My First Camping/Photography Trip of the year.

So it had been a really dark and miserable winter. Covid had us mostly stuck inside, the weather has been terrible and people are either out of work (moi) or in some strange work purgatory. More importantly than any of that, I hadn't taken a photograph since September last year 😱...

If you know me, than you know I thrive best when i'm off exploring a new place, camera in had, something that just has not been done for too long. I needed to remedy this lack of photography and adventure, so I scoured the map looking at all of my saved locations and tried to decide where to go *googling intensifies*...

A few months ago i saw a video from Thomas Heaton (i'm sure you're all aware of who he is) of him shooting a fantastic looking coastal location in Somerset called Porlock Marshes. After some googling I realised I could very easily get there on public transport from here in the home counties, so I quickly went about packing my bags and booking train tickets.

Now Porlock Marshes is a very beautiful coastal marshland, formed when the seawall collapsed, flooding the area with seawater which has petrified the trees and created lovely channels and tidal pools. It is these trees and pools I was interested in.



I knew I wanted to catch a sunset and sunrise at least once whilst own there so I needed to find a place to stay. Luckily there was a campsite super close to the coast but also close to the town (the England - Scotland euros game would be on whilst I was there so a pub was essential), so I packed my tent and sleeping bag and booked my train ticket.


After a train, another train, another train, a very long bus ride and then a very short bus ride, I arrived in Porlock. I found the campsite and (badly) erected my tent. It was late afternoon by this point so I ran up to the local shop, got some snacks and hiked out to the marshes to prepare for the sunset which was forecast to be pretty good (that hallowed partly sunny/cloud that photographers love so much).


Ohhh my did the weather not disappoint, this sunset was one of the greatest I'd ever seen! Anyways, jumping ahead... you'll see why Im so stoked below... so the hike down to the beach and the marshes was nice and short, the first stop was a cool looking wooden walkway that I found that snaked off onto the beach. I excitedly set my gear up and took a few shots, before realising it was actually very boring. I kept walking on down the coast towards the spot i had found on the map...



On my way down the beach I tried snapping a few of the petrified trees that i found, to no avail. I was beginning to worry about whether I would be able to make any good images of these trees.





About a mile down the beach there is an old ruined farmhouse, and it is here that I pinned on the map to explore, there is a handful of really large trees here and good tidal pools.

I got there about an hour before sunset and so sat myself down and ate some snacks and waited for the sky to pop. At first it looked like it wasn't going to do anything, but the closer we got to actual sunset the sky began to GO CRAZY. I only had about 15 minutes before the sun would be gone, and so began the hectic running about trying to find the best compositions...

There was a dried up tidal pool that had gorgeous cracked dried mud in front of the main tree subject. So i popped on the ultra wide (Fuji XF 10-24 f4) and made a composition using this dried mud as foreground interest with the tree central in the frame. My second composition was a simple minimal image of the tree with the extreme em colours of the sunset. I love these images and they are my favourite images that I have taken for at least 2 years...



Shortly after this it got really cold and dark and so I made my way back to the tent for some terrible heat in a bag food and bed. I was so stoked on these photos, and if these were all I got on this trip, I'd be happy.


The next morning was frankly awful weather, lashing it down with rain so I had a lay in and watched a movie. By late morning the rain had stopped and the weather was a nice kind of overcast and misty... perfect for some long exposures down on the beach....

Heading back to where I was the night before I carried on walking along the bay to the sea wall, papped a few cool looking lonely telegraph poles and finally reached the ocean...


I set up base near some ancient remains of old groins/jetty/defences/god knows what they are... which looked really cool and would work perfectly as subjects for some long exposure, minimalist style photos.


I set my camera up, and for the next few hours I walked up and down a small 20 meter stretch of the stone beach taking multiple long exposures.... running all of my batteries out in the process and having to tape my battery pack to my tripod to keep it plugged into the camera!



Yes I have edited a few of these in a weird selenium tone, I don’t care, I think they look great.


After spending the last few hours taking these shots I decided I should go for a walk further down the beach to the small town of Porlock Pier to give my batteries time to charge (and to get my steps in!). This ended up being a lovely little village, with tiny fishing vessels in the harbour, ice cream stands and even an old WW2 sunken bunker! I had a walk about, got some snaps and headed back along the beach to my original spot.



I was so stoked on the images I had gotten so far on this trip that it really didn’t bother me that as we approached sunset time, the sky was super dull and clearly wasn’t going to give me a light show like the night before. So I decided to pace all the way back to the tent, get my dinner on and watch the England Scotland game on my phone, happy in the knowledge that I had everything I wanted from the trip.

The following morning I packed up, got my 2 busses and 3 trains home and went straight to my laptop to sift through the images.


I love taking trips like this, specifically for photography. I feel so much more motivated than I would usually when out and about with my camera. I take the time to wait for conditions and compositions (as long as I have a good podcast or audio book on the go!)... Coming back from a trip with a good body of work to show for it makes you feel so energised and ready for the next one, raring to take more photos!


If you are interested, I made a little video of this trip... its pretty terrible as it was pretty much my first time making such a film but I think it shows atmosphere of it, shows off Porlock itself and a few of my fave images. Check the link below to watch that or check out my instagram too...




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