Shooting At Seven Sisters Cliffs – A Massive Failure




If you have been following me on my social media sites. Then you probably know that, a few weeks ago, I went to Seven Sisters Cliffs for a day of photography. Generally, I am extremely disappointed with myself. I know that I could have taken far better images than I did. But, not all was in vain. The day was educational, to say the least.


It helped me realise some things about my photography that I had not noticed or given a second thought before. And ultimately, it raised some issues with my workflow and equipment that I think must be improved.



When I bought the tickets, I didn’t know anything about the location. I had never been there before so I did not know what to expect nor did I have any specific shots in mind. I just thought that I’ll wing it.

At first, I did not know whether I should go there overnight or just for a day’s trip. When I realised that I could walk the entire stretch comfortably in less than 12 hours, with some time to spare. I decided to take a train to Eastbourne and walk all the way to Seaford where my return train would be waiting on the same day. Today, I wish I hadn’t done that.

Furthermore, I was a loose cannon. On my walk along the Seven Sisters Cliffs. I had noticed in myself that I rarely stopped to choose and compose the shot that I want. I always doubted my chosen composition and ended up running around taking 20 images of the same subject, good and bad. So that I can pick the best one later.

I’m not saying that this is always a bad way to work, some flavours of photography require you to do this. Sometimes, you do just see this variety of equally good compositions of the same subject and you just can’t resist. In other cases, this can also be a very good exercise to help one see more variations of composition on any given subject.

But, this wasn’t the case for me. I doubted my decisions. Perhaps it was because I did not have the ‘story’ or ‘mood’ that I wanted to portray. Maybe I felt pressed for time. So, I acted somewhat carelessly in an attempt to take more good images.



Usually, I am not the one to blame my equipment for a bad image. I tend to blame myself for not getting to know my equipment well enough before I go out and do something like this.

But the set of filters I have bought on eBay when I was first starting out is just awful. I would have been, better off without them on this shoot but I decided to take it anyway. Basing my decision on some of the previous images I have managed to capture using those filters. Whilst disregarding the circumstances and conditions I used them under and countless failed attempts at a good capture. I have made a rookie error once again.

Secondly, I limited myself to a 90mm lens for all of the images. But, there was just so much more to capture that I simply couldn’t either approach or step further back from. This really limited my creativity.

Furthermore, I have made some pretty embarrassing setting mistakes with my new Pentax that I refuse mentioning to spear me the public humiliation.


Bottom line

I was a loose cannon, and I partly blame this on my decision not to stay overnight and give myself more time to think and shoot. I was rushing to get to the coast closer to Seaford because I had planned to get some sunset images from there. But, as I arrived at the location, it was not as good as I imagined it to be. I wished that I shot the sunset from a location that I had passed already.

Secondly, the lack of clouds in the sky really put me off. They would have added interest to the images. But for the majority of the day, the sky was blue and I felt reluctant to include it in my images.

Never the less, I enjoyed it. The day turned out to be more of a location recce and a kick in the butt rather than a successful photography trip. Although I did get a few images that are decent, I’m not proud of these because most of them were taken by luck. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to Seven Sisters Cliffs. But, having looked trough the images recently, I am certain that I will. There is no way in hell that I am just going to let this failure fly.


All images shot on the Pentax K-1 with a Tamron 90mm f2.8 1:1 macro lens.





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