Formby Point

Formby Point BW

I was planning to take a shot of wave rippled sand directly beneath my feet on the beach at Formby Point for this week’s photo challenge, but I could hardly ignore hazy sun reflected on the sea, a distant, misty headland and bathers preparing to retreat from the approaching tide. So they sneaked in too!

Dutifully following the rule of thirds when cropping, I placed the horizon on the top third to emphasis the ‘beneath your feet’ part. The shot was more textural than colourful – the sky hazy with cloud, the sand underexposed and moody – so after a bit of experimentation I bit the bullet and converted it to black and white.

Below you’ll find the original shot for comparison, straight from my iPhone except the resolution has been reduced for the web. The rule of thirds doesn’t come instinctively to me. There’s something about the original that feels truer to the peculiarly down-to-earth beauty of this area of the coast (historically part of Lancashire, my home country). It’s the British seaside stripped back to sand, sky and sea.

Formby Point

Formby Point is a treasure trove for nature lovers. Linger a while and you’ll see red squirrels, wild rabbits, birds, and an array of wild flowers, grasses and berries able to withstand sandy soil and sea winds, such as evening primrose, wild asparagus, blackberries and jewel-like erodiums.

You’ll need to clamber over sand dunes to reach the beach from the National Trust car park. It is not particularly well sign posted and woefully inadequate for the numbers hoping to visit on a fine summer day, so visit early or late, walk in from the town, or be willing to queue!

If you have a spare moment, let me know which version you prefer.

17 Replies to “Formby Point”

  1. I like both photographs – what kind of mood were you wanting to create? B&W always gives more drama! Do you do post-production in Lightroom, or Photoshop, or perhaps both?

    1. I use Photoshop Elements – I’m still very much a learner. Good point about what I was trying to create. I like colour, including subtle ones, but I did feel the original was a touch too cold for my memory of the day. Pushing the saturation wasn’t pleasing – I much prefer natural colours and effects, so rarely do much. I hoped the black and white would add drama and boost the texture of the sand.

  2. Both are great photos…black and white though has the edge as you say it really captures the mood of Formby. I used to visit very often as a child when staying with relatives in Liverpool for the summer holidays and just loved the red squirrels. I haven’t been back for a few years now but recently read a really good book about the Ainsdale area called “Strands A Year of Discoveries on the Beach” by Jean Sprackland…

    1. I haven’t been for a while either, but I was determined to make it this year. I don’t know if it’s partly down to the National Trust’s John Cooper Clarke seaside ad campaign – I can be dubious about the power of TV advertising, but that one is evocative.

    1. I had to lose some of the height to crop in thirds. There’s something pleasing to me about the standard portrait format, so I needed to lose width proportionally, but it meant losing windmills or the people. I wish all my choices in life were as easy! The windmills do add something to the original though.

  3. Lovely photos but I do prefer the B&W one. The light just seems to be made for black and white:)

    1. It was the light on the sea that caught my attention. If we’d waited a few more hours for the sunset, I’m sure I’d have been happy with the colour version!

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