Yesterday I headed up to Grosnez on a day of brutal winds and savage hailstorms. When a westerly is blowing it’s one of the most exposed spots in the island, and yesterday was a showcase for wild weather. Having waxed lyrical in my previous post about the beauty of film photography, I found the conditions this time were made for digital. Standing on the cliff edges I was battered so much it was impossible to hold a camera steady, so I was indebted to image stabilised lenses and autofocus for returning at least some shots that weren’t blurred.
Not only that, but I needed the expendability of digital: I took over 200 photos in the search for a select few that would capture the power of the pounding seas. To be honest, I don’t think I really succeeded. The sheer scale of movement in the water, the massive surges, the repetitive onslaught – none of these are really captured in these photos. Always I have the feeling that the killer photo lurked just out of reach. Better framing, shutter pressed a fraction earlier or later, a little more patience…
With film I would have been hesitating to fire the shutter, aware of the cost of each mistake, whereas digital allowed me to make mistakes by the dozen with impunity. The three shots below were all taken of the same spot; none of them quite nails what I was after.
Sometimes it is the little details that tell the bigger story.
Slightly further south from Grosnez I realised that the sky was developing in an interesting way. What was initially a small sliver of orange began to spread right across the horizon. It was a brief burst of rain, backlit by the setting sun.
Then the rain hit, and the light changed completely. Now the sun was almost out from the clouds – a gorgeous, celestial light. Something else I’ve only just noticed looking back at the photos is how the surface of the sea changes once it’s being hit by the rain.
Moments later the shower came through, and the lens was spattered with water.
I headed back to Grosnez, but just in time to catch the post sunset glow on the clouds above the ruins.
I have come to realise over the years that I am perhaps a better photographer of calm and tranquil landscapes than I am of action.