Friday, 27 May 2011

Image of the Week - Hartland Quay, Devon

Hartland Quay on the North Devon coast was once a small harbour, however at the end of the 19th Century it was reclaimed by the power of the Atlantic Ocean. All that now remains are a few cottages that make up the Hartland Quay museum and a hotel.

The beach is largely sheltered rocks out at sea and high cliffs. A perfect place for an evening's photography.

After exploring the coastal path along the cliff tops for most of the day, I arrived on the beach about 2 hours before sunset. I started to look for on potential compositions for some sunset and dusk images. The tide was still retreating by the time sunset arrived which meant I didn't have to concern myself with getting stranded or keeping close tabs on my gear which can easily get swamped by incoming tides. However it did mean the exposed sand in my compositions was vulnerable to straying walkers.

While I was setting up my camera for my first image I bumped into fellow landscape photographer Stephen Ring and we got chatting. Time slipped by and before we knew it the sun was close to setting. I managed to make my first image, but the distraction had cost me dear.

At some point, while talking I am sure, someone had walked right through my next planned picture, ruining the pristine sand. I had selected that composition for the patterns and tidal pools in the sand which would be perfect for reflecting the dusk light. I had a backup composition, but that proved a little harder to find again in the dimming light! By the time I had found it and set-up, the light was very dim and I noted that Stephen was already leaving the beach. Quick mental arithmetic told me to expose the film for 20 seconds. Then flipping over the film holder, I made a second "backup" exposure. It was time to pack up and see how Stephen had done.

This wasn't my first choice of composition and so inevitably I am somewhat more critical of it than usual, but I am still pretty pleased with it. Besides, after an absence of several months, it was good to be back at the coast.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Image of the Week - Rillage Point, Devon

Long time, no post - oops, where did the last couple of months go I wonder? It's amazing how quickly a project or two can consume so much time. Still, I'm back out in the wild again and last week was spent on the lovely North Devon/Cornwall coastline photographing the spring flowers.

This week's image was made during a fantastic thunderstorm that was taking place over the Bristol Channel. After all the unseasonal hot blue sky conditions we've been having recently, it was a great relief to see some rain again.

The funny thing about the spring flowers is that they are so inconsistent. You can walk 50 yards and see swathes of flowers still budding and not yet open, another swathe way past their best and if you are lucky a patch or two that are in their prime. It all depends on their exposure to the elements I guess. This little patch of Oxeye Daisies and Sea Pinks on the edge of the cliff were fortunately still in their prime and the stormy weather provided great soft lighting in which to photograph them.

As luck would have it the heavy rain you can see on the horizon swept up the Bristol Channel, missing me altogether, giving me a chance to observe the storm without actually getting soaking wet.