Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun


Burnham Lighthouse on a dark and stormy day with heavy dark clouds and the sun peeking through
Click for a larger view of this image

First of all, to my regular readers I hope you like the new layout of my blog. I have changed the theme because this is a blog about photography and I wanted to show my images larger than the previous theme would. Please let me know what you think of the new theme.

This weeks image is of Burnham-on-Sea Low Lighthouse. It was taken on a really stormy day with the sun just breaking out from the clouds. Just after this photograph was taken heavy rain came sweeping in almost horizontally from the sea. Burnham Sands is totally exposed, there is no shelter except under the lighthouse but with the rain pattern the way it was I got absolutely soaked.

The Low lighthouse is one of three lighthouses in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England and the only one which is still active. It is a Grade II listed building.

Burnham-on-Sea is notable for its beach and mudflats, which are characteristic of Bridgwater Bay and the rest of the Bristol Channel where the tide can recede for over 1.5 miles (2.4 km). Burnham is close to the estuary of the River Parrett where it flows into the Bristol Channel, which has the second highest tidal range in the world of 15 metres (49 ft) second only to Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada. The constantly shifting sands have always been a significant risk to shipping in the area.

The low wooden pile lighthouse or Lighthouse on legs is 36 feet (11 m) high; the light being at 23 feet (7.0 m) was built by Joseph Nelson in 1832, in conjunction with the High Lighthouse to replace the original Round Tower Lighthouse, which itself had been built to replace the light kept burning in the tower of St Andrews Church to guide fishing boats into the harbour.

It stands on nine wooden piers, some with plate metal reinforcement. The structure is whitewashed with a vertical red stripe on the sea side.

The lights were inactive between 1969 and 1993 and were re-established when the High Lighthouse lights were permanently discontinued. They have a focal plane of 7 metres (23 ft) and provide a white flash every 7.5s plus a directional light (white, red, or green depending on direction) at a focal plane of 4m. It is operated by Sedgemoor District Council

When I receive the e-mail on a Friday notifying me of the weeks challenge I can nearly always pick a photograph from my extensive library and post it pretty quickly. But this week was different and really did present a challenge for me.

As a photographer, I very rarely choose to shoot straight into the sun. So I really had to browse my library to find a suitable image. Why don’t I shoot into the sun? Two reasons….

  1. I can easily damage my eyes looking straight into the sun if I spend too much time composing the photograph.
  2. My camera’s sensor is just like my eyes. It too can be damaged if it’s pointed at the sun for too long a time.
Over the years I have taken plenty of sunsets and sunrises where my camera is pointed directly at the sun but at that time of the day the sun is nowhere near as strong. However, I still take care with my eyes, they’re the only pair I’ve got. I can always replace a damaged camera. I can’t replace my eyes.
What about you? Did you find this weeks challenge difficult? Do you ever think about taking care of your eyes?

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