Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier, Suffolk

Waves lap quietly around the base of Southwold pier, gentle rolling surf, pushed on by the faintest of breezes. The air is calm, the ocean’s breath no longer strong enough to wrench the salt from the surf, that familiar taste of the seaside absent this evening. The slowly sinking sun paints the whispy clouds pale pink, and shafts of softly angled light renders the surface of the sea a delicate shade of blue, unusual for this coast where grey is so often the norm.

Standing on the edge of the surf I watch as a squabble of herring gulls soar just above the waves, wheeling and gliding, their aerobatics accompanied by constant noisy chatter; the distinctive sound of the seaside so familiar to us all. A cormorant resplendent in a suit of iridescent black looks on from a nearby wooden groin post, something about his haughty posture says he is unimpressed by the antics of the more gregarious gulls. It is not long before he too takes to the sky, skimming low over the water in search of somewhere quieter to pass the twilight hours.

I set up my tripod and camera and arrange the pier and the groin so that they appear to converge somewhere near the horizon. Lead in lines to the sea. I use a ND graduated filter to balance the sky with the land and a big stopper to slow down the shutter speed enough to give a milky haze to the surface of the sea. My intention was to capture the magical, tranquil qualities of the evening.

  • Camera: Nikon D700

  • Lens: Nikon 24 – 70mm F2.8

  • Settings: F10 at 80 seconds

  • Grid Ref: TM 51154 76605

  • Inspiration: Tranquil evening light

  • Date shot: 26/11/2015