It's All About The Coast This Week

April 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

It's All About The Coast This Week

Quite a bit of contrasting weather this week. Over the Easter weekend, and right up until Tuesday evening, it was very warm and sunny. There was very little wind and that meant there was very calm and flat sea conditions. The beach and sea front was pretty busy, to be expected over the holiday weekend, and we had a real taste of the summer to come.

On Wednesday things changed. We saw a big increase in the wind and, with it coming from the North East, it brought some cooler conditions with it. For the last few days the sea has been pretty rough with some big waves crashing over the breakwaters and coming up onto the beach.

So there were some opportunities for some very different images this week.

On Tuesday I decided to head up to Villajoyosa and get onto the coastal trail heading north east towards Benidorm. I had been studying the layout on Google maps and thought I had found some new trails to follow that would get me further up than I had been before. My target was to get to Torre El Aguiló which sits up high on the cliffs right at the end of Villajoyosa and before you get into Benidorm.

I parked up in my usual place for this area and started my walk. After I while I reached new territory and started to find the going a little bit tougher. The trail was much less defined than it appeared on the map, and some of it was pretty steep.

I pushed on and decided that I would try an alternative for the return and hope it was a bit easier.

I finally came in sight of the Torre and realised that the path I was on was quite a bit lower on the cliff. There was a possible route up but it was a bit of a scramble, I would definitely need to find an easier way back.

I made the scramble up and finally made it to the torre, which is another 'defensive' tower, built in the 16th century to help guard against piracy. Unlike most of the towers along the coast this one has a square rather than round profile and it has been significantly restored.

Torre El AguilóThe Torre El Aguiló; is a defensive tower built in the 16th century under the reign of Felipe II , located in the municipality of Villajoyosa in the province of Alicante ( Spain ) and part of the coastal surveillance system against piracy. The towers of Benidorm and the mountains of the Sierra Helada are visible in the background

 

A little more exploration of the area and I found a view of the coastal area of Benidorm. It has some impressive towers that make for an interesting view:

 

This wasn't the first view I had of Benidorm on this trek. In fact, the route I had taken had given me a view that I don't think I could have achieved anywhere else and, before I had made the climb up to the torre I had stopped to take a shot of the scene:

 

When I started to head back I found that there was a nice, well maintained, wide and well travelled trail leading all the way back. It even has some benches along the route if you want to stop and have a rest.

Ah well, I will know for next time and I'm still kind of glad I did it the hard way as I got some views that would be impossible otherwise.

After the weather changed I saw an opportunity for an early morning shoot. Thursday was forecasting mixed clouds and clear sky around dawn and it was also forecast that the wind would still be quite high, which should produce some nice waves. So, on Thursday morning, I headed up the La Bassa De La Reina to see what I could do.

La Bassa De La Reina, or the Baths of the Queen are only a short walk away, just on the other side of the marina, and can be access by following a narrow path along the rocks on the South Western side of the archeological site at La Illeta. I hoped, with the wind coming from the North East that this path would be sheltered and safe to use. Fortunately it was and I made my way around to the rocky area on the end of this island (although it has been artificially joined to the shore so I'm not sure it's still an island).

When I got there I spent about 5 minutes just watching the waves. There were some big ones crashing over the edge of the rocks and I wanted to see where it would be safe to stand while still being close enough to get the kind of images I wanted. getting it wrong could be bad. I didn't want to get hit by a big wave on these rocks, at best that could destroy my camera, at worst it could wash me off the rocks, and that would be really bad!

After a while I worked out the safe spots and set up for some shots.

My first one was a long(ish) exposure of 10 seconds nearly 30 minutes before actual sunrise. I used one of the channels in the rock to capture the blurry, misty water as a kind of cloud:

 

I was fairly happy with this shot but I was still hoping for more, especially as the sun started to come up.

After a while the sky started to get brighter and I fitted a 0.6 (2 stop) ND hard grad to darken it a bit compared to the foreground and waited for the sun. I was keeping a close eye on the waves. Partly because I wanted to catch the waves breaking in the image and partly because I had moved closer to the edge and I needed to keep watch for any big ones. Just as the sun was clearing the horizon a big wave came in and broke over the rocks. I fired off a quick shot and then realised that this one was bigger than any I had seen before. I grabbed the tripod and half jumped and half ran a few paces back. I ended up with a good soaking from about the knee down, all from spray rather then the actual wave, but no other damage to either me or the camera:

After a few moments to get the heart rate back down I set up again and kept my eyes peeled. I was carefully watching the pattern of the waves and waiting until they broke. As the sun was getting a bit higher a shallow pool in the rocks started to catch the reflected colours of the sky and I re-composed slightly to take advantage of that. 

The sun was behind some thin cloud, not blocking the light much but meaning that the shape of the sun was lost, there would be no sun stars today but the waves were looking really nice and I fired of several shots until the sun got too high. It was then a case of selecting which one was the best in terms of the water patterns breaking on the rocks. In the end this was my favourite:

So... That's it for this week. A busy schedule next week so I'm not sure where I will be heading for photography. Tune in next week and I'll let you know where I've been. Until then, have a great week 


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