In mid-June, as the temperatures rose, we got a few good fret days at the coast and on one of them I managed a wander with the camera.
As you drive through Cullercoats coming from the north, the coast road curves round onto the edge of the bay and the view opens up down the coast towards Tynemouth.
I regularly round this corner and encounter stunning light, especially early in the morning – desperate to stop and take pictures but usually without the time to do so.
On this morning though, I had my Fuji X-T5 with me and 20 minutes or so to spare.
It was one of those strange, atmospheric days where the sun is shining bright and yet this huge bank of cool fog sits right on the coast, shrouding sections of the beach.
What really caught my eye turning that corner this morning was Tynemouth Priory peeking through the fret in the far distance, along with the little lighthouse at the end of the north river mouth wall.
The lenses I had with me were the Zeiss Contax G trinity: Biogon 28/2.8, Planar 45/2 and Sonnar 90/2.8. Each works nicely adapted to the Fuji X system and I was interested to see how they would hold up on the higher-resolution 40MP X-T5 I had recently bought; especially the 90/2.8 as the IBIS on the Fuji X-T5 should help with the longer focal length.
Without all that much time to spare, I stayed up above the bay and mostly used the Sonnar 90mm F2.8 for its extra reach and then ended up taking a number of panoramic stitches.
Getting images that represent how it felt on the day in these conditions can be surprisingly hard.
Because the fret is constantly moving, your perception of objects in the mist when there in person can be quite different to the same objects frozen in a single frame.
Black and white does tend to work well for getting the right tonal balance and contrast and my favourite image from the morning is the closer crop at the start of this post.
That said, I did also process a couple in colour that I quite like. I found getting the colours feeling like they did when I was there really difficult in this case. Balancing that sunny day feeling with enough highlight detail to show texture and how close in the fret actually came is tough to achieve, at least with the images I took from up high.
I often realise after the fact that what I should really do in these interesting conditions is record myself a little video or voice note, describing my perception of the colours and atmosphere at the time so I can use that as a reference when processing at home.
Hopefully next time I get interesting-but-difficult conditions to photograph, I'll remember and can test whether that does help me in post-processing.
Despite all that slight gloominess about colour processing of this scene, I’ll end with my second-favourite image of the day which is in fact in colour: I think I managed to capture the fret detail well enough here, while still keeping the image bright enough to maintain that sunny feeling too. The composition is also quite nice and I particularly like the two surfers walking toward camera in the foreground.