People that live somewhere beautiful…
have an enormous advantage in landscape photography. Whitby has a picturesque harbor town, an epic landscape, and of course the dramatic abbey ruins. People have lived there since Roman times, and the history of coastal Whitby is extensive. How do you capture this beauty, especially if you have a two-hour window to take a good photo? Of course, you have no control of the weather.
It is like I mentioned in the post on The Golden Hour, those that live in a scenic place learn something about the place each time they visit or photograph a certain spot. It becomes easier to improve and work the location choices each time they visit.
You just can’t get these great photos unless by dumb luck when being in a place for mere hours. You need to have the best season, the right time of day, the right camera, lenses, and tripod, and of course, great weather conditions. You need to find the right angles on the subject, you need things to be PERFECT. Photos you see in picture books that you buy are the images that we think approach perfection, but then again maybe not.
While we did get to see Whitby from differing perspectives, the day itself was just blah, yet did have some slight weather clearing in those few hours. We were there around noon time though. Yuck… at least the grey clouds helped a bit. The deep dark skies moved off by the time we disembarked the bus to most travelers’ fancy. I would have preferred the sky interest.
Because I live in Niagara Falls. I can go out and shoot the Falls any day of the year. I can watch the weather for interesting cloud patterns, approaching storms, low sun angles, sparkly ice and powdery snow, and it costs me nothing to go see if I can make an interesting photo.
But…sometimes one can go blind to the natural beauty around them that they see daily. Sometime you just plain grow numb to it not realizing how others perceive what is so special. I suspect that happens to many living in a place where tourists flock. I will take you to Niagara Falls next post. While special and breathtaking to visitors, to many residents, it is not something more than routine.
I find I get more inspired by trying to shoot something interesting when traveling to a different culture and country. The grass is always greener so they say. But, you get to another country and, for some reason, you never quite feel like your photos live up to what you saw or expected.
Sometimes the place is so darn epic, a simple photo does not do it justice. Most times, conditions don’t lend themselves to a pretty image, no matter how great the subject. It really was like that when I visited Whitby. My mind’s eye said wow, yet my camera said blah. Most photos were flat and lifeless in this grey, cloud filled sky.
How many times have you gone somewhere filled with high expectations? It happens every trip I take. I’ll go back and look at photos from a previous trip and some not previously considered that I really like, all better than ones from the current trip, or so I think at the time. Photos that didn’t seem like much to me at the time, take on a new meaning once I’ve had some time away from the place they were taken. Surely, our past and future aren’t always better than the present. Yet we continue to think that this is the case.
The Abbey and the History…
The Whitby Abbey is why most tourists visit Whitby. The Abbey had a colorful, patchy and varied history which is what you see it in ruins today. It actually was the second Abbey built here, the first in 657 AD and then again after the Norman conquest of 1066 AD, reestablished in 1090 AD. The Abbey’s relations with the town were stained through history with the collection of dues and customs levied on the townspeople.
The medieval town grew up on both sides of the harbor as you see in the images. The monks ordered the construction of the stone parish church you saw in yesterday’s post. Why the church sits so high on the hill away from the heart of the town is not known. The church is located to the western gate of the Abbey ruins.
Even though the long history of Whitby was trying, the town eventually settled and became prosperous.
The town picked up economically in the 18th century. Whaling, fishing and mining, and much later it became profitable as a resort.
Once a rail system was established, the town became more popular as a resort. But the German wars came to Whitby, firing from ships off the coast. Whitby was always exposed to raiders throughout history, but now as I have seen first hand, the invasion is by interested and curious tourists.
With their former means of commerce waning, tourism is all that more important for today. You can see the town is still filled with nautical activity. Many pleasure boats are found in the harbor.
I hope you enjoyed this town through photos. I only wish I could have taken better images on this dull, cloudy day. With photos, sometimes you luck out and get something better than you would have ever expected, but most times not. This time definitely not. I so wanted better, this town deserves better.
My favorite two towns on any trip, Arbanasi, Bulgaria and Prague, Czech Republic. Arbanasi was photographed on a day like this. Unfortunately, I was also sick during that overcast day. Prague had a picture perfect day. Photos from, Budapest, Hungary also were some of my favorites. Right time, right place, right camera, always the dream…