Southport Pier

With a relatively mild and sunny February Sunday to myself, I had a ride out to Southport to try out some long exposure pictures using an ND1000 10 stop neutral density filter.

Southport is rather unique in that the pier itself starts about 300 metres in land and crosses the marine lake and cuts through the retail park / leisure complex before heading out over the sands. In all my 35 years, I don’t think I have ever seen a high tide in Southport, although there always seems to be puddles and ripples in the sand to suggest that the tide does come in from time to time.

I was pleased that we have finally had a couple of decent days with a bit of blue sky and sunshine, and although I would have liked to get a bit more cloud in the shots, I am pleased with the results from today’s trip.

I made a bit of a schoolboy error with the first couple of shots – I set them up just how I wanted but when I looked at the screen on my camera, thanks to the mid day sun, there was a massive shadow of myself cutting right across the lower part of the picture! D’oh!

I re-positioned and composed the shots from a different angle as I wanted to get the structure of the pier cutting through the picture. I really like the ripples of the sand on these images and it would have been even better if there was something in the foreground such as a large bit of driftwood just to add a bit of interest.


There was a few people knocking about but not that many on the beach – the sand was a bit soft under foot so perhaps people did not want to venture too far out. The sky was a really deep blue which I knew would look great when converted to black and white as I wanted to get a deep moody black look to the shots.

Even with the 10 stop filter attached, the correct exposure was coming out at only 30 seconds which, whilst still a long time, I think if I could have made it 60 or even 90 seconds, the cloud movement would have been a bit more apparent.


I had a quick wander underneath the pier itself to try and get some images of the support structure and the best I came away with was this one….


Unlike Blackpool, the pier in Southport seems to be quite well maintained and seems to be popular as lots of people were walking down to the very end where there is a small coffee shop & amusement arcade. I did think about going down there to get some pics from the bottom of the pier but with the tide being out so far, I don’t think they would have been very interesting.

I love the moody look of black and white, and hopefully if I get chance, I will head to Blackpool again in the not too distant future and have another go at some shots like this, with the tide coming in to get more of the milky water effect around the pier.

Thankfully spring is in sight, and so lots more weekend days out!

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