Michael Cartwright Photography
Northumberland Workshop Review
Posted on 20th February, 2019
The Northumberland coast is a wonderful location for photography, offering dramatic castles strewn along mile after mile of unspoilt coastline. Our group had been eagerly awaiting this trip for a long time! We began our journey with a meeting point at St Mary's Lighthouse (Just before the Northumberland border), and were treated to a great sunrise, although a little more cloud would of given us a few more options! St Mary's is a fabulously photogenic location and gave us the perfect starting point to practise our techniques. After the sun had risen, we moved along the coast to the industrial port of Blyth, shooting long exposure tidal images.
As we crossed the border into Northumberland, we travelled along the coastal route to our next stop at the seaside town of Amble. The middle of the day throws up challenges for landscape photographers who are keen on catching great light. Fortunately for us, the position of the sun was perfect for shots of Amble Pier. With the incoming tide crashing against the sea wall, we had plenty to keep us interested.
The Sunningdale Hotel at Bamburgh gave us an excellent location from which to explore the region. This was our second trip to this particular hotel and I can safely say that we will be back for more! The food, service and rooms were fantastic. After check in, we spent time along the rocks and marram grass of Bamburgh Bay, with late afternoon light illuminating the castle.
Day two began with an early morning drive to Lindisfarne, crossing the causeway for shots of Holy Island Harbour. We'd timed our session to coincide with low tide, meaning plenty of foreground to work with. The conditions looked a little bleak at first, but the cloud developed as the sun rose through the morning sky. We spent a few hours on Holy Island before escaping the rising tides to the Lindisfarne Inn on the mainland for a hearty meal.
For our sunset session on day two, we moved along the coast to Embleton Bay, for views of the imposing and dramatic Dunstanburgh Castle. The walk along the golf course is surely one of the finest in the UK. We set up along the pathway looking towards the Castle, while a handful of adventurous (aka foolhardy) togs tackled the treacherous black rocks at the shoreline. There can be no doubt that the rocks make for fantastic foreground, but they are supremely slippery underfoot! As we waited patiently for light to find its way from the West Coast, the cloud clustered together and scuppered our chances. Still, the scene is particularly strong and a pleasing image can be captured even without perfect light.
Our final morning began with a drive South to Alnmouth for shots of the sailing and fishing boats moored in the harbour. A cloudless morning meant that we had to work quickly as the sun rose, before turning our backs to the bright sky and focusing on sunlight hitting the vessels. This was an enjoyable challenge, finding compositions and pockets of light under harsh conditions before grabbing a bacon bun and a warm drink at the Red Lion. For our final session, we moved back down the coastline to Seaham to shoot the wonderful WW1 sculptue of Tommy and the harbour piers.
I'd like to say a big thank you to those that came along for the ride and made this one of our best trips to date! The atmosphere throughout was brilliant, most likely helped by the decent weather. Thanks again to Scott and Joe for assisting me throughout.
I'll be making plans to head back to Northumberland during Autumn/Winter 2019/2020. Dates and times TBC. If you would like to join us for our next trip please drop me an email and I'll add you to the list.
*Credit to Scott Bonner Photography for the excellent portrait shots. Thanks buddy.