In almost any weather and at any state of the tide Hartland Quay is a fantastic place to visit; near high tide during a winter Atlantic storm it is exceptional.
It is very hard to imagine that this was once a working quay; until its destruction just over 100 years ago ships have accessed the quay via this bay since the time of Henry VIII. This must present a serious navigational challenge, as this is one of the least likely locations for a harbour you will ever see. I cannot recall a single time that I have visited Hartland Quay when the sea has been anything approaching what could be described as ‘calm’.
This image looks across the small bay to the rocks below Warren Cliff and Dyer’s Lookout, and on to Gull Rock (one of many on the Culm Coast) below Damehole Point. The powerful draw on the wave almost makes the sea look curved as if the image was shot through a fisheye lens.
Something I have been very conscious of whilst out photographing these winter storms is the huge numbers of seagulls that can be seen everywhere, flying in front of the breaking waves. I can only imagine that they do this because stunned fish are flung out but I am open to other suggestions.
Hartland Quay, Hartland, Devon, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II
Focal Length: 100mm
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s
An image like this cries out for a monochrome conversion. This proved a little tricky to get right as a few of the highlights in the waves were blown on the red channel. I managed to get some detail back into them with Uwe Steinmuller's Highlight Resolver script, and I was then able to carefully boost the micro contrast with Color Efex's Tonal Contrast. The black and white conversion was carried out in Alien Skin Exposure using a heavily tweaked Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film preset where the highlights needed further careful handling. Finally a graduated neutral density filter was applied to the sky.