Along the coast road that runs from the north of Southport right through to Ainsdale in the south and beyond runs a broad stretch of land that comprises marshland to the north, Marshside, and marram to the south towards Ainsdale. At the very top of this stretch of marshland lies a small pool of water alongside a fence. It’s quite bland in normal circumstances, but, with the right light reflecting off the water quite stunning results are possible.
This image was taken at sunset, through the fence, with the sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water. A long exposure was used to smooth the water.
The wide open spaces of the Southport to Ainsdale coast are wonderful for a brisk walk, or for horse riding, kite flying/racing and many other pursuits, but for the photographer it can present its own problems. How do you hide all the cars and vans parked along the beach? What do you use for foreground interest. How do you get close enough to the sea? Really, the tide goes out so far that it’s vital to know when the tide is in if you want water in shot!
One solution I have discovered is to use a slightly longer zoom and bring the grass to the sea…
The one feature of the Southport coast is its pier! Along the miles of beach and marram, this solitary structure dares to stretch out towards the ever receding tide. It is the second longest pier in Britain, and it needs to be as the tide goes out much further than even the pier can reach. But, of course, everything looks great in the right light. Pick a night with a wonderful sunset and watch the pier glow with colour.
The beaches along the Sefton coast are typically very broad and very flat. Occasionally there is sufficient dip in the beach to leave very shallow pools of water. On such a featureless stretch of sand a photographer must take what he can get in the foreground interest stakes. So, a bit of water, a few ripples and we’re good to go!
On a good day you can see the Welsh hills from Ainsdale beach, on a great day they can be seen under spectacular clouds! The sky was purple, the tide was out, the hills were visible along the skyline…
As you leave the car park and head for Ainsdale beach you climb up over a narrow ridge of dunes. This fringe of marram stretches all along the Sefton coast providing a wonderful backdrop to the sea and beach. Looking from the crest of the dunes with the tide in gives a wonderful view of marram, sea & sky!
It’s not in for long, but when there is a high tide the whole of Southport Pier is actually under water. Unfortunately it’s not deep enough to swim in; in fact, a decent pair of wellies would get you out quite a distance before they filled with seawater!
The best option for shooting at high tide is to take a long exposure so that the shallow sea becomes smoothed with time. This shot took 40 seconds (and a bit of post processing)!