Many of our members had other commitments on the last Thursday of our organised programme, and regretfully missed the planned visit to The Wave.

At this amazing facility North West of Bristol, surfers, young and old, beginners and experts, ride the artificially generated waves, improving their skills, having fun and generally making a big splash! A haven for anyone who likes action photography. The Wave welcomes spectators (free of charge currently), and the concrete pier like structure between the two basins in which the waves are generated, affords a fabulous viewpoint from which photographers have a clear view of the proceedings.

In the end, six of us gathered to hone our skills, including old friend and new member, Pip together with John sporting new wheels, which helped him negotiate the ten-minute walk to the centre from the car park. With one eye on the day’s schedule, we focused on events unfolding between 10am and 1pm, as these appeared to cater for the more experienced surfers, and gave us a better chance of some classic surfing shots, although it is true to say that even they had their fair share of wipe outs!

Sporting a variety of longer lenses with appropriate zoom facilities, most of us managed to get acceptable shots. There was strong sunlight now and then so that polarisers helped, and the trick was to have a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action and the surging water, whilst avoiding blowing out the highlights on the soaring crests and lighting up the skin tones enough to catch the expressions on the faces of those that hurled and curled repeatedly towards us.

Surfers stood, stretched, curled and crouched before crashing or sinking graciously into the shallower water. The concrete walls within which the waves surged are not the best background for the action, so we were further challenged to take the shots against the swells of the water and advised to crop with care in the processing, so that those viewing our photos might believe we had journeyed to Cornwall and stood knee deep in the water to capture the shots!

It was an enjoyable get together. The facilities at the Centre for refreshments were good, and the shop was interesting to browse in, selling as it does books of poetry and prose as well as essential kit for those braving the waves and/or the varying weather conditions. Awash with colour and energy it is a photographic destination to remember and return to, and gave us a fitting official end to our programmed events. No doubt we shall meet up informally in the next two months, but hopefully we can welcome some new members when, as a club we reconvene in September.

Jenny Short