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Marshall Black Photography - Cove Bay

Solitary stone on eroded sandstone slab.

A mysterious clicking noise lifted my head from my Sudoku book, and I was rewarded with the opportunity to watch two red squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of a pine tree about ten feet in front of the car. The camera was tucked up in the boot, awaiting a break in the drizzly rain to allow some photography to take place. No chance of a grab shot of the squirrels, and in any event the light available under the pines and clouds would have meant disappointing results.

After the squirrels moved off, I decided it was time for me to move on also. I had seen some shots of a cave at Cove Bay in Joe Cornish's book Scotland's Coast and decided that even with rain there was a possibility of some shots under the cover of the cave roofs. All I needed to do was find Cove Bay.

The drive from Aviemore to Elgin confirmed my suspicions that the rain was in for the day, so I headed to the Tourist Office for directions, only to find they hadn't heard of my destination.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, ISO 100, 90 mm TSE, polariser, 1/4 sec, f11, tripod, mlu, cable release.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Solitary stone on eroded sandstone slab.<

Solitary stone on eroded sandstone slab.

Three stones on eroded sandstone slab.

Although specific directions to the bay weren't available in the Tourist Office, the helpful staff did find a mention of it as a location for dinosaur footprints, so I decided to head to the coast near there and see what I could find. The dinosaur footprints location was not actually on the coast, and it seemed there was no obvious track to get there, so I headed to the nearby town of Hopeman to seek advice.

Finding the beach-front car park at Hopeman, I noticed a direction board, and there it was, Cove Bay, probably under a mile away to the East.

It was an easy stroll through intermittent drizzle to the bay, where a hole in the rock led through to Cove Bay itself. There I was rewarded with a wide expanse of pebble beach, with some eroded sandstone pavement below the cave overhangs.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, ISO 100, 90 mm TSE, polariser, 1/3 sec, f11, tripod, mlu, cable release.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Three stones on eroded sandstone slab.

Three stones on eroded sandstone slab.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

I was immediately attracted to the wonderful curved shapes in the sandstone pavements, and found one rock which had been stranded on it's own, away from all the other multi-coloured stones, to be a useful focal point.

At first I had homed in on the solitary rock against the eroded sandstone, but slowly began to see more options by using the other pebbles forming a drift of colour against the monotoned sandstone slab.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, ISO 100, 90 mm TSE, polariser, 0.6 sec, f11, tripod, mlu, cable release.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

Moving in for a closer view, I began to see alternative compositions for the solitary stone and the pebbles, and began to look for something a little more intimate in the scene.

By arranging the slab and pebbles into a diagonal framing the final composition captured a strong feel of the separation of the stone from it's neighbours, creating a greater feel of solitude, or standing apart from the crowd. This was to become my favourite of the series of images I found on that day, and as the tide began to creep up toward the sandstone slab I realised the sea would erase the scene for a new composition for another day.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, ISO 100, 90 mm TSE, polariser, 0.8 sec, f11, tripod, mlu, cable release.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

Solitary stone and colourful pebbles.

Piled pebbles.

Once the sea had started to lap over the sandstone platform my attention turned to the massed pebbles piled against the cliff face. Choosing to use a diagonal split of the frame again, here the shape of the cliff is almost mirrored in the curve of the pebbles.

As the rain began to grow stronger I decided my time at Cove Bay had been a worthwhile excursion, and headed back happy with my decision to head here.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, ISO 100, 90 mm TSE, polariser, 1 sec, f11, tripod, mlu, cable release.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Cove Bay, Hopeman, Moray, Scotland. UK

Piled pebbles.

Piled pebbles.


All images and text Marshall Black.
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