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?

68 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

    • Mike Hardisty April 20, 2012 / 20:01

      The more I look at it, the more I like it and yet originally I didn’t think it was of much use because of the big sun flare


  1. Gobetween April 20, 2012 / 19:56

    I love the new theme, great photo for the challenge.


    • Mike Hardisty April 20, 2012 / 20:00

      Thank You. At the time I thought it was a throwaway but I keep every photograph just in case. I’m glad I did.


  2. Jude April 20, 2012 / 19:59

    Really unusual – I love it!


  3. bebe' April 20, 2012 / 20:42

    Love the lens flare effect…


  4. changeversations April 20, 2012 / 20:48

    Great capture. Enjoyed reading the write-up. And yes, I like the new theme layout. I thought it was different than before.:-)


    • Mike Hardisty April 21, 2012 / 08:20

      Yes I really like the new them. I think it showcases the images more than the old


  5. Claudia April 20, 2012 / 21:20

    Beautiful! Your photo looks like a painting. Excellent entry.


    • Mike Hardisty April 21, 2012 / 08:21

      It sort of is a painting. I use a lot of Dodge and Burn in my processing of photographs


  6. Madhu April 20, 2012 / 22:37

    I like it! Fits the bill!


  7. Patti Kuche April 20, 2012 / 23:39

    Forgive me Mike but I am drooling, something about it looks so beautifully magical. So pleased you didn’t throw it away and it goes so well with your new theme!


    • Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 11:26

      Thanks Patti. I very rarely throw away anything I photograph. Even if it’s blurred….you never know when it might come in useful.


  8. Jo Bryant April 21, 2012 / 00:29

    LOVE the new theme Mike !!! And i am with Claudia…it looks like a painting…it would make a great painting.


    • Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 11:27

      Thanks Jo. The new theme does showcase my photographs more.


  9. mtlawleyshire April 21, 2012 / 03:24

    & yes, with you on the damage thing. So while mine areb’t sunset, they’re near enough for there tp be less rightness. I’ve done way too much of that over this year.


    • Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 11:48

      Last week I was waiting for a sunset/silhouette image. I kept looking at the subject of the silhouette against the sun and it was hurting my eyes.


  10. Lynne Ayers April 21, 2012 / 04:31

    Super photo – it has a timeless quality, I’m not sure why


  11. rutheh April 21, 2012 / 05:23

    The hard part was to not choose a “snoozer”! A shot like everyone else’s.
    Yours is heads above the rest of us.


    • Mike Hardisty April 23, 2012 / 09:02

      Thank you. I always think with sunrise/sunset images you need to have something else in the frame. That’s why I like the photograph of your friend and her daughter


  12. jakesprinter April 21, 2012 / 08:47

    Clever Mike ,Great preparation for this shot Masterpiece:)


  13. Robin April 21, 2012 / 09:44

    Oh, I definitely struggled with this one… A beautiful HDRish photo.


  14. frenchtwistedwoman April 21, 2012 / 13:26

    I like the rays shining down around the lighthouse. Such an ethereal quality. Thanks for sharing.


    • Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 11:54

      Thank you…that old lighthouse has done me well for photographs.


  15. woven decor April 21, 2012 / 13:49

    The true test as to whether or not I like a picture is if I wonder how it will look hanging in my house. This is beautiful Mike.


    • Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 11:56

      Thank you….I have never considered selling any of my photographs, maybe I should


      • woven decor April 22, 2012 / 14:37

        I think you should consider it. You do beautiful work.


  16. Mike Hardisty April 22, 2012 / 12:18

    Thank you. I do like to use Dodge and Burn which brings out the Highlights and Shadows more


  17. fgassette April 23, 2012 / 17:45

    WOW! I like this shot. I love lighthouses and this one was made special with your shot.



    • Mike Hardisty April 26, 2012 / 08:37

      I always think lighthouses make great subjects especially as most of them stand isolated so you can frame them how you like


  18. thirdhandart April 23, 2012 / 18:03

    Gorgeous capture of the sun! Your new theme is wonderful. Great entry Mr. Hardisty!


    • Mike Hardisty April 26, 2012 / 08:42

      I like the theme too and the more I see it the more I like it


    • Mike Hardisty April 26, 2012 / 08:47

      Thank you for your comment, this old lighthouse was one of my favourites to photograph


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