Adam Perfect

A brief return of the sun

Fujifilm X-E3, 45.0mm, 1/1250s, f/1.0, ISO 200

A pattern I always used to notice as a child was that the weather always seemed to perk up for a week or two as the new school year started in September. It meant we could play football in the sunshine during breaks. After a pretty wet and dreary end to August, and as the kids have gone back to school, I was reminded of the thought as we’ve had a mini heatwave over the past couple of days.

It has of course coincided with the working week, though by happy chance I had long ago booked Tuesday off for a reason I haven’t yet remembered.

I hope I haven’t missed something important.

A day off did allow me to venture into town briefly, to drop off my Zeiss Contax G 28/2.8 lens for repair—the aperture ring has become incredibly tight—and then spend a little time in the sun.

As I drove back out of Newcastle in the blazing sunshine though, I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to actually head for anywhere with the camera. Instead, I took the slightly longer route home to drive along the seafront and see if inspiration might hit. It hit in the form of a lovely hazy fret sitting just out to sea, which added enough interest to the otherwise blue sky to encourage me to park at Cullercoats and go for a short wander.

I walked around the northern half of the bay, up at road level, taking pictures with the Fujifilm X-E3 and another Contax G lens: the 45mm F2 Planar.

The fret was doing a lovely job flattening out the harsh, bright sun while still feeling like a bright, hot day and I worked my way around the edge of the bay, mostly framing up the harbour wall with Tynemouth and the Tyne river piers in the background.

The Planar 45mm is close to a 70mm full-frame equivalent on the crop-sensor Fuji, so I also took a number of hand-held panos to take in the slightly wider scenes and with the sea quite calm, Lightroom hasn’t had much trouble auto-stitching them together.

The photo shared above is a panoramic stitch of 7 portrait frames, taken hand-held. In post-processing the image, I have warmed up the already-warm raw file a little to get closer to the feel I had walking around in sunglasses, while I applied my 'beach calm' preset that I find works well for these hazy days at the coast—it largely brightens things up and ever-so-slightly softens details—and then added a touch of contrast back in.

I usually avoid sharing photographs made too recently these days as I’ve learned it’s often better to let an image sit for a while. This time though, it’s nice to simply log a nice brief return of the sun here and I’ll see how the image sits with me later on. Maybe I’ll come back and re-process it with some distance, or maybe it’s fine as-is.

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