I held off moving this photo into my ‘Processed’ collection in Lightroom for years. Each time I reconfirmed to myself that I liked it, some nagging voice in the back of my mind would point out that it’s a bit silly to drain the colour from a photo of a rainbow and I’d shelve it again for another day.
But it’s not really a photo of a rainbow.
Yes, this New Year’s Day walk was made memorable by the rain storm that passed through—creating a huge rainbow over the coast and some of that gorgeous storm-light contrast—but this image; this image is as much about the light on the rock and the moody clouds, with fore- and mid-ground in deep shadow, as it is about the rainbow that also happened to be there.
Now, four-and-a-half years later, I’ve both finally decided to mark it as ‘done’ and share while also recognising the flaws in the composition.
The rock face lit up in the bottom left of the frame is really the main subject, but I didn’t compose for that at the time. The conditions and light were changing rapidly and I had been distracted capturing a panoramic of the rainbow for the previous few minutes, still trying to include it in this frame when really, it’s a distraction.
The image below, taken only two minutes later and with all the interesting light and atmosphere gone, is probably closer to a good composition for the rocks, maybe a little too far left from the chosen photo as it loses too much of Cullercoats Bay from the background.
The pool of water in the foreground would have been interesting though, along with the low rocks, in the angular, contrasty post-storm light.
Regardless the imperfections, I still enjoy this image and it’s one of a few I got that afternoon as a reminder of the speed conditions can change at the coast. It was an exhilarating 9 minutes when a family walk to usher in the new year turned into an exciting photographic opportunity and a beautiful set of scenes to witness.
While my family ran home for cover, I’m glad I stayed down on the beach with my camera. When the weather gets uncomfortable is so often when the best photographic opportunities present themselves.