dorset

Kevin Ferrioli

Nights in 35mm Winspit Milky Way-Kevin G Ferrioli20190411-55.jpg

I’m a SQL analyst and developer by profession, living in Dorset, United Kingdom, which is an amazing place for people who love outdoor activities. I love mountain biking which has taken me to stunning locations, and there are miles of breath-taking walks with lots of nature and history around – every corner has a surprise, it’s like living in a fantasy, at least that’s how I see it.

Since I was a child, I’ve always had a fascination for the stars. I had the opportunity to visit places near the equator with true dark skies, where the Milky Way core is visible up in the sky – unlike in the UK where the core is barely visible on the horizon. It’s of unbelievable beauty. I spent most of my childhood visiting locations in the rain forest, flat lands and my favourite – the mountains, especially over 4000 meters.

My fascination for the night sky has always been with me and I have always wanted to capture their beauty. One day, I saw images from Michael Shainblum and he then became my main influence and inspiration. I’ve never looked to replicate his style or the others, it was just that I loved how his images made me feel so immersed. It inspired me to do the same with my photos, to capture an image that would put the viewer under the stars.

dorset nightscape
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As I did last year, I went again to the same place for my first Milky Way, Peveril Point, Swanage, Dorset UK. For my previous attempt, I used a Sigma Art lens 20mm F1.4. The idea was to capture more detailed foregrounds. The lens proved to be excellent for low light but it has four major downsides: first, photos of the night sky taken with this lens were extremely difficult to edit. Second, it is not very good for panoramas, despite I used a nodal head. Third, the autofocus is the worst of any lens that I have ever owned, it is very difficult to capture a sharp photo even with the best light conditions. And fourth, the lens profile in Lightroom is terrible, it makes the images worse. I was not bothered by the astigmatism distortion of the corners which virtually disappeared in panoramas. Overall, I was not happy with the lens, I felt I wasted my last year trying to use it. So I went back to my trustworthy Samyang lens 14mm F2,8. Coupled with the Canon 6D, still my preferred choice. I have not tested the Sigma 14mm F2 yet, but given the price, I will stick with my Samyang.

The image to the rights is the process used to create it. It is a panorama of 7 photos, Canon 6d and Samyang 14mm F2.8, ISO between 4000 and 5000. Each photo is 25 secs. Stitched in Adobe Lightroom.

Peveril Point Swanage Milky Way: 7 images highlighted below and stitched in Abobe Lightroom.

Peveril Point Swanage Milky Way: 7 images highlighted below and stitched in Abobe Lightroom.


The moon rise was spectacular, one of the most beautiful rises from the sea, it was also so dim that allowed to capture the Milky Way up to the last minute before the astronomical dawn. Again, I thank you the nature for this beautiful experience.

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All images have been captured with a Canon 6D Mk1. And most of the images were captured with a Samyang 14mm F2.8 Lens, my more recent work is being captured with the amazing Samyang 14mm F2.4 XP

Durdle Door, Dorset.

Durdle Door, Dorset.

Image by jasty78

Durdle Door (sometimes written Durdle Dor) is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England.

It is privately owned by the Welds, a family who owns 12,000 acres (50 km2) in Dorset in the name of the Lulworth Estate. It is open to the public. The name Durdle is derived from the Old English word ‘thirl' meaning bore or drill.

The form of the coastline around Durdle Door is controlled by its geology—both by the contrasting hardnesses of the rocks, and by the local patterns of faults and folds. The arch has formed on a concordant coastline where bands of rock run parallel to the shoreline. The rock strata are almost vertical, and the bands of rock are quite narrow. Originally a band of resistant Portland limestone ran along the shore, the same band that appears one mile along the coast forming the narrow entrance to Lulworth Cove. Behind this is a 120-metre (390 ft) band of weaker, easily eroded rocks, and behind this is a stronger and much thicker band of chalk, which forms the Purbeck Hills. These steeply dipping rocks are part of the Lulworth crumple, itself part of the broader Purbeck Monocline, produced by the building of the Alps during the mid-Cenozoic.

The limestone and chalk are in closer proximity at Durdle Door than at Swanage, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, where the distance is over 2 miles (3 km). Around this part of the coast nearly all of the limestone has been removed by sea erosion, whilst the remainder forms the small headland which includes the arch. Erosion at the western end of the limestone band has resulted in the arch formation.

UNESCO teams monitor the condition of both the arch and adjacent beach.

The 120-metre (390 ft) isthmus which joins the limestone to the chalk is made of a 50-metre (160 ft) band of Portland limestone, a narrow and compressed band of Cretaceous Wealden clays and sands, and then narrow bands of greensand and sandstone.

In Man O' War Bay, the small bay immediately east of Durdle Door, the band of Portland and Purbeck limestone has not been entirely eroded away, and is visible above the waves as Man O'War Rocks. Similarly, offshore to the west, the eroded limestone outcrop forms a line of small rocky islets called (from east to west) The Bull, The Blind Cow, The Cow, and The Calf.

As the coastline in this area is generally an eroding landscape, the cliffs are subject to occasional rockfalls and landslides; a particularly large slide occurred just to the east of Durdle Door in April 2013, resulting in destruction of part of the South West Coast Path.

There is a dearth of early written records about the arch, though it has kept a name given to it probably over a thousand years ago. In the late eighteenth century there is a description of the "magnificent arch of Durdle-rock Door", and early nineteenth-century maps called it 'Duddledoor' and 'Durdle' or 'Dudde Door'. In 1811 the first Ordnance Survey map of the area named it as 'Dirdale Door'. 'Durdle' is derived from the Old English 'thirl', meaning to pierce, bore or drill which in turn derives from 'thyrel', meaning hole. Similar names in the region include Durlston Bay and Durlston Head further east, where a oastal stack suggests the existence of an earlier arch, and the Thurlestone, an arched rock in the neighbouring county of Devon to the west. The 'Door' part of the name probably maintains its modern meaning, referring to the arched shape of the rock; in the late nineteenth century there is reference to it being called the "Barn-door", and is described as being "sufficiently high for a good-sized sailing boat to pass through it."

Music videos have been filmed at Durdle Door, including parts of Tears for Fears' "Shout", Billy Ocean's "Loverboy", and Cliff Richard's "Saviour's Day"

The landscape around Durdle Door has been used in scenes in several films, including Wilde (1997) starring Stephen Fry, Nanny McPhee starring Emma Thompson,

the 1967 production of Far From The Madding Crowd (the latter also filmed around nearby Scratchy Bottom), and the Bollywood film Housefull 3.

Ron Dawson's children's story Scary Bones meets the Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Coast creates a myth of how Durdle Door came to be, as an 'undiscovered' dinosaur called Durdle Doorus is magically transformed into rock.

Dorset-born Arthur Moule, a friend of Thomas Hardy and missionary to China, wrote these lines about Durdle Door for his 1879 book of poetry Songs of heaven and home, written in a foreign land:

durdle door

Top Ten Dark Sky Locations Dorset, UK

You can also check out the NEED-LESS interactive night sky simulator to find the darkest places in the AONB and discover what to expect when you're looking upwards.

Descriptions

1.       King Alfred’s Tower

Kingsettle Hill, South Brewham, Bruton, Somerset BA10 0LB

King Alfred’s Tower is a striking 160ft (49m) folly, built in 1772 for Henry Hoare II, known as Henry the Magnificent, the designer of the iconic  Stourhead gardens. It is believed to mark the site where King Alfred the Great rallied his troops in 878. The tower commemorates the accession of George III to the throne in 1760 and the end of the Seven Years War. Henry would surely have appreciated the majesty of the night sky as much as his own creations and this site provides a perfect spot from which to admire the beauty above.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST778340
Eastings: 377848 Northings: 134032
Latitude: 51.105152 Longitude: -2.3177773
Facilities: Car park
Owner: The National Trust

2.       Dinton Park

St Mary's Road, Dinton, Wiltshire SP3 5HH

Perfectly described by the National Trust as “far-reaching rolling parkland with tranquil views in the grounds of a Neo-Grecian house”. Please note that car parking for Dinton Park is located on St Mary's Road immediately south of St Mary's Church. There is no visitor car parking at Philipps House itself. This park is one of Wiltshire’s best kept secrets and boasts substantial views - even Salisbury Cathedral can be seen from the highest point. Just like the night sky, the house is strikingly simple, deliberately conservative and grand, making it a fantastic backdrop for your night time photography.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: SU009315
Eastings: 400985 Northings: 131584
Latitude: 51.083577 Longitude: -1.9873184
Facilities: Car park, nearby shop and pub.
Owner: The National Trust

3.       Fontmell and Melbury Downs

Spreadeagle Hill, Melbury Abbas, Dorset SP7 0DT

At 263m, the summit of Melbury Hill is one of the highest points in Dorset. An Armada beacon sited here in 1588 formed part of the chain of signal beacons stretching between London and Plymouth. What better place to witness the other navigational tools used by sea farers worldwide – the mystical constellations. This site offers superb panoramic views which, apart from Win Green, are unparalleled in the AONB.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST886187
Eastings: 388608 Northings: 118715
Latitude: 50.967740 Longitude: -2.1636066
Facilities: Car park, nearby café at Compton Abbas Airfield.
Owner: The National Trust

4.       Martin Down Nature Reserve

This 336ha reserve is home to an exceptional collection of plants and animals associated with chalk downland and scrub habitats, including a number of rare or threatened species. It also offers an exceptional view of our night skies. Savour this ancient landscape where our prehistoric ancestors would have relied heavily on the night sky for navigation, planning their year and for their religion and associated rituals.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: SU036200
Eastings: 403665 Northings: 120048
Latitude: 50.979831 Longitude: -1.9491720
Facilities: Car park
Owner: Natural England and Hampshire County Council

5.       Win Green

Donhead Hollow, Near Ludwell, Wiltshire SP7 0ES

One of the best known and most iconic sites in the Cranborne Chase AONB, Win Green is its highest point as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It contains chalk grassland, a habitat that has been seriously eroded in the UK and offers extensive views, with Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight, Salisbury, Glastonbury Tor, the Mendips, the Quantocks and Milk Hill all visible when clear.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST923204
Eastings: 392328 Northings: 120473
Latitude: 50.983613 Longitude: -2.1106625
Facilities: Car park
Owner: The National Trust

6.       Knowlton

Knowlton, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 5AE

Many people report a strange sensation when standing at the centre of Church Henge, among the ruins of the medieval church. This is perhaps because it is at the heart of a major pagan ceremonial site, once taken over by Christian worship, but now returned to nature. Surrounding the site is the largest concentration of pre-historic barrows and henges found anywhere in the UK. Read up on the constellation myths created by our ancestors that tell of gods and monsters, heroes and villains and other legends using only the stars in the night sky and then witness the incredible theatrical display for yourself. The backdrop of the stunning church also makes for fantastic astrophotography.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: SU023102
Eastings: 402331 Northings: 110231
Latitude: 50.891560 Longitude: -1.9682264
Facilities: Small car park
Owner: English Heritage

7.       Badbury Rings

B3082, near Wimborne, Dorset BH21 4DZ

Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hill fort in the territory of the Durotriges. In the Roman era, soldiers built a temple nearby which was used by the people of Vindocladia, a small local settlement. Back then there was little light pollution and our ancestors would have visited Badbury Rings and witnessed the full majestic view of our galaxy and beyond.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST960030
Eastings: 395983 Northings: 103064
Latitude: 50.827097 Longitude: -2.0584077
Facilities: Car park
Owner: The National Trust

8.       Cley Hill

Corsley, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 7QU

Although a bracing walk to the top of this ancient hillfort, once you’ve reached the summit you’ll be on top of one of the UK’s UFO hotspots. For almost 40 years this site has drawn UFO spotters who are keen to see if the talk of lights, flying objects and other unidentifiable oddities are true. Warminster has a designated National Reporting Centre for UFOs - so you won’t have to go far to record your sightings. The site offers 360 degree views of the surrounding hills and while the lights of Warminster may reduce the quality of the darkness, you may well enjoy an out of this world experience.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST837442
Eastings: 383769 Northings: 144287
Latitude: 51.197568 Longitude: -2.2336712
Facilities: Car park
Owner: National Trust

9.       Sutton Veny playing fields

This small picturesque village not far from Warminster is home to the Starquest Astronomy Club, a successful group made up of novices and more experienced astronomers. They meet once a month for talks and training in all things astronomy and also set up their telescopes on Sutton Veny playing fields for observation sessions. If you’re looking to find out more about the AONB’s night skies and astronomy, this club is probably for you. For more information, email peter.lee@tytherington.net; tel: 01985 840093.

Directions
Website
Grid reference: ST901417
Eastings: 390192 Northings: 141759
Latitude: 51.174978 Longitude: -2.1416849

10.   Ox Drove

Middle Down, north of Alvediston

Retrace the steps of our ancestors as they drove their cattle along this ancient track and take a journey of your own exploring the night sky. While you will not see the same brightness of starry night skies as they once boasted, you will still be one of the lucky 10% living in this country who are able to witness pristine skies.  Park in the lay-by next to the Ox Drove.

Directions
Grid reference: ST964250
Eastings: 396469 Northings: 125041
Latitude: 51.024727 Longitude: -2.0517156
Facilities: Car parking in lay-by