Another trip to the seaside, this time to the Jurassic Coast, or as I call it "Fossil Central". A 95 mile stretch of coastline and designated as a World Heritage Site. If you go there you'll find some fossils actually walking around, mostly harmless, but get on the wrong side of them in the ice-cream queue and they can be quite ferocious!
On this excursion I picked three locations, all in Dorset. The first was Lyme Regis, famous for the Cobb or Sea Wall, the photo above was made on top of it. Also the home of Mary Anning, 19th Century fossil collector and seller. She made extremely important discoveries, firstly that she was very good at finding, preparing and selling fossils, secondly that she was financially incompetent. In the end her work was rightly recognised, at a time when women had no real standing in society or more importantly the scientific community, she received a pension from the British Government which saved her from destitution. The tongue twister " She Sells Seashells on the Seashore" was written for Mary Anning. Lyme Regis itself was packed, remember this was a weekday and the children still not broken up for the summer break. I wandered along the front, but nothing really caught my eye amongst the hoards of visitors. So I concentrated on the Cobb which surrounds the harbour. Quite a few people were fishing or crabbing and various steps lead you on top which was a good place to escape the crowds -
Surely there should be the ubiquitous group of lads jumping into the water, back down I went to the lower harbour wall and of course there they were. A very nice group of young men who looked decidedly chilly allowed me to take their photo -
I admire their youth and courage.
I can tell you that it wasn't warm and as you have no doubt realised normal service has been resumed on the weather front. Evident from these photographs that the heatwave is gone and with it those gin clear skies, now it's mostly grey and dull, clear out to sea, inland the clouds were black and ominous; A standard British Summer then. I envy those who have the opportunity to photograph in sunny countries, they can at least play with light and shadow if nothing interesting catches their eye. You would be wrong in thinking that these photos have been digitally manipulated, they are as it was, although it could be argued that they're underexposed, it's how I saw it. On then to my next destination - Charmouth. Just a couple of miles around the bay and I only really stopped here for old times sake, we visited a few times when I was a child. I took a quick stroll before moving on to my last location, have to say that Charmouth was a different place entirely as it was practically empty; A woman asleep, the "Soft Rock Cafe", devoid of life except for the fact that the BBC were filming there with presenter Dan Snow, they managed to fill the car park with lorries and gear. Four quick snaps, more beach huts!
So, my last destination was the murder capital of Dorset. The town of West Bay or otherwise known from the popular crime drama as "Broadchurch". If you haven't seen it then the first series is both brilliant and absolutely captivating, not so keen on the second series, although it's still pretty good. I parked the bike and made my way to the beach, past a lady looking for fossils possibly Mary Annings Great Great Great Niece (twice removed!) and attempted to show some perspective of the cliffs. I also took a shot of a family to demonstrate that it was reasonably quiet on the beach (for that read Dull) and one of the West Bay-Watch team, clearly Miss Anderson and Mr Hasselhoff had their work cut out for them!
It wasn't working. The light was so flat and I couldn't really see anything worth clicking. I took the decision that before heading for home I'd walk up to the harbour, remove the 35mm Summicron and attach my 50mm Noctilux in the hope of adding some impact. I rarely use the Noctilux on these trips, actually it rarely comes out of the bag. I've discussed before the limitations of this lens in my "One Trick Pony" article. I believe that any kind of "Street/Life" photo should show everything in focus, so I'm shooting at f/11 generally, the Noctilux is only any good wide open at f/0.95 (in my opinion). Here are two photos as a comparison, I took the first just before the switch -
The first (35mm) is possibly better as a photograph because it had brightened up a touch and more people are in the shot. If nothing else the difference between f/11 and f/0.95 is demonstrated. It's difficult to manually focus on people at that aperture, but to hell with it, I just clicked away at what I saw -
A few more before calling it a day. View of the beach, a boat (I know!), someone asleep and some kind of minimalistic thing. I didn't promise anything great, just shooting away -
Anyway, Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra arrived, no sign of Hasselhoff and my thoughts drifted to home, enough was enough, time to go.
It's often difficult to capture standout images, that is what makes producing this blog such a challenge. I'm merely documenting my journey, both on my motorbike and through photography. This outing took four hours of riding to get there and back, my iPhone tells me I walked 5 miles. For all that I quite like the shot on the "Cobb", the rest not so great, most importantly I enjoyed every second of it. You'll have noticed all the photos are colour in this post, not something I'm planning on continuing, just suited the feel of this trip. Black and White needs some light, a bit of contrast and there wasn't any, well that was until I left for home and typically the sun came out!
The school summer holidays are fast approaching. Generally this curtails any Leica Biker Blogposts as I wish to spend time with the children, of course they'll drive me insane by day two. My plan is to continue visiting coastal resorts with them in tow, hopefully I'll build up some decent photos for this project over the holidays. I may get the opportunity to write up one more blogpost before next week. I will perhaps continue to release "The Weekly", though my visits to social media (Facebook) will be few and far between until September.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with either Summicron 35mm or Noctilux 50mm lenses fitted.