I seem to be becoming a bit obsessive about lighthouses. When I’m planning a trip they invariably enter my mind. I used to pour over the sea state sites like Magic Seaweed and bemoan the lack of calm days to take the Kayak out. Now it is the opposite. I want big waves and storms so I can get out and try and capture some drama in the oceans.
My initial plan was to shoot the south Breakwater in Aberdeen. It has a beautifully elegant if a tad rust stained lighthouse. I could already see the waves were crashing over the day before and my visit would coincide with bigger waves and tide and more wind. All good but overhead conditions sounded grim so I looked south to Northumbria. The forecast there was similar in terms of the sea but the wind wasn’t as bad all day and there was a good chance of some light to go with the rain and wind.
I decided on Northumbria and a mate, Wullie, tagged along too. As is often the case the forecasters never quite got it right. As we stood on the beach in Bamburgh with a threatening sky, thundering waves and a sandstorm it looked like Aberdeen might have been a good bet but that was the worst of the conditions we were out in cleverly driving to our next venue during the worst of the weather.
Bamburgh had been stormy and Seaham was bright and sunny for most of our visit. The waves were crashing over and we got the bonus of a comfy spot on the Café balcony to shoot from and relatively sheltered from the wind. We both bagged the typical shot and tried a different perspective around the corner that didn’t work as well. Satisfied we jumped in the car for our high tide spot.
Roker Pier is my favourite Pier. It elegantly curves into the sea with a lovely striped lighthouse at its end. It has recently been done up and is a beautiful site for tourists and photographers. We had hoped high tides and big seas would have the waves crashing over the lighthouse but it wasn’t to be. The sea was still fantastically lively so we spent a couple of hours shooting the pier and waiting for a surfer to appear from the swell. We never got the shots expected but came away with something a bit different.
A dash to Tynemouth for more Lighthouse action but the sea had calmed and the dram was gone. We spent a pleasant 20 minutes that really would have been better spent driving north.
Our last stop was St Mary’s Island. We arrived just around sunset and the island looked glorious bathed in pinkish light. Unfortunately, by the time we made it down to the causeway the light had gone and our opportunity missed.
Very unusual for me to go out photographing with company but I think it is safe to say we will be making further trips. It was a nice journey home talking about our exploits and putting the world to rights. Cheers Wullie for a great day.