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.
It’s that time of year again. The sun is out (mostly) and the UK is holidaying. Wherever you choose to go this year there will always be the holiday snaps. Perhaps that’s all you want, a record of where you’ve been, and who you’ve been with, but with the ultimate destination for our holiday photos being social media, we all need to try and make the most of our images.
The single simple improvement to your image, whether it’s a smart phone or a camera, is composition. It’s the easiest thing in the world to point your camera at your loved one and end of with a person front and centre of the shot. It’s also the most boring image.
Here’s one simple tip to help you take a more interesting shot. When photographing a person, put them to one side of the centre, but looking towards the centre of the image. A good rule is to put the person (or other subject) about a third of the way in from one side, and one third of the way up from the bottom of the frame. The eye naturally follows where someone is looking, so if they are looking out of the frame, your eye will follow. So, place them looking in to the empty space in the image and you naturally follow that.
Take a look at the image above and see how it follows this principle.
One of the things that I love about the Northern Ireland coast is the rocky outcrops that often appear. Of course, the Giant’s Causeway is the most famous ‘rocky outcrop’, but I love the small craggy coves that are so frequently seen, particularly along the Co. Down coast.
This photo was taken just between Bangor and Ballyholme.
The Co. Down coast has always been one of my favourite haunts – the coastline is unspoiled and uncluttered. There are very view visitors to most of the beaches along this stretch of coast, so it’s a simple matter to find space to yourself if that’s what you want.
Driving along from Strangford towards Newcastle we passed Ballyhornan beach. It was almost empty, but not quite, but the other visitors were far enough away to allow everyone their own little stretch of coastline. I like this view over the rocks towards the distant mother and daughter walking the tideline.
Here’s another perspective from the church yard of St. Mary’s church, Kirkby Lonsdale. This is the church that was used for the exterior shots in the recent BBC TV series: Jamaica Inn. I loved how the entire surrounding area still looks old – apart from the TV aerials on the houses there’s a wonderful period feel to the area.
Some days you go to the beach and it’s empty, some days it just seems far too busy! I captured these kite surfers on the beach at Ainsdale, the sun backlit the kites making the image feel nice and bright!
One of the many abiding images of the Sefton coastline is the blown grass waveline of marram guarding the coast. The marram provides a perfect complement to the shoreline, soft grass contrasting with the flatness of the beach and shoreline on this stretch of coast. I love how the light changes every time I visit. The light on the water reflecting the blue of the sky. I call these sort of shots marramscapes 🙂
It’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.