Getting this photo was lots of fun. And slightly dangerous. But mostly lots of fun.
The location is just passed a sign “strongly advising” one not too pass due to quick sand and landslides – warnings I take extremely seriously thank you very much, but this was just way too irresistible to pass up.
Taking the shot was no picnic – it meant perching delicately up on the rocks with the sea crashing against them and in my general direction. I have a theory that the sea gets immense satisfaction from taunting photographers; it lures you into a false sense of security by maintaining a steady rhythm, and once you feel secure, it chucks a massive wave at you, meaning you can never fully let your guard down. I don’t think there was any genuine risk of getting swept into the sea, but my beautiful, beautiful camera’s never been a massive fan of water so it was important to stay on my toes, but that’s all part of the adventure of it for me, and I was so grateful for the incredible conditions that I really didn’t mind getting a bit wet.
A few days previously, I’d chosen not to head out to this location at the last minute on account of an overcast sky and having to pack for a wedding the next day. But there are two kinds of overcast; the type which completely obscures the sun and kills a shot dead, and the type which does the opposite, where the higher clouds disperse, leaving the lower clouds in place, exploding in dramatic reds and pinks.
Sadly on that day, I’d made the wrong decision; the clouds opened up and I watched a rare and incredible display of natural light from my bedroom whilst ruing my choice to stay home and not go and play. It was genuinely gutting and I lamented my decision throughout the weekend.
Still slightly miffed on my return to Bournemouth a few days later, I was faced with a similar overcast cloud cover. Again, it can go either way, you never really know for sure, but one thing I’ve always taken seriously with my photography is thinking about my mistakes and learning from them, so over to Barton I trekked and got into position.
Things looked ominous to start with, with a large cover of cloud, and I was afraid that this was going to be a wasted trip which would add insult to the injury, but the photographic gods were clearly on my side that day. As I stood perched on the rocks under constant risk of getting a rude awakening from the waves which you can see crashing in towards the photo, the clouds opened up and the light exploded.
The resulting photograph is possibly my favourite from 2015 (definitely in the top two) and proved an immensely satisfying redemption from the previous disappointment, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable and fun trek.
Part of the Hengistbury Head, Mudeford and Barton collection.