I recently invited Facebook members to share their seascape photographs (a maximum of three per person) for this special Marine Café Blog feature. I should like to thank all those who answered my call despite there being no prize at stake. Choosing a dozen outstanding shots from such a large field of talent was not easy.  In the end, I decided to make a gallery of 13 pictures as one was simply too good not to be included.

The following are, in my judgement, the best of the lot (not necessarily in order). They are all, without exception, remarkable. They have imaginative and emotional power. They show well-thought-out composition and skillful handling of light. Not the least important, they reveal a genuine and subtle connection between the photographer and his or her subject.

October Surf   © James Hesketh

The bird in the foreground appears oblivious to the onrushing waves. It sits at the edge of the water as calmly as the ship on the horizon. The twin images of stillness are set against the commotion of the sea to evoke, paradoxically, a sense of harmony and acceptance of things as they are.

Pevensey Bay Beach   © Andrew Hyldon

The interplay of light and dark and the symphonic variations in texture make this a memorable seascape. Sea and sky seem to be rivalling each other to prove which one has more grandeur. The tiny speck of black in the middle of the photo (almost touching the horizon) looks like some ship. However, a blow-up of the picture would show that it is actually a seabird flying just inches above the water.

Untitled   © Ana Valente

Ana Valente’s photograph is so exquisite that it could be mistaken for a 19th-century painting at the Louvre or Hermitage museum. The dark clouds look on the verge of unleashing rain but the sun seems to be quietly resisting. The way the photographer has rendered the scene with elegant subtlety leaves no doubt as to her technical skill and artistic spirit.

Waikiki, Hawai’i   © Bonnie K. Aldinger

The world is drowning in postcard-type, Photoshopped pictures. Bonnie Aldinger has gone off the beaten path with this sunset shot. The figures on the beach are shown only in silhoutte, but their movements convey a feeling of childlike joy. It is as though they are trying to squeeze the last drop of fun from the dying day. This is a good specimen of straightforward photography with human interest.

Upon Sand and Fog   © Kim Loftis

The photo has been stripped down to show only the strand with some birds and the very faint skyline of the city in the background. The result is a dreamlike atmosphere. Kim Loftis’ use of sepia as the dominant colour adds a certain nostalgic warmth to the scene.

Breakwater of New England Granite. New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts   © Dorrie Kimkaran

Dorrie Kimkaran chose the perfect camera angle to accentuate the massiveness and strength of the boulders that make up the breakwater. Plain yet powerful, the picture is emblematic of man’s capacity to keep at bay (doubtless, not all the time) the forces of nature.

100 km/hr wind gusts, blowing snow and rain, and a big sea surge. Islington, Newfoundland   © Paul Seymour

Beauty and terror spring out of this photograph by Paul Seymour to bedazzle the viewer The wind-swept waves run across the picture like Genghis Khan‘s horde of cavalrymen galloping on a great battlefield. This seascape blows many storm-at-sea photographs out of the water.

Atlantic Ocean. The temperment of the ocean as the storm approaches.   © Teresa Gilbert

“The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea,” wrote James Joyce in his monumental 1922 novel, ‘Ulysses’.The sea may be terrifying indeed, but it is also magnificent. Teresa Gilbert pays tribute to its beauty in this stunning photograph — to “the flung spray” and “the blown spume” that so moved John Masefield in his iconic poem, Sea Fever.

Sea Smoke Bass Rocks   © Ned Talbot

This strangely beautiful photograph might remind some people of the third day of Creation as narrated im the Bible — God commanding the waters under Heaven to be gatherered together in one place to bring forth dry land. Others could see it as symbolic of evil rising from the present-day sea of bigotry and hate. However one looks at it, the image is haunting. It sticks to the mind.

Doing for life. Santo André, Portugal   © Maria Giro

Maria Giro presents a cool, refreshing view of the sea dwarfing the solitary old man in the foreground who is bending down to gather clams. It is a simple but powerful photograph that encapsulates the hard life endured by fisherfolk and the comforting idea of the sea as the Great Provider.

Pelican sunrise   © Michael Guess

Pictures of pelicans are a dime a dozen. This one stands out because of its sheer charm. The bird has its beak raised at a 45 degree angle as if to mimic the rays of the morning sun. It seems to beckon to the viewer to come and join it in welcoming the new day.

Sunrise at Long Sands beach. York, Maine  © Jim R. Wilton

The nuanced horizontal layers of colour in Jim R. Wilton’s photograph give one the palpable sense of a Venetian blind being slowly manoeuvred by an invisible hand. The sun is peeking through one of the blind slats. There is a feeling of expectation, of something wonderful about to unfold.

Untitled   © Rebecca Jolly

This minimalist photograph is notable for its stark beauty and striking composition. It is reminiscent of the style of Augusto De Luca, the gifted contemporary photographer from Naples, Italy (check out more of his work here). Rebecca Jolly’s own masterpiece speaks eloquently of peace and solitude whilst revealing her sense of design and balance.

~ Barista Uno


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