After leaving Irvine, I drove on to Portencross – one of my favourite photography locations. Unusually, I didn’t settle on the pier itself; instead, I walked on along the rocky shoreline which ultimately leads to Hunterston. Finding a good spot, I made this long exposure of two and half minutes.
The evening I made this image, I had spent around six hours on this beach. Within the first hour, I had decided that what I wanted was a dusk shot, so I began the waiting game. And it was worth it. As dusk began to fall, the light changed dramatically, the colours in the sky lit up and reflected beautifully on the moving water, catching the crests of the waves and painting them with flecks of molten gold. I had been photographing out to sea when I happened to look round and saw these two men walking out on the quayside. Praying they would stand still long enough for me to make a good exposure, I was delighted that they did, and the image was made.
As soon as I got out of the car at Ruby Bay, on the east coast, I saw how lovely the light was and I knew the first shot I wanted. I clambered down the cliffs beside the Lady Tower – carefully! – and then made my way along the shoreline and up on to the rocky promontory. There, sitting on the horizon twelve miles out, was the Isle of May – a tiny and stunning little island, where I once spent a magnificent day. My idea was to use the rocks as a lead-in to the Isle, although I realised the Isle was barely visible on the horizon. There was a golden light coming in from the west and this illuminated the sides of the rock beautifully, making them appear to glow. A 10-stop ND filter calmed the seas while a graduated ND filter balanced the skylight with the land. Two and a half minutes later, the image was made.
Ruby Bay is a fascinating place. It is so named because it is quite common for visitors to find ‘Elie Rubies’ (garnets) on the beach – unfortunately, I haven’t managed this so far but I live in hope. The views around the Firth of Forth are magnificent and these includes the Isle of May, the Bass Rock and a variety of wildlife; at my last visit, I suddenly found myself standing fifteen feet away from a six foot long grey seal, basking quietly in the sunshine. The only buildings are the stone Lady Tower topping the cliff, and the small lighthouse over to the west side.
On this occasion, I wanted to photograph the rocks along the shoreline, which – like that seal – were basking in the afternoon sun and looking wonderful.
This is the final of three images taken today at Portencross on the Ayrshire coast. Perhaps not surprisingly, I decided to convert this image to monochrome and I like the final result. Like the other two shots, this was an exposure of two minutes using a 10-stop ND filter, with a graduated ND filter to balance out the sky.