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Sandblasted By Simon Cotter
CREDIT: Simon Cotter
By Simon Cotter

DETAILS AT TAKING STAGE: (Concept, Date, Time, Location, Weather, Camera details etc.)          

I spent a couple of days in the Dingle, Co. Kerry last October, unfortunately coinciding with Storm Calum. The very high winds made photography a tad challenging and I spent much of the first day driving from location to location trying to find something I could shoot. Luckily, at Cappagh Beach the wind was blowing the sand across the beach and I found this arrow shaped rock outcrop whose shape mirrored the sculpting of the sand. I know from experience that trying to capture the shifting sand is pretty tricky and so I shot a series of images at different shutter speeds, with this one at 1/6th second giving the best result. Shot on a Canon 80D and Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 lens at a focal length of 13mm. Exposure was 1/6 second at f13, ISO100.             

DETAILS AT PROCESSING STAGE: (Editing, Printing, Digital Manipulation details etc.)      

I chose a square crop of part of the image in Lightroom CC and adjusted highlights, whites and shadows plus clarity and dehaze adjustments. Printed on Permajet Portrait White 285, whose texture, I feel, matches the surface of the sand, on an Epson SC-P600 using Epson inks and a custom paper profile from Permajet.


This was one of only a few images I managed to capture that weekend, but it was worth getting sandblasted myself and inadvertently transferring a sizeable portion of the beach into my car when I got in. Yet again this seems to be a Marmite image, with one judge in one of our club comps not rating it at all and another, in our annual Trophy comp, awarding it the Landscape Cup!


A truly stunning image and I cannot understand why a judge would not like it enough for a rating. The movement of sand is captured perfectly and the paper choice couldn’t have been better for me, it really brings out the texture and detail in the sand. Although I know that this image is of a rock on a beach I like that there is no sense of scale, so it could be a mountain in a huge desert scene. The composition of the outcrop and the sand lines leading up to the top left corner is very pleasing and the same with how the image gets lighter the further up you go. The only slight distraction is the small rock / tuft on the right hand side which slightly distracts the eye from the lines in the sand.

I love this sort of abstract shot. I wish I could ‘see’ this sort of subject! Lovely tones and textures in the sand and the patterns lead the eye right across the image. I like the recession to the lighter area at the back and I feel the rock is well positioned in the image and, although I did think I might crop the right hand side slightly to bring the end of the rock nearer to the corner, I changed my mind because it would then lose the great textures in the corner.

A strong image. I like the graduated tones from bottom to top and the texture of the rock and sand which you have pulled out well. I think exposure and focussing are spot on. My only suggestion is to try flipping the image horizontally so that the strong diagonal runs from bottom left to top right, sometimes it strengthens the image even more.

I think a slightly lower viewpoint would have made the composition even stronger and placing the pointed end of the rock in the bottom right corner would help too. I’m left wondering what’s beyond that non-sandy area 1/3rd down on the left, so a slight shift in your position might have been able to include that and get the point of the rock bottom right too. I’d probably clone out the ‘twiglet’ to the right of the main rock formation as it’s distracting and spoils the cleanness of the blown sand. I like the gradation of light from darker bottom to lighter top. Very nice indeed!

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