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A Celebration of Coastal Britain

Members of the Dawlish & Teignmouth Camera Club gave a very warm welcome to returning guest speaker, Tony Worobiec.

Swanage Pier © Tony Worobiec
Swanage Pier © Tony Worobiec

Tony’s previous talk had documented his travels through the USA, photographing the abandoned and dilapidated buildings of western Nebraska, North and South Dakota and south-eastern Montana. However, with overseas travel not possible during the last year he looked closer to home for his inspiration and has recently released his latest book, The Water’s Edge, which is a celebration of the British coast.

Tony, who lives in Wareham, marvelled at the variety of coastal scenery we have on our doorstep in Devon and Dorset and how extraordinary beauty can be found within the ordinary if you get your timings right with the light and tides. His choices for shooting beach landscapes are either at pre-dawn for the light and when there are no people around; two hours after the tide has turned in order to get the best texture on the sands; or after sunset going into blue hour for the colour combination of deepening blue in the sky and the warm orange hue on the landscape.


Tony reflected on the fact that most photographers feel inspired to visit a location after seeing an image in a magazine, but in reality, the conditions and the weather will not be the same, so we must accept that and make the best of what we are presented with as this will give us our unique image, rather than a cliché of a well-known location.


For his Water’s Edge project Tony wanted to encompass specific coastal features in addition to the landscapes and seascapes. The inclusion of piers from around the British Isles show these traditional, architectural monuments still being used, or sadly left to decay after storms or fire have taken their toll. Beautiful images of Eastbourne Pier and its reflection and the symmetry of Penarth Pier were shown, but it was the image of Swanage Pier that prompted Tony to recall that this photograph nearly didn’t happen as the guard told him the pier was closing at 4pm, but when he explained he was a local and wanted to photograph it with the lights on, the guard gave him the keys and told him to lock up when he was finished!


Lighthouses were another feature that Tony wanted to include. His image of Burnham Beach lighthouse at night was taken with a 40 second exposure, as well as being helpfully illuminated by the moon.


Night time photography (using long exposure times) was also used to record the beautiful lidos, in places such as Bude, Plymouth, Kent and Tynemouth. These traditional swimming venues, many built in the 1930s, have an aesthetically-pleasing Art Deco design.


Bridges were another of the coastal structures Tony wanted to include and he captured the vast expanse of the Severn Bridge at night, the lights reflected on the clouds above causing the sky to turn pink and orange, like a sunset. Amongst other images shown was the iconic Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, silhouetted against an industrial backdrop.


Throughout his talk, Tony freely offered photography advice, both from a Royal Photographic Society perspective, where he sits on the panels for Visual Arts and Landscapes, as well as tips on the best times to photograph. Did you know that atmospheric de-coupling - where the temperatures in the air and the water inverse around 40 minutes after sunset – can give near-perfect con