Seeing the Sea Wall – A Confusion of Scale

The scale of the sea wall separating Swansea beach and Swansea harbour can be seen here without to much ambiguity. However, when looking from the top end, at its lowest point to the ground, a confusion of scale becomes apparent.

While it seems from the top of the beach that the wall doesn’t “grow” in size much at all, as you walk towards the sea beside the wall, it becomes gradually apparent, until, at its highest point, you realise the true scale of it towering above you. The same effect of space distorted can be seen if you approach the wall “broadside” from a distance along the beach.

It doesn’t matter that I know the scale of the wall and have approached it in this way many time, that strange confusion of scale does its trick on my perception of it every time.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of spacial effect here or anywhere else?

Sea Wall rusty sea wall

Focusing on Perspective

Walking out on Swansea harbour wall or pier, I had forgotten just how long it is – deceptively so. The tidal range in Swansea Bay is big in so far as the sea goes out a long way and I guess a tidal harbour in a location like this needs those long walls.

The distance and scale of the structure can play havoc with your sense of perspective and space.

Swansea Docks Railings

Swansea Docks Railings

Proportion, Perspective and Atmosphere

Talking about images rather than roads, it is up to you whether or not you stick to the “rules”, but it is so often said that “rules are made to be broken”, it is almost a rule in itself that you shouldn’t stick to them!

I have used the “rule” of thirds (approximately) in the first two images below and each presents to me a different atmosphere and perspective. My personal preference is for the second shot but “to each his own”. Do you have a preference?

The “thirds” rule is broken in the third shot but the focus is on (or at least my attention was drawn to) the arc of a dog’s paw prints across the beach. I hope I have managed to frame the shot successfully. The eye follows the arc of prints and is brought neatly to a stop with the change in direction of the horizontal structure on the beach and the punctuation mark of the man – who presumably owns the invisible dog! The small proportion of land and sky simply to give the scene some geographical context.

Swansea Beach

Swansea Beach

Swansea Beach

Architectural Scale – Is Perspective Real?

I like this photo largely for its composition and the perspective of the buildings,  both real and apparent. I say real and apparent because the buildings themselves are in fact taller than each other going from foreground to background – it’s not just the effect of perspective. I must make a point of taking a photo from the opposite end of the beach and see how they appear in perspective when the most distant building is the tallest!

The photos I have been posting this week were all taken on my iPhone. I seem to be doing this more often now but whether my iphonography is improving is another matter. It is a very convenient way to record observations (and sounds when I don’t have my kit with me) but in order to get effective images with the phone, you have to look at things differently. Angle of shot is probably the most important point . . . but that could be said for DSLR photography as well, I guess!

The photo below would have been grainy anyway, given the time of day and the fading light but there is a tendency for the iPhone camera to over expose when the light is dim. The image you see below is the result of post processing. Unlike a DSLR camera, you have pretty limited options in these circumstances when it comes to telling the camera what to do.

Update – Thanks to  and his iPhone Photography School, I have discovered the PureShot app which allows much more flexibility in shooting from the phone.

Meridian TowerThe buildings are on Swansea seafront – all apartment buildings, the closest being Meridian Tower. The lights in the background are those of the Swansea / Cork Ferry.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Keeping things in perspective seems to me to be so important. In order to do this I often have to adjust the angle at which I look at things and take into account the current circumstances. Standing back and being more objective can often help but this is not always easy to do.

My main strategy for doing this is walking – and that, of course, is where StillWalks came from and, I hope, may be able to take others as well. With this is mind, I have decided to feature my StillWalks “Welcome” video this week.

Swansea Bay Sea Wall

Swansea BayPhotos taken and adjusted on my iPhone 5c. Check out StillWalks on Instagram for more of my iPhonography.

This week’s featured StillWalks video is the introductory welcome video to the StillWalks website. On this you will meet me and see just a little of what goes into making a StillWalks video.

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

Paypal button

Lines and Blocks – Cardiff Bay Architecture

I wouldn’t describe these images as Christmasy but I was in Cardiff Bay the other day and happened to have an hour to spare. The architecture there creates some interesting patterns and I had taken my camera.

I had a bit of an argument with the security guard for the building with the lines and bars (he wasn’t very polite!) but that just added to the interest. Personally, I really like the concrete wedge! More of these photos are available on the StillWalks PhotoShelter site.

Cardiff Bay Architecture

Lines and Bars

Cardiff Bay Architecture

Bar Reflection

Cardiff Bay Architecture

Bars Perspective

Cardiff Bay Architecture


Cardiff Bay Architecture

Wedge and Rectangles

A Different Angle

Looking at things from another angle is important – you always gain a new perspective.

The first shot could have been taken on a different day to the others, but no, just a different angle.

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Different Angles

Different Angles

Different Angles

Different Angles

The shot above looks as though it could have been “Photoshopped”, but I swear it hasn’t – it’s just the angle!

All images are from the StillWalk “Coastal Walk”.