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Volcanoes, orange skies and quiet

Chris Jackson | 16:58 UK time, Friday, 16 April 2010

Sunrise near St Mary's lighthouseThe alarm went off at 05:00 this morning. It is an ear-piercing shrill tone from hell. With me you need that kind of aural menace. I can sleep though most things but not this alarm.

I had to be up because I'd set myself the target of seeing the sun rise this morning. With the icelandic volcanic dust high above the UK it promised to be a special dawn.

I chose a spot near St Mary's Lighthouse and right on cue an orange glow started to emerge on the horizon. As you can see it was worth it.

Sunrise behind St Mary's lighthouse

I was filming it for a programme to go out later in the year. Although I'm a producer I do some elementary filming myself. If you're into photography you'll know getting the sun as it rises or sets is not easy.

For the anoraks: I eventually settled for ND2 settings at F11. We use Sony Z1's. Eventually the sequence will be speeded up, but it should look good.

An inquisitive seal popped his head above the water to see what I was up to for a while but he seemd more interested in finding his breakfast. Sat on the cliff edge I was contemplating something similar but less fishy.

Being up and about that time in the morning was beautiful and relaxing even without the spectacular light show on offer, but it was noticeable how tranquil it was.

Aircraft use the lighthouse as a marker for their final approach into Newcastle International, but of course this morning there wasn't a single plane in the sky. The only sound was the lapping of the water on the shore and bird calls as they flew across the bay.

Deserted check-in desks at Newcastle airport on Thursday 15 April 2010I was up at the airport yesterday and as well as the empty check-in desks inside it really was eerie how quiet the place was outside. Not a single aircraft engine running, no lorries reversing to the tune of an annoying beeper, no luggage trolleys noisily trundling along pavements.

All the roar and crackle of the volcano hundreds of miles away not only closed the UK airways down, it made it a quieter place for all of us.

Every cloud does have a silver lining.

And my regular bit of blog madness. Check out this video on YouTube. If you are thinking of going in a plane would you want this guy as your pilot - or is it all a fake?


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