5.1.2 Norfolk by the Sea

!! To be updated with input from winter 2020-2021

The Norfolk Coast is an area that is only an hour’s drive from Cambridge and a place that I go frequently for days out and short weekend holidays at different times of the year. It is more remote than places like Aldeburgh that are closer to London. But there has been a well-established sea-side tourist industry at Cromer, Hunstanton and Sheringham amongst other towns. It also has a long history of aristocratic domination – being the site of Sandringham. In the summer when people travel down from Northern England for the better weather as well as London and day-trippers from nearby. But the area is very vulnerable and the coastline is shrinking. The evening before writing this post a serious cliff collapse occurred – I do not know whether the seafront or Sheringham cliffs in the photos below still exist.

Influences and styles? Frith postcards. Nostalgia.

Other places to investigate: Bacton sand dune protection for gas works, what gets saved and what does not and why?

Sheringham 2011

The current town of Sheringham was once Lower Sheringham, a fishing station for the main village, now known as Upper Sheringham. It is a railway town that was developed with the coming of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line in the late 19th century. Most of Sheringham’s range of buildings and shops come from this period and the early 20th century. Along the fragile sandstone cliffs past Beeston Tor lies West Runton – much of what is shown in these photos from 2011 was washed away in 2013 and also affected by the flooding and heavy rain in 2019. See: https://www.northnorfolknews.co.uk/news/coastguard-warning-of-further-cliff-falls-after-sidestrand-incident-1-6103879

It is a beautiful, and often very uncrowded stretch of coast, particularly outside the school holiday season. The coastline twists to face West towards the Wash, and so has beautiful sunsets. Examples of Photoshop composite developed for Illustration 1 book cover.

The power of the sea is ever present and dramatic. Especially in the Spring tides. The cliffs as they erode have revealed mammoths and and dinosaurs that are kept in Cromer Museum. These are the real vivid colours of the red stone at sunset.

The photos in this post review a number of earlier jpg image series from 2008-2015 and look at ways in which these can be processed in Lightroom, NikFX and Photoshop to be of acceptable quality for Shutterstock. I also like the nostalgia or the place and explore possible vintage treatments for cards and/or Photoscreen. I want to develop these series much further in various ways, retaining the images of scenes that no longer exist and including more street photography and landscape around themes of seaside towns in winter, and fragility of our coastline.

Cromer 2009

Cromer became a resort in the early 19th century, with some of the rich Norwich banking families making it their summer home. Visitors included the future King Edward VII, who played golf here. The resort’s facilities included the late-Victorian Cromer Pier, which is home to the Pavilion Theatre. In 1883 the London journalist Clement Scott went to Cromer and began to write about the area. He named the stretch of coastline, particularly the Overstrand and Sidestrand area, “Poppyland” referring to the numerous poppies which still grow at the roadside and in meadows. The combination of the railway and his writing in the national press brought many visitors. The name “Poppyland”.

This coast is very vulnerable. On 5 December 2013 the town was affected by a storm surge which caused significant damage to the town’s pier and seafront. I want to see what has happened to the scene below taken in 2009, and whether much of it still remains.

The first images top left edit low quality snapshots of the High Street as colour and monochrome images that were acceptable as ‘nostalgia-effect’ images for Shutterstock. I would like to develop street photography in the town further in the style of Martin Parr.

The sea front and Cromer pier built for the Victorian tourist industry is an iconic landmark that makes an interesting ‘Norfolk nostalgia’ screen print.

Hunstanton: New Year’s Day 2015

Hunstanton is a 19th-century resort town, initially known as New Hunstanton to distinguish it from the adjacent village from which it took its name. Old Hunstanton village is of prehistoric origin and lies near to the head of Peddars Way. In 1846, Henry Styleman Le Strange (1815–1862), decided to develop the area south of Old Hunstanton as a bathing resort. He brought a group of like-minded investors into the construction of a railway line from King’s Lynn. By the 1860s the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway became one of the most consistently profitable in the country. Hunstanton was badly hit by the North Sea Flood of 1953. The wall of water on the night of 31 January – 1 February killed 31 people in the town with 35 more victims in neighbouring places such as Snettisham and Heacham. The seafront was also damaged in the 2013 storm surge but had been repaired by the time of these photos.

This series of photos from New Year’s Day 2015 were accepted, with some others, for Shutterstock. I am aiming to develop them, with new images from winter 2019 around the theme of seaside towns in winter – including any further storm damage.

Influences and styles? Frith postcards. Nostalgia.

Other places to investigate: Bacton sand dune protection for gas works, what gets saved and what does not and why?

Burnham Overy Staith

Burnham Overy is one of the five ‘Burnhams’ on the Norfolk Coast Path in the district of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. It is a relatively remote area about 20 miles from King’s Lynn and 30 miles from Norwich. Historically Burnham Overy on the River Burn was the port for the surrounding villages of the Burnhams. The larger village of Burnham Market is less than 1-mile to the west) and Holkham Estate is 3 miles to the east. Google Map

Between Burnham Overy Staithe and the sea, the river spreads out into multiple tidal creeks through the salt marshes that fringe this stretch of coast, and finally reaches the sea by passing through the fronting sand dunes at a gap locally known as Burnham Harbour. Small boats can reach Burnham Overy Staithe through this gap and creek. Today Burnham Overy Staithe, and the associated harbour, is a major recreational sailing centre. It is also the point of departure for ferries to the Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve.

The images on the right were all accepted for Shutterstock.

Photoshop experimentation for photoscreen preparation

The rejected images were much more contrasty, and so had too much chromatic aberration and noise that was not possible to remove. But their bold silhouettes were also quite atmospheric. So I started to experiment with Photoshop to see how they might convert into colour Photoscreen. Nothing startling yet, but something I intend to explore further.