Beach Colours in Winter

I love beaches.

Not for lying on, covered in tanning lotion, frying with others, packed in on sun loungers.

Deserted beaches.

Winter beaches.

With a cold wind whipping up a spray, the sand not yet imprinted with human feet, the battle at the edge of the land rages on every second of every day.

A little bit taken away here, a little bit deposited there.

And the colours. Oh, the colours.

Manly on a Sunday

I got to spend a couple of nights with some very nice people who were friends of our friends. Luckily for me, they lived in Manly, and on Sunday I headed out early to take in the beach.

This was winter, and it was T-shirt and shorts weather. When I got to the beach front, it was a hive of relaxed activity. The surf shops were open, and there were plenty of surfers riding the waves.

Surfboards at Manly Beach

The less active folk were having breakfast and getting coffee from the cafes. This one looked particularly popular, and as I queued for a flat white, I got chatting to the guy in front. In turns out that he went to the University of Edinburgh to do his PhD 40 years ago, and I work there, so we traded stories about the city and Scottish weather while we waited.

Getting coffee at Manly beach

I was impressed by the large number of joggers that were out. The lifestyle seemed quite fitness oriented – but maybe that’s the weather again. Who would want to stay indoors when it’s this good? There were water fountains all along the beach for the athletically inclined.

Manly beach water fountain

Mind you – those Aussies like their meat!

Manly beach - Ribs and Rumps

Volleyball was very popular. There were public nets set up all along the beach.

Manly beach volleyball

Manly beach volleyball

Despite all the activity, there were plenty of people and their four-legged friends taking in the views.

Manly beach

And of course, no Australian beach would be complete without surfers…

Manley beach surfer

Manley beach


Back in the days when I mostly shot and developed my own film, I visited Barcelona for a week.

My main reason for going was to see the architecture of Gaudi. I’m a secret design and architecture nerd, and the prospect of seeing his wonderful buildings, the Sagrada Família and the Picasso museum in a few days was too much to miss. What I hadn’t reckoned on was the wonderful sea front with a man-made beach (La Barceloneta), which had this curious sculpture by Rebecca Horn called ‘Homenatge a la Barceloneta’.

I loved that this bizarre-looking object was thrusting out of the sand, yet to locals it was perfectly ordinary, and this person was using it to change into his swimming gear on.

I think this was shot on Ilford film, and I scanned it with my very cheap flat bed scanner later. Real film grain – isn’t it wonderful?

A Weekend At The Turnberry

I had double luck earlier this year – my parents came to stay and looked after our son while we had a rare night away at a secret location (my wife is much better at keeping surprises than I am).

The secret location turned out to be the Turnberry hotel on the Ayrshire coast. Apparently well known if you are a golfer, it’s a wonderful 1920’s style hotel, with the best breakfast buffet I have ever had – whisky and cream on your porridge or a Buck’s Fizz with your cooked breakfast of local specialities? As I was due to drive home I avoided the alcohol, but the view out towards the golf course and beach was fantastic, and we decided to go for a good walk before we left.

I was drawn towards the lighthouse. They are functional, but often beautiful structures, and seem to symbolise mankind’s battle against the elements.

The beach was deserted, apart from a lone horse rider, and we enjoyed just listening to the waves break.

There was a lot of gorse just behind the sand. Not only was it an incredibly bright hue of yellow, but it gave of a strong scent of coconut. Wonderful!