SOMERSET LEVELS 419 – THE OLD PIER (MONO)

 

 

1: Weston’s Old Pier, falling to pieces day by day;  In the background, on the far side of the Bristol Channel, is the coast of south Wales; and at upper left the island of Flat Holm, with its prominent lighthouse.  This picture is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.  There is another recent picture of Flat Holm here.

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This is a sad story, and one that revolves surely around money, The Great God Cash.  In my youth, there were two working piers at Weston-super-Mare, the larger and more modern one – the Grand Pier – on the main part of the seafront that all visitors see, and a smaller and older one – the Old Pier (aka Birnbeck Pier) – further away to the north.  When I was a boy, Birnbeck was a fully working pier, with an amusement arcade and a RNLI lifeboat station (the slipway of which can be seen in the left forefront of the pier’s buildings), and Campbells pleasure steamers used to call in here, taking day trippers on voyages around the Bristol Channel and the coast of south Wales.  This pier was built in Victorian times and is apparently unique in linking a small island to the mainland, whereas most piers just reach out into the sea.

But the Old Pier suffered from competition with the larger and more modern Grand Pier, while also being affected by the decrease in popularity that has affected most of Britain seaside holiday towns – the heyday of the seaside family holiday has long gone, and the Old Pier is now in a totally ruinous state.

It has been on national At Risk architectural registers for sometime and regeneration plans have been made, but so far nothing has been done.  The Local Authority has now ordered the owners to repair the structure, but the case in contested – leaving the structure to continue decaying, to continue simply falling apart.

Technique (all images): Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; 1600 or 3200 ISO and high shutter speeds, to counteract buffeting by the wind;  in-camera processing of raw files using the Graphite profile, with further processing in Lightroom in some cases; the Old Pier, seen from Upper Kewstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 4 Oct 2019.
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2: The decaying decking on the main part of the pier – a death trap! – with a narrow corridor of maintained decking, for access by service personnel,  between the white railings on the left.

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3: The whole site now cordoned off behind safety barriers.

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4: The partially collapsed North Landing Pier, at which pleasure steamers used to call for day trippers.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

22 Responses to SOMERSET LEVELS 419 – THE OLD PIER (MONO)

  1. Very good photographs of a sad sight..
    Is the Graphite profile a picture control in the Z6? That’s a good look.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, very sad, Marcus, and the more so since I knew this pier in my childhood. Yes, Graphite is one of the suite of picture controls in the Z 6. It can be used in two ways.

      First, the Z 6 has quite versatile in-camera raw processing, which can use Graphite, and which produces a jpeg that can be read into Lightroom with its Graphite look.

      Second, I THINK I’m right in saying that, if this picture control is used when shooting the photo, Lightroom will strip it out as it is read into Lightroom. For this reason, Lightroom has mimics of the various Z 6 picture controls, which can be applied to raw images after they’ve been read into Lightroom from the Z 6. Adrian

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      • It’s the same with Fuji RAF files. Lightroom automatically sets the profile as Adobe Color. Maybe it can’t read the film simulation information from the Fuji Raw files.

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I’ve forgotten the full details of this, but yes Fuji RAF files are similarly affected (I use an X-T2), and this is why Lightroom has profiles that mimic the picture controls, film simulations etc that various cameras assign to their raw files – LR overrides them as it read the raw files in.

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          • Have you used Fujifilm X-Raw Studio to develop your X-T2 files? I think it does a better job than Lightroom, but it’s extremely slow and sometimes it’s a pain to connect the camera to the computer.

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            • Adrian Lewis says:

              No, I’ve never used X-Raw Studio. I’m very much pursuing the simple life, I’m probably somewhat lazy too, and I believe far more in an image’s content rather than in the perfection of its technicalities / processing. I find Lightroom ideal for the way I work; and after LR I also use Silver Efex Pro 2 (quite often), Color Efex Pro 4 (not as often as I should, probably) and, on occasion, the truly antiquated but very capable Capture NX2.

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              • I rather like Capture NX2 and use it for converting my Nikon D810 files. If I could use it for Fujifilm photos as well I’d probably give up Lightroom.

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                • Adrian Lewis says:

                  I suppose that one of the things I like about LR is that (so far at least!!!) it opens the raw files (and I always shoot raw) of all of the cameras I use – Nikon Z 6, X-T2, Olympus TG-5 – which makes everything so simple.

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  2. Stella says:

    That’s a damn shame. It didn’t look as bad as that last time I was there about three years back.

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  3. Meanderer says:

    What a sad sight. That pier really is unusual in leading out to a little island, as you say. I do hope it gets the repairs it deserves.

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  4. Sue says:

    Oh, wow…not much remaining now…..

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  5. Sad story; sounds a bit like our Pier of Scheveningen; fine shots! Cheers for the weekend!

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Sad is the word, Harrie >>> it all revolves around money as usual. And Weston itself – and many, many other coastal towns in the UK are feeling the financial pinch. All the best for the weekend to you too, my friend – have a Duvel for me!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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