Monday 11 January 2010

Wet pants (this is not an instruction)

Dawn, New Years Day 2010. A time when sane people are in bed nursing hangovers, I was standing on a freezing cold beach at Beesands awaiting the sun-rise.

Now this is not too unusual for me, I am often to be found on the east coast waiting for the sun to do it's thing over the sea. The main difference from my normal hunting ground of the East Anglian coast was the pounding waves hitting the shingle of the beach. Each wave hit the sound with a loud crash which made it easy to see the damage the sea can do.

There is a myth that every seventh wave is a big one, but I'm not convinced this is particularly true. Having watched the waves for a while, I noted where the big waves were landing and took up position some 6 feet further up the beach for safety and started to compose an image of the sunrise with the beach steps as foreground.

I had just taken my first shot, when looking to my left I saw something that scared the bejesus out of me. Coming towards me was a wave of tsunami proportions.

It hit the beach with an ear splitting CRASH!! My immediate thought was "this is going to go over my wellies". I took a couple of steps up the beach and kept firing the camera shutter release. The wave hit me.

The water quickly topped my wellies and kept rising. I started to panic - this could ruin the camera if the water keeps rising! It kept rising, up to a few inches below the camera and right up to my waist. The ice cold water took my breath away.

Then the wave moved back out and I started to panic. The force of the wave started to pull my feet from under me and I grabbed on to the tripod for support. You can always tell if a photographer is really hurt or not - if he says "is my camera all right?" he isn't really hurt. In my case I stopped worrying about the camera and just held on to the tripod for dear life.

The wave receded and I found myself soaked through but with a dry camera. I decide that discretion was the better part of valour and headed back to the car and a chance to dry out.

This was the shot I got just before my soggy pants experience!

High Tide
(Click to view large)


Mike said...

Hope you weren't ill after the event. It is a funny read though!

Chris Shepherd said...

Thanks Mike - No I was fine (when I eventually warmed up).


Beyond the obvious said...

Glad you survived with everything intact.

Happy New Year.

Chris Shepherd said...

Thanks Paul.
Happy New Year to you too.