Day Sixteen of my photography challenge – Pin Mill
Today dawned grey and drizzly in complete contrast to the sunshine of yesterday. I decided to head over to Pin Mill to photograph the boat wrecks along the shores of the River Orwell. These boats are probably the most over photographed wrecks in Suffolk but I thought the weather conditions suited the mood of the location so I headed over the Orwell Bridge to see how hard it would be to take 16 photographs in this one small site.
I decided that I would limit myself to the wrecks only and see if I could find some alternative angles on a much portrayed subject. I arrived about an hour and a half before high tide and the boats were still sitting in the mud, so I attached my 70-200mm lens and set about focusing on some of the smaller details – the peeling paint work, the rotten wood and some of the lichens that were growing on the exposed decks.
Everywhere I looked there were investing patterns, colours and shapes and it was completely absorbing working on compositions which focused on the smaller details.
I loved looking for areas where different materials sat side by side. Rust metal pipes, old copper nails and bits of rope were some of my favourite things.
As the tide began to encroach onto the boats I swapped my 70-200mm for my 24-70 and set about trying to capture the boats in their riverside location. These boats have been here for as long as I have been in Suffolk and it is interesting to look back at my older images to see how much things have changed. Decomposition is relentless and I don’t think it will be much longer before some of these hulls are broken and unrecognisable.
This old girl with its mast and pretty hull colours is my favourite hull in the group. It is such a characterful shape and it is such a shame to see her lying so broken and forlorn. She makes for some dynamic compositions because of the angle she is resting at. I used a 6 stop ND filter and a 0.6 ND graduated filter to take this 5 second exposure at F16.
For the next image I used a 10 stop ND filter and a 0.6 ND graduated filter to take this 48 second exposure. By this time it was raining so I was very aware that I would need to keep an eye out for raindrops on the filter glass which would ruin the shot.
On the foreshore in front of the wrecks were some timbers which I thought resembled a cross. This seemed like a fitting symbol for a boat graveyard so I incorporated it into my next composition. This was a 13 second exposure at F16 using the 6 stop ND filter and the 0.6 ND graduated filter.
Moving back to the hull that sits on its own I composed a composition with the tide lapping around the hull. I liked the idea of using some of the salt marsh grass as a leading line into the image from the bottom left. I cloned out a few boat masts from yachts anchored in the river which could still be seen behind the hull despite me choosing a much lower viewpoint.
For my final image I decided to try a black and white conversion. I felt that the grey weather suited this form lot processing and whilst I like this image I still prefer the colour shots.
I think the wet weather really helped create a mood for todays shoot and seemed to convey just the right atmosphere for this slightly somber but very peaceful place. It is always sad to see things abandoned and rotting away but the site of the boats at the end of their lives was tempered by the river which was full of life. There were boats on the water, I could hear the voices of boatyard workers in the distance and the river was full of shell ducks and waders. Despite the rain it was a beautiful day.