Is that the second time I’ve resorted to a Neil Diamond song title? Better have a word with myself.
Anyway my search for inspiration today took me back to the North Sea, and a stretch of Durham’s Heritage Coastline a little further south from Seaham’s industrial remnants. I parked at Crimdon, which was a first for me, though from the numbers in the car park it’s a popular spot. The caravan park nearby also suggested that I’d find the beach thronging with people, but yet again the long stretches of beach were largely empty.
Whilst getting my haircut this morning I saw a video of waves crashing on a beach (clearly shot in the tropics) but it had persuaded me that this should be my shot today; some dramatic spray hurled skywards as geology stood its ground against marine might. Or perhaps some long exposure shots of dark islands emerging from a mist of milky water? That was the goal.
And the reality? Somewhat different.
As I arrived down the duckboards that provide access over the dunes I could see that the tide was out but I knew it was due to turn. Plenty of time to head northwards to Blackhall Rocks. With a name like that how could I go wrong? As I set out I began to understand why the beaches might be less popular; the gritty sand was streaked with black as are many of the beaches along this coastline, but also liberally dotted with shingle and stones so that great swathes were ruled out for the bucket and spade brigade. The shingle was soft underfoot too, filling my shoes with tiny irritants.
To my right was the advancing sea, but to my left I could see regular escape routes so no fear of being cut off or so it seemed. One of the last sets of steps rising from the beach was clearly marked as “not in use” presumably due to some erosion that had taken place. Personally I’d rather take my chance than be marooned on the beach but it didn’t come to that. Soon the dunes gave way to cliffs, cliffs with tell-tale caves that told the story of the undermining sea at work. This was where the beach became decidedly rockier, the evidence of landslip everywhere. A good reason to keep away from the foot of those cliffs.
The tide was coming in now, so I began to look around for suitable opportunities only to be disappointed. The waters were so calm that they barely rippled their way around the shattered stones that barred their route ashore. What splashes there were, were tiny. Ok then, let’s go for the second option; long exposures. I reached for my filters and tripod to begin setting up for a suitable shot and found I had all my filters… but not the holder. The rocks were in my head as well as at my feet it seemed as life’s distractions seemed to have take their toll on me. The whole journey wasted.
Well not quite, I got some OK images that are in this gallery.
But then I saw my opportunity. A couple of rocks so coated in black bladderwrack that it was like a thick mane of hair. I shot away from a few angles, but ultimately ended up cropping down to just this detail shot which with it’s limited depth of field allows the eye to rest upon a single black pustule amongst those salty tresses. Don’t ask me why, but I love it.
Wonder where I put the filter holder?