Tag Archives: beach

Iceland – just amazing…

There is a moment when you know that you’ve fallen for a place. I’ve just been co-leading a workshop in Iceland, a land which is awesome in every sense of the word. But the place that encapsulates that wonder is the beach at Jökusárlón, where the bergs get washed up on the black sand and create amazing temporary sculptures. Stunning.

Iceland is not just black beaches and icebergs. It’s glaciers, fish, volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers, sulphur, mud, horses and expensive hotels. Empty roads too. Route 1, the equivalent of the Icelandic M25, is empty once past Reykyavik and the glory spots of the south coast. I drove for hours only passing a few cars the whole time… 2500 kms, empty most of the way.

 

 

I can’t wait to go again. Next year, perhaps in late March when it’s a bit colder, more icy, more dramatic, more raw. If you want to come, let me know. We will be in 2 4x4s, space for 6 passengers on the photographic trip of a lifetime…


Northumberland Castles, Seascapes, Big Skies and Roman Walls

Northumberland is a fantastic windswept rugged landscape. Big beaches, huge sky, imposing castles. A great area for photography, which is why I’m running a workshop there next year. I’ve just been on a quick recce to check out the locations. Here are a few resulting images.

Bamburgh Castle, a classic dawn and dusk location. Great for big land, and seascapes, beach reflections and rocky lead-in lines…

Alnwick Castle, home to much Harry Potter castle filming…

 

Holy Island and its famous boat sheds. Normally this is a great shot with Lindisfarne in the background, but scaffolding on the castle put paid to that this time (scaffolding that will be removed before the workshop thank heavens!)

Pilgrim’s Way across the mud flats of the estuary to Holy Island. I kept my feet dry and resisted splashing around in the mud…

Abstracts and long exposure in Berwick upon Tweed…

A day away from the seaside checking out Roughting Linn waterfall

No trip to Northumberland should be without a visit to Hadrian’s Wall. The Roman soldiers must have shivered and longed for return to the continent when they were posted here…

And finally, the famous Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall. Much photographed, but stunning nevertheless. Great location!

If you are interested in a trip to Northumberland, the workshop is 6th – 10th September 2018. Contact me at thomaspeck1@mac.com for more details or to request a brochure.  Stunning landscapes guaranteed.


A beach, a dog, and a race…

Autumn is here, my favourite season! The colours are muted but saturated, the weather still not too cold. Mists and mellow fruitfulness and all that. A good time to get out with the camera. This last week the Isle of Wight has been positively glowing and I’ve been having some fun with my tripod plus tilt and shift lens…

needles3

 

Dusk isn’t too late, so I can photograph The Needles and don’t miss out on dinner with the family, and dawn isn’t too early, so it’s not too hard to haul my botski out of bed and shoot the misty sunrise.
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But what about the beach, the dog and the race…? Well, when the kids were young beaches were for sandcastles and paddling, but now we have a dog a beach is of course for races! Below is Charles puffing away whilst Rufus ambles past him. Rufus wins easily. And then me! a sprightly 42, giving the hound a run for his money. (Rufus still won…)

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rufus

rufus-and-me

 

Ah, the inner child will out…

Dawn, dusk, beaches, racing. A cracking week on the Isle of Wight. Loved it.

sunrise1

 

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Mexican Palm Trees, and Cocktails…

Palm trees means beach means sun means holiday, right? Right! Two weeks of Mexican mojitos, margaritas and caipirinhas (Brazil…?) and the odd whisky sour thrown in to balance all the sugar. FullSizeRender 20

 

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I’ve become quite fond of palm trees over the last fortnight. Obviously the shade was very welcome for a white northern boy like me. But they also gave me something to photograph. Nice theme for a little series of sunny beach images…

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I must admit that I took most of these in the early morning so that I could still hold the camera straight before indulging in all that cocktail malarkey. And palm trees help out even there – pretty ramrod straight, which sorts out the verticals. Apart from this one…? What happened this poor chap?

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They’re pretty bendy too, which comes in useful when a tropical storm ruins the sun-bathing for a few days.

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But perhaps the best thing about a palm tree is a coconut. Here’s young Freya, indulging in the palm tree’s fruit (although perhaps not with all the alcohol that I seem to throw in….)

 

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(All shots made with an iPhone – too hot to carry the big beast around…)

 


The liquid blue of summer

Blimey it’s getting cold here in the UK. I’m quite looking forward to the stillness and quiet of winter. But just before the summer recedes too far into the memory, a quick moment to go back to the pictures of summer and dig out the liquid blue of the sea. To help block out the cold. Imagine these vistas in 40C. Blissful!

A Cretan village

A Cretan village

 

Reflection of a yacht mast

Reflection of a yacht mast

 

St Paul's Church - 2000 years old

St Paul’s Church – 2000 years old. And look at the colour!

 

Same mast, different reflection

Same mast, different reflection

 

A Cretan beach and a Cretan view

A Cretan beach and a Cretan view

So goodbye to summer 2014. Let’s see what the winter can do!


The oddest beach in the world

Last week was abstract in the Hebrides. This week is more literal, but also more weird. A boat graveyard on a Kent beach. Dungeness – the oddest beach in the world.

Beached boat

Beached boat

 

Junk, detritus, and decaying boats. Pretty deserted at 7am on a Sunday morning, which added to the atmosphere. Isolation & stillness. I loved it!

No more fishing...

No more fishing…

 

Now photographers are well known for being attracted to a bit of junk and decay – makes for great textures and patterns, and that was certainly in abundance here. And I wanted to make my pictures slightly weird too, so out came the IR camera. I think it adds an extra element to the style of the images.

green seaweed turned white

green seaweed turned white

The camera is a revelation. I can shoot images that just weren’t possible before. Like this one, straight into the sun. A beach with a difference, matched by a camera with a difference. How about that – liberation surrounded by decay. Weird or what! I wonder what you think… Let me know.

 

The sun shines on a dead boat.

The sun shines on a dead boat.


Hebridean Abstracts

Now I love this image, but sure as hell the judges in the photo club don’t! Too difficult, too abstract, just too weird. Even with a literal title – ‘Wave On Beach’ – it’s still doomed to failure. Shot down in flames, twice. So it’s not a photo club photo, but heck, I still like it…

 

Lewis Beach

Lewis Beach

 

Maybe this one would work better… Bit of foreground interest, lead in line, wave breaking in mid distance and a moody sky in the far background. More obvious certainly, but it’s an anyone shot, it’s ok, but just ok.

 

Wind on sand plus waves

Wind on sand plus waves

 

This is more like it. A real weird one! Panning to the right during a 2 sec exposure whilst the wave breaks to the left. I’ve not even considered this as a competition image. It would get blasted straight away for being ‘blurry’….

 

Breaking wave

Breaking wave

 

Maybe I should compromise. How about this? Rock on beach – a point to focus on, still a bit abstract-y with the black peat showing through the tawny sand. Bit of a curve to take the eye through the pic… On second thoughts, this is still to way-out for a 30 sec analysis in a club competition. It stays on the blog site. Hope you enjoy it!

Lewis beach abstract 2

Lewis beach abstract 2

 

(Now if you did like these, then check out some lovely rocks… or indeed some more beaches in Scotland! Let me know what you think…)

 


Nice Gneiss!

How often do you stop and look at something? Really look – very closely? So much that you actually see…

Lewisian Gneiss

Lewisian Gneiss

 

It’s quite a difficult thing to do. We all rush around in our hectic lives, so to stop and truly see is quite different. Almost feels strange to spend so much time just looking…

Ancient rock

Ancient rock in the waves

 

I spent some time doing just that recently on a beach in Lewis. At first all you see is rocks, but then the colours and the shapes become more apparent. The first photographs are difficult. Then it becomes easier. I begin to see. As if the rocks pose to have their portraits taken.

 

Circles touching

Related rings in the rock

 

These particular rocks are 3 billion years old. 2/3 as old as the Earth itself. The heat, pressure and then ice and waves have created fantastic colour and fantastic shape. The rocks will be here long after I have gone. So I’m glad I spent some time looking at them. I slowed down, took some time, and looked. Nice to share some time with the Gneiss. And not to hurry…

 

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(If you liked these photos, have a look at Sunny Scotland won’t stop me taking photos)

 

 

 


Sunny Scotland won’t stop me taking photos!

What sort of weather do you associate with the far north of Scotland? I mean – right up the top. Not even the Hebrides…, the Outer Hebrides? It’s got to be rain, correct? Big, moody, storm filled skies. Huge rolling breakers coming in off the Atlantic all the way from Greenland. Wet! The Scots even have their own word for it, dreich: drizzly, wet, heavy, grey. That’s what I wanted for my trip last week. I wanted moody and dramatic. Storms! What did I get? Sunshine and blue sky. I can’t believe it!

 

A break in the sunshine, some clouds, & I got snapping!

A break in the sunshine, some clouds, & I got snapping!

 

OK, OK, so the first image looks a bit grey-ish. I had to work hard for that. This was perhaps a 10 minute cloud passing between almost incessant sunshine. Photographers have to seize every opportunity…

 

Luskentyre beach

Luskentyre beach

 

This was more like it. Great big blue sky reflecting off the wet sand. You’d think it was the Bahamas. In fact it was so warm it felt like the Bahamas! Mind you, one big advantage over the Bahamas – the Isle of Harris was deserted, completely!

 

Cotton wool wave

Cotton wool wave

 

Now this one could be bluer, but the long exposure filter has toned it down (to blur the wave) and I’m fond of it so it’s staying that way… Mrs P has deigned to comment that she likes this one, so I know I’m forgiven for disappearing for a week…

 

Empty beach. Not like the Caribbean...

Empty beach. Not like the Caribbean…

 

A week of empty beaches, dramatic scenery, uninterrupted photography and the odd wee dram of whisky. Heaven. Couldn’t have been better…., well, apart from the weather!

 

(Thanks to Aspect2i for a fantastic photography week. If you’re interested in truly inspirational photo workshops then check them out: http://www.aspect2i.co.uk )


How do you know you’re on an exotic island?

Apart from the lovely warm weather and the beautiful hotel (check out: what makes a hotel great ) there were some other signs that we were somewhere rather more exotic than cold windy octoberish Essex…

Soufriere and The Pitons

Soufriere and The Pitons

St Lucians are house proud, demonstrated by their colourful roofs. Much care and attention goes into choosing just the right colour. A choice, all of our taxi drivers assured us, best left to the ladies…

Banana leaf

Banana leaf

Fern and coconut

Fern and coconut

The vegetation is extraordinary. Luscious and green, and huge: warm weather and lots of rainfall. Exotic vegetation leads to exotic food – bananas of course, plus pineapple, mango, breadfruit, plantain, sweet potato, cashew nuts, nutmeg and mace. All the sorts of fruit we buy in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s – it comes from here, literally…

not for the faint-hearted...

not for the faint-hearted…

Mixed up with the exotic food are some exotic animals. The island specialises in tarantulas, boa constrictors, and a particularly poisonous snake called the Lance de Fer. Not that we got close to any of these – you can see in the pic that Mrs P and Immy were staying well back from the spider. Got a lot closer to the fish however – snorkelling on the reef by the beach was amazing. Just zillions of fish!

John the Fisherman

John the Fisherman

A dog's life

A dog’s life

Fishing village

Fishing village

Some exotic characters too. John, the chap above, is a fisherman by trade. He told us he is 53 and has never slept outside his village, not one night, ever. Why should he? He has everything he wants here.

Our lovely beach

Our lovely beach

Getting in amongst the waves

Getting in amongst the waves

So we have to leave this lovely place and get back to reality. And therein lies a truth about the exotic. It seems exotic because it is so different to home. But you need home to allow you to recognise that difference. Long live exotic holidays!

St Lucian view

St Lucian view