Shot of the Week 2019/04 – Best View in the World

Posted on 28th January 2019 by Admin under Comment, Equipment, Landscape, Location, Photograph, Shot of the Week

A spectacular claim indeed.  One for which I make no apology, even though our planet has no shortage of scenic landscapes at which to marvel.  But this location is both distinct and unique and I am far from the first to have thought this to be an impressive view.  On the hill behind where I stood, a ridgeway runs past an iron age fort and a succession of bronze age barrows.  The ancestors chose to be buried here overlooking this scene for all eternity.  They must have considered it to be a very special place.

An atmospeheric view of Chesil Beach and beyond
Chesil Beach, the Fleet and Portland

Where is this view?

What makes it better is that we in the UK do not have to travel far to see it.  The viewpoint is in Dorset, a county which is among the most attractive in Britain. The outline of Chesil Beach, with the Fleet behind it, running down to Weymouth with Portland beyond is familiar to many.  Nor does it require a long walk.  It is visible from the B3157 as it crests Abbotsbury Hill at the start of its steep descent into the village.  It is difficult not to be awestruck by the majesty of the landscape below as the view reveals itself.

Helpfully, there are several laybys for people to stop and take in the scene.  They are a necessity as stop they do.  It is a commanding view. On the day I took this shot, there was virtually no traffic due to a road closure a few miles further along.  Yet even then, someone parked their car next to mine and said the opportunity to take a photo was too good to miss.  A sentiment with which I cannot disagree.

It is not the first occasion that I have photographed here.  Yet despite its splendour, it is not the easiest place to obtain a good image.  The “laws” of composition demand such aspects as lead in lines or foreground interest, none of which are present.  Yet on a dull and overcast winter’s day, with the sun barely managing to peak through the grey clouds, I found a moodiness which is not always present.  Perfect for conversion to monochrome to complete the effect.  Who says there is such a thing as “poor light”?

For those who are interested

A few technical details.  I have an enthusiasm for adapting old, manual focus lenses onto a digital camera body.  In this case, it is a Sony A7 II for which I own no native lenses.  Everything I attach to it was originally designed for other systems, usually for use with film.  Modern trends often favour sharpness, but that can be at the expense of other characteristics.  Older lenses can still be sufficiently sharp, but bring their own attributes to the rendering of an image.  Prime lenses are usually prized over zooms, but in this instance I used a Minolta MD 35-70 f/3.5.  They are inexpensive to acquire but are known to be good performers.

Alternative Shot

While it was mainly a cloudy day, the sun did shine briefly.  Further along the coast at Burton Bradstock, I was fortunate to be present when it lit the sandstone cliffs there.  In the right conditions, they have a wonderful orange glow.

The cliffs at Burton Bradstock glowing in the winter sun
Golden Cliffs at Burton Bradstock

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