On the Rocks
My new friend looks up at me with a strange expression as I stand beside my tripod on the slippery rocks, close to the fierce Atlantic waves crashing into the Faroe Islands. He doesn't say anything, but I can see from his behaviour that he feels uncomfortable being this close to the sea. Occasionally he moves backwards a few metres from the edge, before turning and looking at me some more, his eyes encouraging me to do the same.
And he has good reason. Every so often an explosive wave breaks over the rocks and surges over the black basalt ledge towards us. Living in the nearby village, he knows this area better than anyone, maybe he has seen a few foolish tourists being swept into the sea over the years.
To be honest it feels strange for me also. Other than the occasional photographer I am mostly alone when photographing such locations. As I am waiting for more waves to crash in, I consider how unusual this behaviour must look to non-photographers. We visit picturesque locations at times when most other people have long since gone home or are still in bed, times when darkness is creeping in all around us and nobody is there to help if things go wrong. We wait for menacing skies, rough seas and crashing waves before venturing out over slippery wet rocks to vantage points as close to the edge as we dare. Then we set up our expensive and very precious camera gear, and keep shooting until its so dark that we struggle to see our safe passage back.
It's all very normal behaviour for a landscape photographer, but you can understand why non-photographers sometimes give us very strange looks!
My friend takes another few steps backwards as an enormous wave crashes in front of me. I shield my filters from any stray splashes with my hand, and then go to work, capturing several images as water drains all around me in endless rock pools. Exhilarating stuff, but after a quick review of the pictures I decide I need another, larger wave to come crashing. With the tide increasing I know by waiting for another shot I am risking at least a soaking, or at worse slipping on the rocks resulting in broken bones, and camera gear. But do I see sense and retreat? Of course not. That is what happens to us landscape photographers in such moments; we are either addicted to the picture or the adrenaline rush of capturing the picture, maybe both.
As I wait that little bit longer my friend gives up trying to save me and wanders off home, casting a few more looks my way before disappearing into the village. Even dogs think us landscape photographers are an odd bunch!
Other Related Perspectives
- Long Way Down
- Interview for Photography Cool website
- The Moment
- Bossington Beach, Exmoor
- Talland Bay, Cornwall
- Llangattock Escarpment, Brecon Beacons
- Fernworthy Reservoir, Dartmoor
- Llyn y Fan Fawr, Brecon Beacons
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