If you love the complementary colours of deep blue skies and reflected amber lights, this blog is full of them, so read on!
At the end of a lovely sunny afternoon, I headed up to Mill Hill, North of Shoreham, with the aim of taking sunset views towards Lancing College. Sadly, without any clouds to create interest, the sunset scene was somewhat boring, and I really felt I could do better! My initial thoughts were to pack up, go home and wait for a more interesting day. But a little nagging voice told me that with the kids still off for Easter, this could be my last chance to photograph landscapes this week...
Well, I'm glad I listened to that nagging voice, as I'd forgotten how much I enjoy shooting in that first hour after sunset (remember the snowy beach huts you all voted for back in Blog Week 4?)
So without really having a Plan B, I headed back down the hill, towards the river, hoping for inspiration to strike.... As I walked over the Norfolk Bridge at 8.00pm, I was struck by the lovely colours of the now dusky sky, and figured that a long exposure would naturally saturate the colours and bring out the reflections of lights from Ropetackle, a modern development on the North side of the Adur River.
In artistic terms, complementary colours are those which sit on opposite sides of the colour wheel, and when used together can create a harmonious colour scheme. I have always loved experimenting with colour. As a child I would spend hours creating patterns with my precious Caran D'Ache pencils. I now apply the same passion to designing photobooks and wedding albums - the combination of colours across a double spread can really enhance (or detract from) the individual images on each page.
Here, as I looked through the lens (my trusty 24-70mm f/2.8, by the way), I saw the perfect colour conditions for making a modern, urban (and controversial, architecturally speaking) scene look eye-catching and inviting. I knew that I would only have half an hour at most before the skies became black, so stood on the Norfolk Bridge, and picked out a variety of different compositions.
Not only were the colours lovely, but the tide was out far enough to create interesting shapes on the river bed, but high enough to retain a big enough body of water to reflect the sky and Ropetackle lights. The amber of the lights is also reflected in the white paint of the boats, creating foreground interest that tones in perfectly with the sky.
For those of you who remember Week 9's blog on "boats and trains", those images were taken on the river bed almost directly below where I was standing now, although with the tide a little further out. I did actually manage to capture a couple of trains this time round too - the first, purely by accident as it came along at some point during my 30 second exposure. It appears as a light orange streak across the railway bridge (below), as the exposure recorded the trail of light from the moving train over several seconds.
I liked how the light from the train added interest to the photo and helped to separate the railway bridge from the silhouetted horizon. So I changed my composition to include more of the river and bridge, and waited for another one, pressing the shutter for another 30 second exposure from the moment I heard the train approaching. The color of the moving train exactly matches the street lighting reflected in the wet mudflats - result!
OK, so now anyone reading this who doesn't know me personally will think I'm really boring... well, maybe you do have to be a bit nerdy to be a landscape photographer of any merit. But I think you'll agree this last photo is anything but boring. A fairly ordinary scene taken from the Norfolk Bridge looking towards Shoreham high street. Or so it would be, were it not for the lovely light trails from the tail- and headlights of cars crossing the bridge. I only took one shot of this... and got lucky with several cars plus a coach coming past during my exposure, the latter creating the high lines of red that helped turn a static scene into a dynamic and exciting one:
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of Shoreham after dark. On Saturday, I'm photographing Belles Events Vintage Wedding Fair at a great Shoreham arts location known as West Street Loft (in fact, some of you might remember the owner, Ian, who appeared in my Comic Relief blog with a red nose and a pineapple on his head.... ). I might just be tempted to blog about it next week....
Until then, please share, comment and like, if you did - thanks!