Friday, 9 January 2009

Some walk by day, some fly by night...

I was out Moonlighting again last night. It's a full moon tomorrow, and yesterday was perfectly cloudless. Well, it was when the fog wasn't rolling by. And when there was fog, it was thick thick fog that reduced visibility to virtually zero. Ideal weather for driving round country lanes where the visibility is rubbish in the first place :/

Anyway Alex Bambooly, who is owed credit for the whole idea, has shot a lot of the local landmarks already. Well, the ones that are unlit at night and away from street lighting, which is what you need for a good moonlit shot. So I've had my thinking cap on for something a bit less obvious. Inspired by Alex's brilliant pics of the chalk cliffs, and a random shot posted into the Brighton Pool of The Long Man of Wilmington I figured this could be a good thing to try in the dark - the moonlight would hopefully light up the chalk like it lit up the cliffs. But in most of the pictures of the Long Man I saw, the sky wasn't very prominent - the Moonlighting shots work so well because of the combination of land which is lit and sky which has stars. And the fog yesterday made me worried that we might not see it at all - as it happens, we missed the entrance to the car park nearly. And what if we got there and it was closed off at night, or we couldn't get a good angle for some reason?

After finding the car park (which was swamped in fog), we followed the path that was supposed to lead up to the Long Man. The fields were covered in fog, but there was something magical, so we stopped to take some moonlit shots of the fields and the rolling fog. Walking up a bit further we saw a snow covered field, which Alex wanted to stop and shoot. Hopefully he got some good shots from that, because all I got was chilly feet. From that field though, we spotted the Long Man, which is the height of the whole hill that it's on. Incredibly impressive. It actually shows up in the first photos we took looking over those fields, although neither of us spotted it at the time, and it only shows up once you look at the long exposure. As we headed closer, the fog cleared and we got some brilliant views. The stars came out, the moon lit the chalk as I had hoped, and I was pleased that we stuck with it. I won't deny that the thought to turn back had crossed my mind as we were travelling through the thick fog.


Once we'd got our fill of the Long Man, we headed down to the Birlington Gap, near Beach Head, where there's a great view of white cliffs in both directions with nothing else for miles around. It was amazingly peaceful - as perhaps you'd expect the middle of the Sussex countryside to be around 1am. I managed to catch the one other vehicle we saw while we were there, which again proved to be a perfect subject for a long exposure:


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