Wednesday, 23 January 2019 00:00


Written by  Joe Lenton
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All Things Norfolk business member Joe Lenton of Original Art Photography focusses on Overstrand in the latest edition of his popular series to help inspire you and learn how to take that perfect image to encapsulate Norfolk. 

Overstrand is just along the coast from Cromer heading East. You can even see Cromer Pier from Overstrand beach.

The lines of the sea defences can be used as effective leading lines, drawing the eye through the image to the focal point of the pier or sunset, for example. You can either work at ground level or photograph from the promenade for a slightly elevated viewpoint.



From around May you can see the sun set behind Cromer Pier across the sea. Earlier in the year the angle is more inland with it progressing further out to sea as you approach the summer solstice in June. To plan your trip you can use a facility such as to view the angle of sunrise or sunset on any particular day of the year at any location. It is also worth checking the sunset times with the local weather forecast.


Although I prefer Overstrand at high tide, you can get some nice shots at low tide as well. Particularly look out for puddles of water left behind by the tide to use for reflections. As you may be able to see if you look really closely at the above image, there is a danger of getting what is known as haloing when shooting towards sunset. This shows up as a thin white line along the horizon and is similar to what can happen if you over-sharpen an image. There are techniques to handle this in Photoshop that I didn't know at the time of creating that image.


The potential difficulty for some people with Overstrand beach is the steep descent/ascent. There are good car parking facilities with public toilets. But, the slope down to the beach is not easy for those with mobility issues - back up is even worse! However, the slope does provide some interesting higher vantage points such as that used to create the above image. That picture won a Gold award in an international competition. It was created around sunset using a 10 stop neutral density filter. This enabled the shutter to be open a long time to give a smoothing effect to the sea and clouds.


As with many of Norfolk's beaches, Overstrand has its own distinctive sea defences that can be used effectively when composing shots going out to sea. The diminishing lines help to give a sense of depth to the image.


High tide can yield some exciting waves that if you can avoid getting soaked may liven up your image. In the image above I have used a slightly slower shutter speed of 1/3 of a second to give a sense of movement to the water instead of freezing it. In processing I've added a split tone with blue in the shadows to add to the inky feeling of the water.


This image was again a slower shutter speed of around 1/6th of a second. Black and white can work well for bringing out a harsher feel for rough water. If the light is too bright to allow such a slow shutter speed then try using a polariser to cut the light. Or, if you need to cut the light more then use an appropriate neutral density filter - probably up to around 4 stops in daytime.


Despite it not being as easily recognisable, this is one of my favourite images taken at Overstrand. It is more abstract and peaceful than the previous pictures. It was taken using a 10 stop ND filter with an exposure time of 81 seconds. It was then converted to monochrome and toned in Lightroom. This image also won a Gold award in an international competition.

© Joe Lenton, January 2019

Joe Lenton is a professional photography tutor and commercial photographer. He has won over 50 international awards for his images and been featured in exhibitions around the world. He runs photography workshops and teaches various aspects of photography and images processing one to one . For more free photography tips and to enquire about photography training please visit Original Art Photography 

Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2019 21:20

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