Photos from an evening shoot in Cromer, Norfolk

CHROMA (ˈkrəʊmə) noun

from Greek khrōma (colour) 1. the purity of a colour 2. intensity of hue; saturation of a colour

Visiting Norfolk and Suffolk is a pleasant thing to do but requires grim determination and a total acceptance that regardless of how many miles you have to drive it will always take three times longer than you think. Your sat nav sighs in disbelief and attempts to console you by lying about the estimated arrival time. I have driven on many challenging roads around the world, distances across the USA, the insane Périphérique around Paris but the drive I hate is the one to Norfolk. Mention tractors, frustrated death-defying overtaking death-wish drivers, tractors, lorries, tractors, villages with roads narrower than the vehicles passing through – and tractors and people in the know will nod their head in agreement.

That said, it’s great when you get there. It’s not that we have a particular passion about Cromer but we do have access to accommodation there so it makes a great base for touring around (slowly) . And photography around the pier is, to use a word undervalued and overused by Americans, awesome.

Last month, on a warm summer evening I took myself down to the beach to capture some images at sunset and in the ‘blue hour’. The sun was sinking rapidly as I approached the pier and I managed to grab a few shots.

After a stroll on the pier I was keen to get down onto the sands nearer the water. I was taken aback to find it was more crowded than during the day, partly because that’s when people normally go on the beach but primarily because the tide had been in earlier. Now it was out and revealing the underside of the pier and the colourful sky and the line of photographers with their tripods awaiting their moment, clearly a photography club or perhaps a training event. Somewhat surprised that I ought to have beaten the rush and planted my tripod earlier to claim a prime position, I respectfully moved under the pier (and behind pillars so as not to ruin their shots) to see what I could find. I found more photographers!

Fortunately, once the sun had disappeared they were taking off like a flock of geese, tripods flapping, leaving me in solitude to capture some blue hour shots.

I had taken my Fuji X-T2 but also wanted to experiment with my iPhone using the Halide and Slow Shutter Cam apps. Although I managed some shots with the X-T2 I was really struggling with it. It is so long since I have used it seriously that I had forgotten my settings and best practice. I was fumbling with my lenses and ND filters and then my contacts decided to play up too so everything was a visual strain. Frustrated, as the light slipped away I ended up spending more time using the iPhone.

These two, however, were captured with the Fuji;

After this I resorted to my experiments with the iPhone. Shooting in Apple Pro Raw with the Halide Camera app and roughly 15s exposures with Slow Shutter Cam I took the following, all post-processed in Lightroom with some going to Photoshop for tweaks in Nik Filters.

As soon as the light became unfavourable I hoisted my tripod and headed back up to the prom only to find that, once again, a prime viewpoint had been annexed by the occupying forces of the photography club – but at least their presence was forcing me to find different viewpoints.

With the camera club occupying the high prom overlooking the pier I decided to stay at ground level. But for these last shots I wanted to find the symmetrical point facing the pier entrance and to capture the massive compass on the plaza using the ultra wide lens on the iPhone. This required me to balance precariously over the top of an odorous and large commercial waste bin. However the images were worth it and just be thankful that cameras can’t capture smells yet.