun shining onto wintery trees and remnants of last year's vegetation.

Unusual to find ferns in full summer greenery in January.  These ones are right by the Howick burn but the stream was in so much shade relative to the fern fronds that it faded to darkness.  The sunlight managed to find a gap through the surrounding trees to shine just onto this one plant.  Maybe that's why it's still green.

Where the trees meet the sea at Howick Bay

These are the remains of last year's hydrangea clusters.