On my way home from Darlington today I had nearly reached my destination when I spotted a flash of green in the skies to my right. A quick glance confirmed it was a power kite, and there were others hovering over the shoreline.
My leather shoes were never made for coastal photography so I continued on my way and soon my thoughts turned to lunch, and shortly after that I began to wade through the day’s emails.
About an hour later I noticed that the sky was darkening, so thought I’d better get out and find a portraiture subject before the rain came. As I approached the sea front I saw the huge billowing sails of the power kiters once again, which was a stroke of luck as it had already begun to rain and more sensible folk were seeking shelter.
Jogging down the beach, the otherwise deserted sands were littered with the debris of water sports; a lonely kite, presumably staked down, rattled its trailing edges against the wind, a number of small surf boards dotted the waterline, and languishing amidst them all was a complete windsurfing board. Their owners were presumably the five brave souls at sea, heaving against the reins of their airborne steeds.
One soon came ashore, which is how I met Rusty who explained that he would like to see any decent shots that I got, so we exchanged details. Foolishly I didn’t shoot a head and shoulders of him at the time, but here’s a more candid shot.
The combination of fading light, the need for fast shutter speeds to capture action, and an extended zoom lens meant that I was shooting at a high ISO, never great for detail but in these conditions the compromise was essential. The resulting images have a lot of “noise”, but I’d rather that than not have them at all. Moments like this don’t come along too often (sorry Rusty, it isn’t you!).Rusty told me that he and his fellow surfers (who included his father) had been there for three and half hours! I could understand the enthusiasm given the adrenalin boosting conditions, but I noticed that he and the others weren’t wearing gloves. I’d been there only ten or fifteen minutes and could feel my hands chilling against the focus ring of my telephoto lens so this seemed like madness!
As if to make a point the rain stepped up a gear, bordering on sleet, so I ran back to terra firma to shelter both me and my equipment, pausing only to grab another, wider shot before I left. Looks like the guys had decided enough was enough too I really like this one (though the noisiness may have encouraged me to over work it) – it looks like some alien scouting party coming ashore as a prelude to a greater invasion.
Shame I didn’t get a better one of Rusty in action. Wonder if he knows the guy who was in my last favourite surfer shot?