The Sea, Part 1
This edition of Homescreen is about love for the sea and I’ll express my love for it with some of the seascapes that I’ve made. Choosing favourite photos is like choosing a favourite band, it’s always going to be a list and there’s always going to be some difficult choices. I’ve made some hard decisions as I looked through my portfolio but there are still so many photos I want to share with you that ‘The Sea’ edition of Homescreen is going to be in two parts. Part 2 will follow in mid-January 2023.
A swift Googling suggests that at least half and probably more of the human population of the Earth live within 100 kilometres of the sea, so that’s most of us. Why? Well, because it’s better by the sea. It’s cooler, there’s beaches where you can swim or walk or make photographs, or kookslam on a rented jet ski if that’s your thing, there’s nice restaurants that sell ‘Green List’ fish and chips, there’s small harbours with salty characters smoking pipes and scanning the horizon through slitted eyes, and there’s offshore islands with mysteries to solve and interesting creatures like seals and boobies (for real, it’s a bird). You can’t go wrong with the sea, it’s the best place to be.
I’ve been going to the beaches at Schoenmakerskop in Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha since I was a little kid. I learned to snorkel there and I spent many hours in the rock pools. Now I spend my time there with a camera instead of a wetsuit, though sometimes I just walk and enjoy the peace and beauty of the place.
One of the best things about photography is that the desire to catch the best light means you’re up and on the beach at sunrise as often as possible. This is the most beautiful time of day and also the most peaceful. The sunrise beach photographs I make often capture the serene side of the sea’s personality as well as the tranquil feeling I get in my soul when I spend time on the beach at dawn.
Peaceful mornings are great but I love rough seas and big waves breaking over rocks and piers and sending up plumes of spray. There is a strong allure in the spectacle of the sea. Another of my favourite places is Storms River National Park. I don’t get there as often as I’d like to but when I do I spend as much time as possible out with the camera. I think my supportive wife sometimes feels a bit left out, though I do strive for a good wife/camera balance. On days with strong winds and big swell the scenes here can be really spectacular, and I made this photograph on a suitably stormy day.
Do you ever wonder why we love this strange place where we can neither breathe nor stay warm? Is it because of its motion, the way that its rhythm can turn ripples into liquid mountains? Is it because it feeds us or because we can float across it to new and exciting places? Or is it because so many of us love a good horror story and the sea is mysterious and often frightening with its dark, cold depths, its ghost-filled mists and its creatures that look like aliens? Or is it just because it’s beautiful and being near it or in it feeds our souls? Probably all of these things and many others I haven’t thought of, as many as there are people who love salt water in their hair and sand on their doggos.
The East Beach breakwater at Port Alfred is another of my favourite spots to shoot. This beach gets busy during the day, especially in the holiday season of the summer months, but at dawn it’s usually just me, maybe a fisherperson or two and the water and light.
Love for the sea is probably the strongest in people like me who grew up near it. Some of my earliest memories are of the sea and sometimes when I’m at the beach I spy a scene that reminds me of childhood.
With that memory we’ll end the first part of this photographic love letter to the sea. Part 2 will follow in mid-January 2023, which means that this is the last Homescreen for 2022! Thank you for your support, I’m so happy that so many of you find pleasure in my writing and photography. Happy Holidays to you all, and may 2023 bring you love, health and happiness
Prints of any of the photos in this edition of Homescreen can be ordered by contacting Tom through his website or emailing email@example.com.
Part 2 of ‘The Sea’, in which we’ll continue to explore reasons that the sea is beautiful and awesome and worth our protection.
Tom Jeffery is a writer and photographer. He mostly makes photos of the sea and urban scenes. You can browse galleries of his photos and order prints on his website. He writes comedy as well as supernatural adventures and you can find his books on his website as well as on Amazon. ‘Homescreen’ is his blog where his writing and photography come together in articles about interesting things. You can find previous editions of ‘Homescreen’ here. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook and Instagram: @tomjefferyhomescreen