I have had a series of images in my mind that I have wanted to take for some time, but they all required a different perspective from handheld/ground level. So after months of deliberation I purchased a drone, got CAA registered, insured etc and then learned how to fly it.
Finally, all was in place and the weather forecast for the location was looking perfect. I set from from home at 3am to get to Burnham Overy Staithe on the North Norfolk coast before first light. I arrived in record time (zero traffic!) and walked from the ‘hard’ in front of the village, along the sea wall towards Gun Hill and the North sea. I arrived there just before sun up, its was utterly beautiful, warm and with very little breeze and the added bonus – not a single person within miles, perfect conditions for the project.
I had flown over the area a couple of years ago in a Husky (a small, private plane) expertly piloted by my brother in-law, Edmund (Instagram: @hinterlandpilot), so I had a pretty good idea of the landscape and what I was looking for. After checking that there wasn’t any bird life that could be disturbed by flying, I launched the drone vertically to about 100m to see what perspectives would create interesting images.
The first was looking Easterly along the shore line from Scolt Head Island past Holkham and beyond. The sun was only just up and the light was amazing, flooding across the incoming tide.
Having captured this direction I then rotated 180 degrees to look back at Scolt Head and towards Brancaster. There was sailing boat about to weigh anchor, I imagine that must have been moored at the edge of the channel overnight This was an added bonus as it gave the scene some sense of scale. The inlet at the top left of the image below is about 4.5 miles from where this picture was taken.
However, the reason I was here was because of the salt marshes on the mainland side of the dunes – the patterns I had seen from the plane two years before. These marshes get covered every spring tide and over time small creeks form to drain them and therefore create these stunning patterns. As it turned out (luck rather than judgement!) the marshes were also heavily in flower and were a riot of colour.
Having managed to capture quite a few images of the marshes I then looked for anything else that caught my eye.
As the early morning light was giving way to bright sunshine it was time to head back to the Quay and reflect on the mornings assignment.
I think my 1st stab at aerial photography was hugely educational and I know it has has left me with a lot of room for improvement – but love the challenge! Mainly it has inspired me to try again with perhaps a cleared shot list. So, I will develop further ideas for a series of images with a coastal theme. But I will have to wait for all favourable factors of time, weather and location to align again.