24 February 2009

Beach boulder

Boulder on the beachIn the late evening the small cove just around the corner from Flounder Bay seems like somewhere a castaway might wander, yearning for the sight of a sail on the horizon.

Shortly before I photographed this I'd been standing on one of these massive boulders a little further out into the surf, with a little blue penguin swimming in the surging sea just in front of where I was standing.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


Julie said...

I've thought of climbing boulders. I read somwehere that it's possible to practise the skills of mountaineering and revel in the thrill without finding oneself dangling from a rope too high to be rescued. I think that boulders would be perfect for one who has yet to conquer the mountain within her. What do you think?

Anne-Marie said...

Julie - as some one who doesn't climb and is definitely not a mountaineer, I love climbing boulders like these. They're safe - not far to fall - and have lots of finger and toe holds.

Pete, I like this photo. It works well in black + white, I think. [Although for me it does conjure up memories of scrabbling through brambles in bare feet! That'll learn me ...]

pohanginapete said...

Julie,it's called bouldering and it's brilliant. I wrote a short post about it on my main blog (pohanginapete.blogspot.com) in February '08 and have posted photos from the annual Baring Head Bouldering Competition on another blog: (bhbouldering.blogspot.com). (Coincidentally, I was at this year's Baring Head competition just last Sunday and I'll post photos some time in the next week or thereabouts (depending on my workload).)

Although bouldering has links with mountaineering, for all but the very top mountaineers there's really little crossover from bouldering to mountaineering. On the other hand, it's very similar to the popular perception of rock climbing (climbing cliffs using a rope solely as a safeguard in case one falls). Bouldering is like rock climbing pared to its essentials; moreover, being (usually) close to the ground, one can try difficult moves with little fear. Personally, I think it resembles yoga or tai chi carried out on boulders. Watching a good boulderer climb is a beautiful thing to watch.

Why not just give it a go, Julie? There's bound to be an indoor climbing wall somewhere nearby, and there you'll be able to find out where your local boulders are; maybe find someone to show you the (lack of) ropes, too. The bouldering community tends to be hugely social, friendly and supportive. Just take it easy for a while, because it can seem very difficult at first, and outdoors on real rock your hands will quickly become sore and your arms will pump up so you won't be able to hang on to anything. Most people adapt quickly, though, and after a few sessions you'll be able to climb for longer. A few indoor sessions would help also.

Best of luck with it! :^)

Anne-Marie, your comment reminds me of another important point — bouldering, at whatever level, is simply huge fun. My out-of condition hands and arms only allowed me to climb a dozen or so problems on Sunday, but I just loved the feel of moving on rock again. It doesn't have to be difficult to feel wonderful. Oh, and you don't have to scrabble through blackberry to get to Baring Head! There's a bit of boxthorn around, but it's easily dodged. Bare feet are fine ;^)

MB said...

The radial lines of the clouds -- along with waves, beach angles, cliff striations-- behind the boulder are remarkable. I found myself studying this composition a long time. The b/w is perfect for this.

pohanginapete said...

MB, thanks for taking the time to study the photo. I appreciate hearing what you see.

Michael said...

I'm glad you chose a shallow DofF. Perfect lighting too. Much post processing?

I see a knight on an empty, or extremely large, chess board.

pohanginapete said...

Michael — yes, I'd wondered whether anyone else would see that!
Actually, the DOF is substantial; at the equivalent of 16mm, DOF becomes huge as soon as the subject's even a little way away. I'd actually have preferred slightly less DOF, to separate the boulder slightly more from the background.
This did need a fair amount of post-processing. B&W conversions usually start fairly flat, and I needed to do a reasonable amount of contrast-tweaking and dodging and burning — the sort of work that would have been very time-consuming in a traditional darkroom. Other than that, however, it's pretty much the original shot (minus the colour).

Zhoen said...

Very visceral reaction, an impulse to step back, lest it fall on me.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, it would've left you feeling rather flat, I'm afraid. From memory, it was about twice my height.

Zhoen said...

Looks even larger than that to me.

butuki said...

This one hit me, well, like a rock! Very powerful. The clouds and waves are perfect. And I love the contrast of the lighter top half of the boulder with the darker bottom half.

A very expressive rock!