For just five short weeks of the year, two-and-a-bit weeks either side of the winter equinox, nature lovers are presented with a beautiful spectacle: during this time the sun will rise at the perfect angle to burst its rays through Durdle Door, a prominent rock formation on the Jurassic Coast in the South of England.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this location, and in fact the entire stretch of the Dorset coastline is of course worth a visit any time of the year. It’s a breath taking spot, excellent for hiking, and provides bags of photographic opportunities. I’m constantly drawn to the area for this exact reason, and I still can’t get enough of it.
Because of the short time window during which this special sunrise can be witnessed, I’d initially blocked out every single weekend in December to head down to the coast. But alas, every time I could have gone, the weather was anything but cooperative. And seeing as it’s a two hour drive for me, it’s not worth the gamble when all your weather apps say it’s going to be overcast, or raining.
As the year ran out, so did my opportunities. I’d been checking the weather apps several times a day since Christmas, hoping that maybe on New Year’s Day I might be able to go. Since I never really do anything on New Year’s Eve, it seemed a good use of a morning. In fact, I was hoping that I’d be the only one on the beach, assuming everyone had been out partying through the night. Oh how wrong I was…
The weather started to look pretty promising in the days leading up to January 1st and I even managed to rope in a photography friend to join me. It’s not often that I can convince someone to come along for a sunRISE shoot!
The sky was still quite cloudy about an hour before sunrise, and as it was slowly getting light, it actually looked like it may have been a wasted journey. We kept busy working out the best camera settings and equipment to use, shooting the soft morning light, as well as the moon which was nicely positioned diagonally above the ‘Door, as more and more people with big cameras and tripods made their way down the cliff path and along the beach. So much for a quiet morning.
And then, as if they had been convinced to fade away because of the large audience, the clouds suddenly disappeared rather swiftly, making way for the first rays peaking over the horizon and directly through the keyhole. What a sight! I had not imagined it to be quite so stunning, breath taking, and maybe also a little bit emotional. I’d say this was the best start of the year ever. No contest.
Of course, one good picture is never enough. So as the sun kept moving up and around, so did the group of photographers on the beach. While we were quite spread out to start with, as time was running out to capture the elusive sun beams, we clustered together more and more, everyone seemingly scrambling for the perfect spot, yet trying not to get into anyone else’s way. It was hilarious, and probably quite a sight in itself 😉
I’ve decided that every New Year’s Day from now should be spent photographing the rising sun. Who wouldn’t want to see in the new year like this!?
To get your sun burst fix, check out the Dorset gallery in the United Kingdom travel folder on the website.