In a first for Devizes Camera Club, on Tuesday 21st April we used the Cloud Meetings App, Zoom!, to host Roger Crocombe ARPS and his presentation entitled 'The Sea and Me' as the Coronavirus lockdown prevents us all from travelling.
By way of introduction, Roger explained that he had grown up in Worthing and used to love wandering along the shoreline, beach-combing and enjoying the waves. In recent years, he has moved back to the seaside and has settled in Bognor Regis some 50 yards from the beach. Although he does research the tides, mentioning apps that he uses, he can hear what the state of the tide is from his house and can be on the beach within 2 minutes of leaving his front door!
Roger often carries his Fujifilm XT2 with an 18-135 mm lens and an ND filter (about 6 stops) and takes hand held images using ICM (Intentional Camera Movement). Using shutter speeds in the range of 0.5 to 2 seconds, he said his aim was to highlight the different ranges of colours he sees on different days, but to blur details of the detritus on the beach, such as seaweed, footprints and irregular stones. Carefully moving his camera in horizontal sweeps of 15-30 degrees, he follows waves to ensure there is lots of movement while retaining some detail in the image. He emphasised that this technique only really works well before dawn, as once the sun is up it is too bright for the slow shutter speeds he uses.
Roger also carries a Canon 5DS which he tends to use for more traditional images using a tripod. Still using slow shutter speeds, he showed us images of spring tides with the water rushing and swirling around obstacles such as groynes and storm outlets on the coast near his home. He also showed some macro images of rusty bolts and teak posts worn away by the power of the sea.
He showed a range of images of stormy skies over the sea, including a series he took at Luskentyre Beach on Harris and Trebarwith Strand in Cornwall. There was one sequence of storm clouds gathering over Bognor Regis beach that didn’t bring any rain. It turned out that this was the remnants of a Sahara dust storm which left surfaces covered in orange dust.
He showed how backwash can produce interesting pictorial shapes. For example, waves receding around rocks on the tideline or water swirling in a depression in rocks as it returns to the sea. He likes photographing crashing waves, but as there are no rocks near his home, he showed us images form Hartland Key and Trebarwith.
However, following a presentation from Rachel Talibart at his photography club, he headed off to Newhaven to take images of waves there. What you need, he said, is a spring tide, a westerly force 8 gale, a rising tide and (preferably) some sunshine! Using a 400mm lens on TV at about 1250th sec at between 2 hours and half an hour before high tide, you will shoot some awesome crashing waves on the harbour wall.
Following some lovely images taken at dusk, showing the sun variously reflecting off wet sand, rocks and the underside of clouds, Roger moved on to what he called Imagined Landscapes. Heading off to Chichester harbour when boats are hauled of the water for cleaning, he takes close-up photos of sections of the weathered hulls, especially at the water line. He then takes these home and uses the colour mixer in Photoshop, and a large dose of imagination, to create images that can be interpreted as landscapes and seascapes. He has also started using his wife’s silk scarves hung on a washing line to achieve similar effects.
The last part of his presentation, which he called Displaced Landscapes, was much more technical (at least to your scribe!). Using Filter>Distort>Displace in Photoshop, he takes pixels from one image to displace pixels in another image. Well, anyway, the results were fascinating and looked very much like impressionist paintings.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, even in lockdown. Our chairman, Steve, thanked him profusely and we look forward to seeing Roger again next year, when he has promised to bring a range of prints along to the club. DF
Images © Roger Crocombe