behind the shot – viking bay tidal pool

Viking Bay tidal pool on the isle of thanet, kent
When everything comes together; light and tide in harmony..!

There are numerous tidal pools on the Isle of Thanet in Kent which are fun to photograph. This paddling pool off of the Broadstairs coast at Viking Bay is one of the more innocuous ones and is very easy to pass by as it gets completely submerged at high tide.

I first set my sights on photographing this scene because of the interesting shapes to use. The symmetry of the pool with the two little blocks that stick out make it unique and the position of the sea post beyond is an important compositional element too.

I did my research and I found that the ideal tidal range looked to be an hour or so before/after high tide. This would reveal the outline shape of the pool and the top of the larger rocks in front whereas at low tide the extra features can look cluttered and distracting.

The view faces east which is ideal for sunrise but it would make planning for this shot that little bit harder and uncertain. See the images below..!

viking bay, kent
The sunrise position is good but the tide was slightly too full on this occasion.
I got my times very wrong here which was a shame because the light was looking good. Nevermind..!
viking bay, kent
One of my earlier attempts with the light behind me just before sunset. The tide is slightly too low here also revealing a bit too much of the darker rocks around the pool.

On the morning that this shot was made the light and tides had coincided nicely. There was the right amount of cloud to hold in the sunrise colour and the tide was retreating to reveal the right amount of shoreline. I had only a couple of minutes before the conditions would change so I needed to be quick. The clouds were creating an interesting spiral shape which I wanted to preserve while at the same time finding a long enough exposure time to blur and calm the sea. I tried a few different combinations of filters and polarisers to get to a 20-second exposure which was acceptable for both sea and sky.

I spent the rest of the morning playing with the ripples in the sand the tide had left in nearby Louisa Bay. Perhaps the start of a new shot to plan?

Hope you enjoyed reading this ‘behind the shot’ of my Viking Bay image.

Thanks 🙂

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