“Waterbaby” by David Southern

This is an image of the tide sweeping over sandstone on the Northumbrian coast. Sandstone rock strata is a feature of this stretch of coastline. When exposed to the elements these sedimentary rocks are eroded to create wonderful textures, shapes and patterns. I like to let my imagination flow when I’m out exploring the coast in search of intimate landscapes.

These little scenes are constantly changing. Inclement weather, tidal rhythms and the seasons all play their part in the ongoing evolution of these coastal landscapes. Boulders that have been buried for many months or years may be revealed following a winter storm. Over time longshore drift will expose areas previously covered by sand and shingle. These changes mean that there are new discoveries to be made on almost every visit to my favoured locations. Careful composition can eliminate many distracting elements from the viewfinder but sometimes it might mean returning to the same spot time after time.

In this image I had found the area of rock with an interesting pattern but it needed an additional ingredient to add impact. The movement of water would provide the missing component.

It was a sunny winter morning which meant the sun would strike the rock at a low angle enhancing the ripple affect of the sea water. Once I had found the right composition and set up the shot I then waited for the incoming tide to sweep over the rock. It was important to ensure that the reflections weren’t burnt out, a polarising filter helped in this respect.

I used a macro lens, (and tripod), and positioned the lens parallel to the rock face so as to make sure the image was as sharp as possible. When I saw the resulting image the title seemed obvious.

I’ve been including this image in presentations on a number of occasion and I always ask my audience what do they see. Among the various responses was included one from a lady that said it looked like the scan of her baby in the womb. An answer I was not expecting.

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

You don’t see many images like this, so it has a certain uniqueness and originality. The image is believable and natural but at the same time stretches credulity to an extent.

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?

I’d include a wider area to isolate the main shape in its watery haven.

David Southern shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


David Southern, Northumberland, UK


Equipment and settings

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Canon EF 100macro f/2.8.
Tripod, polarising filter.
100mm, 1/20 sec, F11, ISO50

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