18th & 19th March 2009
I had already decided to overnight on the island and I knew from previous trips that there was a good shot to be had at sunset looking back over the causeway along the posts marking the old pilgrim’s path.
I hadn’t really checked out the Snook on the causeway itself before so I gave that a quick scout out on my way in.
This old clinker built boat hull caught my eye, perhaps it’s the Viking in me but I do like boats.
It’s a shame to think that this ancient method of boat building is rapidly disappearing now as modern plastic hulls are so much cheaper and easier to make.
I arrived on Holy Island in the afternoon and used my time poking around the harbour looking for good angles and subjects for the morning to follow.
Most of the current fleet that uses the harbour seems to be employed in crab fishing these days.
The harbour is full of the paraphernalia of that trade and as I picked my way around the upturned herring boats and crab pots I was constantly checking my compass for where the sun would rise in the morning.
I’ve been here at sunrise a few times before and almost always been disappointed.
I know the type of shot I’m looking for but conditions have never been quite right.
That’s not to say I haven’t got good shots, just not the shots I was after.
Well sunset over the causeway certainly didn’t disappoint and I settled down for the night confident that if sunrise did not work out, at least I had a couple of decent shots in the bag.
Some people say you make your own luck, I prefer to think that it’s important to place yourself in a position where she can give you a hand. This was just such an occasion.
What I could not have anticipated or easily have predicted, was the mist that would rise by morning and turn this sunrise into a morning of pure magic.
The wind had dropped, so the mist was just gently drifting around giving an ever changing scene of pastel colours and hazy shapes.
My reconnaissance on the previous afternoon meant that I knew just where I wanted to be as this natural spectacle played itself out.
The light just before dawn was a subtle play of cool blues and purples.
As the sun broke over the horizon the colours turned towards peaches and pinks and the mist started to thicken dramatically.
From the harbour area the castle was soon almost completely concealed in the fog, seen only in occasional glimpses as if it was hovering over the bay.
Reluctant to leave the scene after such an amazing start to the morning, I searched for shots amongst the crab fishing tackle, always with an eye on the mist and the light.
After a while the fog started to thin again as it rose on thermal currents towards the sky.
If ever there was an example of the combination of luck, perseverance and preparation that a landscape photographer needs, this was it for me.
I’ve been here many times but never seen conditions quite like this here before. This was a morning I will not quickly forget.
With the sun rising higher and the tide starting to turn it was time to leave this enchanted isle and head North for one more location.