The best of Dorset in words and pictures

A white Dorset Christmas

Andy Farrer celebrates the blanketing of the county in snow

Anvil Point in the snow at sunset in early December

Anvil Point in the snow at sunset in early December

I  may be biased, but I don’t think that there are many places prettier and more photogenic than Dorset at any time of the year, but in winter that becomes even truer, especially when it snows.

The snow on the banjo jetty at Swanage makes the red of the lifebelt holder on the right of the shot and the pier marker in the top middle of the shot really stand out

The snow on the banjo jetty at Swanage makes the red of the lifebelt holder on the right of the shot and the pier marker in the top middle of the shot really stand out

 

This picture was taken mid-morning, but as there's absolutely no direct sunlight, it's impossible to tell as there are no shadows. The dark stone of Knowlton Church has been softened by the flurries of snow from the right, while the background has been almost erased by the freezing fog

This picture was taken mid-morning, but as there’s absolutely no direct sunlight, it’s impossible to tell as there are no shadows. The dark stone of Knowlton Church has been softened by the flurries of snow from the right, while the background has been almost erased by the freezing fog

This is partly because, especially at the coast, this doesn’t happen very often, but also because it completely changes the look of many of Dorset’s iconic places. Sometimes snow and frost soften an image, reducing the contrast, sometimes they do the opposite, providing a stark, white backdrop that throws the chosen subject into sharp relief, or allowing a single colour to be picked out.

A lone tree is lightly sprinkled in snow and ice just outside Wool

A lone tree is lightly sprinkled in snow and ice just outside Wool

Inland, of course, snow is more common, but irrespective of the location, the key to getting the best picture is often to be the first photographer there, the one whose footprints appear in other photographers’ pictures. This means driving in pitch black and freezing conditions to be there when first light comes, which is why you need to be a bit obsessed to be a landscape photographer.

Corfe Castle from above the mist at daybreak. The one advantage to winter shooting for landscapes is that the early mornings are not quite as early as the summer ones. The picture was taken at the eminently civilised time of  twenty past eight.

Corfe Castle from above the mist at daybreak. The one advantage to winter shooting for landscapes is that the early mornings are not quite as early as the summer ones. The picture was taken at the eminently civilised time of twenty past eight.

As well as falling on the ground, snow falls and sticks on cold vertical surfaces when winds blow softly and consistently from one direction. These trees in Wareham Forest show the resultant effect.

As well as falling on the ground, snow falls and sticks on cold vertical surfaces when winds blow softly and consistently from one direction. These trees in Wareham Forest show the resultant effect.

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