Summer is drawing to a close this year with an impressive display of heather across the country including here in Suffolk. Although the days are getting shorter, there is still just about time for me to get a sunrise photography session in before work, which is exactly what I did this morning. I'd been to Dunwich Heath a couple of times recently and have managed to capture some gorgeous light on the heather but haven't got the shot I was hoping for so at 4am I set off for the 3rd time.
As I drove across Westleton Heath a few minutes before reaching my destination I was greeted by the sight of the heather shrouded in a thin layer of mist... an interesting development that wasn't in my plan. My first thought was to change the plan and stop here but no, Dunwich heath was the destination and besides I didn't know this area too well so I'd only be hunting around trying to find a view. I kept going secretly hoping that, like the proverbial icing on the cake, there would be mist there as well. Arriving at Dunwich Heath I was rewarded with... you guessed it, no mist. No problem there was some vaguely interesting cloud that was in the wrong place at the moment but hey, there was always the chance it would move. I got out of the car and grabbed my gear but I was wavering, a little voice in my head was reminding me that this wasn't perfect, there would be other, better sunrises but I'd never photographed mist across the heather before.
Those of you who've been in this sort of situation before can probably already see where this is going and yes after taking a couple of half hearted test shots I gave in to the nagging voice in my head and got back in the car and returned to the spot I'd passed earlier.
The mist had thinned a bit so I hastily set about trying to find a composition but it was a race against time and it wasn't happening. I soon realised that it was going to be difficult to make the most of what was developing into an impressive sunrise from this location. To make matters worse the voice was back. "Should've stayed where you were, stuck to the plan". Doubt was creeping in and rather than concentrating on crafting a composition from the elements in front of me I was actually considering whether there was time to go back to the original plan.
Before this starts to sound like I expect to come away with a card full of masterpieces every time I go out, I don't. I'm quite happy to come away with nothing if the weather is terrible, well maybe not exactly happy, I'm usually pretty grumpy about it if I'm honest but that's how it goes. You can't control the weather and there's no point worrying about things you can't control. What does upset me is if the conditions are perfect but I've made the wrong call and find myself in the wrong place at the right time... that upsets me a lot!
So what can we learn from this sorry tale? Never deviate from the plan? No that wouldn't be any fun and some of my best images have been happy accident's or spur of the moment decisions. Don't trust yourself to make a rational decision at 4.30am? All that glitters isn't gold? Don't panic? All of those but I think more importantly, stick to your guns… once you are at your chosen location focus on finding an image and don't be distracted on what could have been because trust me, spending the day at work struggling to stay awake knowing it was all for nothing is no fun!
At least his morning's gloomy cloud does have a silver tinged lining in that I'd been feeling decidedly uninspired on the blogging front lately and this episode has cured that particularly block.