Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Christmas swim!

After yesterday's schoolboy error of setting forth on a photographic excursion with mere moments of battery life available, I'm more prepared today. I have three fully charged batteries, tripod and the neutral density filters I need. My plan is to return to the beach, stake out a couple of good spots and try and ’smash’ (in LA’s vernacular!) the creamy waves and smudgy clouds. I'm all set up, the weather is not as fine as yesterday, it looks like there won't be a repeat of last night's sunset (or late afternoon, don't you just love winter?) but hopefully I can use the moodiness to my advantage .  I'm glued to the viewfinder, fully manual (yes, living on the edge!) and tweaking the aperture and shutter speeds oblivious to everything else waiting for that "decisive moment". Apparently too oblivious as I didn't spot the much feistier waves today building up a head of steam and trying to wipe out the pesky photographer in their wake. Hmmm, I was wearing hiking boots (occasionally I don sensible footwear) but I needed waders it seemed. The waves soaked me up to my knees and filled my boots with sludgy sand and bits of seaweed, I suspect hiking socks would have been useful here. I figured that when I'd been doused once, then twice, then a third time that I'd just stick it out until I had a moment I quite liked. Apparently photography is not supposed to be easy - Magnum’s Robert Capa said “If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough”, best not to mention what happened to him, but I'm fairly confident I'm not going to drown so I can suffer a little more for my art. Not sure my boots will ever be the same again by I captured something at least and this time I didn't run out of power!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Don't forget your batteries!

On my photography wish list for this second trip to the Isle of Wight I'd hoped for some striking wintery seascapes and a picturesque sunset and/or sunrise. Hopefully utilising some of new skills procured in the Dorset coast I'd lugged my tripod, filters and all the camera accoutrements with me over to the island to see how much I'd retained (forgive me Helen for all I haven't). Suitably clad in sparkly hiking boots (well, it is Christmas) I locate a spot on the beach that has a nice view of one of the distinctive red coastal hazard markers and set up.  
I'm crossing my fingers I might get some attractive shots at sunset but the sky doesn't look promising.  I am well prepared, I've even braved a long queue of locals in Boots buying last minute Christmas present perfumes and indigestion preparations in anticipation to procure a shiny new SD card for my camera.  I fire off a couple of test shots then screw on the filters to slow the crashing waves down.  
A couple of clicks and the inevitable slow shutter drains the camera battery almost immediately. But no fear, of course I've bought a spare with me.  However when I spot that it's upside down in the battery holder I know this one is flat also. And my third? Well that's fully charged and back up the hill again in my hotel room.  And typically, as I throw in the towel, wipe my tripod of sand and pack everything away the clouds clear slightly. And as the clouds become wispier the gold, yellow ochre and tangerine streaks start to emerge and I am camera-less. Most definitely a schoolboy error! Perhaps if I rush back up the hill, shake the beach off my boots and grab the last remaining battery from my other bag in my hotel room, there might a chance I preserve the Christmas Eve sunset. Around me everyone is holding their camera phones aloft and each time I turn around the sky has bruised further, and the indigo was merging with  the orange streaks. 
There wasn't time to return to the beach but I did manage to get a few hand held shots squeezing in between the parked cars and peering over the balustrades. Tomorrow, I will try again but with plenty of batteries!