Wild Jurassic Morning, Dorset, England by Nike Koch

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During the winter storms in early March, I happened to spend the weekend on the Jurassic Coast with a bunch of photography friends. The weather was awful, and half of our group was pretty deflated after a flat and boring sunset the previous evening. So it was only my friend and I who decided to venture down to Durdle Door to capture sunrise the following morning. The idea itself seemed somewhat silly, considering the forecast for 60mph winds that day, and it's safe to say that it was a pretty reckless thing to do in hindsight.

Heavy rain throughout the night had made the ground slick and slippery, making the path from car park to cliffs difficult walk on. But it wasn't until we got to the fork in the cliff path, Durdle Door on our right, Man'O'War on our left, that we felt the full impact of the high winds which were hitting this exposed corridor. With nothing to hold on to, we had to let the wind push us along the slippery clay ground towards the cove. Thankfully we managed to climb onto the grassy cliff side to find a fairly sheltered spot, overlooking the cove, for both of us to set up safely. Staying low was key. The sky looked uninspiring and grey at the time, so we took our time positioning and weighing down our tripods, stacking filters, and finding the composition we were happy with. Normally I would have liked to get an even wider frame into my shot, but with the restrictions imposed by the weather, this was the best I was going to get.

After a quick cliff side breakfast snack (the sky was still dull), the sun was beginning to rise. And finally some dark coloured hues appeared in the clouds. The waves were beating the rocky shoreline with great force, and there was a fair bit of movement in the sky. So to preserve the forces of nature, I decided to go with a slower exposure than I might normally have chosen for this scene. Smoothing out the water would not have worked here (besides, this would probably have required a 15 stop filter and 5 minute exposure to achieve). Instead, I hope I succeeded in capturing the wild conditions we were exposed to that morning, along with the strangely dark morning mood.

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