Ditchling Beacon – Sunrise

Sunrise near Ditchling Beacon

Ok, This isn’t actually Ditchling Beacon, it’s a hill called Streat Hill, just down from the peak of Ditchling Beacon. The beacon itself is little bland in terms of composition and, although the views are vast, they’re pretty dull.

However, this little walk across the downs to the east is perfect for capturing a Spring sunrise and I wanted to use this path as a leading line to draw the viewer into the photograph.

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View from Ditchling Beacon before sunrise, 2015

Generally, when photographing I try and give myself half an hour before sunrise, to capture the colours before the sun actually peaks over the hills and illuminates the landscape. This hazy band of gold in the sky contrasts nicely with the dark blue still present in the dawn sky. Then the sun rises and it’s so quick, it lasts around 2 minutes until it’s totally up, but when you’re photographing with ISO 100 and an aperture of f22, you can only get a couple of shots due to the slow shutter speed! Strong Graduated ND filters were used to balance the exposure.

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Ditchling Beacon Sunrise, 2015

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Once the sun is up, I start concentrating on details, shapes, lines and patterns in the landscape. The strong contrast helps pick out shapes and really help create an atmosphere in the dawn light. I love the single tree in the field in the middle of the photograph here.

Later I tried just a few other compositions, experimenting amongst the cow parsley but this was less successful, in my opinion, but it’s nice to add an additional foreground subject to the image here.

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