Shooting Old Harry

The scenery from the cliff top at Old Harry in either direction is stunning and is best shot at sunrise. 

Of course as with any location, you're always at the mercy of the weather. The first time I visited with my camera it was dull and overcast making the colours very flat. Needless to say I came away with a very uninteresting set of photos. My wife loves my work (she's a little bias of course) but she's also very honest. One of the first things she said was 'that really doesn't do anything for me'.  The good thing was that I agreed! 

It had been on my mind for a while to head back up to see Old Harry to try again. We'd been having some glorious sunrises and sunsets in the last week so I decided now was the time. I'd originally planned to go to Spetispury to shoot along the Stour hoping for frosty conditions. But the frost didn't hold up so Old Harry it was. 

The nearest car park to Old Harry's Rocks is at The Bankes Arms pub (post code BH19 3AU for your sat nav). The car park is owned by The National Trust so it's free if you're a member. Luckily I am! 

It takes approximately half an hour to walk to Old Harry's Rocks from the car park but it's a relatively flat and easy walk.  

Once you're in to the clearing at the end and can see the cliff tops is when you'll want to start thinking about your composition. The shot below illustrates where the sun will rise in winter. This was taken in January. 


As you can see, winter sunrise casts some great light on the east facing cliffs. In the summer, the sun will rise directly in front of you if you were to stand on the corner of the cliff tops and look directly over the top of Old Harry's Rocks and out to sea as this faces north east. 

If you get there early enough, you can set up on one of the ledges on your left as you approach the cliff tops. I love the magenta tones that winter sunrise produces as illustrated in the photo below. This composition would work particularly well in summer with more light on the cliff faces when the sun is up but I really like what I have achieved with this effort. 


This is a high contrast shot so the use of filters is important to get a good exposure in camera. If you don't have filters I'd suggest exposure bracketing techniques.  

I hope you've found this post useful for planning your next photography trip to see Old Harry. If there's anything you feel is missing please let me know in the comments below.