Thursday, 9 October 2014
I drove to Brighton yesterday, to deliver and sort out a few things for my daughter, back studying at Sussex University, and decided to stay overnight in a convenient hotel, get up early and have a morning wandering around with a camera. I chose well: a fierce wind was blowing straight in from the channel, and the waves were really piling onto the beach. I have no idea why being next to the sea on a blowy, sunshine-and-showers type of day is so exhilarating, but it is. It's like taking a short ride in a fast machine, but standing still.
Despite the Brighton Photo Biennial being on at the moment (what, another photo festival?), no-one else was working the seafront spectacle. Too early in the morning, perhaps, or too conventional a subject for the more trend-conscious photographer? Both, probably; their loss.
Unfortunately, camera lenses and salt water are not a good combination and, despite trying to stay downwind of the bigger splashes, a steady drift of seaspray* was filling the seafront air, and my lens got a good coating (as did my hair and beard). So before heading back home after lunch I had to seek out a camera shop to get some lens cleaning fluid. Luckily, Brighton still has at least one "proper" camera shop, in the form of Clock Tower Cameras, a genuine Aladdin's Cave of photographica. I like to touch base in such places, have a chat with the knowledgeable staff, and spend enough money to feel I've helped to keep them in business.
* Is there anyone else in the entire world who remembers a children's TV programme from around 1960 which contained the phrase, "Seaspray? Salty Cyril!" (I think Salty Cyril was a seafarer's ghost), the mere repetition of which would convulse me and my primary-school best friend John Boxley with hysterical laughter? Odd, how these things stick in the memory.