Fast as a speeding Tram – Southport Marine Lake

Fast as a speeding Tram

Taking a walk around Southport’s Marine Lake the other day I decided to try for a long exposure shot of the lake, pier and bridge. The intense sunlight made it almost impossible to see the image on the camera’s screen, but I could just make out enough to get a few shots. I was so intent on getting the exposure right that I didn’t notice the tram setting off. You can see the blurred movement of the tram along the pier in the centre of the shot.

Southport Pier Sunset

Southport Pier Sunset

We went for a walk down on the beach last night. The beach, as usual was a mess, more mud than sand, not really pleasant. Also, as usual, the pier was locked long before sunset so I resorted to the usual method of sticking the lens between the bars of the gates. This was a multiple exposure combined to show the foreground detail while keeping the colour in the sky.

Southport Sunset

A Cloudless Sunset

At certain times of the year, the sun sets directly behind the end of the Pier in Southport. Sometimes the sky is dramatic, often it can be cloudless and flat. Occasionally the colours are rich and warm (this shot did receive a little help in that direction in post processing).

Timing it right I caught the last gasp of sunlight before it sank below the pier railings. I hope you enjoy the shot!

Southport Pier Sunset

Southport Pier Sunset

As the light fades the length of exposure increases which makes for some fun photography when there are moving objects (or people). I generally take a tripod when I go to Southport Pier so that I can get everything just right, it also means that I can capture moving walkers as the sun sets.

The Southport Pier sunset changes with the time of year, and at this time of year the sun is a little too far south to be spectacular, but I think it was still worth grabbing the shot!

The Fastest Tram in the North West?

The Fastest Tram in the North West?

I was standing in the middle of Southport Pier, catching the last gasps of sunlight as the sun dipped below the horizon. I was using my wide angle lens. I saw the tram, honest, but it was oh so far away through my viewfinder! When the driver started tooting I thought it best to move to one side. I quickly placed the tripod and clicked the shutter. The tram flew past in a blur leaving me with this…

Is it the fastest tram in the North West, or was I just a little bit slower than usual?

Southport Pier – Searching for the definitive Shot

Southport PierI’ll confess to photographing Southport Pier many more times than any normal person should, and yet, after all these shots I’m still searching for that definitive image, the one shot that becomes the accepted look for this landmark. In part this has been prompted by the widespread unlicensed use of an early shot of Southport Pier. Given that so many locals seem to think that this is the shot to use I thought I might try to improve on my 2007 equipment and skills. This isn’t an entirely new shot, but it’s been processed in a radically different way to try and build on the feel of the previous image.

What works? Well, the red sky seemed to attract attention. In the 2007 shot this was done by adding an old fashioned tobacco graduated filter at the time of taking the shot. This image is a composite to improve the dynamic range – the colour was then boosted in Lightroom to give it a similar (if more saturated and contrasty) feel. The leading lines of the planks also help to make this a shot that draws the eye in.

Is this photo of Southport Pier the definitive shot? I don’t know. For now I like it, but, I know that sooner or later I’ll be drawn back to try it again…

High Tide, Southport Pier

High Tide, Southport PierIt’s not often that the tide comes right in on Southport Beach. It’s less often that high tide is really high. Once in a while it is possible to see the pier completely over water from the breakwater outwards. Yesterday was on such day. The light wasn’t great, but it was better than we’ve had for some time. Of course, high tide’s not of itself a pretty scene. The water is so shallow that the waves are small and choppy and the sand is stirred up along with the waves. The best solution is to take a long exposure of many seconds to smooth out the sea. This shot is a 50 second exposure which gives the sea a smooth texture, with whorls and patterns caused by the movement of the waves and tide.