Christmas time in Whitby - Yorkshire Coastline in Winter

12th January 2016
Over the Christmas period I spent a week with my family in the seaside town of Whitby on the Yorkshire Coastline. It's the first time I have been to Whitby so was really looking forward to visiting the sights and photographing the coastline in the many conditions experienced throughout the week. I managed to get out for sunrise every morning of the week to catch the winter sun rise at the very leisurely hour of December sunrises. The weather during the week was mainly kind with only a little rain on boxing day and mainly calm conditions at sea. I managed to visit the locations I had on my list a couple of times to try and capture them in the best possible conditions.

Highlight of the week was sunrise on the final morning when I experienced the best conditions of the whole week (as is often the case!). On the final morning I chose to visit the Whitby Whale Bone Arch as it was close to our house as I didn't have a lot of time before needing to leave for home. The sunrise over the sea created a really beautiful mix of lighting with the artificial street lights on the streets around the arch allowing me to capture the scene with a combination of light sources which always helps the balance of the shot. I still had to use both 0.9 and 0.6 graduated filters in order to balance the light from the sunrise and streetlights on the arch.

Whitby Whale Bone Arch at sunrise - Yorkshire Coastline

When in Whitby it is impossible not to pay a trip to capture the famous view down the 199 steps looking across the rooftops and the river. I visited the steps on Christmas Eve and jostled for position with tourists and another couple of photographers. I'm happy with the results as I didn't stay for long and was glad to get a minute with no other people on the steps to capture a clear shot without the 'ghosts' caused by the long exposure and moving people. This viewpoint has been captured many times before but is actually very difficult to get the alignment right as there so many angles and elements to try and fit into the scene. I revisited the steps on Christmas morning with nobody around but the conditions were not conducive to capturing any better images. This is my favourite image from further up the steps capturing a wider view of Whitby.

Whitby Abbey - Famous 199 Steps - Yorkshire Coast

From the bottom of Whitby 199 Steps looking out to Whitby Piers

One of favourite viewpoints is from the viewing area above the Khyber Pass which has views out to sea and also across the harbour to Whitby Abbey. I didn't get the shot that I was looking for across the River Esk towards the Abbey as the conditions never quite came together but I managed to capture the scene looking out towards the Whitby Piers after sunrise. I have a large print of this image and the detail makes this shot, there are lots of walkers, fishermen and animals in the shot all blurred slightly to give a dynamic feel to the scene.

Whitby Piers at Sunrise

The final shot for this blog is another favourite, taken after dark one evening with a mostly clear sky and lit by a mix of the last of the sunset, artificial light from the streetlamps and the strong moonlight out at sea.

Whitby Rooftops looking towards the Abbey

About Nick
Nick Cockman is a digital photographer from Sheffield specialising in UK Landscape and Seascape photography.

Follow me on Twitter →
Follow me on Facebook →


Photo comment By Kay Ess: Hello Nick, Great photos and amazing description. I would like to know which camera did you use for your Whitby trip. I have also started following you in twitter and facebook. You can see my images as well. Cheers!

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment
No info required here, please press the button below.