There’s a wonderful soft light to the South Downs, and there are spectacular views from the top of the Downs all the way to the coast, and along the spine of the chalk hills that comprise the South Downs.
One of the enchanting aspects of walking the Downs is the sense of layers that are laid out before you. Ditchling Beacon is my nearest viewpoint, and it’s the perfect place to capture these layers. First of all there’s the grass along the paths, and the wildflowers along the fences. Then there are the fields of every shade and colour in the middle distance. And topping it off are big skies.
What do you do when you want to shoot a landscape, but there’s nothing interesting nearby? Use a long zoom, of course! Shot from Ainsdale beach you can see Formby and North Wales in this shot.
The Sefton coast is a vast space, and once the autumn chill sets in the beach is largely deserted. On an overcast but warm autumn day you will see the occasional visitor loitering along the water’s edge. The tide comes in so gently on this gently sloping beach that it’s a rather tranquil experience standing and watching the water lap gently closer and closer to the tide line.
With the flat light on the surface of the water the sky and sea blend almost seamlessly into one vast bright plane of soft colour and light. The couple standing at the water bring a sense of scale and perspective to the image.
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…