Happisburgh, Norfolk, 29th November 2019

31st December 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar

After my little wander around Monks Wood, I decided I would make a proper effort to up my game in terms of my non-aviation work.

It dawned on me that I put a lot of focus in aviation now. Whilst I love it, I perhaps have lost sight of why I started photography in the first place which was to document my adventures. Whilst I go to different locations to shoot aircraft, I haven’t done a lot of “adventuring” outside of it for the past couple of years. For the sake of my blog and my sanity, I need to get back on that horse again.

Having recently purchased the book “Photographing East Anglia” by East Anglia based photographer Justin Minns, it made me realise that my local area is a lot more photogenic than I have given it credit for. I have been guilty in the past of ignoring the region because I had fallen into the mindset that it was flat fenland and not a landscape dream. The book showed me otherwise.

It inspired me to explore local a lot more. My first adventure would be North Norfolk.

The Trip

Whilst I have been to North Norfolk before, it’s normally been with friends or family, never solo. My hope was that by going alone it would give me more freedom to shoot and try different things than I would if I was worrying about what others wanted to do or about them being bored with me sitting on a rock waiting for the sun to move.

I booked a half-day at work and then booked a single room in a hotel and made my plans to shoot sunrises and sunsets around the Cromer area.

When the Friday came, I set out on the road from work before realising I had forgotten my remote shutter, something which is crucial for long exposure shots. I took advantage of the situation and drove to Norwich to visit Wex, a shop I have used online but never been to. I got a replacement remote shutter (turned out later that I hadn’t forgotten my other one) and treated my self to an “L” bracket before getting back to the road.

The first stop on my trip would be Happisburgh to see Happisburgh Lighthouse.


You might remember I visited Happisburgh in  2017 and got some pictures of the lighthouse. The first part of my plan for this journey was to get myself to Happisburgh again to set up for some sunset shots of the lighthouse. Despite some really bad traffic around Norwich, I got there just in time to not miss it.

Rushing to get into position, I bumped into another photographer who had the same idea, we got chatting and waited for the sun to set on us.  With some dense rain clouds rolling in it got darker a lot quicker than we had hoped and sadly, the sun didn’t quite do what we wanted it to do. We waited around in the hope that the cloud may move and give us a last glimpse at the light but alas, it was not to be.

I did manage to fire off a few nice shots of the lighthouse, including a number of bracketed shots to get a higher dynamic range. Here they are.

At first, the clouds gave us some impressive lighting behind the lighthouse.

As the evening continued, they started to get more dense and stormy.

Occasionally they broke to let the light back in.

We got a break in the clouds just as the light came on. You can see the last light of the day reflecting off the crops.

As it started getting darker with the clouds moving in, I switched my focus to trying to get the light from the lighthouse in my image. Not as easy as it sounds,

As the clouds rolled in and it was getting harder to shoot I started to break my gear down ready to leave.

I couldn’t leave without trying something arty.

After breaking down, I walked and talked with the gentleman I’d spent the sunset with on our way back to our cars. We said our goodbyes and I set off towards Cromer. Within 2 minutes of getting in the car, the clouds which had threatened rain opened and dumped everything they had.


After a windy and rainy drive to Cromer, I arrived at my hotel, got changed and went out to take a few evening shots of the pier before dinner. I only took a couple, but here they are.

The pier at Christmas.

A few years ago I took a photo along the pier and originally aimed to recreate it. Sadly, due to some works on the pier, the image I wanted would have been too messy so I decided to focus on other things. With the floor slick from the rain, the lights were creating some great shadows and reflections of the seats so I got arty with them.

Final Thoughts

With a hearty meal in my stomach, I stopped at the pub for a couple of quiet drinks before making my way back to the hotel. My intention was to get up super early for the sunrise at the pier, so after listening to some photography podcasts I settled down to sleep ready for the long following day.