Thursday, February 06, 2020

January 2020 on Crosby Beach

The first sunset of 2020 down on Crosby beach with IronMenCrosby. Still air and a slight haziness bring a feeling of quiet calm to the scene.

The first day of January was fine and clear. Down on the beach during the afternoon there are more people than on a summer day, all taking advantage of the fine weather to take some fresh air and exercise on this New Year's Day. 
Late afternoon and the tide is on its way out and has left large pools of standing water on the beach which make good reflections for the pictures.

The sun sinks down through a hazy sky, with solid cloud on the horizon. The Welsh hills are invisible in the haze. A golden disc of the sun slowly disappears into the haze leaving a deep orange glow in the sky. The sea is quite calm again, the surface rippled with a light wind and seagulls are paddling in the pools stamping their legs in the hope of bringing worms to the surface.

Mid month and another evening at Crosby beach, totally different weather to that on New Year's Day It is windier than I thought it would be and the sea is quite rough. It was high tide around 14.30 so the sea is just on its way out, the waves still around the base of the nearest iron men, the noise and roar of the waves is quite loud. At the water’s edge gulls are lined up again doing their little dance with their feet in the hope of attracting worms. 

The air is very cold and the bluish light reflected off standing water on the beach makes it look colder still. There is some colour in the sun before it sinks into a cloud bank over the Welsh hills, the light of the sun glitters off the crests of the waves as they break near the beach and I manage a few good images before the light fades with little colour, the air being quite clear tonight.

As the sun sinks behind a cloud bank over the Welsh hills, the air filled with the roar and glitter of waves on the wind tossed sea. Gulls dance at the water’s edge, the air is chilled and the water a cold blue in the evening light.

The morning of the 23rd January dawned grey and cloudy but by ten the clouds had started to break and the anticyclonic gloom and mist of the last few days rolled away leaving a clear blue sky with just a mist on the distant horizon and sharp bright winter sunshine, a perfect day for some morning images down on Crosby beach.

The calm outgoing sea is a wash of pale flat blue under the dome of a cerulean sky. Sunlight dances and shimmers off the sea and is reflected off the standing water in the tide ripples on the wet sand, wavelets lap at the shoreline and the iron men cast long shadows across the sand.

 Out at sea the mist lingers around the base of the wind farm columns and obscures the distant Welsh hills. Along the tide line a scattering of mermaid’s purses amongst all the razor clam shells.

Monday 27th January

The afternoon has turned dark and threatening as clouds sweep in from the west. A slight gap in the clouds reflects the light of the setting sun and catches the waves at the water’s edge, adding a touch of sparkle to the otherwise grey scene at Crosby beach.

Next day the weather is very wintery, with sudden squally showers of hail and rain whipping through, driven by a strong, cold north westerly wind. Mid afternoon the clouds break allowing some sunshine and I head down to the beach just after four pm. It is noticeable how much later the sunset is than at the start of January, almost an hour of extra daylight at the end of the day already.

Down on the beach the NW wind is very cold, the tide is just on its way out and the beach is very wet with standing water formed by both rain and the outgoing tide, ruffled with fast moving catspaws across the surface. The sun is just about to descend behind a band of solid cloud over Wales, but I manage to capture some pictures before it disappears, rays of light beaming out across the sky and clouds and sparkling off the wet beach. A bank of cloud moves swiftly overhead its bottom edge highlighted in pinks and oranges by the setting sun. The air is full of the sound of the sea, the roar of the waves at the water’s edge and the calls of gulls as they glide by, riding the wind. A group of Knots rise and fall along the tide line.

Looking back as I leave the beach shortly after sunset I capture this line of gulls gliding in the wind as it rises over the dunes, effortless flight in the evening light.

Friday, February 22, 2019

January Skies Part Three

Mid January and the light had changed again. There was not much wind but the incoming sea was still quite rough, the light a cool blue with patches of warm orange light seeping through. Walking along the tideline, the sand is littered with starfish, lots of tiny razor clam shells, only about an inch long, small crabs and many multi coloured clam shells.

The white foam from the breaking waves glowed with an eerie luminescence whilst patches of warm light pierced the overall blueness on this cold evening at Crosby beach.

The following day was very stormy and wet but around 3.45 pm I thought the sky looked interesting and went down to the beach to be presented with these dramatic storm torn skies.
Despite the rain there was a burst of yellow light as the sun pierced the clouds over Wales whilst grey swathes of rain swept across the sea. At one point a mass of either knot or dunlins swept across the scene in a shallow "S" curve.

A large rain cloud moved slowly inland, the falling rain just catching the light and glowing a pale yellow against the darker clouds. A half moon appeared through a gap in the clouds whilst the beach, wet from all of the day's rain, reflected the silhouettes of the iron men and the variations in light caused by the rapidly moving clouds.

The storm moved slowly inland and what appeared to be a funnel of rain, a lighter patch against the dark grey, descended from the clouds behind the flying saucer shape of the Leisure Centre.

The last shot of the day as another storm cloud sweeps in from the west, blotting out the hills of North Wales.

Friday, January 25, 2019

January Skies Part Two

A few days later and the weather had changed completely with strong northerly winds pushing south across the Irish Sea and driving fronts of rain swiftly across the seascape viewed from Crosby beach.
The late afternoon clouds are a strange pink-purple shade tinged with hints of blue and grey as light from the setting sun struggled to penetrate the cloud layers, tinging the thinner areas with an eerie warm glow.

An approaching cold front builds up a long dark mass of towering clouds with falling rain below which blots out white structures of the wind farms out at sea. The front moves rapidly along the coast as it is pushed south by the strong, cold winds. It is wet and windy but exhilarating at the same time seeing nature in action like this.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

January Skies Part One

The weather in January 2019 has produced an amazing variety of stunning skies and cloudscapes to date. The weather has been mostly calm and some clear days have produced an amazing display of colour down on the beach.

These images were captured on the 9th January; there was a fine layer of high cirrus over the Welsh Hills which the sun was sinking slowly through, creating a fine yellow orange glow in the western sky. The air was calm, just the cries of gulls disturbing the silence.
As the sun sank behind the mountains of Snowdonia there was a plume of cloud rising from the summit of Moel Siabod, just like a volcano blowing off. 
The high cirrus clouds continued to reflect the light of the sun long after sunset, gaining in vibrant intensity, the colours changing from yellow to orange to a deep orange tinged with scarlet. Every time I turned to go home I looked back to see even more intense colours in the sky. 

Glowing white against the dark blue of the south western sky the thin crescent of a moon a few days old brightened as the light faded, the trail of a jet passing overhead scored a vivid orange scar against the clear sky.

Half an hour after sunset the light finally started to fade but there was still a strip of golden orange light across the western sky above the Welsh hills; faint rays of crepuscular light are radiated through the dust of the high atmosphere, the last rays of light from a sun now far below the horizon. Time to finally turn for home as darkness descended.