Clevedon Pier..

I’ve been wanting to photograph a pier for some time.  We don’t have any in Cornwall.  The nearest are in south Devon, the next county over and north Somerset, the next county over again.  I had to be in Bath today and this took me conveniently close to the north Somerset pier at Clevedon.

Clevedon is one of the oldest piers in England.  Building commenced in 1867 and was completed in 1869.  The pier is 312 m (1,024 ft) long and consists of eight spans supported by steel rails covered by wooden decking, with a pavilion on the pier-head. The pier served as an embarkation point for paddle steamer excursions for almost exactly 100 years. Two of the spans collapsed during stress testing in 1970 and demolition was proposed, but local fund-raising and heritage grants allowed the pier to be dismantled for restoration and reassembled. It reopened in 1989, and ten years later was awarded the Pier of the Year from the National Piers Society, as well as a Civic Trust Award. The pier now, once again, offers a landing stage for steamers and is a popular attraction for tourists and anglers.  There is more restoration work going on at the moment so I didn’t venture onto the pier. Access appeared a little awkward to say the least..  I will save that for another time.. :-)

Clevedon Pier on a cold winter's afternoon55mm f/22 180 sec. ISO-50

spaceClevedon Pier in north Somerset on a cold winte's afernoon55mm f/22 180 sec. ISO-50

spaceClevedon Pier Panoramic taken on a cold January day35mm f/22 90 sec. ISO-50

spaceAdrian Theze logo

81 responses

  1. Looks like a neat place from which to launch paper airplanes . . .

    Great photos, as usual.

    January 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    • I think you could be right there Emilio! Thank you! :-)

      January 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

  2. Stunning!

    January 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    • Thank you very much Jude! :-)

      January 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

  3. Stéphane Cassin Photographie

    Stunning photos!!!

    January 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    • Thank you Stef! :-)

      January 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

  4. Really beautiful photographs! Thanks for sharing.

    January 21, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    • Thank you for visiting Mark! Much appreciated!

      January 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

  5. I love piers. These are beautiful photographs Adrian.

    January 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    • Me too Edith, I’m glad I found this one! Thank you! :-)

      January 21, 2015 at 9:32 pm

  6. Great pano. This makes me realize that I need to get out of the desert and visit the coast.

    January 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    • Thank you Jim. There’s something about the ocean, just draws me in. I visited Kansas when I was in my 20’s and coming from the UK, I really struggled with the concept of living 1500 miles from the coast in any direction. The furthest you can be from the sea in England is just 70 miles. :)

      January 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

  7. What a beautiful set of images, Really love them.

    January 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    • Thank you very much Malc. Appreciate your visit!

      January 21, 2015 at 9:50 pm

  8. Wowwwwwww fantastic.This is an artwork.

    January 21, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    • Thank you so much Lou! You’re very kind! :)

      January 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm

  9. Really beautiful.

    January 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    • Thank you Laura! :-)

      January 21, 2015 at 10:41 pm

  10. The old piers in England are very grand, here in South Australia we have many old wooden piers that I like to photograph due to their character. Thank you for sharing your images.

    January 21, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    • They make a great subject to photograph! Thanks for your visit and comment Barbara! :)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:19 am

  11. A beautiful serie, great edit too!

    January 21, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    • Thank you Hans!

      January 22, 2015 at 7:19 am

  12. These are glorious photos Adrian!

    January 21, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    • Thank you very much Marina! :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:20 am

  13. What a stunning pier, Adrian. Your photos do it proud. The colours are so beautiful. :)

    January 22, 2015 at 12:16 am

    • Thank you Sylvia! When I arrived at Clevedon, rather than bemoaning the lack of sunshine, I could see that the cold January afternoon with the blues of the clouds and greys in the water were going to compliment the pier perfectly. :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

  14. Pat

    Beautiful shots.

    January 22, 2015 at 12:53 am

    • Thank you very much Pat! :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

  15. Real pretty. Glad it was saved and that you came along to preserve it forever. Can I fish off of that?

    January 22, 2015 at 2:11 am

    • Thank you Mike! You can, it’s a very popular place for local fishermen.

      January 22, 2015 at 7:29 am

  16. Well, that certainly puts things in perspective… your reply that you can’t be more than 70 miles from the sea. I’m sitting here trying to imagine that! Very lovely shot, Chilli.

    January 22, 2015 at 4:18 am

    • Thank you Gunta. I knew it wasn’t far for anyone in England to get their nearest piece of coastline but I hadn’t realised it was only 70 miles until I looked it up. The furthest point from the sea is located on a farm, Church Flatts Farm, close to the village of Cotton in the Elms, Derbyshire. :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:37 am

  17. I was interested in your exposure and ISO settings Adrian – my recent trip for d me to use ISO way beyond what I had used previously – 1600 in daylight. I notice you are using 50 which generates longer shutter speed – which makes you vulnerable to movement from the wind – do u weigh your tripod and place mirror up ? Another thought was these would be perfect for serenity the weekly challenge 👍

    January 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

    • Hi Scott, I routinely use the mirror up function, I click the shutter on the camera first to lock the mirror up and then use a remote shutter release to get the timed exposure. I don’t weigh my tripod but when attempting longer exposures in very windy conditions, I hang myself off my tripod, pulling it into the ground. I had to do that a fair amount in Iceland and it seemed to work out OK. I’ll try almost anything before sacrificing ISO as I really don’t like digital grain but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. I wanted longer shutter speeds for this shot to smooth the water, so went to f/22 and lowered the ISO to 50, this gave me the three minute exposure (with big stopper) I was after and as it was a very still afternoon, I didn’t have any worries about tripod movement. I’ll check out the challenge. :)

      January 22, 2015 at 8:14 am

  18. Fabulous!

    January 22, 2015 at 7:15 am

    • Thank you! :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:37 am

  19. Love these, Adrian! The blue colour palette is very calming. The funny thing is, I have been thinking that I want to photograph a pier or two recently…. My nearest would be Brighton, so I think I need to trundle off there soon. But I did find a transparency I took in the late 1970s/early 1980s of the old pier which I may post soon,

    January 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

    • Thank you Sue! Piers make great subjects for photographs I think. When I got to the beach and looked out into the estuary I knew I would get a picture despite the rather dull conditions. It was very still, and very calm. The blues of the January afternoon were accentuated by the use of the Lee Big Stopper which enhanced the cool colour cast which I decided to correct only marginally. I’ll look forward to your post Sue, the old and the new hopefully after a trip to Brighton.

      January 22, 2015 at 12:29 pm

  20. poppytump

    It looks such a *delicate structure heading out across the estuary to Wales …
    A gorgeous trio … loving the long exposure which enhances that stillness and … yes … maybe January blues have something going for them after all ChillB ;-)
    Meet you there when the restorations are complete !

    January 22, 2015 at 8:44 am

    • Thank you Poppy. January blues in this case were definitely very calming and serene. The Big Stopper came in very handy. As I mentioned to Sue, the colour cast from the filter served to enhance the blues. I did some colour balance correction but to do more only served to distort the scene as I saw it. Thankfully the photograph doesn’t project the sound of the cutters and pneumatic drills which were quite hard ignore on what would have been a very hushed and calming scene. I look forward to another visit Poppy, D800’s at dawn! :-D

      January 22, 2015 at 12:35 pm

  21. Very nice! Paignton & Teignmouth (a bit nearer home) both worth a visit for sunrise if you get a chance!

    January 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    • Thank you James. Paignton was first on my list and I was planning a trip this week but the trip to Bath came up so Clevedon came first. I’m looking forward to visiting both these piers in the next few weeks. I will take your recommendation and prepare for a dawn shoot.

      January 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      • Good luck – hope the weather plays ball. I look forward to seeing what you come up with! :-)

        January 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      • Thank you James! I’ll be keeping an eye on the forecast!

        January 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

  22. All are super images as usual Adrian. I agree with your views on colour. Solely for my own education, I would be interested to know which is your favourite, if you have one.

    January 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    • That’s a tough question Dave and I guess one of the reasons there are three images of the pier. I like the the panoramic crop, the way it draws your eye with its perspective to the end of the pier but if I had to choose a favourite, it’d be number 1. For me it best sums up the mood of the afternoon. I like the detail in the stones, slick with silt, I like the glossy layer of silt with the hint of reflection giving way to the smooth grey/blue water, the perfect backdrop, along with the sky, to outline this seemingly delicate, and very beautiful, structure.
      I think a photograph is first and foremost, a very personal thing. You’re setting out to capture people, things, landscapes that move you in some way and because they move you, you engage. Once engaged you (hopefully) then try to capture the person, the landscape, the moment as you see or feel it/them. This engagement with your subject is essential, you have to have this engagement, in my opinion, if the photograph is going to anything beyond a snap. This is one of the drawbacks with digital. It’s cheap so it’s easy to snap here and snap there. With auto focus and in camera metering, one can take a competent, technically excellent picture but without soul. As digital photograpers we have to slow it all down. Sit a while, think about our subject, what it is we like about it, how it makes us feel, etc etc. I don’t want to get all arty farty, I don’t think I need to. This is just how it is. Film in a way forced this more measured approach as film was/is expensive.
      Anyway, I digress. This is the reason number one is my favourite Dave. It best capture the scene as I felt it and as I said, captured the mood of the afternoon.
      I stood on the beach for some time thinking about how I would take the photographs I was going to take, the photographs that were taking shape in my mind. Apart from the very noisy building work that was going on, it was a very serene and restful scene. The blue tones of the afternoon I knew would work well with the Lee Big Stopper and the effect of the long exposure would smooth the water, the clouds and calm things in a way the scene was calming me.
      There, you forced my hand, I don’t usually talk about my pictures in this way but hope you found that useful. :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      • Thank you Adrian. I really appreciate this detailed answer to my question and I am sorry to have forced it out of you. I was drawn to the panoramic crop because, to me this was an excellent composition which really fitted the scene. Your answer has made me look more closely at the other images and I think I can understand why you picked the first one. You’re right, one probably needed to be there to fully appreciate it, but the reflection in the silt and the foreground detail certainly adds to the image.

        You have also highlighted a major problem with my own photography, and it is that I am too hasty with my shutter button. I guess that I am a ‘snapper’, perhaps with the only excuse that I’m often in the company of others and feel a need to move on. I should learn to take more time. Thanks again for your answer. Dave.

        January 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      • No problem Dave, really. I think you’re right about the panoramic, the composition and crop make the image. I can certainly relate to not wanting to hold people up when you’re out with others. You don’t have to take an age studying your image though. Just take an extra minute or two. The chances are if you’ve seen a good picture, the people with you will be enjoying what you’re seeing and may welcome the opportunity to take a minute or two to enjoy the scene too. I’m always more worried about holding up my friends than they are.
        Similarly, when you’re out on the occasional excursion with your camera club visiting a house or a garden, rather than trying to take every picture there is to take, choose a spot, a view, whatever it is and stop. This is where my limited mobility has been good for my photography. I can’t go chasing all over so when I visit somewhere, I choose my spot, I set up my tripod, and that’s where I stay. I haven’t just got the one view of course. I have 360 degrees in which to search out my image from what attracted me to that spot in the first place. I don’t suggest you stick to just one place but maybe two or three. You won’t go back to club night with armfuls of images to share but you will go back with one or two beauties. I can guarantee that this will improve your photography! :-)

        January 23, 2015 at 9:37 am

      • Thanks again Adrian for the excellent advice. I really will try to follow it. :)

        January 23, 2015 at 11:18 am

      • :-)

        January 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

  23. Exquisite shot!

    January 22, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    • Thank you so much Mary! :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

  24. Beautifully photographed Adrian as ever….but what a curious mix of a structure. On the one hand I love the elegance of the supporting arches – they are really beautiful. But the mass of pillars under-pinning the building at the end is definitely a triumph of function over form!

    January 22, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    • Thank you Mark! I couldn’t agree more. Those pilings at the end do rather detract from the elegance of the rest of the pier. I went looking for some old photographs and it seems this isn’t the result of over engineering the refurbished pier as I suspected. From what I can tell, looking at a photograph from 1910, it was always this way.

      January 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm

  25. I think I have to go to Cornwall and see all this beautiful landscapes with my own eyes !

    January 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    • There’s nothing quite like being there Gwennie! I hope you do visit one day! :-)

      January 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

  26. oooo I live nearish there, Bristol. I haven’t been to Clevedon in years, this made me want to go again!

    January 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    • I hope you do Lilly. There’s quite a bit of building work going on at the entrance to the pier so I’d give it a few weeks if I were you! :-)

      January 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

      • okay, thanks !

        January 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

  27. A beautiful set of images that I think would look equally as good in black and white. Very impressive. Si

    January 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    • Thank you Si! I will try some black and white conversions!

      January 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

  28. Giulia Guzzardi

    In love with these pictures :)

    January 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

  29. gorgeous and lovely colors :)

    January 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    • Thank you very much Joshi! :-)

      January 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

  30. Lovely images Adrian – and from an ‘outsider’ (I read the reasons behind your choice of favourite!) my favourite is the panoramic version. The composition is great but I also like the way it exaggerates the length of the pier.

    January 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    • Thank you Noeline and thanks for your comment. I too really liked the way the panoramic crop accentuated the elongated perspective and I’m very happy with it. I guess we each see our photographs in a different way to other people see them, one reason being because we were there I suppose.

      January 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm

  31. It has such long delicate legs, it’s a lovely piece of architecture. Your photographs are gorgeous, all those sumptuous blues and blue greens…

    January 25, 2015 at 2:43 am

    • Thank you Karen, the colours were gorgeous that afternoon. Clevedon pier does seem incredibly slender. I’m much more used to seeing thick timber structures with many more supports. :-)

      January 25, 2015 at 10:27 am

  32. The pier seems enchanted in your gorgeous image-lace, silk and embroidery!

    January 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    • Thank you so much Elena! I love your description! :-)

      January 25, 2015 at 6:35 pm

  33. Such graceful images, Adrian. An old structure that has a beauty about it thanks to the way, I think, that everything else has been ‘smoothed’ by the long exposures.

    January 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    • Thank you Andy. I’m very pleased with the way the pictures turned out. Looking across the Severn, there was just enough brightness to lift the greys to blues. I had the shot in mind and was pleased the long exposures had the desired effect, bringing the structure much more centre stage.

      January 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm

  34. There is always something special about a pier ~ they all have their own story, and this series of shots tells a great one. Well done Adrian.

    January 31, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    • Thank you very much Randal. I’m so glad I took the detour.. :)

      January 31, 2015 at 10:22 pm

  35. Such a classical looking pier – and beautifully captured. I think I like the tightest composition the best – that is the first of the three images.

    February 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    • It’s a very beautiful Pier. Thank you Otto. I’m looking forward to returning when the building work is completed and the pier can be enjoyed without the sound of pneumatic drills and disc cutters. I’m glad you liked the first picture the best. This was certainly my favourite.

      February 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm

  36. magical

    February 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    • Thank you! :-)

      February 17, 2015 at 10:51 pm

  37. This pier is not far from where I live ( Bristol ) but I am yet to go and see it for myself !
    Beautifully composed picture !

    February 27, 2015 at 1:06 am

    • It’s worth a look Danny, thank you!

      February 28, 2015 at 8:18 am