Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Winter light by the seaside

click photo to enlarge
You either love or you hate a seaside resort in winter. I love it. In fact, in many ways I prefer resorts in winter to other times of year. It's probably the emptiness of the promenade, the boarded up amusement arcades, the echoes of long gone holiday makers, the seediness and tattiness that in summer is masked by a lick of paint and throngs of people. The Lancashire seaside resort of Blackpool has all that and more.

This view includes the dominant Blackpool Tower, a variation on the idea and design of the Eiffel Tower. It was completed in 1894. From its base, which is wrapped in a building with a circus between the Tower's four legs, to the tip of the flagpole at the top, is 518 feet. Central Pier with its big wheel can also be seen, and in the far distance is one of the tallest rollercoasters in the world "The Big One".

The evening light of this photograph seems to complement the out-of-season feeling that permeates the town in mid-winter. And it's probably not too fanciful to say that the bleakness of the exposed beach does the same. The location from which I took this image - on North Pier - is one of the best for photographing the Tower. Low tide is the best time too. The pools of water give greater visual interest to the bottom right of the picture than the sea usually manages, and the lines they form take the eye through the view more effectively than does the sea wall.

Blackpool's golden days were in the first half of the twentieth century when the hotels and beaches were packed with holidaymakers. I think, on balance, I prefer these golden days in the winter twilight.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen