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.

Spring, Shoreham-by-Sea

Blossoms, Shoreham-by-Sea – March 2021

One of the better things about not working, has been the opportunity to spend more time outside taking in the passing seasons. I know some people love winter, but I have say, I’m more of a spring person. It could be a Christian thing, but I suspect, it is just about looking forward to the summer.

Looking Towards Brighton, Shoreham Beach – Marh 2021

Anyway, after a few hints here and there, I think spring has finally arrived. As you can see, I went to the beach, which close to me – and it was warm – and yes, some brave souls went in for a dip!

Looking Towards Worthing, Shoreham Beach – March 2021

But, being spring of course, the weather is really changeable: next week the forecast is for snow!

Which is your favourite season?

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.

Thanksgiving, Shoreham Beach

Swimmers, Shoreham Beach November 2020

I was going to write about life on the beach – but then I noticed the date – and decided that I would write about Thanksgiving instead.

In the UK we tend to slowly take on things from the US – liablity lawyers, Adam Sandler – all the good stuff. But I do think we should get the British Museum to borrow Thanksgiving from the US and forget to return it – or take molds from it so we can cast our own.

I think in the UK we do lots of things well, but if we had this holiday, it would help us to recognise them too and then maybe when New Year’s Day comes around we wouldn’t feel quite so down.

In a moment I will go for a late night walk and think about things I should be grateful for – what would you choose?

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.

Morning Walk, Shoreham Beach

Walking along the Beach, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020
Further Down the Beach, Shoreham Beach 2020

How do you feel about mornings?

When I was a student, there were mornings when I didn’t get up until almost lunchtime and being particularly self-aware, I didn’t think this was particularly strange. Then I joined the working world and waking at 6 o’clock for a commute to work. Then in later years, rising at 5 o’clock for an even longer commute to work, watching the Sun rise by the time I got there.

Yesterday, I had some business in Shoreham, so I got up extra early so I could go for a walk on the beach before my meeting. There was a clear sky and the air felt cool. In front of me I could see a couple who had come bundled up, apparently fresh from bed. If I were a little more social (and the times were a little more social too), would have liked to know a little more about them. But I didn’t, so they wandered off to the water’s edge and I walked along the beach to take some longshots of the waves breaking onto the shore.

Technical Details

I have taken photos of Shoreham Beach for a few weeks, trying different cameras to see which work best. For these photos I was using a Sony RX10. I used this because I wanted to be able to use a telephoto lens to “compress” the beach, which tends to make the waves look a little larger and more dramatic. Another benefit, is that it has the longest lens I own, so i could take photos of ships and yachts a little way out to sea. And lastly, because the camera is an all-in-one, I don’t have to change lenses, which on a beach is inviting trouble with sand and salt water. My only disappointment, is the flare on the second photo, which I am trying to convince myself adds atmosphere.

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