In February 2022, three severe storms hit the UK in quick succession. During the course of one week, Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin reached our shores. An unprecedented occurrence. For the last of these, on 21 February, I was on the south coast at Shoreham-by-Sea. I expected to see some big waves and the conditions did not disappoint. They provided the opportunity to vreate my photo fo the month.
While I do not normally write about equipment, occasionally an explanation can help. I had two identical bodies with APS-C crop sensors and image stabilisation (IBIS). On one I had mounted a standard range “kit” lens (full frame equvialent 28-85 mm) and the other had a long telephoto zoom (150-600 mm). Why two bodies? Changing lenses while out and about can be fiddly and would not have been ideal in the windy conditions I knew I would experience. It meant I would be carrying some additional gear but with one camera in my hand and the other in a backpack, the extra weight would not be too burdensome.
Getting the Shot
Keeping the camera with the large zoom lens steady in a storm blowing at 50 mph was not easy, the gusts simultaneously tugging the camera in several directions. I was shooting at longer focal lengths, so made sure to keep the shutter speed high. Doubtless, IBIS was frequently making its contribution as well to obtaining a sharp image. The exposure in this shot was 1/1700 @f/9, ISO 200, the shutter speed high enough to counter any camera movement. Despite the weather’s storm classification, there was no rain, just wind and light levels were good.
By using a longer focal length, just over 300 mm full frame equivalent, I was able to stand back from the subject for an unusual viewpoint. The telephoto lens has compressed perspective and the scene has several layers to give an impression of depth. Nearest are the couple on the beach, with the incoming waves ahead of them.
Other Photos From the Day
Another shot that benefited from the long lens was of this seagull skimming the waves. There were a few of the birds enjoying the conditions. Tracking them with a long lens being blown hither and thither was not straightforward. This is a substantial crop of the original as I was not zooming in too closely.
There were some surfers also taking advantage of the waves. They were in the entrance to the harbour.making it possible to get alongside them by standing on the harbour wall. I was close enough that I could use my standard zoom and get a different viewpoint to the usual surfing shots. Nor did I have to zoom in fully to show the surfers and their surroundings. One person was using a foilboard that rises out of the water. Something I had not seen before. Possibly it had a motor as I saw him riding it out to sea as well. That definitely looked weird.
With the trip planned well before the forecasters predicted Storm Franklin, its appearance added unexpected interest to the day.