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Squally Dog Walk at Ardrossan

By |2022-09-15T11:42:21+01:00September 15th, 2022|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

man walking his border collie on a windy and wet beach at Ardrossan, Scotland

Squally Stop

This image is a favourite from last year’s trip to Scotland. It was taken during a very wild and wet stop at Ardrossan on the way back home. I’d just walked Luna and was quickly returning to the car (Luna does NOT like windy and wet weather) when I spotted this dog walker calmly exercising his Border Collie. Both seemed to be having fun regardless of the rain and wind battering the beach. Further down the beach, a resilient school trip had gathered to explore the beach for a school project. I’ve always liked the dramatic effect of bad weather on a landscape and how memorable days like this can be.

Isle of Arran

The support ship in the background really adds to the image. It remained anchored there (Troon anchorage) for some time, staying in the anchorage according to marine traffic for several weeks. In the background the Isle of Arran, obscured by the incoming rain, is described on the Visit Scotland website as ‘a place where you can find a little bit of everything you’d ever want from a Scottish island; an ever-changing coastline, dramatic mountain peaks, sheltered beaches, verdant forests, great cultural festivals and a wealth of tasty local produce.’ It’s definitely on the places to visit list with the landscape looking fantastic.

Lost in thought on a Norfolk Beach

By |2021-04-23T14:26:47+01:00April 23rd, 2021|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

man walking along the beach near Cromer in Norfolk, UK

Back in the Archive

There is nothing like a Norfolk beach for clearing your head and finding some peace. Recently I’ve been diving into my digital archive which was an enjoyable if sometimes overwhelming experience. It often comes as a shock to realize how many years have gone by since some of the images were taken. Over the next few months, I’ll be posting some of the photos I’ve found and talking about how the photograph came about.

Rough Weather

This photo was taken in Norfolk in the summer of 2008. I’ve always liked the sense of peace. I spotted this man lost in his own thoughts wandering along the beach between Cromer and East Runton in Norfolk. The weather was very humid and storms had been occurring every day like clockwork. A warm wind had built up and the sea had become quite rough. You could feel in the air that another storm was building up.

Around five shots were taken of this guy walking along the Norfolk beach but this one captured the moment. His head is down in thought and the waves had pushed water up the beach for us to both walk through.

I turned back once I reached East Runton and headed back to Cromer where my car was parked.

Prints at Redbubble

This photograph and many more can be purchased as wall art, clothing, phone cases etc via at https://richflintphoto.redbubble.com/

From the Archive: Walking the Dog

By |2018-07-19T11:27:36+01:00July 17th, 2018|Categories: The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

A couple walking their dog on the beach near Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk, UK

This is an image from 2016 but only just been recently added to the Norfolk gallery. Just viewing this photograph puts me back in a year that i’d rather forget, though that feeling is starting to fade with the passage of time.

Nearly two years ago, I ended up going on an unplanned trip to Norfolk for a week. My mother, who’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer just a few months before, had wanted one last final family holiday even though her own health was failing at a terrifying pace. We all needed a break after the months of bad news stacked on bad news. No silver lining had appeared. No miracle was going to occur. Emotionally we were all exhausted. Burnt out.

With hindsight we should have made the decision to holiday a lot earlier, but the chemotherapy and other hospital visits had made the possibility of getting away impossible. With the chemotherapy cancelled due to my mother’s weak health, the opportunity arose to take that holiday at the end of September 2016. Very quickly we made the decision to go to Norfolk and, as it happened, we made it just in the nick of time. Within a week or two of our return my mother would be incapable of travelling anywhere.

The ‘holiday’ took place in September 2016 and went better than I could have imagined. The change of scene did us all good even though my mother didn’t have the physical strength to get about that much. Norfolk had been an old family holiday favourite so it was a friendly and familiar place. Best of all, the travel distances involved were not huge. It was an escape, if only just a partial one, that enabled us all to relax us a little bit.

Sand blowing over the beach near Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

I’d visited the beach near Burnham Overy Staithe on numerous occasions and taken one or two good images there including the photo of the man walking along the beach (carrying his boots) in a thick sea fret. Happy memories. To get there you have to walk along a winding path, probably about a couple of miles from the harbour car park at Burnham Overy Staithe. On a calm late summer evening, it’s a great way to enjoy the view, listen to the sounds of the Norfolk coast and soak up some fresh sea air. Peace. Bliss. Escape.

A strong but warm wind blew across the beach which seemed to blow all the worries away. The strong wind didn’t deter other visitors from enjoying the beach and it was those people that i concentrated the camera on. Photography is a great therapy. It can provide a purpose and an mental distraction just when you most need it. The instinctive mental process of looking for photos blocked out any other thoughts. I see a shot. One couple were particularly enjoying the vast expanse of space, their dog energetically chasing a thrown bright red ball again and again across the sand.

Chasing the red ball - a dog runs after a thrown red ball on a beach near Burnham Overy Staither, Norfolk, UK
Chasing the red ball – Norfolk Beach

The wind was incredibly strong and did cause some problems keeping the camera steady, but the light was bright so i did have a wide variety of shutter speeds to choose from. One thing i did want to capture was the movement of the fast moving sand so i tended to keep the shutter speed as low as i dare – around 1/80s @ f/22 for the top dog walking image, moving up to 1/250s @ f/11 for the lower red ball image.

The dog walkers were among the last pictures taken on the beach before i walked the couple of miles back to the car park.

The camera was a Nikon D3 using a 80-200mm Nikon f2.8 lens.

More images from the Norfolk project can be found HERE

From the Archive: The Sunbather

By |2018-06-14T16:07:32+01:00June 15th, 2018|Categories: The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

No matter how many times i look at this photo, i still can’t believe that the man was comfortable lying on that pebble beach. He did seem to be enjoying soaking up some rays.

This image was taken on the sea front at Sheringham in Norfolk around 2008. Walking along the sea front, i could see this chap sunbathing from quite a way off and I just hoped that he would stay there until i could get there… AND get the photograph. Fortunately he didn’t move even though he was literally just a couple of yards from the sea front path with people walking by. No one paid him the slightest bit of notice.

As luck would have it, a bench was located directly across from where my sunbather lay that provided a place to sit and a lower viewpoint for the photography. The resulting image is one of my favourites from the Norfolk Project combining a surreal moment with some humour. On the return journey, after visiting the lifeboat station at the end of Sheringham’s sea front, i noticed that he’d gone. I suspect he was waiting for his wife to return from town.

The 6×6 format was used a lot in the Norfolk Project, mostly in a landscape role, but I also found it good for street images like this one. I would often remove the prism finder and look as though i was cleaning the camera – then focus and get the image. I imagine most people thought i couldn’t take a photo with a piece of the camera missing!

The camera was a Bronica SQAi using a 80mm lens. Film stock was Ilford FP4. Sadly i haven’t shot much 6×6 in recent years. I think it’s time to revisit the 6×6 format again sometime soon.

More images from the Norfolk Project can be found HERE.

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