Thursday, 29 December 2011

Sea Palling

After the sunny and breezy trip to Happisburgh, we all headed off for a well-earned bacon sandwich (or equivalent) at a wonderful cafe in Sea Palling.  I couldn't resist the scene opposite our table, where a rather beautiful Lakeland Terrier was showing the kind patience and - let's face it - unjustified optimism for which all dogs are famous.

Sea Palling itself is rather bleak backwater, and is one of the areas on the Norfolk coast which was devastated by the floods of 1953.  The cafe had lots of fascinating pictures on its walls, some of which can be seen in the picture above.

The desolation of the place seemed to call for the same gritty treatment which I gave to West Kirby a few weeks ago.  Like it or loathe it, this processing demonstrates what Sea Palling "felt" like to me.

Braving the conditions were a couple learning the ancient art of kite surfing on the beach.  Very impressive and exhilarating, even for an observer.  As can be seen, the wind was such that it was sometimes difficult to remain earth-bound.  The lady, in particular, had to be held down in order to avoid being carried out to sea!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rough Seas and Intrepid Photographers

After braving the wilds of Great Yarmouth on a Saturday night, the rough seas at Happisburgh were chicken feed for our happy band of intrepid photographers.  It was cold and windy, but the glorious sunshine and spectacular spray made for a highly enjoyable time on the beach.

The last two pictures are actually of the same couple, the first shot in colour with the 100-400 and the second in Infra Red with the 24-105.  Given the fairly harsh (for December) sunlight, I think I prefer the IR version.

The sea defences (well, failed sea defences) are what draw photographers to this spot.  The waves crashing into them were spectacular, but according to a notice posted at the scene, it seems that the old defences will be removed relatively soon.  What will we poor photographers do without rotting wood and twisted metal?

Again, one picture in colour and one in IR to show the difference.  As well as the straight shots, I've also been playing around with blending several to create a more surreal effects.  So far I rather like the result, but maybe I'll revise my judgement when I've had a chance to make a print?

Some IR pictures, taken later in the morning, as the sun was getting too high for good colour shots.

Finally, it's time for my fellow Homo photographicus specimens to take centre stage.


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Great Yarmouth at Night

I'd only ever been through Great Yarmouth on a boat, heading between the Northern and Southern Broads, so it was a novel experience to walk along the promenade after dark.

The sea-front was cold and windswept; and, apart from a handful of tripod wielding photographers, it was pretty well deserted.  Looking at the advertisements for past and future "attractions" (the likes of Roy "Chubby" Brown, Jim Davidson, Cannon & Ball and The Chuckle Brothers) told me everything I needed to know about Yarmouth's standing in the celebrity stakes...

The area in front of the Britannia Pier had obviously been recently renovated, and - when I first saw it - was bathed in a rather beautiful violet light.  I quickly set my tripod up, but by the time I'd done so the light had turned orange.  It took me a little while to twig that the vertical lamp-post objects were rather like latter-day lava lamps, and were changing colour on a regular basis.  Given the length of the exposures that night (10s to 30s) there was absolutely no chance of capturing just a single hue.  Luckily, good old Silver Efex Pro came to the rescue!

The final two pictures are of the same scene: the first was shot in colour and then converted to monochrome; the second is Infra Red, with the colour "corrected" as best I can.  Flare was a huge problem with the IR camera, so if I try this again I'll probably end up using a prime lens rather than a zoom.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sun, Sand and Surf...

...with a bit of gratuitous sex and violence thrown in.  Well, it is Christmas after all!

More of our trip to see the seals at Horsey.  As well as the unbearably cute pups (see previous post) there were other things going on too.  Such as cooling off from the hot (ish) December sun by taking a dip in the North Sea.  OK, so there's a cute pup in the first picture, but I couldn't resist.

Once the pups are born it's time for the adults to mate again.  This lead to some cantankerous exchanges between all possible gender combinations.

Not all exchanges were acrimonious, however, and the females in particular seemed to have a playful side to their nature.  In general, the golden rule seemed to be: when in doubt, roll over...

I included yet another cute pup in that last picture, but I think I might have got away with it...

The youngsters didn't get it all their own way, however.  As well as the possibility of a terminal squashing (beneath half a ton of ill-coordinated blubber during a fight), they also had to sit around while mummy and daddy got down to some serious family planning.

I'd like to say that the earth moved but, frankly, it didn't.  In fact, nothing very much moved for well over half an hour, so there wasn't much chance of motion blur.  Afterwards - you guessed it - the general rule seemed to be: roll over!

It isn't all sweetness and light in seal-land, though, as not all the pups survive.  The most obvious casualty was being tucked into by a gull: not a pleasant sight, but a good example of nature red in beak and flipper.  According to the wardens this year there has been a greater than 90% survival rate of the pups, which is excellent.

After the gruesome bit, I ought to finish with a couple of gratuitous pups.  One was obviously a quick learner because, once its portrait had been taken, it rolled over...

Bye for now!