Bluebells and Windmills - Jay Birmingham

Bluebells and Windmills

I hadn’t expected to be taking photographs over the bank holiday weekend, as I had tickets to see Tears for Fears. However, the gig was moved, and I was left with a few days to play with. I decided to head to Norfolk and camp, as the weather was forecast to be scorching… I was not disappointed!

We had three 4am get ups, to try various shots of the windmill at Thurne. As the nights were clear, and the temperature dropped, this meant that there were three very misty mornings… this was incredibly atmospheric, and a photographer’s dream.

We spent one morning on the same side of the water that we were staying on, and two mornings on the other side (which is about a 40 minute drive, despite being about 10 metres further, as the crow flies!). There are two windmills – Thurne Dyke Windpump, and St Benet's Level windpump. I had hoped to photograph some other windmills too, but I did an extensive recci one afternoon, and found the ones I wanted to be in a state of disrepair – hopefully next time I go they will have all their sails! The boats on the broads on the way up looked fantastic too – I wanted to take pictures of everything!

After a pleasant afternoon having a barbecue in good company, we also took the opportunity to take some photographs of St Benet's Mill in the evening as the sun set.

We also took two trips (one late evening, one early morning in order to catch the best light) to Blickling Estate Woods. Blickling Estate used to belong to the Boleyn family, and it was thought that Anne Boleyn was born there. It now belongs to the National Trust. Those of you who follow my facebook and twitter will know that I have been on a quest to find a carpet of bluebells. I found my prize here – these woods are absolutely phenomenal. I mainly took photographs in the Great Wood, where there were swathes of bluebells, punctuated by trees and wild garlic. The smell was incredible and the dancing low light highlighted the beauty of the surroundings.

We couldn’t visit Norfolk without going to the seaside, so we did squeeze in a sunset trip to Cromer. The sunset wasn’t fantastic, as there were no clouds (but as I was camping, I don’t think I’ll complain about good weather!) but it was good to see the ocean and eat fish and chips on the beach. The pier makes a nice silhouette against the setting sun, and has managed to outlast the elements since 1902, so it’s a special view.

We wanted to stay longer, but were pleased with the trip – I managed to take two shots on my ‘photo bucket list’ – the carpet of bluebells and misty broads, so I came away tired, but happy!

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