The last place I expected to find myself last weekend was Teignmouth pier. After all, I’d photographed it several times before and the attraction of a return visit wasn’t obvious. I am also trying to avoid heading out purely for red skies and prefer looking for other opportunities. Golden hour side-lighting, or foggy mornings for example. However I’d had a really frustrating weekend with the camera and was desperate to photograph something. Not quite anything, but something. I’d taken Friday off to head to Dartmoor and shoot autumnal scenes. That came to nought as I had a cloudless sunrise and my woodland walk – up the Erme from Ivybridge – was bereft of bronze and yellow foliage.
Late Friday afternoon teased me. I was driving my son to swimming lessons and the best sunset in ages filled the rear view mirror. “The sun is trolling you” said son number 1, and I felt he was right.
Saturday brought with it a surprise hangover. Well, not really a surprise as I had been drinking wine on Friday evening. It wasn’t actually that much but I hadn’t drunk much water at all during the day and I was dehydrated. So I woke up on Saturday with a throbbing head and I missed a promising start.
So, Sunday was all or nothing if I wanted anything out of the weekend. Noting a cloud edge over Lyme Bay on the forecast, I retired to bed early and hoped for a good sunrise in the morning. Rising early, bright, bushy-tailed, and hangover free, I jumped in the car and headed for the coast. I wanted to go east, towards Lyme Regis perhaps, but for some reason I drove west and headed for Teignmouth. After all, everyone does the Cobb, and I didn’t want to go to a cliche’d over-photographed location did I 😉
When I turned up there was a letterbox on the horizon. Things looked promising. Gradually the sun rose and colour crept silently across the sky. I often find that, when tempted by colourful sunrises, the reds creep up on me and, before I know it, it’s BOOM – Game On!
I shot the pier from a number of angles – trying to avoid converging or diverging verticals as much as possible. I’d learned this lesson from previous visits. The temptation is there to get down really low to the water, which results in a drunken pier. I managed to get a decent sunrise and breaking wave shot, which was good, but my two favourites are not what I’d envisaged when I set out:
The first was taken a little after sunrise. there was still colour in the sky and the sun had gone behind a small row of cumulus on the horizon. Some crepuscular rays were just about in evidence, and I ignored the near pier and zoomed in to the far end. The one in the gallery above works best for me from the little collection I took.
I like the second because I had totally not planned it. As I was packing to go, a tanker on the horizon caught my eye. Putting on a 70-200 lens I zoomed in – the pattern of clouds making the composition and attracting my attention. I released the shutter a few times and, on the last but one time a rower came into shot. I really like the resulting image – setting large against small, fast against slow, with the remnants of colour still in the sky
So, after a weekend of misfires, I went home happy. Sunrises might not really be my thing any more but, do you know what? Sometimes they’re just too tempting …