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The Saltwick Challenge

Or a nice evening at the seaside ruined..

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Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Around midsummer Joe Cornish, David Tolcher, Andrew Nadolski and I decided we'd set ourselves a little challenge to turn up at the same location with a bunch of cameras and see what happened. As David Tolcher has a house in Robin Hood Bay we chose Saltwick Nab as a great location as the sun sets off to sea in the North at this time of year (well - North West obviously but that's up the coast in these parts).

Each of us had about three hours to take a look around and to explore the slate bed just offshore where the wreck of the Admiral von Tromp sits alongside reflecting pools and the graphic outline of Saltwick Nab.

Read about our experiences below..

Joe Cornish

When you have visited somewhere countless times before, the main challenge would appear to be, how do I not repeat myself? In fact, the North Yorkshire coast shorelines are so dynamic that literally repeating oneself is virtually impossible. Even Saltwick's giant sandstone blocks that I know well from the western side of the beach seemed to have been upturned and repositioned in the winter storms. The sea stacks, Saltwick Nab, and Black Nab seemed familiar enough, but all the details on the beach seemed different.

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  • Phillip Reeve

    that was an enjoyable and enriching read, looking forward to the next installment

  • Ian

    It is interesting how different the results of the trip were for each participant. Very brave of Andrew to head out to the NE coast in just a t-shirt, even if it is summer (allegedly). I’ve only been to Saltwick once and the wind was really cutting on that occasion too.

    I also enjoyed Andrew’s soap box mini-rant and wonder if there would be any value in an expanded discussion on the assertion that “We are in an age where it has never been easier to take a photograph but never been harder to take a good photograph”.

  • Dave Moorhouse

    That sounds like a great outing, fish & chips, a beer & an evening on a North East beach. An enjoyable read, but I can’t spot Dave’s image of Joe at work in the gloom, is the image missing Tim?

    • It was indeed a great evening despite the challenges. I’ve tried to add Joe’s image a couple of times to no avail but this final time seems to have stuck!

  • Adam Pierzchala

    Well that was indeed a fun read, though I had understood you would each bring a selection of cameras. What is interesting is the way that the scattered boulders resulted in several different takes in different lighting yet each one is a highly satisfying image. Yes please do repeat the concept at another location. It’s been done before, but with good prose from the image-makers the idea is lifted to a higher level.

  • herb1815

    Very entertaining, thank you for sharing that , sounds like you had a great time and managed to produce some very nice images , I especially like your rock shots Tim.
    Makes me think even more about getting together with some like minded landscapers for a group shoot.

  • David OBrien

    this seems a bit like 3 men in a boat! a great read and on any future trips please bring Mr Nadolski and his soap box…..I was sitting in the infernal Quiet carriage on the train when I collapsed in laughter at the phrase “shagging the light”. Am not sure my fellow passengers are pleased with me.

  • Marc Elliott

    Excellent article,read and photographs – Thanks Chaps.

  • Carlo Didier

    This shows how a little challenge and unforeseen complications can indeed have a very positive influence on creativity. Call it creativity by necessity …
    Great reading and great images.

  • Anthony Castreuil

    This was an excellent article. I think this would be an appropriate challenge for those who will visit the On Landscape conference. I’ve been studying the OS maps near the conference centre for some time now but it is very hard to visualize the scenery if you have never visited there before.
    E.g. if the organizers mark certain nearby photogenic locations near the Rheged centre, I’d be very interested to compare my own ‘vision’/interpretation s of the suggested locations..

  • jennym

    This made me laugh as Andrew shivered in a borrowed fleece and Dave found the camera that was ‘so small and light you don’t notice it’ wasn’t actually there! Also reassuring to find that even experienced photographers sometimes misread the conditions in their local patch. More interesting is the different output obtained from the same somewhat unflattering light. How does velvia add such warmth into such grey skies, or is it all a matter of processing?

    • A bit of both Jenny. My picture with the sky was colour neg and took a fair amount of post processing and I did selectively warm the sky. The Velvia 50 detail shots were pretty much straight off the scanner with a simple colour temperature adjustment.

  • I liked Andrews comment “Has landscape photography become the new big game hunting – tracking down the trophy image at the expense of any intellectual depth or genuine emotional response?”.

    In a large part, yes, but that could apply equally well to almost any genre of photography you can think of, travel, landscape, model, etc etc. Free time is becoming a luxury, and people want a certain return on investment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s both perfectly acceptable and very useful for people to try and copy specific shots or locations and use them as visual learning aids, but what’s really interesting is when people then move away from that and develop their own, possibly less “accepted” vision. The question then is in a time limited, ROI driven environment does this happen less?

    Great article by the way, and great magazine- thanks.

  • Really enjoyed reading this article…more of the same please.

    How about the readers suggets the location though…just to spice things up a bit. I’de be interested to see what you make of one of my usual haunts :0)


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