Follow my blog for details of latest projects and developments.
If you like any of my stories in particular, you can Facebook 'Like' them or 'Tweet' them to Twitter using the related icons.
« Go Back :: Posted on 03 Jan 2012 by Jonthan Gooding
I can’t resist going down to the sea on one of my favourite Dorset beaches when there is a big storm. Chesil is a world famous shingle barrier beach and has many moods. It can be an idyllic setting for a summer’s picnic, a fabulous place to relax and watch the setting sun, but today was a lot more invigorating. When merely standing is a struggle, being blasted by salt spray an added bonus, photography becomes challenging.
Driving down to the car park, my windscreen already plastered with salt in the air, lens changing on the beach will not be an option. I select my 70 to 200 zoom and add a UV filter to the front, so I could wipe it from time to time. Sure they degrade ultimate image quality, but with so much airborne spray and some rain, not so that you would notice today.
Once on the beach, I question my sanity as a shower stings my face and I wait for it to pass before getting my camera out. Highish ISO and fast shutter speeds are going to be the order of the day if I am to have any chance of some sharp shots. I spend the time looking at the seething sea pounding the shingle, sending it high in the air. What I need is some light to break through. The rain ceases but now I am just being soaked with saltwater spray instead. Shooting into the wind will foul my lens instantly, standing side on and using a lenshood will give me a chance, but that’s a of lot lens to hold when you can’t even stand still. A few test shots and a check of the histogram on the wet monitor, but I’m smiling inside - it’s fabulous here, the sun is coming through, the wave crests are being ripped off in the wind. I watch the gulls, coping admirably. I decide to try to lock focus on one, there will be a high failure rate due to camera and operator movement. I marvel at how they appear to balance and control their flight by using their legs and feet, with very little apparent wing movements. Perhaps they are just checking out this solitary nutter on the shore.
I try a few variables, some wider shots, some details, compressing perspective, always keeping an eye on my shutter speed to deal with the pounding I’m getting, using sequential drive to capture the fast changing sea, and looking out for the random bigger wave. This is not a swimming beach on the best of days.
After filling nearly 16GB of card, the best light has gone. I can’t capture the magnificence, scale or savagery of that sea or beach, but I had fun trying and what a phenomenal place to be on an afternoon like this.