I am currently working on a presentation that I have agreed to give at a group exhibition in Lyme Regis later this month. The topic is the coast. I thought I might share ideas here as I go. I have always had an ambivalent relationship with the sea. I was brought up in a seafaring family and a large chunk of the first eleven years of my life was spent at sea. Unfortunately, I never got over my chronic sea sickness. Without wanting to labour the point, this meant that I spent quite a lot of time staring over the side of the boat! I have found the sea’s motion fascinating ever since (but I still prefer to observe it from the shore).
‘Dark-heaving – boundless, endless, and sublime,
The image of eternity.’
– Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
We spent the Easter weekend in Newquay, on Cornwall’s wild Atlantic coast. While the others surfed, I explored the rocks on Fistral Beach. Although the day we had set aside for exploring further afield was rained off, I had two lovely afternoons with my camera and long exposure filters. Fun.
Of the many photographs I took at La Corbiere, on Jersey, this summer, this is probably my favourite. I can’t begin to convey adequately how it felt to be there listening to the waves and waiting for the light. When the sun peeked through the clouds just before dipping below the horizon, it was glorious.
I am still working on my review of the Fuji X-E1. In the meantime, here’s a shot from 2009 of sunrise over the pond at Seahouses in Northumberland. This was perhaps the beginning of me taking landscape photography seriously, well seriously enough to get up at dawn, which is pretty early in this country in July! Taken using my first DSLR, the Canon D400, plus kit lens.
What a wonderful afternoon I spent on Bournemouth Beach on Friday. You have to love the British seaside out of season; gorgeous expanses of pristine sand (Bournemouth is a Blue Flag beach) and hardly a soul about. I set myself a challenge and went equipped with only my wide angled lens (16-35mm on full frame).
It wasn’t the most spectacular of sunsets but gentle, beguiling, like the lapping waves. When I came to process these images, they seemed to demand a naturalistic approach.
With the horizons more or less in the centre of the frame, these images break the rules. I think that composing with the horizon on a third often works well as the photographer thereby communicates clearly what he or she is most interested in, the foreground or the sky. However, here I found myself wanting to efface the photographer from the landscape. And, truth be told, I just couldn’t bring myself to crop out any of that view. Half is the new third?