Sunday, 19 February 2017

Inattention to detail

Saturday morning I got some work done early then headed out to deliver a repair. I took the coastal route so I could see if there might be anything interesting to photograph for my beach project. I was too late to know what the chap putting his quad bike on a trailer had been up to, and the horses I could just about make out were well out on the sands. By the time I'd dropped the rod off, had a brew and got back on the road the horse boxes had gone. I almost went home but having nothing else to do I pointed the car south.

There weren't many cars parked up when I got to the beach but I took the camera for a wander regardless. I could hear a faint buzzing noise at the side of the dunes and as I got closer I saw it was a bloke playing with a radio controlled buggy. One he'd put together over four days from a kit. 

I managed to mess up the picture though. I'd dialled in some over-exposure to compensate for the sand fooling the light meter but that resulted in the sky burning out beyond recovery. I really should check the screen for blinkies, but I tend only to look at framing and focus. Not always focus... There wasn't much else going on so I let my stomach dictate my next move.

After lunch I dragged a load of weed out of my pond and considered giving it a proper spring clean before the frogs get down to spawning. Something made me swap lenses on my camera and head back to the beach instead. Although there were more cars there and the ice cream van had arrived everyone seemed to be walking dogs. I was thinking of calling it a day when I spotted someone laying out a kite. The wind was good for kite flying but the light had deteriorated for photography. It was worth as try though. 

This time I managed to not only slightly overexpose the sky, but completely cocked up the framing - which is usually the one thing I get right. In the end I made a horizontal crop from a vertical frame. Having twice as many pixels to play with as I used to have I'm still left with sufficient for a bigger than A4 print, and more than enough for a Blurb book. The overall lesson is to pay more bloody attention.

Despite messing up the portrait (which I hadn't realised at the time as I thought it would work vertically) I spent the best part of two hours watching and learning how to fly two stunt kites at once.

I made over 300 exposures, over 250 of which were only fit for deletion. But it was an interesting experience and I now know where and when to go should I ever want to take photographs of kite flyers.

Flying kites is a family affair for some. David's wife came to see him and bring him a hat, then joined in the
coordinated flying.

The sun did eventually make a brief appearance, which coincided with another guy with a camera turning up and plonking himself right in the middle of my frame as I tried to get some shots of the kites highlighted against a lowering sky. If he hadn't been wearing bright yellow wellies it wouldn't have bothered me at all.

Then he came round and got between me and the kite flyer, got him to fly the kites over the ice cram van so he could take some pictures of them there at ten frames a second and buggered off. Still, I got a picture of a photographer with a daft white lens for my project!

After that the sun disappeared again and it began to get chilly. The kites were grounded and dismantled. We both called it a day.

Today the weather was what I think the Scots call dreich. It was grey and mizzly all morning. I stayed home doing some boring work and clearing up the pond a bit more. When the sky looked to be brightening I almost didn't bother taking the camera out, but this beach project has become something of an obsession. It looked brighter still to the south with the prospect of maybe some sunshine. It was not to be. I hadn't been there long before the top of the gas rig disappeared under low cloud and the rest of it began to fade from view.

The tide was on its way in, driven by a moderate wind that was making small breakers. There wasn't anything going on apart from the inevitable dog walking. I walked out to the water's edge to try and find the breakthrough that will help me make pictures about the incoming tide. It remained elusive.

Dogs make great subjects for photographs. They make great shapes when they are chasing balls. It's something I might get round to doing something with. In the meantime I think I'll try to get some better pictures of people and dogs by the water's edge. It's all about the shapes, some call it gesture, which suggests the action which is taking place. We read the outline, the silhouette, and don't need the detail or colour. That's why the frame below doesn't quite cut it. The throwing stick isn't clearly visible and the dog is an almost shapeless lump. Other than that the composition works okay. I'm sure some would prefer to see the figures on the 'third', but they'd be wrong. That wouldn't show enough sea to give the sense of scale and place.

Close to the water I found some rose stems and close to them a patch of petals. I'm sure there's something of a metaphor to be made about them strewn with a footprint pressing them into the sand.

Near by 'MUM' had been scratched into the sand. I wondered if there'd been a memorial service or a scattering of ashes recently. I took the liberty of moving a rose stem and taking a photograph. By now they'll both be washed away.

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