Early Morning on the Beach
8th November 2016
Bright Day
1st December 2016


This morning I tumbled out of bed at just after five. I headed northwards to  beautiful Holy Island, or Lindisfarne. An early morning photo-shoot on the island takes a bit of extra planning as the causeway is inundated by the tide twice daily and becomes impassable for several hours.

I had originally intended going more inland to get some shots of the Cheviot hills, but the weather predicted a heavy cloud layer that would have obscured the sun farther inland. It was touch and go whether the island would be covered with cloud at sunrise. BBC Weather said not and they got it right.

Lindifarne Castle

Vertical panorama of two images shot at 14mm.

My best shots were the ones I took before sunrise. I spent a good half hour wandering around on the wet sand looking for interesting patterns in the sand.

Lindisfarne Castle just before dawn. 13 second exposure.

Lindisfarne Castle just before dawn. 13 second exposure. Bamburgh Castle can be seen in the distance on the right of the frame
This time of the morning is known as the ‘golden hour’ for good reason, but the morning the light today was ridiculously  warm. I have actually reduced the temperature of the following few images.

Everything was bathed in gold.

People had been making small cairns on the grass from the rocks off the beach. They must be a real nuisance when they want to cut the grass, but they make good foreground interest for the images!
castle-and-lime-kilnsThe arches are the entrance to the old lime kilns. The Castle Point Lime Kilns were active in the 19th century employing 35 men. They turned limestone, quarried on the island, into quicklime.

wooden-stakesFollowing the beach round the castle I found about a dozen of these stakes. I am not sure what they were originally, possibly part of an old jetty or mooring posts. In the distance, just to the left of the centre stake, is the Lindisfarne Priory. It has an amazing history and worth reading about.

A murmuration of starlings took off as I walked towards the castle. There were around 2000 birds in the flock. It was completely unexpected and my camera was not at all ready to photograph them, set up more for landscapes than fast-moving birds. I did manage to get a shot of these geese later as they took off just after the sun rose. The islands in the background are the Farnes, where I went to photograph puffin and other sea-life earlier in the year.

Geese and the Farnes
The low cloud that dissuaded me from heading inland this morning started to roll in, cutting out the light from above and creating a lot of contrast before it obscured the sun
low cloud



  1. Julie McLeod says:

    Wow, these are fantastic! You were well rewarded by your good planning. I think my favorite of these is the first one with the cairn in the foreground and the castle in back. The light is amazing…

  2. Thank-you, Julie. That was one of the most golden dawns I had experienced. I toned down the yellows in the images because it looked too strong.

    The island is about a 50 minute drive North of here. It’s a fantastic place to visit (I would move there !) and has loads of history.

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