Crab Fishing in Millisle

2 mins read

I have taken a few weeks off from taking photos, the disillusionment with photography didn’t last long but it has resulted in a more considered to the photos I take and why I capture them. That said, it is great to be capturing images again. I decided to take my camera bag along on a crab fishing trip in Millisle along the North Down coast. Most of the photos captured on the trip are shared with a small number but a few made their way to flickr and here on FlixelPix.

The aim was to think less and capture more. To look at a scene but rather than try and create a picturesque photograph try and capture the mood and story of the day. The ideal series of photos that allows those on the trip to relive the experience.


Dulce[box]In Northern Ireland you can buy ‘Dulce’ a type of seaweed that you can eat. We all tried it, I captured the facial expressions of those who tried the Dulce on camera. There was not a single positive reaction.[/box]

The top introductory image is a 30 second long exposure of the Millisle pier shot on the X-Pro1 with the 35mm lens attached. Normally I would have opted for the 18mm lens but I was adamant I wasn’t considering equipment but had to shoot the scene with whatever gear I had with me.

The vast majority of people who see this image will see an ugly metal railing over a smooth Irish sea due to the long exposure capture. I could have easily cut the railing out but the fact is it was the railing I wanted to capture. To those who were there the railing represents a great day out crab fishing without any of the party (or any crabs) actually appearing in the image.

Long Exposures & the X-Pro1

The Irish Sea : FlixelPix[box]I have received a few emails commenting on my use of both the Canon 5D and the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and could I not just pick one. Well the simple answer is no. My 5D is primarily used for hi-def video (see Vimeo) and the X-Pro1 is my go-to camera for long exposure photography and day to day documentary.[/box]

Therefore what is a rather plain, boring image actually tells a detailed story to those who were there. It has limited value now but in 5,10, 15 years time when people look back the story will be retold. The stories are much more important than presenting an image with the aim that people will like it.

I have tried to explore this idea in the past following a study of a number of 1930-1950 photographers. I have engaged in some great discussions with a number of other photographers as to their favourite photos. It is refreshing to discover that the photo itself isn’t important but the story that led to its creation holds the value.

Another Reason to Visit

Ironically this post is entitled “Crab Fishing in Millisle” yet it doesn’t feature a single crab or a single fisherman yet there is enough imagery to document the day including a visit to The Cabin in Donaghadee, home of famous homemade ice-cream and a selection of confectionary second to none.

So the next time you find yourself thinking “What is the best lens for” force yourself to go out for the day with the least likely camera and lens configuration and see what you can create. If you are taking photos thinking too much about the camera, lens and your set up you probably won’t be capturing your best work.

I took my X100 to Donaghadee the day it arrived. You can see the photos from that visit here.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

1 Comment

  1. Great to see your posts again, David – especially this one and its main message. I’ve been trying a similar thing. Partly because of a bad back getting worse over the years and a real sense of intrigue about the M 4/3rds, I treated myself to an OM-D recently before taking it and a 25mm (50 equiv) lens on my holidays, leaving the heavyweight 5d Mark II at home. (OK, I fib a bit, I also took a 45mm lens but used the 25 for 99% of the time). Did I miss Carla? Yes, of course I did – there were some shots I think I missed because I didn’t have her with me. But did I get more satisfaction from my time taking pictures and did I manage to have the camera with me at all times without crippling my back? You bet I did! And will it get even better as I start to master the camera? Yes, again. Could I reach a point where I prioritise it over Carla? No comment…

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