Checklist: Camera, Tripod, Keys, Weetabix…

by Rebecca J Gerken

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah and I woke up ridiculously early in order to experiment with some night photography in Broadstairs. There were two main reasons for doing this and considering I, like the majority of students, find it difficult to get up at all, let alone at 4.30 am on a Saturday, they had to be good.

The first: Sarah was soon to become 22 years of age and it was on her bucket list to watch the sunrise whilst 21 or younger. She doesn’t drive so I said I’d take her down to the seafront one morning if she really wanted to. She did. It was all her idea really.

The second: After seeing the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition, we were both thoroughly inspired to take our cameras out into the night and see what happens.

We left the house at 5 am, managing to remember to take breakfast with us. Sarah had her flask full of tea and I had made sure to put an extra amount of milk and sugar on my Weetabix as I knew it would be sitting for a while and I fancied that it would soak it all up and be much more tastier that way… We’d packed our camera bags the night before, had our pajamas on under our clothes and set off in awe of ourselves at actually managing to get out of bed without getting straight back in.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. I have never really clicked with landscape photography so I was rather dubious that I wouldn’t just turn the camera off after ten minutes and sit huffing away about how useless I am until the sun showed itself and I could go back to bed. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I actually like my photographs, even if I have seen them before a million times on postcards and hanging over people’s fireplaces. I suppose, actually, that this is one of the reasons I am happy with my images – it proves I can technically compete with other photographers. I will definitely be going again, and it seems like there may even be a little group of us next time, as a few of my photographing friends I have mentioned it to have said, “Oh, let me know next time, and I’ll come with you.” Of course, they were the only people not to say, “You got up at what time? Just to photograph?” And there is that word again…Just.