Sunbeams, Shoreham Beach

Sunbeams, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex – September 2020

A photograph from the end of last summer. It is a bit “decorative” or new age book cover’ish (“The Wisdom of Pebbles”) – but I still quite like it.

And I took it with the simplest camera I own. There is probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Empty Beach, Shoreham-by-Sea

Empty Beach, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex – May 2021

“I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky…”

Sorry, I thought I would start with a bit of John Masefield. 🙂

This photo is only a couple of weeks old, but the now weather has shifted from “sort-of-summer” to “definitely summer”. So it is long gone (although it isn’t).

When I lived here 40 years ago, I was always disappointed that the sea looked green rather than the blue you see in films. And I wished the shingle was sand. But now, I’m glad that it isn’t: the green is rather pleasing and the waves hiss when they strike the pebbles!

View From Gurney Drive, Penang

View of Straits Quay from Gurney Drive, Penang – January 2016

Years ago, I lived in Penang. On a Wednesday afternoon after work, I used to walk from Island Plaza into George Town – where I would usually have my dinner. At the time, I believed that this was a fair way, but looking back, I can see it was only a few miles. I used to love this view across the bay to Straites Quay and on this occasion, I think the clouds look quite impressive. On other occasions, there were huge storm clouds which warned of bad weather ahead.

Straits Quay, Northam Beach, Penang – August 2013

I know that this view has gone now – the beach has been drained and the land reclaimed for building. One day, I hope to see what it is like now.

Yachts, Shoreham Beach

Yachts off Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020

During October, we had some lovely weather in Shoreham, which made it feel like a gradual change from summer into autumn. At the time, the COVID number had slumped and people felt more comfortable being away from home. As you can see, the Sun shone and lots of people took the opportunity to take their yachts for a cruise off the coast

Yachts, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020

Dog on the Beach, West Sussex

Dog on the Beach, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex December 2020

After what has seemed like weeks of rain, yesterday, we had a few hours of sunshine, so I went to the beach. It was warm enough to sit on the pebbles and watch the waves for a couple of hours, so pretty mild for mid-December.

In the photo, the sea looks much flatter than it was, every so often there would be some quite large waves which arrived with a crash.

And then, large clouds formed and the sunshine stopped. Time to return to the car and drive home.

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach

View of the Sea, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex – Friday, 23rd October 2020

Although the morning started with glorious blue skies, by the time I got the beach it was clouding over. Looking along the beach towards Worthing, there were menacing rain clouds and a steady breeze. And there were also lots of kite surfers out, racing back and forth on the waves. I think I was on the beach for an hour or so, but you can see how the light chnaged in that time. And then the light went. So I had to withdraw to my car 🙂

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex – Friday, 23rd October 2020

One of the kite surfers had seen me taking photos – so here some are! I had my small camera with me, so mostly fairly scenic pictures. Next time I come, I will bring a bigger camera and get a few more details!

Kite Surfers in the Shallows – Friday, 23rd October 2020
Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex – Friday, 23rd October 2020

My father has an expression,”If you don’t play the game, you can’t win!”. And I think it applies to this situation quite well: I don’t really have the right camera for this – but I gave it a go.

I took these photos with a Sony RX-100, a very compact camera with a 1″ sensor because I had originally only intended to go for a walk with my wife. Somethings I think it did well: the exposures look fine and I was able to zoom in and out ok. But really for beach photography, you need more reach to isolate the subjects better – which is why these photos are a little “scenic”. The other thing I found myself wanting was a viewfinder, because the screen wasn’t always easy to see. And that was it. I liked that the lens was fixed, because the last place you want to change lenses is on a beach (I am still working on a DSLR which has a stubornly dirty sensor). And the camera was pretty responsive for a “casual” kind of camera.

More from Shoreham Beach

Kite Surfing Seascape, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020
Kite Surfer, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020
Windsurfer, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020

I keep coming back to Shoreham Beach. I suspect, it is because haven’t been to the seaside in such a long time. Or it could be because I like drinking warm coffee while I get blasted by on shore gales. I don’t know.

While I was taking these, another photographer was doing things properly with a long lens on a tripod. The guys on the windsurfers seemed to know what they were doing, so I’m wondering if I gate crashed a photo shoot! In which case, I thank them for their generosity.

Almost Monochrome, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach

Waves, Shreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

As you can see, the weather has changed on Shoreham Beach, where before it was calm and inviting, now it is much stormier, with quite powerful waves.

In the 1970s, surfing and skateboarding were very popular and whever I came to the beach, I hoped to see young people carving up the waves – but I never did. The problem is, the beach, it is quite steep – so the waves break onto the shore, rather than further out – which is what you need for surfing!

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

As you can see here though, the beach does get used for kite surfing.

Kite Surfer, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Shoreham Beach is a pedestrian bridge away from Shoreham-by-Sea and I suspect during storms, parts of it get a bit closer.

After a few glorious, almost July-like days, the weather has finally turned and begun to cool down. On this occasion, the tide was out, so I got to walk on sand for a change. Here, the tide makes a huge difference to the beach, the sea being 40m further up the beach at high tide (maybe higher). On this occasion, there were still plenty of paddleboarders cruising along the coast, but fewer bathers.

Paddle Boarders and Bathers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Worthing Pier, West Sussex

Fishermen, Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
View of Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020

It is strange how seasons change from the edges, the mornings and evenings are much cooler than they were mid-summer and obviously it gets darker much earlier. But as you can see, during the day it is still warm and might even be mistaken for a summer’s day.

Piers were a Victorian fad, with seaside towns competing to have the longest. As the years have passed, most have fallen into disrepair, but a few, such as Worthing Pier have remained. Given that they stand in the sea and are subject to storms, they require fairly continuous maintenance.

Worthing Beach from pier, West Sussex September 2020