A Break in the Waves

Posted October 6th 2016

What is it about the sea that we find so mesmerising? Why is it that we can sit on a cliff-top bench and stare for ages at this vast expanse of gently-undulating water, or watch from a parked car alongside other spectators, like a transfixed audience at a drive-in movie? Even when the sky turns grey and the sea seems to follow suit, we can be hypnotised into a deep, thoughtful, trance.

For some people, it is probably quite a personal experience; a peaceful encounter with a great force. Maybe this is because of the almost godlike qualities of the sea: powerful yet approachable; able to give life and take life; unconquered and untamed; always to be respected. Occasionally it can become angry, but the sea is consistent and dependable. It does what is has always done. There should be no surprises.

And, in these days of modern technology, isn’t there something reassuring about the fact that we are still drawn so strongly to something totally natural and untouched by mankind?

But imagine, for a moment, what it would be like if the sea took a little rest every now and again, while none of us were looking. What if the waves were switched off, and the water was still for a few minutes? How might it look? Maybe something like the seascapes on this page.

The long exposures used to create these pictures give the sea an unreal appearance – like a vast pan of water that has been taken off the heat and left to rest, gently steaming. It is the calm after the storm. A portrait of a sleeping giant.

I find peace and tranquility in these images. Most of them were taken after sunset, when it was getting dark and the beaches and cliffs were deserted. It was just me and the sea. Somehow, I never felt alone.

If you like this article or have any comments, please leave a note for me using the form near the bottom of this page.

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Above and cover image: Trevone Bay, North Cornwall.

Below: Whitby, North Yorkshire.

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6 thoughts on “A Break in the Waves

  1. I am not sure if this is an appropriate comment for a photography site, but I find your words just as thought-provoking as the images, which I have always liked, having seen some of them before. To me the engaging ‘verse’ greatly enhances the photographs by conveying your feelings and relation to the subject. As for the pictures, my favorites are the first and the last. I like the space of the green landscape against the sea, and the utter simplicity of the pier caught between the sea and the sky. Keep them coming, very enjoyable indeed.

    1. Your comments are very much appreciated, Jim. You are not so bad with words yourself! Images often need no accompaniment, but I think that a few words can sometimes add to the story and trigger some thoughts. I am glad it meant something to you.

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