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Some thoughts on the etiquette of landscape photography

Excuse Me!

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Dunstanburgh Castle from across the sands of Embleton Bay
I like to think that in the main we landscape photographers are polite and patient bunch. I would also like to think that I fall into that category. However on occasion we crack. I had decided to head up to Dunstanburgh Castle on Wednesday to photograph the sunrise. I checked the sunrise time- 5:49, set my alarm for 4am and lay in bed waiting for it to go off. Sure enough, just as I had dropped off, my alarm rang! The drive up to Dunstanburgh would take about 1 hour and give me plenty of time to get set up and wait for the spectacle to unfold. Having left the house I realized that I'd better fill up with fuel, so I called into a 24 hour services on my way. I still reckoned that despite the slight detour, I'd be in plenty of time. Driving up the A1 I could already see the sky becoming lighter to the east. Was I going to miss the show? I pressed on and arrived at the Dunstan Steads car park with time to spare. I walked down to the beach. It was a lovely sight; pristine sands and the gathering colour in the sky to the east. I wasn't alone, there was another intrepid soul already set up taking photographs. Despite the fact that he was exactly where I wanted to be; in my book, etiquette states that he who arrives first has priority, so I set myself up further down the beach and starting taking images of the light on the wet sand and pools of water. I took a couple of images with my fellow photographer just on the edge of the scene, thinking I could clone him out later. Eventually, he moved out of shot and I got the photograph. He started walking towards me, obviously keen to engage with a kindred spirit. He stopped said hello, and then proceeded to walk in front of me. Not only was there no need to do this, he could have simply walked behind me, he'd leave his footprints across the pristine sand! Very uncharacteristically, I screamed at him to stop and not mess up the sand. He was quite taken aback at my sudden outburst and apologetically walked away. I would like to offer my apologies to the photographer I screamed at and hope he was not too traumatised by the incident. Perhaps he is also writing his tale of the mad landscape photographer on the beach at Embleton Bay and warning his friends to beware! If he also tells them not to walk in front of a fellow photographer, leaving their boot prints in the sand, I'd be grateful. I quickly calmed down after my outburst and happily spent the next hour or so taking various photographs of the beach, sand dunes and the birds in the hawthorn bushes next to the golf course. Of course making sure that I wasn't going to spoil anyone else's photographs.