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Dobbs Beck, Rackheath Sunset – a game changer

I have struggled with trying to find landscape locations in Norfolk since relocating from the South West, not because there aren’t an abundance, rather because I am looking for objects and compositions that differ from the normal and ordinary sunset with reflections.

Sometimes photography is a waiting game, especially landscape. I spent countless hours trawling through OS maps and even scouting out some locations, but not to prevail until the other morning when I noticed the land form around Rackheath. The relief was right, the plantations where in the perfect place and it all faced the right direction. To photograph a sunset properly, you need to understand where it is going to be and for the first time I actually used a sun position compass, and this helped to really nail down the image in my head before I even got my camera out.

I cycled up from Norwich early when I knew the weather was playing ball (for once) and first scouted out a church to the North of the site.

crosses lined up in a church cemetery

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I knew that I wanted to move into the woods next to the church but the way was blocked by a couple of fields and a large amount of ferns, so it took a while to scope out a way through, bearing in mind I had all my gear on my back and my bike etc. Along the way I picked out a few photos of the light falling through the trees, but I wasn’t really happy with them when I got home, nonetheless, there is definitely a lot of potential for more images here.

Once I had settled on the spot I was going to use, I had to wait 45 minutes for Golden hour to start, then I waited for another hour whilst the sky morphed and evolved. Initially I thought I had been let down again, but like clock work the bank of cloud that was forecasted to move over appeared on the horizon, so it was just a waiting game until I settled in to the composition.

Sunset over water with trees in reflection

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It was difficult to balance out the colours and saturation of the sunset with the dark silhouettes and still get some detail in the foreground, around the base of the tree, but I’m happy with the end result.

I’ll definitely be going back there.

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