Saturday 18 June 2011

Essay on colour - # 92/2011

Stay with me a while. I snapped this playing with camera settings to try things out. But I got something unexpected.

I grew up with this scene, and at that time, at low tide the beach would often yield unexploded war-time munitions and patches of fuel oil, some of which had seeped from ships and aircraft sunk in battle.

My memory is happy but the predominant colour in mind is grey. The ships that habitually anchored here to wait for the storm winds to pass had black hulls and white topwork and grey hatch coverers. Life boats on the ships were white and frankly very primitive. Metal marker posts were rusting and one wondered how anyone ever saw them or made use of them. The sea was grey or blue. The concrete was grey. A photo was always black and white.

Today we have a world of colour.  The ships that still anchor for shelter are multicoloured often with blue hulls and red or vermillion cargo hatches, the topwork is still white but brilliant orange breaks out and lifeboats are high-tech and brilliantly visible. The marker posts are multicoloured red and white and clearly in business to be seen. And the sea has acquired unexpected colourfulness, thanks to the polarizing filter on a camera that a mere childish lad of the 1940s/50s never dreamt could ever exist.

This is just a snap, trying something out. But it is in fact much, much more as I stand, watch, and remember. 


  1. What a beautiful photo with words that are so touching. Very nice,Stuart.

  2. Great story to go with a great photo.
    I wonder how you caught that sideway splash. The colours are indeed polarized but remain true to the place. No, the region is not all b&w.