Perquisite, Felixstowe Ferry

Highlights: June 2022

June marks the start of the summer season. To be honest the summer season has certainly been in full swing it comes to landscape photography, as the rise time becoming earlier than 4:30, it has meant some very early alarm clocks. To be quite frank, although they are hard to get up for they can become a highlight of the week.

The chance to see the sunrise in the summer brings the chance to be pretty much alone on the beaches and shorelines. I’ve made the most of a certain spectacle, in the form of the valerian being in full bloom. It’s a certain highlight along the Suffolk coast, with our shingle beaches are perfect for the plants to thrive.

Origin Exhibition

Illuminate Logo

So part of June as been focused towards preparing my work for the exhibition at Illuminate studio. I have enjoyed the process of getting my work ready. From the choice of the images, to the ordering of the image and the framing of the images. Do go and visit and let me know what you think, I will be exhibiting along side a few other artists and photographers.

I have written two blogs on the preparation and a blog on a full set of stories about the images.


The Exhibition

My trips have been a mixture of walks and full photography trips for sunrises. It’s been month of early sunrises as I spoke about before, which do take their toll so I have only done a few on the weekend. Along with having family parties and going to concerts, it has meant I have been every weekend.


So this shot was really just a chance shot, I took the chance to capture this on the way to a restaurant. It was one I based on one I took in March, but as the sky was to different I thought the difference between the darkness of the sky, seemed to pop against the colourful boats in the foreground.

Hefty, Woodbridge
Hefty, Woodbridge

The ever-changing Shingle Street shoreline

Now Shingle Street is one of those place that never fails to amaze me. How the shingle has shifted over the years, and the way the sunrise seems to hit differently across the beach.

The obvious shots of the cottages and the lagoon, were ones I looked for to start with. But then I took my self off along the coast into the thick of the Valerian. My aim was to to reshoot one of the images I took last year. As I felt I could capture the image in a better light. It’s is basically the same composure, but I feel I have exposures the image.

Blushed, Shingle Street
Blushed, Shingle Street

After trip along the coast to see the valerian, I took myself down to the spit of shingle that has formed. In true form, I sat and had a coffee, then proceeded to take a long exposure of the spit.

Armed with the Lee big stopper, I took my chances and photographed the spit regardless of the position of the sun and of how bright it was. I carried on photographing the spit and figured that I could make the composition work if I persisted. I ultimately extended the exposure and allowed the highlights in the sky to ‘blow out’.

When I got home to view the image I thought I would go with it. I originally thought it might work in black and white, it does! But I preferred the colour version. And that the image you see below.

Demesne, Shingle Street

Aldeburgh Valerian

I visit Aldeburgh, regularly due to working for two hotels on the front. So I knew that the valerian would be a great addition to a shot. So on one of my trips for work, I took a walk in between meeting to capture the beach.

The valerian is prolific along the Crag Path. There is this perfect juxtaposition between the older wooden fishing huts, and the bright blooming flowers of the valerian. The colour seems to pop perfectly against the background of the wooden textures, the shingle and the blue skies. Well worth a short walk to capture the valerian.

Flourishing, Aldeburgh
Flourishing, Aldeburgh

Highlights of an early trip to Felixstowe Ferry

The ferry has become a regular haunt, but I hadn’t been for a while. As the sunrises were pretty early in June, I chose Felixstowe as it allowed me to have that extra few moments to sleep. As it is an easier drive and not too far away.

I started beside the jetty, with the tide so high the structure of the jetty was almost  submerged. A set of conditions I have wanted to witness and photograph but I hadn’t got the chance to in the past. So I worked my way around, photographing wider and then closer compositions of and on the jetty and the water movement.

Having capture what I wanted there, I walked towards the Martello tower and then started to compose a shot of the valerian on the edge of the shore. My first thoughts were towards a shot I took back in 2020. That included the valerian, and the Martello tower in the background. But I was drawn more towards the view up the mouth of the Deben.

By turning 180 degrees and framing up to include the valerian and the sunrise over the tree line on the Bawdsey side. Then waiting around 15 mins for the sun to just peak over the natural horizon. I was really happy to have waited and then took a few more shots to account for the exposure and the focus of the image. In the end this is a focus stack of two images to capture the flowers in the foreground and the scene in the background.

Perquisite, Felixstowe Ferry
Perquisite, Felixstowe Ferry

This again has been something I have wanted to photograph for a long time. I have captured it in the past. But only when the tide has been going out. Again the aim was to capture the wooden structures in a long exposure.

I framed the image a few times before finding the one I was really happy with. So I carried on and took one shot without the ND Filters. It’s a good way to see what is in frame and to plan for any extra movement that might occur. I took 2 exposures, one slightly longer than the other. It’s another one of the habits I have found useful. With long exposures, to have more than one image when it comes to the processing of them can be helpful.

The Rack, Felixstowe Ferry
The Rack, Felixstowe Ferry

I did then drive up the road to capture the light across the beach from the cliff lands area. I framed up with my 70-200mm and then just made sure I was under exposing a little. The golden light, bouncing of the shingle and the sea seemed to be perfect and then was pretty happy to finish. I proceeded to sit and have a coffee. And all before 6:30

Guiding, Felixstowe
Guiding, Felixstowe

So there has been a huge focus towards valerian. Suffolk seems to hold a number of great examples of beaches with an abundance of the flowers. The chance of capturing the coast again has been a welcome, after a number of months in the  last year mainly focused on the woodlands and forests of Suffolk. So it was great to see the sunrises, although very early definitely a highlight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed to the images, it would be great to hear what you think.

All of the images are available to purchase as prints. If you would like any do not hesitance to contact me.


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©  2022 Matt Finch. All rights reserved.

Graphic Designer and Photographer
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