Brighton’s West Pier: One photo, two edits

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This week has been all about photography. In addition to attending the Bedrooms Of London photography exhibition, I spent a day in Brighton with Darren Coleshill of the Photalife blog. Together we strolled around the Marina, sea font and city centre with our cameras. It was during our time together I took this image of what remains of Brighton’s iconic West Pier, which was destroyed by fire in 2003.

West Pier, Brighton's West Pier, West Pier Brighton, Brighton Beach, Brighton Sea Front, dadbloguk, uk dad blogger, uk dad blog, dadbloguk.com
A long-exposure image of Brighton’s West Pier taken using an 10-stop ND filter.

It was, to be frank, a horrible day. It was grey, overcast and more than anything, very cold. Although a horrible day, the conditions were perfect for experimenting with my latest photographic accessory: A 10-stop ND filter.

These are very dark filters that enable you to take long-exposure images in daylight hours. I have plenty of experience taking long-exposure images at night time (see this image of Parliament Square in London for instance) but taking such images during the day was new territory for me.

What you see above and below are exactly the same image, they’ve just been edited differently in Photoshop. The image was taken in manual mode using an exposure time of eight seconds, with aperture set to f11 and ISO set to 100. In the top picture, I have ‘dehazed’ the image and increased both vibrancy and saturation.

In the picture below, I have embraced the grey, overcast conditions. Once again, I ‘dehazed’ the picture but I reduced the saturation to zero so it’s black and white.

West Pier, Brighton's West Pier, West Pier Brighton, Brighton Beach, Brighton Sea Front, dadbloguk, uk dad blogger, uk dad blog, dadbloguk.com
Exactly the same image of Brighton’s West Pier, but stripped of all colour.

Which do you prefer? Black and white or colour? Personally, I am more taken by the black and white image.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how well the West Pier worked as a subject. I’ve seen many, many pictures of the ruined pier in the past and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to produce anything good enough to compare with what other photographers had already done.

Speaking of other photographers, Mr Coleshill has produced this blog post about our adventures in Brighton. He’s added lots of photographs of the city’s graffiti, the sea front and Marina plus a superb shot of the West Pier. Rather amusingly Darren’s West Pier image was taken as his tripod fell over. While he thought this would ruin the shot, it made the image!

Please do go and visit Darren’s blog and see what pictures he took. Before you do though, please do leave a comment below with your thoughts on these two images. Which edit do you prefer, the colour or black and white version?

2 thoughts on “Brighton’s West Pier: One photo, two edits”

    1. It was such a great day Darren. We must do similar in the near future. The B&W is proving to be the more popular shot, especially on social media.

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