A Stormy Southwold

Southwold, a small town on the Suffolk coast, is a photographer’s paradise. With its historic pier, colourful beach huts and picturesque lighthouse, it offers endless opportunities for capturing breathtaking landscapes. But, as any photographer knows, the best images often come from challenging conditions.

As a landscape photographer, checking the forecast is an essential part of my planning process. I carefully study the weather patterns, looking for the perfect combination of light and cloud. So, when I woke up early on Sunday to find that the forecast was calling for sunny skies and moderate cloud, I was excited to head out to capture some beautiful images.

But, as I got closer to Southwold, I noticed that the sky was becoming increasingly overcast. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but by the time I arrived, the clouds had thickened. I could see that the sun was nowhere to be seen and the sky was pretty dramatic. At first I was disappointed, but I knew that this was an opportunity to capture something different, something moody and dramatic.

I quickly set up my camera and began to experiment with different compositions and settings. I made use of my Lee 6 stop filter to capture the movement in the clouds and the sea, and to create a sense of drama and tension in my images. I also found that despite the initial disappointment of the forecast, the stormy conditions provided an opportunity to capture something truly unique and evocative that might not have been possible had it been a brighter morning.

Long Exposure Sea Defences at Southwold, Suffolk Coast.
Long Exposure Sea Defences at Southwold, Suffolk Coast, Looking Toward Covehithe.
Long Exposure Seascape towards Beach Huts, Southwold, Suffolk Coast.
Long Exposure Sea Defences at Southwold, Suffolk Coast, Looking Toward Covehithe.

As there was very little light hitting the pier, I set out to capture more of the less photographed side. The sky was dark and ominous, and the sea was rough and choppy. I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to experiment and trial a few different compositions to the norm. 

The steel blue tones of the sky and sea added to the sense of isolation and desolation. I knew that these were the types of conditions that would allow me to capture something truly unique and evocative. Just as I was about to pack up my gear and head for a walk to the harbour, a small beam of sunlight broke through the clouds. The light was fleeting, but it was enough to delicately illuminate the pier and the sea in a way that was truly magical.

Bird Perches on Groins at Southwold, Suffolk.
Southwold Pier Moody Sunrise

Capturing Southwold on a frosty, stormy morning was a challenge, but the results were well worth it. The moody and dramatic images I captured are a reflection of the beauty and power of the Suffolk coast, and its ever-changing weather conditions.

Beach Huts at Southwold, Suffolk Coast during sunrise
Frosty Sand Dunes at Southwold, Suffolk Coast

All images shot with a Nikon Z6ii & Nikon Z 24-120mm f4 S Lens.

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