Crosby Beach, Sefton, UK.
One of Antony Gormley’s iron men from the Another Place installation at Crosby.
Wallasey, Wirral, UK.
After not leaving the house for a few weeks due to being poorly, I felt that some time at the beach would wash away the cobwebs so to speak. After looking on various weather apps and tide times, I decided that a trip to New Brighton on the Wirral, England would be the best bet, plus I really like this beach as it is clean although there is the odd jellyfish to watch out for! As it was the school holidays and very hot weather, we decided to visit later on in the afternoon when the crowds had died down and it wouldn’t be quite as hot. When the tide was coming back in and it was nearly time to leave, I set up my camera and tripod and captured this image in two separate frames so that I could fit in all of the foreground and to ensure that I could use a long enough focal length so that the lighthouse didn’t seem tiny in the final picture. I captured this image then moved to my left when I took the image that I posted just before this one. After this is was time for icecream and a drive back home.
Editing the two images was quite straight forward. I selected the two frames in Lightroom and stitched them into a panorama using the very easy to use stitch function. I then sharpened the image and cropped it into this composition before desaturating and slightly adjusting the contrast.
This weeks image was born out of frustration and a chance encounter. On Tuesday, I went up to Morecambe to shoot some long exposure seascapes that I’d tried to do a few weeks ago (on that occasion I’d left my spare camera battery at home & the one I had was almost drained). Upon parking my car and setting up on the promenade I came across three words on my camera screen which hit my heart like a lead weight; ‘insert memory card’! Absolutely devastated, I then realised that I’d taken the card out of my camera to upload my previous shoot to the computer and that i hadn’t put it back in my bag. I also realised that my box of spare cards was on my desk, also at home. It’s typical as the conditions at the beach were perfect. The lighting was just right, the tide was at the right height, the clouds were moving nicely etc. Frantically I opened Google maps on my phone and located a Morrisons supermarket around the corner, they’d sell SD cards surely… After searching the store and finally asking a member of staff it turns out that they don’t sell them(!!) Feeling like my day had been ruined, I left the store, preparing to drive the 90 minutes back home. Luckily next door was an Argos! Praying that they had some cards in stock I went in and there they were, hanging on a rail at the checkout! I quickly paid for one and headed back to the promenade, my day wasn’t ruined after all! Or so I thought. When I arrived, I realised that the tide had moved a lot in the thirty minutes since I left and it was now far away in the distance. I thought about just packing up and going home as it really seemed as though the odds were against me! However, I noticed that the sea was just about still swirling around the stone jetty, the water rushing over the mounds of sand and clearing before the next surge arrived. As quick as I could, I made my way there hoping that I could find something to shoot. Whilst looking at the channels of water slowly making their way across the sand and into the sea, I noticed the bench at the end of the jetty (which seems more like a stone pier to me). As I was finding a good composition, two older ladies sat down for a few minutes. Thinking that they would make great subjects, I set up my camera and decided that a couple of seconds exposure time would blur the clouds and sea sufficiently yet hopefully I could time the capture just right so that they remained motionless. As soon as I’d finalised all of my settings, they stood up and left. This was not my day! I then noticed the gentleman who is in my final image. He had been stood at the other side of the jetty and now made his way over to the bench, setting his bicycle against the railings beforehand. A rush of relief then hit me when I saw the binoculars in his hand as I knew that he would remain almost statuesque at some point whilst observing the birds. A three second exposure is all it took to achieve my final image. Something a little different compared to my usual work but yet still felt right to me.
Editing was quite simple. I converted the image to black and white and adjusted the tones to achieve a light yet balanced atmosphere. I then chose a 5:4 crop as it seemed to fit the composition better than the standard 3:2.
After all this I have realised that even when plans don’t work out, there is always a subject to be found 🙂
This week I travelled to Crosby in Merseyside, England to capture images of the iron men statues by Antony Gormley which are installed on the beach. When I arrived, the tide was crashing over the sea wall so I looked around for another subject whilst waiting for the tide to recede. This huge wooden marker stood out instantly so I played around with compositions until I had the above shot. I was constantly having to wipe my filters as the sea spray and damp air were causing havoc with them, leaving water droplets before I had even taken a shot! Luckily the above image wasn’t too affected by this. Unfortunately, arriving at the beach just after high tide meant that by the time I left, the iron men were still hidden under the water which was still lapping over the sea wall. Although I hadn’t got the image that I went for, I’m still happy with this one which shows that if things don’t go to plan, there is still potential to find something to shoot.
Editing the image was quite simple. I adjusted the crop to a 16:9 ratio as this gave the emphasis on the marker and sky which led to a cleaner image. I chose a symmetrical composition simply to create something a little different. The colours were then desaturated and I burnt the top section of the sky to give balance to the sea.
This weeks image comes from New Brighton beach and the concrete sea defenses. I decided to go for a minimalist approach to bring out the detail on the concrete so reduced the sea and sky by using a long exposure.
Editing this image was quite simple, I did some light dodging and burning in the sky and defenses and a monochrome conversion.
Before becoming a lighthouse, this building was a railway station, taking passengers to the boats moored on the Stone Jetty. Now a grade II listed building, I felt that this would be a great addition to my solitude project. Using a ten stop neutral density filter to smooth the sea and sky, I created a thirty second exposure. After taking this image my battery finally gave up on me and it was then that I realised that the spare was in my other camera bag! Absolutely gutted I left Morecambe and drove home. Processing the image was very simple. After a monochrome conversion, I sharpened the image slightly and improved the contrast.
Southport, Merseyside, England.
I visited Southport recently as this was a favourite beach of mine from childhood. The sand was clean and soft and the tide was always miles away from the shore so it became a game to try and reach it. On my last visit I was quite horrified at the state of the sand. There was rubbish everywhere and a greyish slime coated the surface. This slime became thicker further away from the pier and more towards the drain pictured here. I’m not sure if this slime is caused by pollution or if it’s just a harmless algae but it certainly isn’t something I would let my children play near. Maybe this was due to the tide having just gone out. All I can do is speculate but it really brought home the effects of pollution to places where we visit for pleasure. These images were taken not to show how beautiful the beach is but rather to show how ugly the current conditions make it.