The Durdle Door is a natural, limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England. It’s perhaps one of the best known coastal landmarks in Britain, and something of an geological icon. It was therefore no surprise that Visit Britain chose this location to be featured in their ongoing ‘Britain Is Great’ advertising campaign, and they commissioned me to shoot some 360 imagery for them.
Landscape photography is very much about the weather, and the very best or most dramatic conditions in which to capture a location in the right light. In spite of a promising weather forecast, when I arrived, it was cold and dull, and the view before me was shrouded in thick, grey, featureless cloud. Hardly the sort of conditions I’d been hoping for, and far from the inspirational idyll that my client wanted in order to sell this dream location to their target market. I had little choice but to wait and prey for the weather to improve.
Patience in landscape photography is not only a virtue, but something of a necessity. From experience, I knew that there was sometimes a small window of opportunity, a few moments of time just before sunset, when the low rays can break through the high cloud cover, and the light can be incredible.
So i waited, watching the day trippers leave the beach one by one and biding my time … Fingers crossed for some good fortune … and on this occasion my perseverance paid off. A few minutes before the sun dipped beneath the horizon, an orange orb appeared with a luminescent blaze of the Gods. It lit the landscape with a heavenly, almost divine quality of light, and the sky radiated a fiery, incandescent glow that enveloped the location with wonder.
Shooting 360 images with a DSLR, panoramic head and a fisheye lens, really is not easy, and it necessitates a strict technical discipline, especially under these ephemeral conditions. I could afford no mistakes, and I carefully rotated the camera, aware that any second the light may disappear and the opportunity would be lost forever. Less than five minutes later, still high on adrenalin, the shot was in the bag and I knew my client would be happy. It was an unrepeatable, timeless moment, and one we could now share with our global audience. It’s moments like this, when everything comes together, that makes it all worthwhile…
To read a more comprehensive case study of Visit Britain’s “Britain Is Great“campaign, please click the link.