On Mablethorpe promenade used to sit a number of unusual beach huts. Sadly I think they’ve fallen prey to vandalism and at least one has now been demolished, while the others are boarded up. This one was a functioning camera obscura.
Standing by the sea A camera obscura Its eye is now closed
The Mermaid cafe sits on the small promentory on Mablethorpe’s prmenade, just to the north of the Pullover – the main access point to the beach at the end of High Street. The cafe has been there as long as I can remember, although I can’t recall if it’s been known as The Mermaid all that time. It stands adjacent to a small crazy golf course (which can be seen to the right of the photo). The course is now pirate themed, but I remeber it in its slightly ramshackle and homemade guise from when I was younger, with obstacles that looked like they had been built in some inventive creator’s garden shed. It was great fun.
Games of mini golf The sound of waves and seas breeze Acompanied play
When I spotted the couple in the distance when I framed this shot, I knew they would be out of focus because I’d set a wide aperture to give the giant ice-cream cone some seperation from the rest of the scene, but liked how they would fill a gap in the frame.
What I didn’t really notice – partly due to making sure I had focus on the ice-cream, but also because I had to be quick as I was in a queue and about to be served my own, normal-sized ice-cream – was that the man’s top was the same shade of pink as the “strawberry” swirl in the foreground cone, and his female companion’s top a similar colour to the blue flavour (whatever that might be). A nice little piece of synchronicity. 🙂
Another photo from my trip to Mablethorpe in September – a trip which is now over a full month in the past! Where does the time go?
I’ve already posted a couple of shots I made in one of the arcades, and this photograph here was made in the same place, but this one shot with my OM-2n on Superia 100. Although I had a fast f/1.8 lens attached, even at f/1.8 the shutter speeds were hopelessly slow according to the camera’s meter.
So I decided to make an ICM shot. I closed down the aperture until I got a 1-second shutter speed and then made the photo, panning to the left during the exposure. The bright neon of the Looney Tunes characters resulted in something a little like the effect produced by front-curtain sync when using a flash.
I’ve made Intentional Camera Movements before, but with a digital camera as they’re far more cost effective when it comes to making mistakes, so I’m very pleased with how this film exposure came out given it was the one attempt I made.
As mentioned yesterday, I spotted this chap sitting outside his chalet with three friends, so I asked if I could make a couple of pictures. The dogs didn’t seem too keen, snarling at me when I pointed the camera in their direction, but I got the shots.
Another set of beach-chalet photos today, this time in black and white. Cery few of these were occupied on the day of my visit, which is not surprising given we are now into autumn (it was mid-september when these shots were taken). There were a few people still making use of them though, including a chap sat enjoying the sea air with three of his dogs – some picture of them to come shortly.
I have vague memories of us hiring one of the chalets (one of the ones with windows) when I was a young boy – possibly my parents and my grandparents were present on that occasion, although the recollection is vague.
While the structures are pretty basic in design, they had power and water, so it was possible to make cups of tea and other refreshments, as well as being a useful shelter from the elements (whether hot sun or, this being the UK, pouring rain!) and somewhere to store the accutrements of a day at the beach without having to lug it around everywhere all day. They also had a set of curtains, so you had the luxury of being able to change out of wet, sandy swimming costumes and into dry, clean clothes without the risky maneouvering that would be required when attempting to do the same thing on the beach wrapped in just a towel!
They can look a little grim when photographed in monochrome in cloudy conditions, but when they’re all occupied by familys enjoying the warm sunshine in the height of the summer, they have a certain British charm. It always amazes me just how much chalets and beach huts can cost at some of the more up-market resorts around the country, where they can be priced at tens-of-thousands of pounds to buy outright!
The past few years that I have visited Mablethorpe in September, the funfair has been closed. Whether this is because the customers who would partake of the larger rides are all back in school by this time, or maybe they only open at the weekends – this year I visited on a Friday whereas it’s been midweek most other times. Or perhaps, in this pandemic year, they are staying open for longer, seeking to eke out whatever income they can following a summer season that will have been heavily affected by the lockdown at its beginning, and then – to some extent at least – smaller numbers of visitors than usual (although it will be interesting to see if the loss of foreign trips has resulted in larget numbers of tourists, perhaps balancing things a little). Whatever the case, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the businesses and workers who rely on the summer season at resorts around the country who will have seen their incomes affected. I hope they are able to survive.
Today’s photos were made in the still-open funfair. There were few other visitors to be seen, although it was still early in the day.
A couple of pictures to continue the seaside theme today, albeit with nary a grain of sand, nor a splash of salt-water in sight. Both these were made in that other stalwart of the seaside resort – the arcade. This one has been open as long as I can remeber (it’s definitely older than me), although it’s changed considerably since what was (to me and my own personal nostalgia, at least) its heyday.
Back then it was full of bleeping, blooping video games. At first the older titles like Space Invaders, Asteroids, Night Driver and such, but later expanding significantly as the craze for such games grew and grew. A few years later it was possible for show-offs to display theit skills on the Don Bluth animated laser-disc games like Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, the huge cabinets given pride of place next to the street to draw the crowds.
This arcade is a sizeable place and it used to have some full-sized fairground rides within. A ladybird ride for the younger customers was near the ntrance, but a set of dodgems awaited the bigger kids right at the back of the place. Along one wall were a series of fairground stalls in the form of coconut shies, shooting ranges, ball games, and – perhaps most memorably – a place where you could make artwork by squirting plashes of colourful paint onto a sheet of paper that would then be spun at high velocity on a turntable to create amazing, psychadelic works of art. I remember with fondness the smell of the lacquer that would be applied to hold the image in place, and also the disappointment you’d get when it turned out that some of the paint had stuck to the inside of the card cover, ruining it when you later opened it.
I still love visiting Mablethorpe, and suspect I will for as long as I live, such were the happy memories formed there when I was a child, but each time I go I also feel a certain disappointment that things are not as I remember them in my youth, that the bleeps and bllops of the arcade games of old are mostly gone, the old stand-up cabinets replaced by larger “event” machines offering experiences that cannot be had on home consoles. Much of the floor space is now given over to fruit-machines and devices that let you win lengthy strings of tokens to be exchanged for prizes. It’s not the same as it was. But then, not many things are. Sometimes you really want a time-machine though…
Anyway, one of today’s images shows a couple of retro-games. Not the originals, but still enough to bring a smile to my face when I saw them.
In other news, my zines arrived today! This is the first time (other than the odd print) that I’ve ever had my photos published in physical form. The zines were made ostensibly for me to take part in a zine-swap with a group of other photographers, but I’ve got a whole bunch of them – it was the same price to get twenty-five copies as it was to get ten, so I went for the maximum. I can hopefully use the spares for other zine swapsies (plus I’ve already promised copies to a few people). I’m very happy with the quality of the materials and the reproduction of the photographs – I decided to go with a heavier weight 150GSM paper for the pages, with a 170GSM soft-touch laminated cover and it has a very nice feel to it. There are a few things for me to take away for the next time, but for my first go I’m more than happy.