Last weekend’s photography started early Saturday morning. My friends, who know I am not an early riser, will be surprised that I was up just after 5 am and on the road, with two photographer friends, by 6 am. Our destination…the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs on the North Yorkshire coast. Unfortunately, a few winding roads and a slightly foggy morning brought on my motion sickness and I spent most of the first hour sitting in the car in the car park, waiting for nausea to subside.

Meanwhile, my friends went off in the fog to explore and came back with the bad news that the fog was very thick and they could hear birds but not see them. The forecast was good so, along with a few other early birders, we walked the cliffs until we found a place where the fog was a little thinner and we could actually just see the sea through the mist. Below is a picture of the fence on the cliff top as we set off on our walk.

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Fence in fog, Bempton RSPB Reserve

We spent a while, maybe half an hour, photographing the gannets flying around and gathering nesting material on the cliff top. The camera was really struggling to focus on the low contrast subjects and we decided to get a breakfast coffee from the visitor centre while the fog cleared a bit more.

When we came back outside, the fog had rolled in thicker and by late morning we realised the weather wasn’t improving at all…in fact it was getting worse.

I had managed a few photographs…but they needed a lot of processing in Lightroom, via de-haze, contrast (both global and mid-tone) and a little colour boost. All this processing brought out the noise so I added some noise reduction followed by sharpening. This gallery shows a few samples from the many shots of gannets in flight and a few I took of birds gathering nesting material. The quality is not what I would have liked and so I will have to go back when the weather is clearer and hopefully take some better images.

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As we were now concluding that the day was becoming a failure, we decided to visit a nature reserve that we had been looking forward to trying. So, before 2 pm we arrived at Rodley Nature Reserve and spent the afternoon there…which we enjoyed so much that a second visit was required on Sunday. The nature reserve is well managed and there is plenty to see and photograph. It opens at weekends and on Wednesdays and is locked up the rest of the time. The hides are rather distant from the water, which made photography a challenge, but there was plenty of opportunity to practice. We were lucky enough to see a kingfisher, but he was too distant to get a decent photograph. The gallery below shows a few of my favourites from the weekend, including the wonderful yellow irises.

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