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Stunning Sunrise and Sunset Photos Taken in the North East

Stunning Sunrise and Sunset Photos Taken in the North East
June 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

Sunderland amateur photographer Laura Thompson finds solace in capturing stunning sunrises and sunsets in the North East

She sheds some light on the benefits of being an early bird.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m 33, married and live in Sunderland. I currently work as the estates and office manager in a primary school but have worked within education for the past 14 years. I generally like to spend most of my free time wandering the North East with my camera in hand, alongside my beautiful Husky boy, who very much dislikes all the stopping to take pictures! I love photography, not only has it encouraged me to get out exploring but it has been very grounding for me. When I’m not out taking pictures, I’m gardening with my husband or playing Xbox.

How did you get into photography?
I started going to Roker beach with my dog last year. Like a lot of people, I struggle to switch off and focus too much on things that cause stress. Taking time for myself, walking my dog and watching the sun come up over the horizon quietened my busy mind and helped improve my mental health. I started taking pictures and videos of the sunrise with my iPhone to share with my friends and family in the hope it would make them smile and decided in April 2023 to start my Instagram account, to do the same thing but for a wider audience. As I started to gain more interest in photography, I borrowed a camera from my mother-in-law and captured new subjects, places and explored the North East more than I ever had. I have recently bought my own Sony a7R III and I’m now addicted to the most expensive hobby I’ve ever taken up!

Why do you love capturing the region’s sunrises and sunsets?
We have the most picturesque landmarks across our region, made even greater during golden hour. I feel the light of sunrise/sunset really helps to capture the beauty of the location you’re in, making the moment so much more special. I love taking the time to enjoy the moment itself and I do try to portray this in my images. I do have plans to visit so many more places across the North East this year and can’t wait to showcase all of our gorgeous landmarks. Taking the time to focus on the beauty of the little things has been the most beneficial part of taking up photography.

What challenges do you face with this type of photography?
The weather is especially challenging, you never know whether you’ll wake up to grey clouds and rain or burning orange and pink skies. It’s always a gamble but always worth venturing out either way. I’ve captured some of my favourite sunrise shots when I thought there would be too much cloud in the sky. Summer sunrises are also a struggle, although the best in my opinion. Getting up at 3am, or earlier if I plan to go up to Northumberland, can be a little painful! Although an early bird, I do have my limits!

Your favourite place and subject to photograph?
So far, it has to be Bamburgh Castle. It is the most serene beach I’ve visited so far and the castle at sunrise is just awe inspiring. My first visit for sunrise last July took my breath away. It was so calm and the sky was a beautiful warm orange. I sat at the edge of the sand dunes just watching the sun come up while people paddle boarded in the sea, it has to be one of my favourite memories. I’ve been many times since and very much look forward to more visits in the coming summer.

Top tips for beginner photographers?
The obvious one would be YouTube videos; you will always find a video to explain all the different aspects of photography. I personally struggle with focus and prefer practical learning, which brings me to my next suggestion, which worked the best for me. Follow other photographers that love the same things as you, and reach out and ask questions too. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and becoming good friends with a few successful local photographers, who were more than happy to show me the basics.

Learn how to edit. Editing is a big part of the art of photography and most photographers you come across have made their captures their own by editing to enhance their vision of the moment. I use Lightroom for mobile, it’s so easy to use once you know what you are doing.

Most importantly, don’t compare your work to others, especially when you’re just starting out. Everyone has their own style and experience, just enjoy the journey and don’t take it too seriously, find your own style in your own time.


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