Possibly the best beach so far? We definitely think so.
Me and Richard made the most of the glorious weather and decided to head to the west side of the coast, not something we have done before. I had already been to Blackpool and wanted to head back as there were some shots I missed and ideally wanted to take them. We headed out as the tide was coming in, this would give us enough time to shoot Marys Shell at Cleveleys Beach and head up towards Blackpool and finish off there. We drove into Cleveley not knowing what to expect. All I can say is that if you have not been then this is the place to be. The town is exceptional. So clean you could eat off the floor! Ok, not that clean perhaps. The houses are so nice, I don’t think I saw a terraced row. We parked up and I looked for the meter to pay as you would near other beaches and to my surprise there was none. It was free, we were right next to the beach, for free, it doesn’t get any better! But wait for it…
We got out the car to have a look where about the tide was and where we could start. The tide was high and a slight easterly wide helped the tide crash aggressively against the breakers. It was beautiful. I always wanted this, as this is what gets you the foaming water in the long exposures.
With a big smile on my face I put on my Mammut boots and got the gear out of the car. We headed to the tide breaking steps and looked out. It was amazing. Nothing like I’ve experienced before. So calm, that we saw a guy meditating there. It felt so quiet. We got our cameras out and started to shoot. I handed Richard a Formatt Hitech 10 Stop filter to use and I used my 16 stop. I set my tripod up and realised that I left my plates in the other bag at home! I had a spare tripod in the car but wasn’t too keen on using it. I then realised I had a backup plate in the bag which my good friend Imran Khan gave me. I set it up and looked for the remote. This, I was sure was in the bag, but after 15 mins of looking and searching I concluded it wasn’t with me. Richard was using his infa red remote for bulb mode, and thought we try it on mine. After many attempts we realised the 1DX has no infa red port! Now I was buggered. I set up in doing my thing anyway. I set up the shots and just held the shutter button for 90 seconds at a time. The results didn’t seem too bad. There is ever so slight movement in the images, but you can’t really tell. I continued to do this until I stepped in the the sea. I had to make a choice; take the shot or leave it. The only way I was going to get the shot was to raise the ISO. Not something I was keen on, as I was shooting on a zoom lens because I needed the reach without getting too close to the water splashing. I set the ISO from my standard 100 to 320, and managed to get the shot in 30 second exposures. I knew it would only get easier as the day passed, as the light would decrease. I did think about buying a remote from a local shop but by now it was 545pm and the drunk fisherman wasn’t sure if the shops were at the traffic lights then left, before the traffic lights then left or after the lights then left, or if they were there at all! I was really pleased with the results so far so I continued without the remote. But trust me, I won’t be making that mistake again! Here is a before and after shot of where we started.