Selby Camera Club
Angela, Dave and Robert shared an incredible adventure in the North Sea. We booked with Yorkshire Coast Nature on a boat trip to beneath Bempton Cliffs. What an experience!
The day was lovely – good weather indeed, as it had been awful the week before. Steve Race was organiser and adviser. He spotted us in the car park as we were the only ones changing into warm, weather-proof clothing. Everyone else around was in shorts or in various styles of minimal clothing! We were first of the party of 12 to arrive.
Some of us took sea-sickness pills, but the water was relatively calm for the North Sea and the journey went well.
Essentially, we practised getting our eye in on the way out. A few passing birds, gulls, cormorants, the odd puffin and an overhead gannet or two were the subjects. We had our cameras set to AI Servo AF mode (to follow our locked-onto-subjects), found our long (100mm to 400mm) lens served us best. We used the centrally-set focus mode with evaluative metering and high speed continuous shooting.
After twice stopping briefly under the cliffs we took a few shots of various birds, some of which we didn’t recognise – but our host did. The boat was expertly manoeuvred by the skipper, Paul to get us on the correct side of the sun. Afterwards, we moved out of the shadow of the cliffs and preparations were made to ‘chump’ the gannets. There were some large containers of fish on board and their contents were thrown out in all directions. At first, a few gulls turned up and argued about which of them was to remain hungry and there was not that much action. Then – the gannets arrived, and quickly chased the interlopers away. Wave upon wave of the hungry divers came. Several diving and arguing about the same fish. Plunging right in front of us, hanging in the air above us: pinching catches from one another. They came from every conceivable angle and one took a swipe at Robert’s head with a clumsy wing beat – but on a good trajectory to be first to the fish!
We took hundreds of pictures about 3,000 between us. Since then we have reduced the batches by about 90%! We have ended up with a reasonable number sharp and properly exposed. Of course, Angela had a few shots of the skipper’s dog, Lucy, – she was on board as part of the crew! Robert ended up with ‘puffin envy’ as Angela managed to get a sharp shot of one as it passed alongside. Dave remained calm throughout – at least on the outside. The experience was so vivid we all sat quietly and simply tried to sort out in our minds what we had just seen; apart from a slight homeward deviation to spot an extremely rare Canadian sea-duck. We were all satisfied that we had had good value for money. We have included one or two of our favourite pictures but haven’t yet had time to sort the others all out properly.