No. 2/32: #Project 32

Burnham on Sea

Despite being regarded as something of a possible cliché in the UK photography fraternity I couldn't help but take up the opportunity of visiting the famous wooden 'lighthouse' at Burnham on Sea whilst passing on the way back from a work commitment.

I had been on the road since 6am and had a fairly long travel and subsequent meeting so by late afternoon when I arrived at the beach, after a tight 'in-car' quick change out of suit and into more suitable clothing, I found the blasting wind to actually be quite invigorating (at least for the first hour or so!). As I walked down the beach towards the 'lighthouse' I was scouting possible angles etc, due to the wind the sand was making some interesting patterns as it whistled down the beach. I stopped to try and compose a minimalist abstract image with a slightly longer shutter speed to record the sands pattern as it flew across the surface, BUT the wind was so strong that the camera was being buffeted around (even on a weighed down tripod), plus the chance of getting particles of sand all over my gear forced me to quit that shot, it's a shame because the wind required to make the shot interesting is also the factor that makes it a very hard shot to capture.

When I got much closer to the lighthouse I temporarily went into a 'brain-freeze', it's something I've experienced with more iconic venues before, you can be too quick to whip out the camera and just start blasting away without exploring all the angles carefully enough. A friend once likened it to meeting a famous celebrity, they suddenly lost all reasoning and the art of sensible conversation, as if overwhelmed by the situation of another human being near them!

However, after a little walking around and checking out angles I settled down on the edge of the dunes, realistically it was the only place I was going to get a longer exposure that you often need in low light situations as it offered me some protection from the wind. Being a popular beach for dog walkers I did experience some moments of interest, as you can see below:

 

As you can see in the video I was just on the edge of the dunes and there was some nice foliage. Had the colours in the sky been better (they never appeared, hidden by cloud) I would like to have introduced some of the foliage into the foreground of the image, it would have blurred nicely a little showing the movement caused by the wind and would have brought a green element of colour to contrast the sand. On this occasion though the colour never really appeared and so I set my mind to making a B&W image using a long exposure.

The long exposure obviously streaks the clouds and actually even though I really like the final image I'm not sure if the cloud streaking is a little heavy. What I do like is the little shaft of light that runs horizontally across the foreground, this was the last sun rays reflecting of a small channel in the beach and for me it gives that foreground a little interest that the picture wouldn't work so well without.

You can see the final shot again and all the other #Project 32 images here.

ps - I did manage to get off the beach without wet feet, despite another interesting run in with a Boxer dog that went crazy for my torch light!