Behind the Camera: ‘Channeled Sun’ – Church Bay, Anglesey


Being a night owl, I don’t see that many sunrises, but the flipside “glass is half full” side of that is I see a lot of sunsets!

I’d like to say that I timed everything in this shot perfectly – from the position of the sun in the channel, to the height of the tide, and even the weather – but I didn’t. This was one of those happy accidents where I rolled up and everything just clicked.

I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t make my living from photography, and I’m glad, because I don’t have to make pictures when I don’t want to. I get to pick and choose when I go out shooting, when I process, what I process, what I show to the world, and what I don’t. I like it that way, because I feel that nothing would destroy my creativity more than having to shoot.

I shoot because I want to shoot. There are times when I’ll roll up to a spot and take hundreds of shots, and there are other times when I won’t take a single shot.

I know pro shooters who have the patience of snipers. They’ll eyeball the location to get a feel for the lie of the land, and then they’ll return and wait patiently for the perfect light before taking a shot. While I’d love to have the time and space to do this in my life, that takes enormous levels of patience, and heaps of luck (you might spend days in a spot and never get the right light).

I take a more Zen approach, believing that if show up, something magical will happen. And a lot of the time I feel that this approach works well.

This was just such a shot. It was taken at a local beach that I know quite well, one that is west-facing and gets some good sunsets. It’s also got rocks for some foreground interest, which is awesome. On top of that, the beach is mostly shingle and not sand, so tripods won’t sink, which is a plus during long exposures.

While I do use a lot of tools and apps for planning – from maps to weather forecast services to apps such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris – I will still sometimes turn up to a locations on the spur of the moment just to “see what I can see.”

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