In this article, I aim to lay down my thoughts on the above photograph. I have written largely off the cuff to give a true representation of my on-location thinking process and inspiration.
This shot was taken in November 2016. Being from the local area, I have seen this location many times so I knew it had potential; an S bend usually works really well in photography. Whilst planning the shot, I calculated the sun rises in the south-east in the winter, which is the ideal position to make this image work, as the bend leads nicely into that direction.
Tide times also play a key role in this composition. I knew a high tide would work best in order to keep the image simple and uncluttered.
I checked the weather using standard phone apps. Cloudy with sunny spells is what I’m generally looking for when it comes to sunrises and that was the case on this morning.
Seascapes are one of my biggest interests when it comes to landscape photography. The compositional strength and simplicity of this image, coupled with how it might interact with the water was my inspiration for getting out of bed at 6 am to see what I could capture at the location.
The location is Scarborough, North Yorkshire. This corner is around a 5-minute walk south from the famous Spa building.
When I arrived at the location there was no wind and I remember it being very calm. I remember the freezing cold air hitting me as soon as I got out of the car. And you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet, no one was around at that time in the morning.
The route to the location involves walking along the edge of the front, every now and again a huge wave would crash onto the path. So I had to time my approach as not to get soaked! The fact that there was virtually no wind worked in my favour as otherwise, the waves would probably have been much more dramatic.
At first, I did not go right down to the edge as I felt it was too dangerous and the waves were too strong. As I had arrived 30 minutes before sunrise I took images from a higher position (as shown below) up until about 5 minutes before sunrise.
I noticed how the water was ‘splashing’ across the concrete and creating opportunities for beautiful water trails within the frame. This often happens on location; unexpected elements show themselves in the landscape which may add to the final image or that you have to adapt too. Sometimes they are positive (like in this case), sometimes they are negative.
By this point, I knew the tide was receding and felt confident to go down to the edge to try and get the image I came for.
I set the camera up with a reverse ND grad to control the dynamic range and waited for a wave to crash into the barrier. The waves were not that big and were falling onto the path nicely. I had an exposure time of around 0.5 seconds in order to capture the entire movement.
It was then a case of using a release cable to take the exposure at exactly the right moment. I loved this image as soon as I captured it, it was one of the few I managed to time to near perfection on the day
I love to capture energy in my seascapes and create a sense of drama which I think comes across in this image. The sunrise compliments the blue water nicely.
Living on the east coast and capturing sunrises all year round on the coast, this image represents what I try to achieve with my landscape photography.
Next time I would like to add a human element, perhaps someone standing at the edge of the corner as if they were walking into the sunrise.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on ‘Around the Corner’. You can purchase this image here in a variety of mediums and sizes.