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About the end of July I managed to get to sea with The Looe Sailing Club aboard their committee boat, during The Enterprise National Championships held in Looe Bay. Two races were scheduled for that day, but in the event due to lack of wind racing for the day was postponed. I did manage to capture a few images for the blog, three of which I present here
Rather than process these images in colour I opted to make them in monochrome, my inspiration being the classic yachting images made by Beken of Cowes. Processing of these images included some subtle split-toning, rather than pure black and white which I think gives them a more classic feel, and less obviously digital. The first and second images in this sequence have also had a dark vignette applied which tends to concentrate attention towards the centre of the image.
Despite the lack of wind I had a wonderful day, meeting up with old friends and renewing acquaintances, and my thanks go to Looe Sailing Club for allowing me to join them.
I lived most of my life in Looe, and this scene is very familiar to me. It was taken from Pennyland on the West Looe side looking up the river towards East Looe, the quay and bridge. I remember when I used to dangle a line over the quay wall in order to catch crabs, using a fish head for bait, and competing with my friends to see who could catch the most. Some would consider it a cruel practice practice today, but in those days it was quite natural. The fishing boats have changed, the old luggers like the ‘Our Daddy’ and ‘Our Boys’ no longer do what they were built for but have become pleasure boats, and have been replaced by modern fibregalss or aluminium workboats bristling with modern high tech equipment. But still this scene is essentially still the same as it was, only the people have changed.
Looe or St Georges Island is located about a mile to the south west from Looe Harbour, but to get this view I drove out to Hannafore so that the island was about half a mile distant. I set up the tripod down on the shoreline in front of some seaweed covered rocks and waited for the dawn. There was a big bank of cloud on the horizon so the sunrise had already taken place before any colour began to appear in the sky. I composed the image with the island on the right third and allowing the colours of the dawn to occupy the remaining left hand two thirds. My foreground detail was taken care of by the rocks as this helped anchor the base of the picture. I then took my first exposure.
As a result of the relatively low light levels my exposure time was 30 seconds, which meant that the movement of the waves in the sea would be smoothed out and would take on a milky texture. In addition the movement in the clouds over the exposure period would translate on to the image as streaks with no definitive form. I know some people have a dislike for this type of image and would prefer everything in sharp focus but personally I feel this is a perfectly legitimate approach. The image represents the passage of time, albeit of just a 30 second period and as such has captured the movement in the landscape, except for those immoveable objects like the Island and the rocks which remain solid fixed points
With the current spate of cold weather the temptation is to spend another hour in bed instead of dragging yourself out, scraping the ice off the car and setting out in dubious weather, but this is not how you should look at it. Cold frosty mornings can give you some brilliant light with crystal clear air and with practically nobody else about you can have the landscape to yourself.
So on Saturday last I was on the road to Looe at about 6.45am to try and grab some dawn shots of the sunrise over Looe Bay. As I was approaching Looe I could see that that there was a big bank of grey cloud on the horizon which would restrict my opportunities in getting some sunrise images, so after getting what I could on Hannafore Beach I headed for Portnadler Bay which is situated about a half mile by footpath from the end of Hannafore. By now, about half an hour after sunrise the sun had risen above the cloud bank and the landscape was starting to take some beautiful colours. Rather than go down on to the beach, as the tide was full in, I set the camera up by the fence that overlooks the bay and made this image. I particularly wanted to get the frozen vegetation in the foreground as this would be indicative of the winter conditions so I used my 10-20mm wideangle lens set at about 16mm to achieve this and as usual the camera was set up on the tripod. I like the way the bay sweeps in a curve towards the headland and in the far distance you can see the clouds are tinged with a hint of pink.
I am very pleased with the result, and perhaps you might be encouraged to rise early and try a dawn shoot. If you are thinking no, I’ll wait till the summer, then bear this in mind – sunrise in June is at about 5.00am, factor in travelling time and the need to be there at least half an hour before sunrise and you might find you have to get up about 2.00 am – ouch!
This shot was taken from Looe seafront one early morning in December. The sun had risen about 20 minutes before but a good sunrise picture was spoilt by that big bank of cloud on the horizon. As the sun started to rise through the cloud it started to emanate these fantastic light rays. The brightness of the sun has meant that I have had to use a fast shutter speed which has had the effect of making the clouds darker than they were to the eye, however I feel this adds a little more drama to the scene. Incidentally the flare seen in this picture is not a lens effect but was what I actually saw at the time.
I wanted my composition to be very simple with just a short strip of sea in the foreground with the emphasis on the cloud formation as the subject. I like the way the suns rays radiate from the centre and the way the clouds are outlined on the top edge, paticularly on the left hand side. I had to work quickly as this effect only lasted for about five minutes at varying degrees of intensity, so I took about ten shots and this I felt was the best of them.