On Your Doorstep Issue 1 - Page 37

In some ways, it is an unusual coastal view. Over the centuries, the estuary has silted up, leaving broad sand and mud flats that are now a haven for all kinds of seabirds. There are three small off-shore islands that can be reached on foot at low tide and there is a “marine lake”. Built in 1899 as a Victorian sea-side attraction, the lake wall retains a very sizeable body of water when the tide is out and acts as a very popular circular walk for residents and visitors.

So, we have a very stripy view, and one which is ever changing with the weather, the time of day and the states of the tide.

As a keen landscape photographer, confronted daily with this scene, it was inevitable that I would want to capture it in all its manifestations. I found the horizontal stripes in the view reminded me of the paintings of Mark Rothko; abstract horizontal bands of colour, often on vast canvasses. I thought that, perhaps, I could emulate Rothko’s work by moving the camera vertically during an exposure, thus softening the edges of the horizontal stripes.

I set my camera to f22 and the lowest ISO setting in order to achieve exposure times of anything from ¼ sec up to 20 or 30 seconds, depending on the weather and the time of day. At first it was very hit-and-miss. Getting blurred images was easy enough, but I also wanted pleasing compositions. Opening the shutter at exactly the right moment and moving the camera exactly the right amount turned out to be a very inexact science and results were certainly not predictable with any degree of accuracy.