In the last few years, with the increasing range of very dark neutral density filters, there has been a tendency for seascapes to look misty and calm. They capture that feeling of peace, that many of us feel when we take a stroll along a windswept beach. But in a storm the beach can be a dangerous place, with huge waves surging in, crashing onto the beach only to be pulled back by the next wave. Every year people get into trouble, caught out by its power and its ability to surprise.
I wanted to make an image that captured the more menacing side of stormy beaches. With a front surging in to the coast and the waves growing in strength and size, it looked perfect. The turmoil in the clouds above, promising that this was just the start.
The winds blow in, the clouds descend, the landscape darken and the rain falls. The moodiness of the landscape is dramatic and the atmosphere feels charged with energy. Most people head indoors but some, stay out to watch the show, to feel nature and see the beauty.
A couple of weeks ago we went out to Patea as a storm system began to roll in, to capture the big seas and breaking waves. But we weren't the only ones, in fact there was probably 15-20 people at the beach while we there. It's no wonder really, it's an impressive site to see, to feel, both relaxing and invigorating.
But there was one group who were making better use of the conditions than most. A group of teenage surfers were making the best of the conditions as the tide reached it's peak and then began to move out. I couldn't help but be drawn to thinking about the influence friends (or as we are more likely to say in Kiwi-ish 'mates) have in our lives.
Beaches are ever changing, the sand gets moved from one area to another, debris gets washed up then washed away. The rocks change as well, weathered by the storms and the waves they take on interesting shapes and patterns, revealing the destructive forces at play.
This year has been one of extremes, hot sunshine to cyclones, and that new go to media phrase, weather bombs has been mentioned a few times. These rains have left the landscape far greener than normal for this time of year and with all the added grass growth there will be more feed for the animals as we head into winter.