Last summer I went to Dawlish with some friends for a day out partly because it had been in the news a lot during the winter before last when the railway line was washed away. We had never visited and travelled by train for the complete experience. After lunching in the neighbouring town of Teignmouth in light rain we arrived in Dawlish to find the sun breaking through a thin veil of clouds. The flat sea seamlessly blended into the sky and coupled with a breakwater full of holidaymakers fishing made an un missable photo opportunity. But there was a problem – no camera. I had left mine behind because I always feel guilty about going off on my own taking photographs whilst in the company of friends. Luckily I was able to borrow my wife’s Panasonic compact and quickly produced some very worthwhile images. The moral of the story is always go with an open mind as to photographic opportunities and do not forget to take some sort of camera.
Several months ago on one of our many visits to Lyme Regis I noticed that the stone steps near the end of the Cobb had been recently repainted. After doing a bit of scouting around the scene I envisaged an early morning photograph on a very high tide using a big stopper filter to lengthen the exposure by ten times which would then flatten out any clouds and smooth the sea to accentuate the steps and wall. There were several potential problems with getting pictures of the Cobb at high tide in the winter namely dangerously large seas coming over the top and high water flooding the harbour walkway. The first time I went the weather was benign with a dull light pre sunrise and few grey clouds. I managed to take the image I had in mind and on processing found that one of the unexpected features which was not evident at the time of taking the photograph was the lovely reflection of the white wall of the steps. Re-appraising the image I wondered if I needed a bit of sunlight on the lower walkway on the Cobb and this would mean waiting later on in the year for the sun to rise further to the north. I returned a few weeks later but the resulting image was no so good due to the reflection of a white cloud on the sea in the foreground. I will try again another time! Here is an example where meticulous planning enabled me to take the image I had envisaged earlier.
I love going out taking photographs in the fog or mist. Not only are colours accentuated but the spooky atmosphere gives a new dimension to photographs. The only bit of planning I did was to get up before sunrise and then decide whether to turn left or right out of my hotel. I know this area of Norfolk very well and being foggy there would be opportunities for photographs wherever I went. This image was taken in Lady Anne’s Drive at Holkham which is the road which goes from the coast road down to the beach. The majority of the trees have been planted at the same time which is an advantage as there is no discrepancy in size. The fog was coming and going and I took a whole series of images.
I have decided to present this image in a different way. I usually process my RAW files in a fairly normal way using levels, curves and black and white conversion. On this occasion I thought this image deserved a different approach and so I have used the digital version of the ‘Orton effect’ which entails layering multiple copies and manipulating focus and exposure. I do hope you like the result!!