Saturday, 26 March 2011

Mupe Bay: Part 2

So, in response to last weeks slight failure of a trip to Mupe Bay i decided to set out once again to make good on my previous intentions.

I got up, ridiculously early on saturday morning, packed my bags with the appropriate kit, some snacks, a bottle of pepsi max and then set off in the car. This time I brought my old Nikon D50 as well as my D90, as backup, with a kit lens attached so if my D90 is busy doing long exposures I can do other shots. I did accidentaly leave my polarizer filter behind sadly which would have been invaluable for some shots but won't make that mistake again.
The journey there was a little concerning, the sky looked a overcast but it soon cleared up when I got to the coast and I was met by glorious blue skies with minimal incidental cloud presence.
(This is going to be a long article so click the link below the map to see the full thing.)

(This map shows my route)

On arrival I walked along the beach of Lulworth Cove and started along the path that will inevitably lead to Mupe Bay which offered a couple of alternate routes, one being up the cliff on the left side of Lulworth Cove. Not a difficult climb particularly and it offers some good views. However after walking a short way along the cliff towards the firing range I saw a rather disconcertingly locked gate before me.
Apparently the range walks are out of bounds on weekdays and whilst they are open on weekends the gates are only opened at around 9:00am. Which put a bit of a spanner in the works of taking photographs at dawn. From this gate however I could just make out a glimpse of what I was missing so got my camera out for the first time that morning and took a shot or two.
I'm quite happy with it and it suitably displays just how awesome the view was from the gate I was blocked by, I can only imagine how brilliant the view was beyond the cliff.

Next time I'll make sure to check the opening times for the range walks but untill the gates were opened I'd have to hang around Lulworth Cove and take some experimental photographs.

The first bunch are all long exposures, there was already too much light by the time I started taking them but I took them for the sake of getting practice in. They all have a subtle surreal quality to them but most noticably milky looking water.

After playing with long exposures I moved onto macro shots of the interesting colours and textures in the seaweed and rock pools. There is so much variety in them you could spend a day on shooting macros alone I think.

When the time got a bit nearer to when the gates would be unlocked I started exploring in the direction of Mupe Bay again, discovering a second gate(also locked) beside an old chapel looking building that appeared to be lived in. I climbed back up the cliff to the gate I intended to pass through and took a few shots of the local cliff birds and such.

Then, rather uncermoniously I turned around to see that the gate had been unlocked and I could finally set off to the bay. I assumed if anyone had to unlock the gate that they would have to pass me to do so but they must have come from the otherside instead.

The first shot taken after passing the gate.

Similar to the first photo from above except the mist has now cleared, no longer rolling over the hills and cliffs beyond and the sky has brightened up, a clearer view of the ruined building can be seen.

I suspect there is a range walk that passes this building and joins up with the path to Mupe Bay which I might try exploring the next time I come as it makes for an interesting sight on the landscape.

As I made my way along the cliff tops towards teh bay I took several photographs of the plantlife, the views and some fo the wildlife. This included the fairly common yellow bushes that grew all over the hills within view, some horses and some views of the "Fossil Forest" that sits on a ledge below the cliffs edge.

Then, without further notice I came upon the last cliff edge before the bay itself and it was nice to know at this moment that all the previous effort was worthwhile and at the very least the place existed. This is the first sight you get of Mupe Bay.
Now I had been told that at this point of the cliff-walk on the way to Mupe Bay that there would be a landslide that is very easy to notice when you get there and that is actualy possible to be climbed up/down far far in advance of the stone steps that sit on the otherside of a further cliff.

I would like to add that whilst I do think it might be possible it is totally unnecessary and not at all safe.

I did climb down it some way myself, not so much for the shortcut but more for the sake of trying to get interesting camera angles on the way down. It is pretty firm footing untill about half-way to two thirds of the way down where the ground gets significantly more unstable, slippery and far more steep. I did loose my footing twice and ended up climbing the cliffside again to get back to the path. Not only was it an exhausting waste of time if I did want to take a shortcut but it can't be good for the erosion of the cliffside to have folks playing around on there and I only got two mediocre photographs out of it to boot.

In the second photo above you can see the cave in the lower middle of shot and just to the left of that a big rock jutting up at of the water that I will later climb up and discover has a totally sheer face on the otherside.

The walk along the cliffs is very nice and offers a lot of particularly nice views before and leading up to the concrete steps that form the only way down into Mupe Bay without a boat. The view from the cliffs edge above the concrete step shows some of the rock pools that will be perfect for the sort of long exposures I wanted to do before sunrise.(I'll get it next time)
Here are a few photographs of the rocks themselves.
They are well formed for creating lots of rock pools and the lead off into the distance in nice lines which is perfectly for landscape compositions, (if shot properly which i'm not sure I have yet,) so it's a erfectly promising location for the sunrise photographs I eventually want to take. Now all I need is the weather, the tide and the MOD to all collaborate with me on a morning i'm available to revisit the location.
Some rusty remains of something on the beach giving some nice orangey colours, I might've investigated it a bit closer but it was a live firing range after all.

These next few were taken as and when I made my way back west, along the bay, there isn't really a beach here as such, more of a large collection of large rocks to walk over, the largest rock that sticks out of the sea can be reached on foot and going past that is the cave and another slanted ledge leading up from the cave which I would climb up and take a couple of photos
At this point I headed back but not without taking a few more shots, including some macro shots, again of some rock pools and seaweed. They can give some genuinely interesting looking textures and colours, it looks like seaweed turns white when it dies off I suppose.

So that's it. Mupe Bay.
Hopefully in the near future the stars will align and the clouds will part for a nice set of sunrise photographs on a sunday morning and I can finally have a weekend lay-in again... I really should have held one of these photos back for photograph of the week...