A grey but fun day exploring the East Neuk of Fife again.I wanted to go back and reshoot this little beacon at Pittenweem with a long exposure. I like the composition but will need to go back to try again with better light and weather. Once again I was so focused on the camera that I didn’t even notice the seal poking around until I looked at the images on the computer at home.
I like Pittenweem. I was minding my own business getting interested in all the shades of blue and the little lighthouse. Messed up my filters by putting the 6 stop ND filter in the second slot of the filter holder instead of the first one. Getting grumpy. Then I notice a bunch of folk, perhaps 20 trekking up the narrow pier behind me. Now I am surrounded. Flash mob? Out comes the boom box playing Trad Scots Music and they all start doing the Canadian Barn Dance or similar. Awkward. Do I carry on like nothing is going on or watch, perhaps join in? I do like Pittenweem.
Like most people I enjoy looking at interesting portraits as well as images of people interacting with each other and with the world around them. We are social animals and endlessly fascinated by each other. Consequently most people don’t find images of empty landscapes compelling. I sometimes wonder, having made an image, “Is there enough here to justify this composition?”.
I was having just such an angst on Portencross Pier the other night. The sun had gone down and the light was just stunningly blue and clear. I was standing there looking at the angle the concrete pier made relative to the horizon. Imagining a line from my feet to the distant horizon and the complementary angles that would be formed where those line meet. I imagined the construction worker many years ago marking out the lines on the concrete when he was going to cut the slots to allow the water to drain through the pier. Carefully cutting with his still saw to achieve those straight black lines. I enjoyed the complimentary colours of the blue sea and those yellow lichens and then it dawned on me that the lichens grew in a zone along the edge of the pier but no further . Why? What was different about the habitat in that zone? No idea and still can’t work it out.
There is an uneasy feeling in these empty, long-exposure images where man-made structures protrude into the natural environment. A sense that the landscape, even the man-made landscape does not need us any more. We are the ephemeral element here whereas the landscape is relentless and unyielding. It is full of interest if we look for it. There is beauty in the geometry and the maths, the natural and the constructed if we look for it. Without the distraction of people the empty scene started to tell its own story.
Camerwork: Canon 5D mk3, 63 seconds as f/11, ISO100. 3 stop hard grad on the sky and 3 stop ND over entire frame.