'First Light' meets 'Last Night'

Bournemouth Pier, Sunrise

Bournemouth Pier, Sunrise

I knew deep down that going to the beach at 4.15am could have it's problems. First off I had to creep like a ninja from my bed to avoid waking the significant other, then I had to somehow navigate 3 creaky doors out of our temporary accommodation in Bournemouth (without waking the whole place) and then it was something of a gamble on who or what I might bump into at 4.15am on the weekend in a Tourist heavy seaside town in the peak of Summer...

Well, pretty much as soon I as I left the house I turned to see a group of young lads that had obviously been out on the town and who were clearly still full of the happy juice. The fact I was (a) carrying a pretty heavy duty metal tripod, and (b) was fully sober and in pretty lean condition gave me perhaps a misplaced sense of optimism about how this rendezvous could turn out. Thankfully nothing came of our pre-dawn stand-off, apart from one of them quipping about how it was a pretty crap time of day to take pictures. I decided not to bring this chap to task and explain how the 'golden hours' were actually very fruitful, something told me this may have not gone down so well!

Onwards I went, constantly checking over my shoulder for the next group of comedians. As I got down to the beach the dark was just beginning to recede into dawn. I had already got a good idea where I was heading, it was then just a case of reacting to what the weather and light would throw at me.

Thankfully there was a good dash of colour just after sunrise (albeit v.brief - about 2 minutes max) and the receding tide allowed me to make the image above with the rivulets of water meandering through the sand in the foreground and the rich orange and blues illuminating from above.

Photographers often talk of 'the moment' to take the image, when the light is at it's optimum. This transient light can be elusive and as such it rewards with the biggest 'kick' when you catch it. With restricted chances to get out with the camera recently the best I can do is make sure I don't miss that moment when I am on location, thankfully with this one a happy concoction of pre-planning, early rising and patience paid off nicely.

For other images from Dorset and to see my UK Gallery please click here.


No. 8/32 #Project 32

Burton Bradstock, Dorset

Towards the back end of our trip to Dorset the endless blue skies started to turn a little more unpredictable due to inclement weather heading in from the West. A bracing walk down the beach at Burton Bradstock is always a good way to start the day and my memories of visiting this beach regularly a few years ago came back as the wind buffeted us robustly. 

The crumbling cliffs on this beach can make for some nice image potential but the star on this morning was the sky. With the sun trying to burst through a patchwork of ever darkening cloud there was certainly the sense of incoming rain. Happily some lovely person had seen fit to leave a nice wooden boat just in the right place for me to take advantage of its position looking out to sea.

I've got to say there are warning signs all down this beach which allude to the difficult seas, and I'm pretty sure you would have to pay me a decent amount of cash to venture out in this boat, suffice to say I was happiest with my 'land legs' firmly on.

Although this is not a new genre ('boat on beach with moody sky shot') I was happy to catch some of the impending drama of the sky on that particular morning, after all we were there for a blood pumping walk and some fresh sea air...the photo opportunity was just an added bonus.

This image forms part of my Project 32 series, to see the rest of the images please click here.

No. 7/32 #Project 32

Chapmans Pool, Dorset

On a recent trip to Dorset we got a tip-off that there was a nice cove at Chapmans Pool. I had already been heading in that direction but to another coastal point that was sadly out of bounds due to the military manoeuvres that get practiced in the Lulworth Camp area.

So, on arrival it was certainly very quiet, a weekday afternoon in June and the fact it had been a bit of a grotty day weather wise probably helped with that! We walked through the first field and approached this coastal view, the original plan was to head down to Chapmans pool for some closer sea shots but one glimpse of the near vertical, muddy, wet and slippy path and we had other thoughts. So, we took the upper path and got this nice view back down the coast towards the West.

The weather had been quite changeable all day and the sun was breaking through the clouds only in small pockets as a rain surge headed in from further down the coast. The conversion of the picture to black and white hopefully helps display the tonal contrast between the bright breaks of sunlight and the ever darkening clouds. It's always a challenge when presented with a wide open vista, if often looks great to the eye when you are there but when you check back through your pictures it can look a little flat with no real focus point. One thing that can save that is dramatic lighting and contrast, this is by no means perfect light above but I was fairly happy with the result. For an update on my Project 32 progress please click here