The drive to a location can sometimes be rather fraught for me; worrying about the weather, will I miss the good light, many things can run through my mind. But on this very cold and dark November Sunday morning what I saw confirmed last nights weather report. It was very cold, the sky was clear and the air was very still. As I drove up and down the hills en route I could see (and at times drove through) pockets of thick mist isolated in the valleys. The timing was fine too, the sat nav was telling me I would arrive 45 minutes before sunrise.
The car park was conveniently situated just a 10 minute walk from exactly where I wanted to be and it was empty! Now I wouldn't say I was a loner but I do enjoy the solitude of a "dawn patrol" witnessing the start of a new day with beautiful scenery stretching out in front of me. Driving on empty roads to get there only adds to the pleasure. Perhaps no one else is daft enough to get up so early on a Sunday morning, lay-in? Pah!
That 10 minute walk however turned into a 20 minute endurance test of man against mud (and of my balancing skills)! Recent weeks of rain had turned the start of the walk into a gloopy, muddy bog but my delicate determination finally got me through without falling over or loosing a boot. Being a little out of breath after that, I chose to walk around the summit of the hill I was on rather that go over the top and down the other side, which was my original intention. And there i was, stood on Knapp Hill facing south toward Woodborough Hill in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire. The view was quite stunning with a thick mist blanketing the ground and some colour starting to appear with 30 minutes to go before sunrise. I got the camera out, set the tripod up, poured myself a cup of tea from the thermos and took time out to just enjoy the surroundings.
"Morning...", a familiar sound, particularly at that time of day. "I see we both had the same idea". A fellow photographer had arrived and i noticed his feet were looking particularly muddy. I glanced down at mine and realised he must be thinking the same about me. The rest of him was clean though so his sense of balance must also have passed the earlier test. We exchanged pleasantries for a while but were soon interrupted by another dirty footed individual.
This cycle continued until there were five of us on the hill!
"Oh, I see I've come to the right place then".
Make it six!
We must have looked like paparazzi waiting for a member of the royal family to appear out of the mist; all of us poised with our cameras and our lenses. But instead of that, the sun started to poke its head above a thin band of cloud on the horizon. In an instant the land was filled with a wonderful golden colour. I know from experience that you don't wait around under these circumstances; once the sun appears it can burn off the mist in the blink of an eye. All talking stopped and the paparazzi got to work, the only sound was the click of shutters.True to form and always quicker than I expect, the mist was gone. I hung around for a while, looking for other ideas but with such a clear featureless sky the images just weren't happening. I spent the rest of the morning exploring future locations and smiling about six muddy photographers huddled together on a hill! I wonder if they spent as long cleaning their boots as I did?