Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Lido - St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

Finally home and more awake than on my previous post from Jersey. It was quite a tiring week. On Saturday I finally had half a day to myself but hadn't thought up a game plan. I got up early to set off to photograph some conker trees that I'd seen in the week but not had chance to set up. On arrival I did a quick reccie of the scene and weighed up a few options... then realised that I'd left a crucial piece of kit back in the hotel room. Most times I'd improvise and overcome, but there's no substitute for a camera, so back I went.

At least that snapped me into thinking mode. 7:30, breakfast just started, so a quick full English plus porridge and crates of toast soon had me back outside contemplating a hire car to pop round to a stunning looking castle further around the island. The oversight being that nowhere is open to rent cars at that time of day - a pushbike would have done, Jersey isn't quite three times the size of Wales.

Plan B was to get lost in the docks, something I found relatively easy, before making my way around to the other side of St Helier, a second bay that I'd look over to from on top of the central headland, but not visited. A very different bay to the one I was familiar with. Here's a shot from the first bay which I took last December. A wide swooping bay dominated by Elizabeth Castle.

Elizabeth Castle, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

The second bay has far more rocks on the horizon. You'll have to trust me that they're quite spectacular, 2nd only to Krakatoa erupting, as I couldn't get sufficient elevation for a worthwhile shot. But I did spend some time at the Lido in the bay. Its a huge tear drop shaped pool build with a perimeter that is below the high tide level. This means the water gets refreshed twice a day. The tide was already lower than the pool and receding fast. Next time I'm there I'd love to capture it while the tide is just clearing the shape of the pool.

The pool combines lots of photographic qualities that I enjoy – gritty textures, graphic shapes, surreal details and scale, an air of neglect and decay (though this is purely due to the daily sea coverage and green weed that is growing on it, the structure is well presented and maintained), a range of backgrounds, restricted and therefore challenging viewpoints – plus the variability of the subject itself due to the changing tide, and the UK's reliable changeability of weather. Certainly a subject I could return to again and again. The shots showing water were all 30 seconds at ƒ14 to ƒ16 using the 10 stop ND. The other shots are pretty much the same apertures with whatever shutter speed worked without the filter. All tripod mounted, so the shutter speed for still subjects wasn't something I thought about.

Lido, St Helier, Jersey
Long flowing lines with the dramatic rocks barely discernible in the distance!

Lido, St Helier, Jersey
I think this is a seating area, obviously covered by high water, treacherously slippery. The four blocks in the distance are for diving off, surreal stuff - distant rocks.

Lido, St Helier, Jersey
This one is right on the edge of blowing the sky, 30 second just giving enough movement.

Lido, St Helier, Jersey
Seating/step area – I think this one will get reprocessed before too long. Wonderful graphic shapes.

Lido, St Helier, Jersey
More graphic shapes and surreal hand rail disappearing into the water
Tip of the week
Don't leave your camera in the hotel room. Trust me on this, it makes a difference.

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