I have often wondered if mornings wouldn’t be better placed in the afternoon; thinking this very thought I head along the A27 towards Brighton. I am tired, very tired, which is really rather pathetic as this is the first morning I have risen early. It is still dark. I am now slightly regretting that last pint – a few hours earlier it seemed like a good idea.
The major plus of arriving in Brighton at this time of the morning is the prospect of finding a parking space. Given this fact it is a surprise, even to me, that I opt to park in my usual car park, some distance from where I actually need to be. I tumble from my car and grumble my backpack on. Muttering to myself, I tramp down one of The Lanes in the direction of the beach.
Heading towards me are a couple; a bald, wide man who could be politely described as looking ‘fuckin‘ard’, and a lady, sporting a long, white fur coat and exceptionally high stilettos. She has an exaggerated, rhythmic walk which she performs a yard or so in front of her companion. There is a strong possibility that my soon-to-be acquaintances are returning home after a night of imbibing. Given that the lane is narrow, we three are the only people utilising it, and it is very early in the morning, it seems likely that some form of acknowledgement will be necessary. I am not relishing that moment. Perhaps an apposite grunt will be appropriate.
The female half of the twosome slows her advance, adjusting whatever species of deceased arctic critter she is wearing. We are 10 or 15 yards apart and I decide on a look-at-my feet policy until the moment of required salutation. I am forced to raise my field of vision for a fleeting progress check.
It becomes evident at this moment that the young lady is rather too warm, not normally a problem for our furry, polar friends but in Brighton, in the summer, this can be an issue. She opens her coat and reveals that she clearly hadn’t considered layered clothing to be a viable option when embarking on her early morning stroll. In fact there is just one layer and that is now very much ajar. My brief progress check has transformed into a prolonged progress stare, a stare that soon informs me of her plan to expel some troublesome excess fluid. A plan she executes with immediate effect. Her eyes fix on me from her mid-lane squatting position, as does the gorilla’s gaze as he stands solidly behind her. My eyes regain a firm fix on the pavement and all ideas of early morning pleasantries are abandoned completely.
On reaching the beach I set up my camera and tripod, hoping to capture a good image of the pier. Through the viewfinder I see scattered groups of jaded-looking partygoers sitting on the beach in the early morning light. Two young girls walk into frame; I presume they are going to join one of the groups. Mid-frame they stop and hold a brief discussion before stripping semi-naked and bouncing off toward the sea. I am not sure if I love or hate Brighton but either way it is very distracting.
The Shot: Despite all the distractions I achieved some of the shots I desired. I was looking for a new angle as I walked past this phone box. A couple of steps on and something about the smashed window had remained in my mind’s eye. I back- peddled and realised that the end of the pier was neatly framed by the broken glass. This was not a style of shot I had envisaged shooting but once you have an image it is hard to let it go. I played with angles and depth of field for a while before shooting 4 or 5 frames.
Technical: Canon 1DS III, Canon 24-70mm, ISO 100, F22, 1/15 Secs, Lowepro CompuTrekker