Mud and Sun! - Jay Birmingham

Mud and Sun!

My latest photography trip didn’t turn out exactly as planned, due to a combination of the weather conditions, and our lack of organisation. However, it was still lovely to get out and have fun in the sunshine, even if I didn’t get all the shots I was hoping for.

We visited Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ on Friday night. This is an installation on the beach at Crosby, near Liverpool. It consists of 100 cast-iron figures spaced out across the beach, going 1km out to sea. They are impressive to view, and the camera can’t capture all the figures at once. Gormley intended it to be a reflection on emigration – all the figures standing still and dreaming about ‘another place’.

The tide was out a long way, so we had to be very careful when walking on the beach to take photos – Crosby is an area notorious for dangerous quicksand. Indeed, the emergency services were on the other side of the beach rescuing people trapped in the sand. Luckily, they were able to get them out, and the tide was going out, rather than in, but it is a stark reminder that nature is a powerful force.

After having to rush up to the North after work in order to set our shots up for sunset, we still had a long drive to where we were staying in Lytham St. Anne’s. My wife booked accommodation 8 miles away, but did this without a map, so was presumably unaware of the existence of the Ribble Estuary! However, even though staying here wasn’t convenient for sunset, it did allow us to get up early the next day in order to visit the ‘boat graveyard’ in Fleetwood at sunrise. It certainly is an interesting place, with several wrecks from the 1970’s rotting in the mud flats on The Wyre Estuary. I managed to position myself in the right place to get sunstar shots using a combination of a small aperture and little movements to ensure the camera was in the right place. The pre-dawn walk was ‘interesting’ as the ground was extremely muddy and slippy, and we had to keep leaping over small channels in the mudflats in order to get to where we wanted to be.

The rest of the trip didn’t quite turn out as planned, with lots of driving, a failed attempt to photograph bluebells (not quite out yet in the place we were looking), a failed attempt to get a moody shot of a pier at high tide (high tide mid-afternoon on an extremely sunny day with lots of people in the way!) and a failed attempt to capture a thunderstorm (we just had one roll of thunder and no lightning). However, even though those shots didn’t turn out, it was a fun chance to explore a region we don’t often visit (and also, a first-time experience eating pizza from Papa John’s, which was excellent!).

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