“Footsteps In The Sand” by Sean Goswell

I wake up every morning with the view of the ocean through the bedroom window. I’m naturally drawn to it.

There are not many days, when I’m not at some point in the day, walking along the beach with my camera. The ocean has a medative healing quality. It’s the place I go to think, to relax and to clear my mind of day to day problems.

For many of us, the past year has been, stressful, hard and unfamiliar. Not being able to travel has in a sense made us appreciate what we have around us even more. My normal has become, these walks along the beach, often early mornings or late evenings, and often with very few people around, and with these walks has become an even greater appreciation of what the ocean has to offer , both mentally and spiritually.

There are never two days the same, and the ocean offers me something different each time I walk the two or three miles of beach.

I am fascinated by the transient nature of the tide, and it’s effect on the the land, how the sands shift with the tides ebb and flow and what is left behind as it recedes.

Over the last year I have collected a body of work from this small radius of beach only a few minutes walk from my home here in Somerset, trying to encapsulate this feeling of transience, connecting the images through my deep passion for the ocean, and implying a sense of atmosphere and emotion and reaction to a scene, rather than relying on a technically perfect image.

Footsteps In The Sand came about much like so many of my images, a reaction to what was in front of me. I travel light with one camera and one lens, a spare battery and a couple of filters. I’d set out early for my walk along the beach, on one of those rare days in the UK when the sky was cloudless and would soon be a bright sunny day. I’d resigned myself to just having a nice walk, but I wouldn’t be making any meaningful images today.

About a half mile up the beach a line of rocks separate one part of the beach from another, climbing onto the rocks the beach before me just looked beautiful, the tide was receding but had been quite strong, and had carved these beautiful shapes into the sand. Before me was this vast emptiness. The early morning mist had covered the distant hills that was slowly lifting. In the foreground I noticed footprints in the sand leading to the shoreline. Firstly surprised that someone had been there earlier than me and secondly I’d noticed that the prints suddenly stopped half way up the sand.

Whether or not the wet sand was slowly filling in the footprints, I’m not sure? They added another interesting element, and fitted in perfectly with my nothing lasts theme, and I knew I had to make an image.

This was the only image I made on that particular morning, but one that I had never envisioned making. As much as I like this image, the time spent out, walking by the sea would have been enough.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

The strong line between the receding tide and the shore, and the soft light and distant mist and haze simplifying the image.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

When thinking about the composition, I would of liked to have included more of the sea, but generally as a an image that was purely made out of a reaction to a moment, I’m happy with it.

Sean Goswell shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Sean Goswell, Somerset, United Kingdom


Equipment and Settings

Fujifilm X-T4, Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 RLM OIS
Lee Filters 6 stop ND filter
0.6 sec., f/6.4, ISO 160.

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Comments (5):

  1. David Martin

    March 30, 2021 at 22:23

    Such a lovely backstory to this image , excellent work 👍

  2. Rita

    March 31, 2021 at 10:04

    Beautiful work and sentiment.

  3. JiÀhn Charlotte

    March 31, 2021 at 11:47

    Such an emotive image and moving backstory of a wonderful passing moment. I love your imperfectly perfect capture – it reflects honesty, it reflects life.

    Nature is an amazing force, one we should all be striving to preserve. I hope that after this pandemic blows over we carry the lessons we have learnt this past 12 months into building a better future for humanity and our environment.

  4. michael

    April 2, 2021 at 19:43

    lovely images,Sean

  5. Chuck Willemsen

    April 5, 2021 at 18:30

    Very reminicent of “Caminante No Hay Camino” by Antonio Machado


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