A major sign for me that the onset of Autumn and Winter is around the corner are the Spring Tides that happen around our coastline at this time of year symbolising the changing seasons, as we leave the Summer and enter into the lovely, warming colours of Autumn where the trees lose their coat of leaves, left exposed and bare to the elements, to the frosty Winter mornings, with the winter sunset proceeding over frozen landscapes where things take just that bit longer to awaken.
No where does this amazing spectacle happen better than on the North Norfolk coastline, an area that supports thousands of Waders, Geese, and other birds during our Autumn and Winter months.
A brief explanation of these Spring Tides is when the gravitational effects of the Sun and the Moon combine, resulting in these Spring Tides which have nothing to do with the season of spring. The term refers to the action of the seas springing out and then springing back. These are times of high high tides and low low tides. A spring tide occurs when the moon is in its second and fourth quarters, more commonly known as the new and full moon phases respectively.
You get them all year but their numbers are greater during our Autumn and Winter months resulting in this amazing experience, accompanied with the sights and sounds of nature you’ll never forget. I have spent the last three days there with clients who booked these Spring Tide/Barn Owl days I run.
Birds start to take off as the others wait on the ground for their turn to join their group and return to the sea. Peeling off , perfectly timed formations take to the air back to where they belong, the power and force can be felt as you sit in the hides. With the photograph above I wanted to convey this moment, a truly amazing site within our wonderful wildlife in this country.
Knot, Dunlin and other waders were arriving each day, their numbers increasing all the time forming their customary aerial flocks where they fly inches from each other, twisting and turning, a breathtaking site to witness. My clients captured some great images and have taken away valuable advice and tips, and techniques that I use and apply to my own photography, where I show and teach not only these but concentrate on fieldcraft, the habitat and the environment of the subject, reading what is happening around you.
All of these skills can be taken home by the client and applied to their own photography where hopefully over time they will help to increase and improve their overall photography skills, techniques and images, as this is the main aim of all the one to one/workshops that I do.
The weather during this time would be best described as a mixed bag, the sun broke through and rose in the east lighting up this beautiful yet bleak place on a couple of the mornings. We had a amazing sunset on some of the evenings, alot of the time though it was overcast but the clouds did clear after a few light showers. The light is amazing just after rain, where the atmosphere is cleansed and there is a clearer light perfect for taking photographs. The numbers of Oystercatchers were high where they like to form large flocks on the land, constantly calling with their piercing call.
I always say to clients that there is always a shot to be had so while we were waiting for the larger flocks I wanted to show and demonstrate the effect of using aslow shutter speed and what it can produce, where a sense of movement in the subject is frozen and captured giving the image a sense of impending movement. Adding a little drama to a photograph, as shown below with a flock of Knot altogether on the sandbanks. Freezing that movement, and adding movement to the image as well as making the most of the overcast conditions where the photographs look like they are taken in black and white.
There are so many different subjects to photograph on the Norfolk coastline that its a wildlife photographers dream in my eyes, and a great place to learn about these subjects and these amazing events by watching and capturing their behaviors, flight patterns and so fourth. Where all the birds are being pushed closer to the shoreline by the incoming spring tide, forcing them closer to the shore, landing, taking flight until the very last piece of land is submerged by the sea, all the time the birds fly around in vast numbers mostly for protection avoiding the raptors that work this stretch of coastline in large numbers looking for an easy meal.
It was a great few days for all my clients and I was really happy that they got some if not all of the shots that they wanted. We finished off each day at one of the many different Barn Owl sites I know in Norfolk. They weren’t disappointed with views of the female and male quartering and hunting for food. We also had a viewing of their young which was brilliant to see.
With the changing seasons, come changing wildlife, and throughout the Autumn/Winter period I will be running many different days capturing the stunning wildlife the UK has to offer during our shorter months. Mountain Hares in the Peak District, the only place outside of Scotland you can see them, Fallow and Red Deer rutting at two different sites, Whooper Swans start arriving to spend their Winters with us, these days are on the North-West Coast of the UK. Short-Eared Owls and Raptors on this coastline also. All these days and many more can be booked either through my one to ones or the workshops page seen here.
One of my clients, Steve Tucker has wrote a wonderful review I wanted to share with you. Hes a well schooled photographer in his own rights. I have had the pleasure of his company now twice and he’s had some wonderful images and encounters on both days. To read his review please click here.
I’d like to thank all my clients for your company over the last three days, its been great to show you the amazing wildlife and events that happen in this part of the UK. I will be running these Spring Tides/ Barn Owl days throughout the year so should you wish to find out more information on these amazing days or any other the other brilliant days I have mentioned here then please send me an email many thanks.