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A Weekend in Whitby

eight ePHOTOzine members visit Whitby

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Whitby Weekend - Day 1 17th July 2004 Location: Staithes (eventually!) Weather: Overcast and Raining

Now what is it about a man and driving? You pass a sign that says Staithes 1/2mile, and 3 miles later you are still going. Do you stop? Do you turn round? No you have some blind belief that the destination will eventually appear before you.

Well we did eventually persuade Glenn (sabretalon) to turn round and head back towards Staithes where poor Phil (Phil-LS) had been patiently waiting for us. The us being Glenn, me (csurry) and Brian, a friend of Glenn who is not currently a member of ePHOTOzine. You'd have thought after a weekend of us showing him the upside of membership that he would have joined by now, oh well perhaps not,

The car park at the top of Staithes proved to be an interesting meeting point as it was difficult to get a phone signal to contact Phil to let him know we had arrived. If we'd known he was sat there in a car watching our every move we might have behaved differently. When we did eventually get a signal on one of the phones we joked about hearing Phil's phone ring as we dialed. We were close to the truth as a hand and then a head and body appeared from a nearby car waving a mobile phone in our general direction to confirm contact.

Introductions over we headed down into Staithes village. The weather was not good and after a short while wandering around looking for something to photograph we decided to head back to a café we had seen for breakfast, and very nice it was too.

The weather did brighten for a short while and we walked up the far side of the village to look at the classic view of the harbour, unfortunately I don't think we were actually in the right place as that seems to be a bit further along the road. With the tide out the view wasn't exactly inspiring. It was about now that we began to realise that Brian was a photo-fiend, anything that moved, in fact anything that didn't move had to be recorded.

None of us really being inspired by Staithes we decided to head off to Goathland, which for those of you like me, who are ignorant of these sort of useless facts, is the setting for Heartbeat.

Now I don't want to start sounding like a weather forecaster, but by the time we reached Goathland, or Aidensfield, it had begun to pour again, we parked the car in a car park belonging to a local garden centre, more of this later. Headed towards the railway station in the hope of some shots of the steam trains or at the very least a nice warm cup of coffee.

Little did we know that this was gonna to become a familiar place over the next couple of hours. So the story goes like this, had a cup of coffee, bit of a chat about photography, took some pictures of classic cars, more rain showers, more coffee, more chat, missed all the steam trains.

A Weekend in Whitby
Reflection (Phil-LS)


Some people think I should mention my tripod-carrier at this point. Well, Anne (Flossie) gave the idea to me, and no I don't feel any guilt that I allowed a disabled person to carry my tripod for me. There I said it, it may not be PC, but who cares.

Just when we were beginning to despair of the rain, it looked as though it was genuinely about to improve, at which point Glenn suggested a stroll to Beck Hole where we could photograph a waterfall. According to Glenn, Beck Hole was a mile away (remember the Staithes fiasco ½ a mile being confused with 3 miles).

A Weekend in Whitby

Jaguar bonnet. (csurry)

The start of the walk was pleasant, it was flat, it wasn't raining and we were still swapping stories to fill the time. These stories included a tale from a very reliable source about the meaning of the markings on the sheep that were roaming about. Apparently green is for those that are OK, red is for those that kick during the act and blue is for those yet to be tried. By the way I didn't get this from a Welshman as you may think but from a Dane.

By the time we reached Beck Hole via a very steep hill, it was not surprisingly raining again, so we decided to take shelter in a local hostelry, well in fact the only hostelry.

Now if you've seen the film 'An American Werewolf in London' then you'll remember the Slaughtered Lamb, strangely at this moment we were all reminded of the line 'Go! And stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.'

About an hour or so later, who knows, because it seemed like we were in a time-warp, it brightened once again and we ventured outside where Phil announced that the 'blue clouds' were a good sign. Not for Phil, because we teased him mercilessly for the rest of the weekend about that one.

A long and tiresome walk followed where we had to negotiate gates that weren't meant for people with backpacks on to get through, until eventually we reached our target, Mallyan Spout.

The light was by now good, in fact too good, which led to Glenn trying out the two polariser technique to try and get a slow enough shutter speed to blur the water. At last we all had something to photograph, so you'd think I would have a lot of shots to include here, but no. Not sure what happened to them, but as no one has sent me any I've included a standard slow-shutter speed picture of running water that I took.

Double Polariser shot (sabretalon)

<A Weekend in Whitby

After we'd taken a number of shots and spent some time here Glenn announced that the walk back takes between 10 and 20 minutes depending on your speed. Now you are probably asking the same question we were at this point. If there is a quick route, why on earth did we take the scenic route in the first place. Luckily for Glenn there was a pub at the end of the short-route and a sit down and a drink was more than welcome.

We made a decision to head into Whitby for 'Fish and Chips' and so headed back towards the car park. At this moment I asked if anyone else had read that the car park closed at 6pm? There were a few rumblings about not mentioning this earlier, like we could have sprinted back up the hill and through Goathland to the car, anyway.

Sure enough when we got back to the car park the gate was closed and appeared to be locked, but after a brief heart-stopping moment we realised that the padlock was merely hanging loosely around the gate.

Fish and Chips were great and something you just have to have when at the seaside, well as long as you are not a vegetarian I guess.

Eventually we said good night and set off for our hotel, I would tell you another story about Glenn missing the road the hotel was on and I could because it happened, but I think you're getting the point about Glenn's directions.

Day 2 18th July 2004 Location: Whitby Weather: Bright and Sunny.

You'd think that by staying in a nearby hotel you would be able to have a lie in before setting off to Whitby, well with a 7:00am meet, I don't think 5:30am is a lie in. At least they laid on an early breakfast for us.

We thought we had set off in plenty of time for Whitby as the hotel claimed to be just 15 miles away, but when you have been driving for 15 minutes and you pass a roadside marker that says 19miles to Whitby you know one of two things. Hotel brochures lie or Glenn is driving, I'll leave you to make the call.

Eventually we made it to Whitby, though we were a bit late, thankfully the others had waited for us (bet they regretted that later in the day?). Introductions were made and the gang now included the four from Saturday, me (csurry), Glenn (sabretalon), Phil (Phil-LS) and Brian (non-member) as well as Anne(flossie), Keith(keithh), Fred(funkeldink) and Phil number two(eskimo). A late arriver who was still to join us made up the party, Tony(phoenix).

As you can see from the team photo Tony is a bit camera shy, I did think about inserting a dotted line where he should have been or a large question mark, but decided not to.

<A Weekend in Whitby

team photo (by Keithh)

First port of call was the pier before it got too crowded with people. You've probably seen a lot of photos from this part of the day and I think the reason will become clear as our story unfolds!

Contemplation (funkeldink)

Some people were more adventurous than others and investigated both the shoreline view and the lower level of the pier, but I think everyone got some shots of which they were justifiably proud.

<A Weekend in Whitby
Keith seemed intent on getting a shot of each of us, now like phoenix I'm not keen on having my picture taken so decided upon revenge. I have a shot of Keith bending over his camera bag which can go by a number of titles, "Photographers' Bum" or as I like to call it "Whitby Beach, Exposed". Copies can be purchased from my photobox gallery.

pier (By eskimo)

We spent a couple of hours taking photos around the pier area, before a plan was hatched to walk along to the beach huts further along the beach. At this point Phil and I thought we would head into the old town as we had no desire for photos of the huts.

<A Weekend in Whitby

About ten minutes later Phil got a call to say they had changed their mind and would also being heading into the old town, but as we had found a cosy café for a cup of coffee we decided to stay put.

I can't say what the others got up to at this point but I believe a second breakfast was had by some!

On leaving the café, Phil and I spotted Phil and Fred taking photos at the top of the road, and not being afraid to make complete fools of ourselves we began waving frantically and shouting their names. Now they may have been deliberately trying to avoid us (not confirmed) or they were still a both phased from the previous night, but we had to virtually walk right up next to them before they saw us.

So the gang wandered around the old town for a while, mainly talking and taking a few pictures, until the decision as to whether to climb the stairs to the abbey or not became the focus.


A Weekend in Whitby

Kipper Shop (by Flossie)

For those that don't know Whitby, apparently there are 199 steps from the town to the Abbey, though phoenix swears that there are 203. The secret to climbing the stairs as a photographer seems to work something like this, if you feel yourself getting tired, pause, check out the view and pretend to take a photograph until you have got your breath back.

Once again we split into two groups, those prepared to walk up the steps and those opting for the car drive.

We all met up again at the Abbey teashop, some took pictures or so they claim, and some had refreshments. Now to some Whitby was not a new location and they didn't want to pay to go into the Abbey, me being a southerner, thought you can't go all the way to Whitby and not actually visit the Abbey. So once again, we split into two groups.

Abbey Photo Here (Phil-LS)

<A Weekend in Whitby

Group one will from now on be referred to as the pubgroup and included Keith, Anne, Fred and Phil, actually they won't because I have nothing more to say about them, except thanks for a great day. Whether they took any more photos I can not say, but apparently they did spend three hours in the pub before setting off home. Enid Blyton had the Secret Seven and the Famous Five, ePhotozine has the Furtive Four.

Group two, which included me, Phil, Glenn and Brian paid to go and look at the Abbey. Phoenix who hadn't wanted his picture taken had already entered the grounds some time earlier.

We spent a while at the Abbey, though perhaps the best shot came from Phil on his visit (illegally) on Friday night when he joined a number of other photographers in scaling the wall to get a sunset shot.

Whilst at the Abbey, Glenn determined to improve upon his two polariser technique, invented what is now to be known as the periscope technique. Problem - Glenn couldn't get the right angle to see the whole reflection of the Abbey in the pond at the far end of the site. Solution mount your camera on your tripod, extend it to the maximum height, set the self-timer, hold the contraption above your head and aim in the general direction of your required image. Now Glenn claims that this worked, but we have yet to see the evidence.

I have a question, what is it about old monuments that attracts the very worst of American visitors? They know that the place is old, yet still think that every remaining piece of stonework is a potential climbing frame from which one must bellow at the top of your voice to a companion just metres away (or should that be meters). Just a question - I don't suppose anyone really has the answer.

We wandered around Whitby for a few more hours including finally getting some shots of the beach huts, ate chips from a plastic tray wrapped in paper and generally had a good time before heading home.

Did we get any good shots, well I think on these sorts of days, that is only a secondary consideration

seagull (csurry)

A Weekend in Whitby

Thanks to Cheryl Surry for this article.

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