Crosby Beach, Sefton, UK.
One of Antony Gormley’s iron men from the Another Place installation at Crosby.
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 🙂
Taken just after sunset on a very quick (less than 30 minutes) trip to Cromer last Thursday. I don’t normally travel this far but as one of my images was in the WPOTY Exhibition in Norwich I was in the area. Before leaving home, I researched seaside locations that were in easy reach of Norwich and decided that Cromer seemed like it had plenty to offer. My aim was to get to the groynes too but time was ticking on, it was quickly getting dark and I was in an unfamiliar place so decided to leave. This image is probably one of the most edited that I’ve ever done purely because there were some big industrial bins on the right hand side of the pier. To remove these bins, I created a second layer in Photoshop, flipped it horizontally and with the aid of a mask, brushed over the bins. Then I removed a couple of minor details to improve the composition and converted the image to black and white. The only thing that I’m not happy with is that the lights are not central to the Pavillion but this is because they were not straight and only a high level of editing could correct this which I felt might ruin the charm of the pier. This image was my third to be shortlisted in the WPOTY competition!
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.