Category Archives: Coastal

March of the Renewables

Stand on a beach long enough and one thing that really strikes me is the enormous range of textures, particularly on a falling tide. Ripples, water, channels, rusting remains of sea defences, bits of foam, flotsam and jetsam – you name it and it just materialises before your eyes as the tide recedes. Add a bit dramatic light from a clearing weather system and there are countless images to be had. The human element is, at least on the east coast of England, almost always present as well, just to add to the mix. So, this is not a typical minimal long exposure, rather an attempt to capture some of the interplay of natural and human elements along this ever eroding coast. As I’ve been moving from a full-frame Nikon system to the much lighter Fujifilm X-Series, these images are also the first I’ve taken using Lee Filter’s smaller Seven5 system, liking the results.

Dungeness

Abandoned boat, Dungeness, Kent, UK

The shingle expanse of Dungeness in Kent, England, is one of the largest in the world and a favourite haunt with photographers due to the surreal nature of the landscape. This abandoned boat has probably been photographed countless times. Got to love this place, it has enough wrecks, weird houses, boardwalks, nuclear power stations and lighthouses to keep a photographer happy for many an hour, and the weather keeps changing too!

Like many photographers, I’ve visited Dungeness countless times over the years. Ironically, during all these visits, I’ve never met anyone who knew much about the old boats so characteristic of the area. However, on one visit I was fortunate to meet the grandson of the guy who built one of the old “wrecks” in 1946. It was interesting to hear his views on the management of the Dungeness Estate and the desire in some quarters to see the old boats and sheds removed. Personally, I think the area would lose something of value were it “tidied up”, though how you tidy up a nuclear power station on the horizon, I’ve no idea.

Madeira

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Madeira is a remarkable photographic challenge, with shear cliffs, very few accessible natural beaches and black basalt as the main rock, finding locations for seascapes is decidedly hard. On the other hand, when one is able to get down to the sea this volcanic island, battered by the Atlantic, has a truly remarkable coastline.

This series of images explores the mists and waters of Madeira both around the coast and inland on this remarkable island. Some of these images are inspired by the work of the Scottish-based, American photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper, whose work I first came across in an exhibition at the Centro das Artes, Casa das Mudas, in Calhetta, Madeira, over 10 years ago. That exhibition, entitled “Point of No Return” included an image, entitled Unexpected Nightfall, taken in Porto Moniz in the northwest of Madeira. Interestingly, when I visited this same part of the island, I ended up photographing the same rock, clearly Porto Moniz’s most photogenic rock! I certainly had Cooper’s image at the back of my mind when I made the photograph. Interestingly, it was close to nightfall at the time, the wind was strengthening, Madeira was about to get an orange weather alert, and it needed a number of exposures to get both the water draped over the rock and the turbulence around it.