Fleetwood Wrecks

On the 14th May, the 6pm national weather forecast stated 97% chance of rain. This was just as the email from Chris Newham arrived on my iPad. “Are we on for tomorrow?” it read.

Knowing from past experience that whenever Chris and I go on a photo shoot, he gets me cut off by the tide, wet through, or it costs me new footwear. This time I was going to be steadfast in my decision, “Not f it’s going to rain and the weather forecast says it will!” I replied. “It’s going to be fine where we are going”, he said, “Pick me up at 12:15!” “OK”, I said. At least I was steadfast for a few seconds.

It was a steady run up to Fleetwood, just north of Blackpool. I found an image in a magazine in January showing the ship hulks rotting on the mud flats and that was todays target. Our journey to Fleetwood saw us travel through the typical British summer weather, windscreen wipers at full tilt, yet we arrived in dry conditions with beautiful blue skies and white fluffy clouds. What more could I ask for?

We initially stopped on the Fleetwood promenade where we managed to get a quick cuppa before we went off for a three hours stroll. Chris showed me how to set up my camera’s settings to get the best from a new 10stop ND filter I had bought at “Focus on Imaging” event, earlier in the year. The results were interesting. I wasn’t aware that there is a serious change in the white balance when you use these filter. Hence a good tip was, take a ‘pilot’ image. You then have a reference to the actual colours on the day before you use the ND filter. The RAW files versus the actual images clearly show why.

After some time around the promenade and stroll along the beach, we made it back to the car for around 19:00 and set off towards the mud flats. Although not far as the crow flies, by road access is a few miles away. To get to the access point, you park up near to a nature reserve and then take a short walk of approximately 300m and this puts you on the path at the wrecks.

There are around 8 – 9 ships, boats etc. that are on the mud flats, all in various states of decay. Making your way across the mudflats is dodgy especially if you intend to go late to get the last light. There are large ground fissures, which are concealed by the undergrowth. Going in daylight is a good idea especially if  it’s the first time you have been. Make sure that you take you wellies as you will get muddy and it’s very slippery. The rewards are great though. I didn’t realise that it was close to 10pm as we were packing up to come home, the time just flew by.

This has to be one of my favourite photo shoot locations. The time and tide will change this every time you go. On this occasion, we were treated to a sunset as well as a warm dry and very pleasant evening. My thanks go to Chris for being my partner for the day. His patience, good nature and knowledge, teaching me new techniques and composition skills were brilliant. In addition, I thank him for not getting me cut off by the tide, soaked by the rain and not needing new shoes on this journey. I look forward to the next.

George Reilly