Living with a landscape photographer presents a special set of problems. The two times of day in which they are most interested are sunrise and sunset.
The problem with photographing sunrise is, of course, that one’s landscape photographer, and therefore oneself, has to be up and out well before sunrise to travel to the appointed location to wait for that all important moment when the light is right. This was epitomized by A Prial of Castles in Northumberland last September when a 5:00 AM alarm roused us. Midsummer, naturally, would be worse with the sun breaking the horizon at an inconsiderate 4:30 AM requiring, say, a 3:30 AM alarm – hardly worth going to bed in the first place, really.
Sunset presents an entirely different problem. 6 o’clock is bar o’clock but bar o’clock doesn’t make a good bed fellow with the need to drive to and from sunset locations. This is particularly acute in mid-summer when, should we actually be blessed with any sun, it doesn’t kiss the distant horizon until about 9:30 PM. At 9:30 PM, I should be passed the 2nd bottle of wine and onto a small snifter of brandy.
You’d think that, being on the east coast of England, I’d have been saved from any sunset depravations. The sun sets in the west, after all. However, the east of England curves round, runs along the north coast of Norfolk and dives down into the Wash. Hunstanton, looking out over the Wash, faces west. Here was Francine’s target for today.
And so it was that, at about 7:00 PM I found myself in Hunstanton, stone cold sober, looking for a fish and chip shop. I found two; they were both closed/closing. Well, it’s still low season, I suppose. We did, however, find an acceptable looking pub with fish and chips on the bar menu. Furthermore, it had two other attractions: Adnams bitter on draught and large picture windows facing west over the beach into the eventual sunset.
We scoffed our fish ‘n’ chips as Francine watched her target draw slowly but inexorably closer. Still with about an hour to go, she headed down onto the beach to pick her spot leaving me to finish my Adnams. Eventually I tired both of the inane prattling at the table beside me, and of my empty glass before me, and went out to watch.
As I was wandering around watching Francine at work, I spotted a shot of my own that I fancied trying. I hastened back to the car, grabbed a camera and returned to join in the fun. After a few experimental shots, I had one that looked more or less as I was visualizing. Here is Francine once again “waiting for the light”.
The brandy back at Guillaume was wonderful – late but wonderful.