Firle Beacon on a summer morning

Firle Beacon after sunrise

Firle Beacon after sunrise

Fire Beacon after sunrise, 2015

I was looking to get a great sunrise on the Firle Beacon slopes of the South Downs, as in the summer, the sunrise would hit the north of the downs as it rises to the northeast in summer, whereas in winter it’s in the southeast, usually over the sea. The light was shielded by sporadic clouds, and at one point I suddenly became engulfed in some surprising mist, but the clouds provided interest in the sky for these shots.

Firle Beacon before sunrise

Just before the sunrise, I experimented again with the Big Stopper, reducing the exposure by 10 stops and prolonging it for a few minutes to get the sweeping texture in the sky here. I didn’t like this as much as the left side of the photo seemed dull by comparison.


The light really glowed over the reaches of the Sussex/Kent border, and I experimented with a 2x extender to increase the focal length of my 70-200mm lens. The extender doubles the focal length, so this is actually at maximum of 400mm. It’s not that sharp, as it’s better to use a lens with the focal length of 400mm than use an adapter, but I love the layers in the bottom of the image.

Haybails near Firle

Hay bales, 2015


Using a long focal length compresses the landscape and offers different compositions to really hone in on details and patterns, I liked the texture in the fields and found this odd turret on some farmland, which I presume is part of the Firle/Charleston Estate.


This shoot was as much about details as it was about the vista of the beacon and valley at Firle. The morning dew twinkled off these summer wildflowers, but I couldn’t quite get the composition right here and will try more of this again later this year. Before the mist rolled onto the hill when I reached the summit, these beautiful clouds rolled over and I went for this simple composition before heading home for a morning smoothie and hot cup of tea.

Fence overlooking Firle Valley

Fence overlooking Firle Valley, 2015


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