The luminous coast

The Luminous Coast is the title of a book about the East Anglian shoreline that – of course – is on my reading list.

It’s a title that describes those North Sea horizons very well. I’ve spent many hours walking by the sea since returning to Britain in October. I once read somewhere that the theologian Paul Tillich described the shore as a numinous place, at the border of the finite and the infinite. I have a feeling I’ve used the image in a previous blog post, but I like it and it seems appropriate to use it again here.

Here are a few images taken during various walks over the past three months, capturing the changing textures of the sea and sky, unashamedly subjected to some Photoshop work to capture something of the ambience of each outing. Please click the thumbnails for larger versions of each photo.

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Seventeen horizons

There is nothing here that I haven’t photographed many times, and shared on this blog and elsewhere.

But this week I had the opportunity to view the Sea of Galilee from a different perspective – from the middle of the lake itself during a brief boat trip.

Once again, of course, I attempted to capture something of the light through a hundred photos. The overwhelming impulse is to want to simply step into the blue, as with a Rothko painting.

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Blue and gold

No photograph can capture the luminous light here, an intense blue and gold. A couple of days ago I drove along the east shore of the Sea of Galilee, across from Tiberias.

Here are images of the lake, the Golan, and a lookout that affords a wonderful view of the north shore, the little strip of land where most of the Gospel stories are set.

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A day at the seaside: Great Yarmouth, July 2016

I will always have happy memories of Great Yarmouth. I went there as a child for the beach, the funfair, the Saturday market, the rollercoaster.

That was many years ago now, the late 1970s, the early 1980s. I remember a rather scrappy but lively place, full of comfortable working class families like ours, with money to spend to enjoy the summer amusements. Yarmouth could hardly be mistaken for one of the well-to-do East Anglian seaside towns close by, like Southwold, Aldeburgh or Walberswick. But it had a robust character of its own, the streets leading down to the sea packed, the beaches lined with colourful windbreakers, the fairground rides full, the shops stuffed with glittering rubbish, the end-of-pier music hall host to many of the UK’s most popular old school comedians: Cannon and Ball, Rod Hull and Emu, even Morecambe and Wise from time-to-time.

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Qumran horizons

For me the ancient site of Qumran is arguably the most remarkable landscape in the world.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, written by the Essenes, were found here some 70 years ago. The Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab are immediately ahead. Herod’s fortress of Masada is a few miles to the south, overlooking the – perhaps legendary – sites of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jericho, possibly the world’s oldest city, is to the north. This region is the lowest place on Earth, the ‘wilderness’ spoken of in the Bible.

I first visited Qumran five years ago and was fortunate to be able to return a few days ago. The ruins here are very probably those of the Essene sect, which wrote the scrolls some 2000 years ago before the site was cleared by the Romans during the 66-70AD Jewish War.

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