25th November 2015
Although it was cold, the weather forecast said that it would be dry and sunny. So I decided to spend the day visiting the Thames estuary resort of Southend On Sea. It is not everybody's idea of a great photographic (or beach holiday) venue as it has an air of "having seen better days". However, that can be part of its charm and I fancied the challenge.
I coincided my arrival at about 11.30 am with high tide and started to take photographs at Shoebury beach next to the fence that stops the public wandering onto the MOD firing range (I told you it had a different kind of charm!). Utilising my Lee Big Stopper filter I was able to capture this image with a 13 second exposure that blurred the waves lapping at the abandoned tyre.
There are a large number of beach huts on the foreshore at Shoebury. Beach huts always have appeal to photographers and, so long as you sort out the more colourful specimens, this was the case here. I set up my camera on a tripod on the beach looking back at the huts and waited for someone to come along. Being a cold day this involved quite a wait before someone obliged, but I got my shot eventually. Unfortunately it would have been better if I had been ready a few minutes earlier as a lady in a red coat had been walking along with a dog that was running along the top of the seawall. It will teach me to always be prepared!
After a beefburger lunch (I know how to live) I drove west and parked in Old Leigh. This is an area of old fishing cottages on the estuary where fishermen used to specialise in catching shellfish. The tradition still continues with a number of fishing boats sitting on the mudflats when the tide is out. I walked along the quaint looking main street and wandered onto the beach at the end and was rewarded with a view of the estuary looking east away from the now low sun.
The Southend area (Leigh, Chalkwell, Thorpe Bay, Shoebury etc.) can reward a photographer with a myriad of different subjects to study. I recommend a day there, especially out of season when the crowds are non-existent. Take warm clothing, however, as the wind from off the estuary can be chilling.