Kim and I recently spent a few days at the coast in northern England. Inspired by Ian Purves’ photos of Chemical Beach, and others linked from his site, we called in at Seaham to take a look. The weather and time of day wasn’t great for shots of the beach, so we spent most of our time at Seaham’s small industrial harbour. Below are a few of shots I took.

Seaham Harbour LighthouseSeaham Harbour FenceSeaham Harbour LighthouseSeaham Harbour Save a Life

If you do visit and fancy a snack/lunch etc, we stopped at Leaf, Bark, and Berries on North Terrace and thought it was great.

Anyway, if you want to go Chemical Beach, there is a small road on your right as you drive into Seaham, indicated on the map below. Just follow it to the car park. Alternatively just carry on along the A182 to get to the harbour.

View Larger Map


Ian Purves · 02/05/2013 at 07:07

Glad to ‘inspire’ … I think your third shot has great composition, filters to add a bit of blur to the cloud and some grain added? Are you using Silver Efex? I also like the composition of the second shot but something in the colouration jars slightly (but thats just personal) … maybe its the juxtaposition with the blue in the 1st and 3rd? Best wishes Ian

Chris · 02/05/2013 at 08:01

As it turned out, composition opportunities there were a little limited. There’s a large fence across the habour wall which my camera was pointing through. My lens cap got caught in the wind and ended on the other side. I got round the fence to retrieve it, only to have a security guard turn up a few minutes later to presumably emphasize that we weren’t allowed past the fence and they were watch ion the cctv!

As you rightly point out, the third shot uses a 10 stop filter and it has added grain. I’ve been back using a lot of film recently and forgotten how much I liked grain in photos, but I have to admit I suspect it might be a dying preference as most people get used to the crisp “perfection” that digital camera manufacturers are aiming for. As it happens, the roll of Velvia I shot at the harbour is almost certainly not going to come out – I was meter for iso400 but when I took the film out is was iso100 (E6 processing so little chance of recovery). Not sure how I made that mistake!

Processing was LR -> PS -> Silver Efex -> PS (for toning) for 1, 2 & 4. 3 Was LR only. Your comment about the blue is interesting, and I’m glad you pointed it out. The images don’t look anywhere near as blue on the machine I processed them on (I’m using a different machine to write this). I’ve just upgraded to mountain lion and these are the first set produced on this new OS. I’ll have to check the calibration again as it doesn’t seem to have worked very well.


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