Spoilers – there are no references to Jose Mourinho in this piece.
Apart from that one.
With my camera and I soon to be parted in the interests of repairing the damage caused by recent exposure to sea water, today was my last chance to go and get some pictures to blog about, and it being a Sunday that meant dropping Holly off at work and strolling down to the beach. Although I’ve done so many times before, and must have covered every inch of the stretch between Whitburn and Seaburn, I am always optimistic about finding something.
I recall that when I started blogging my goal was to find one or two images that pleased me every week, so that I could build a portfolio of 100 images over a year. The goal hasn’t really changed that much, I’m less demanding in terms of the time constraints (I’d be happy with one or two truly outstanding shots a year) but my standards are much higher.
I hadn’t checked the tide tables when I left, so wasn’t sure how much beach I’d have to work with and it proved to be relatively little. I headed north to where the sandy bay finally gives way to a scramble of rocks and seaweed, deciding whether the tide was in my favour (receding) or not. I decided not. Don’t hang around on the rocks waiting to be cut off then!
Finding a patch where the underlying rock was giving way to breaking waves I found a patch with some interesting formations and the occasional patch of sand for variety and shot away. There are the images that I would have been really pleased with in the past, but now left me unmoved. There was probably something to be captured here, but I wasn’t getting it.
Time to get back to safer territory on the way. I could have stopped for some shots of the dippers, but lens choice was a limiting factor and there was nothing here that inspired me to do something different with the shot. I was certainly wary of getting too close to the water again!
Now I love repeating patterns in pictures (perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to the sea so much) so that was my next thought. The green railings that extend for the couple of miles from Seaburn to Roker have always pleased me. Perhaps I should make a feature of them. Now I’m usually ambivalent about pictures which have been desaturated bar a single element (it was very fashionable in wedding photography for a while), but here I think it just about works.
I still wasn’t happy though. I was bracketing my exposures (shooting over and under exposed shots as well as what might be considered a normal exposure) in case I wanted to process any HDR (high dynamic range) images later, where having the extra information from multiple exposures allows more detail to be revealed in the shadows and highlights. The textures on these rusted tubes benefited from that approach, as did the grain in the wooden slats of this seating.
I turned to take another shot of the railings and was looking at the over-exposed frame which allowed the sandy background to disappear leaving me with some texture on the nearest ball, tailing off into beautiful bokeh. Here was the shot I wanted. It may not mean much to the casual observer, but to me it was the special one. No need to look any further.