Norfolk

Thornham Staithe: 'Magical' Norfolk coast captured in photographs

Northern Lights over Thornham in Norfolk Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption The Northern Lights can sometimes be seen from the Norfolk coast

A landscape photographer has told how he was drawn to spend more than 10 years capturing a "magical" coastal scene.

Cleaning contractor Gary Pearson said he had become "obsessed" with Thornham Staithe, in Norfolk.

From the Northern Lights to wildlife and old fishing boats, the 51-year-old has gained a following of more than 4,000 on Facebook while photographing its "ever-changing vista".

Now he has collated his favourite images captured in the area around the staithe, or quay as it is sometimes known - an area of wild open marshland popular with walkers, photographers and birdwatchers.

Thornham Staithe under moonlight Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption 'Magical' moonlight is one of the many reasons Gary Pearson has fallen in love with Thornham Staithe

It began when he captured a moonlight scene soon after moving from Boston, in Lincolnshire.

"On this particular evening I had my camera with me and seeing the rising moon decided to venture down the lane to see what was there," he said.

"I questioned myself as to why I was even driving past a sign that said tidal flooding, but the tide fortunately was lapping gently at the side of the road though, with the moonlight reflecting on the water which was magical."

Thornham Staithe at sunset Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption Thornham Staithe is a "magical, special place"
Self-portrait of Norfolk photographer Gary Pearson at Thornham Staithe Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption "I started taking photos when I was six on a box brownie given to me by my grandfather," Gary Pearson said
Boat at Thornham Staithe Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption "It's my place to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, a bolt hole, a place to wind down," said Mr Pearson

He then returned to the same spot - in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the next morning.

"This time the tide was out and everything looked totally different, beautiful, peaceful, the sound of wading birds calling and a sea breeze rustling the reed beds on the marsh," he said.

"The more I looked, the more I came to realise what a special, magical, place it is."

Weather 'super cell' builds over Thornham Staithe Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption "At the first sign of a storm I'm out with my camera," Gary Pearson said
Old fishing boat 'Nautilus' shot on a long exposure at Thornham Staithe Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption Old fishing boat 'Nautilus' shot on a long exposure at high tide

"Thornham ticks every box for me having many focal points - the coal barn, the colourful boats, the unusual old wooden posts sticking out of the marsh at the end of the road and a plethora of wildlife," he said.

"But you can't help but think they'll be always be something better, which is why I keep going back. I've become obsessed."

Spoonbill on Thornham Staithe Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption Gary Pearson's shot of a spoonbill at Thornham was featured by The Wildlife Trusts
Wooden pilings at sunset Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption Old wooden pilings remain in the marsh from a former granary on the site
Beast from the east wraps Thornham Staithe in snow Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption Mr Pearson got stuck in the snow after the "beast from the East" visited Thornham Staithe
Northern Lights over Thornham Staithe in Norfolk Image copyright Gary Pearson
Image caption This was a "jump up and down" moment

A major highlight was capturing the Northern Lights in 2016.

"It was one of those moments you wanted to jump up and down - I've never seen it anywhere near as good along the Norfolk coast since," he said.

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