A Short Walk Along the Beach at Colwyn Bay [Kodak Ultramax 400]

colwyn bay sign

Images shot on Kodak Ultramax 400 in Lomography LC-Wide

I took a trip to North Wales to spend time with an old friend I’d met years ago. Quite a few years ago now actually, back when we were young men. It was quite a few miles away too, in a cafe way out there in Yangshuo in southern China.

Any suggestion back then that we’d one day be walking around Colwyn Bay as older men would have been laughed out of that smoky room. And yet, here we are. Writing a blog post showing you the photographs from when we did that very thing.

It was only a short walk up and down, and this is only going to be a short account of it. I’m happy with the shots I got that day, though. The Lomo LC-Wide camera is always fun and the Kodak Ultramax 400 film is always good in the sun.

So let’s take a look.

colwyn bay beach

A short walk on Colwyn Bay’s short pier

Believe it or not, that view of the beach in the image above is from the end of the pier at Colwyn Bay. At just 45 metres in length, it’s one of the shortest in the UK. Only nine metres longer than the very shortest in fact, at Burnham-on-Sea.

Colwyn Bay’s original Victoria Pier once stretched out as far as 227 metres, but years of neglect led to partial closures at the seaward end, and later partial collapses too. Eventually, the whole thing had to be pulled down before it fell down.

This new, short version uses original cast iron balustrades from the old pier, reclaimed and restored, and features replicas of the old Victorian lamps that it once had too.

When we were there, the pier was still just a bare deck, but there will eventually be a new pavilion built on it. Perhaps by the time you read this it’ll already be there. When it is, I’ll be happy I was able to get some photographs from that moment in time when it wasn’t.

colwyn bay pier
colwyn bay pier

Down on the beach for a short time

Speaking of structures that jut out into the sea, there’s a concrete jetty down on the beach at Colwyn Bay that makes another nice spot for some photographs. Take a walk down to the very end and you’ll get that classic shot along the beach, but from beyond the waterline.

It also gave a good opportunity to test out a piece of photography advice that is accurate a lot of the time, but not in all cases. Like most of the accepted rules are, I suppose. They’re a decent guideline, but there will always be times when breaking them will lead to a better image.

The one in question here is shooting with the sun versus shooting into it.

Just paying attention to the direction of the light and using it deliberately is something that can improve your photography no end, and for much of the time you want it coming from behind you and illuminating your subject or scene.

But this was one of those times where the opposite was true. For me, anyway.

The second picture below, which was shot with the sun behind me, is okay. But I prefer the third with its shadows and the light glistening on the water. This one was shot into the sun. Much like anyone who tells you that photography rules cannot be broken should be.

Also, no dogs on the beach. Well, Labrador don’t care. Labrador don’t give a shit.

The short walk back to the car

We could have walked around and done more with our time at Colwyn Bay. As you can see in the first shot below, there was another beach and a town – called Rhos-on-Sea – further up the coast that we could have explored.

It looked quite nice too, with its harbour and seafront buildings. Time was short though as we needed to get to the next place on the rough schedule – Llandudno – and find a pub with a television that was showing that day’s Formula 1 race.

So all that was left on the short walk back to the car was to finish off the roll of Kodak Ultramax that I’d loaded and shot some of at the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station, which is not a short name.

There was no point having a couple of exposures left over when I was planning on going with a monochrome film in Llandudno.

This art installation on the promenade in the images below is the final thing to show you from Colwyn Bay. I can’t find much information about it online, but the steel sculptures of a family on holiday are pretty cool anyway.

I’m not sure that googly eye was an original feature, though.

colwyn bay family sculpture

Wrapping up this short post from Colwyn Bay

That’s me up there. In the reflection in my friend’s sunglasses, I mean.

Regardless, it’s time to wrap this thing up. I’ve used the word short a lot in this piece so it would be fitting to keep this final section brief too. It would also mean I don’t have to come up with much else to say.

Let’s go with this, then. One thing I like about this set of images is they all have pretty much the same palette. The yellowy-brown of the beach, pier and promenade, and the blue of the sea and the sky. I don’t often get that consistency in a set of colour images.

It wasn’t something that I planned, but I did notice it once I got the film developed. It’s worth pointing out because it’s something I can keep in mind for future trips, and something that you could too. Just that colour consistency.

Finally, another word on the camera and the film here. A terrific combo for sunny seaside shots, in my humble opinion. The LC-Wide is perennially good. Very fun to shoot and it gives sharp yet obviously-Lomo results with that contrast and vignetting.

And colour Kodak film is always a fine choice for this kind of thing too. It might not be Kodachrome, but even Ultramax 400 can sometimes make you think all the world’s a sunny day. 🙂

If you enjoyed that account from a nice little seaside walk in North Wales, why not have a look at some of these other film photo essays too:

And if you think others will find this post worth a read, help them find it by giving it a share 😀

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