Wednesday, 5 September 2012

West Pier, Brighton

It's been far too long since I posted and far to long since I got behind a camera for some landscape photography. Other projects have consumed my time and while I have enjoyed working on these projects, I have been feeling a growing itch to get back out and do what I love best for some time.

Well a short musical tour of Sussex and the surrounding areas by my two daughters gave me the perfect opportunity to combine one of my projects, some landscape photography and a family holiday into one trip. I had planned a walking trip in the South Downs National Park with the hope of some landscape photography but the weather and family pressure put an end to that! We did manage to visit Brighton and although I wasn't expecting any great photographic opportunities here, this was a part of the coast where I once lived when I was a small boy so I was looking forward to stirring a few memories.

Of course my camera came along for the ride and so I managed to engineer a longish walk along the promenade to maximise photographic opportunities. The family seemed to buy into the idea that parking would be an issue nearer the most popular attractions and the promise of an orgy of slot machines and fairground rides on Brighton Pier at the end of our walk seemed to help!

After 45 minutes or so of photographing the sights we arrived at the pier and spent the rest of the day feeding coins into penny waterfall machines. We finished it off with fish and chips and a dish of cockles before heading back to the car. While pondering what could possibly have been so appealing about cockles all those years ago, I suddenly noticed the sun was breaking through the cloud ahead of us. I immediately realised an opportunity was about occur a little further down the beach. 

I know, I know. This scene has probably been photographed a million times before but it was still too good to miss so I ran along the shingle beach towards the remains of the West Pier - destroyed by a number of fires and storms over the years. I had no tripod, neutral density filters or cumbersome view camera to slow me down which was just as well as the sun did not appear for very long. I made a couple of exposures and then waited to see if anything interesting might happen. As I watched, three seagulls flew into view. I timed the shutter so the birds were aligned with the pier but unnoticed by me a small boy throwing stones had walked into the frame. Initially I was annoyed with myself for not noticing him, but later I realised I quite liked the fun element he added to the picture. It felt good to be making pictures again.

I have to confess I am getting really excited about the coming autumn and I plan to maximise my time out with my camera over the coming weeks.

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