A night at the beach

© 2011 – philip vergeylen – all rights reserved

Last year, I spend a couple of weeks in Northern Brittany (France). One of my goals was to photography some seascapes in rough weather. I was even hoping for a storm at sea. But during the two weeks I was there, I had nothing but sun, blue skies and almost no wind. Impossible to make a descent photo with this kind of weather.

The only possibility to make some photos, was going out late in the evening. This way, I could use the dark sky to add drama to the pictures. One night, I went to the Sillon de Talbert, a natural, 3 km long thin tongue of sand, pebbles and shingles. It is located at the tip of a peninsula North of the village of Paimpol, on the Côtes d’Armor.

The Sillon is possibly as much as 100 000 years old. It results from two converging tidal currents and from some strong North-westerly swells. Its shape is constantly changing in response to the waves, swells and currents as documented by ancient maps.

The Sillon de Talbert is an important reserve of flora and fauna. At low tide, it is possible to walk the length of the peninsula. At the end, there is an archipelago of islands and rocks called ‘Archipel d’Ollone’, which is also known as Les Îles de Talbert.

At very high tides, some sections of the Sillon may be overtopped by waves. The Sillon was damaged by locals mining stones for construction, until 1928. The system remains fragile, and is now a conservation zone.

This photo was made on the last day of my vacation, and one day before spring tide. An earlier attempt on the night before had failed because of some people walking the Sillon in the dark while using flashlights. Their light beams, shining in all directions, ruined all of my 30 seconds exposures. At the time they passed by me, it was too dark to continue photographing.

The next day, I arrived around sunset. Once all tourists were gone, I made this photo.


10 thoughts on “A night at the beach

  1. Great texture to this image. The bright fence is my guide looking through it, giving me a reference to return to for another pass. Good for you to see and realize how this would develop over such a long exposure.

  2. Nice! Really good usage of BW digital. Did you use HDR? It does solve many problems, that you’ve mentioned, but I think you are using either HDR or full tonal range of raw file.
    Rock and roll,

  3. Nice little story accompanied with a splendid photograph. You are strengthened with more than a pair of two good eyes. The love and care put into your pieces are both very apparent.

  4. You’re right about stormy weather making for great seashore images. A couple of years ago I went to Cape Cod in Massachusetts and a storm came through making for much more interesting and dramatic images. Yours have a special quality though. Thanks for having the patience to wait for it and explaining about the area.

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