As summer slowly ends and we move towards autumn the sun is setting further to the south. Due to the shape of Northern Ireland’s coastline, at this time of year you will need to go west if you want to keep a very low sun in your composition. With that in mind, my friend and I went to Benone Strand last week. At this time of the year (early September), the sun sets along the length of the beach and this allows for some really beautiful telephoto landscape photographs in which you can include both the sun and the beach in the frame.
(I have been told that the location I took these photographs from might actually be Downhill Beach, rather than Benone Strand, but a little research shows that the boundary is in dispute! The most common theory is that the Umbra Burn, shown in the landscape photograph above, divides the two.)
The Umbra Burn, which is a minor river, flows from the nearby cliffs and hills, exiting onto the sand and creating an ever changing landscape. If you can prevent yourself getting distracted by the beauty around you, the river is extremely interesting. Take a moment to study all of the different textures in my photograph. I also love the lines in the image which all draw the eye towards the overcast yet beautiful sky. The sand ‘cliffs’ at the edge of the water were quite literally changing before our eyes. On several occasions in a short space of time I heard loud splashes and watched huge slabs of sand fall into the water. I reckon that a time-lapse of these changes over a period of a few hours would be really interesting to watch (if a bit boring to make!).
When I saw this big black rock sticking out of the sand I knew that it would make a great focal point in a landscape photograph if I could find a composition to compliment it. Using the lines to lead the eye diagonally out to the sea seemed like a way to visually balance the photograph and I’m very happy with the result.
As the sun dipped closer to the horizon the colours in the sky became more and more dramatic, both in terms of their strength and their beauty. This is a very shallow beach so I was able to, despite the fact I was only wearing a pair of Merrell Moab GTX outdoor shoes, walk through the surf without getting wet. However, during this exposure which was the first of a 3 shot sequence, a huge wave came rushing in, catching me unaware and absolutely soaking my lower legs. Not exactly life threatening, but a clear reminder of just how dangerous and random waves can be.
It was worth getting wet though, I’m really pleased with this landscape photograph, especially the little highlights of intense colour in the waves at the bottom of the photograph.
This will definitely me a beach I return to again over the autumn and winter months in the search of more great light!