Berrow Beach, Somerset – location guide

Written on 7th May 2012 | No Comments

Berrow Beach, Somerset

One aspect of photography that I find most appealing and challenging is finding my own unique view of a place, particularly at coastal locations that receive lots of visitors. So when I visited Berrow Beach I sought to find something different from the well known pictures of it.

I walked along the vast expanse of featureless sand desperately trying to think of something that would make a picture interesting. Litter, logs and burnt tree trunks seemed to spoil many of the spots I’d found. After a while my mind moved further inland to the sand dunes that divide the beach from the scrubland behind. I explored a few dunes before settling on the one pictured; luckily no-one had set foot on it that afternoon so it had that smooth finish that only the wind can create.

Like a forensic scientist investigating a crime scene, I noted the foreground sand I wanted to include and trod a path well clear of it to set up my camera. I took some time to compose my shot, considering the flow of the grasses through the frame and out to sea. With the foreground grass less than a metre from my camera, I knew I would need to use my 24mm tilt-shift lens to obtain enough depth of field. Using the tilt control of the lens, I tilted the front of it downward, making the plane of focus run parallel with the subject plane. This achieved sharpness throughout the frame.

With the sun nearing the horizon the light became more and more diffuse which prevented the sun from causing lens flare. The hazy atmosphere also had the useful effect of hiding Hinkley Point Power Station from view! Noticing a man walking his dog along the beach, I thought it would be nice to include him in the picture so I pressed the shutter just as he crossed the sun’s reflection. For a few moments I imagined I was on some remote beach in the Scottish Highlands. If only I hadn’t turned round to see an estate agent’s ‘for sale’ sign dumped in the scrubland right behind me.

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