Finding a subdued atmosphere on the beach in winter-time

Yellowcraig has been on my radar for quite a while. Possibly since I saw Isaac Julien's stunning ten-screen cinematic installation at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, featured in the 2021 Edinburgh Art Festival. Lessons of the Hour was a dramatic reflection on the life of Frederick Douglass; in particular his journeys from the US to Edinburgh to campaign against slavery. I heard somewhere that parts of the film were shot around the beach at Yellowcraig, and I've wanted to go there since I first saw it.

A few days ago we paid Yellowcraig a visit. It's a long, wide, sandy beach not far from North Berwick in East Lothian. Islands seemed to float on the calm surface of the Firth of Forth, just offshore, including the iconic and monolithic Bass Rock. I can imagine the place would feel very different in stormy weather, with gales carrying sand in the air and waves crashing in on the shore.

As I walked along the beach with my camera, I almost wondered how I could find any interesting compositions in a landscape which was so plain. But the subtle shades and muted colour palette, the softness of the light, and the sense of space all added up to a kind of calmness and quietude which I had to slow down to appreciate, remembering not to rush and miss things. The light was not spectacular, but I'm still happy with these few images, and above all, I enjoyed being there and breathing in the fresh air.

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