I was out at North Gare in Teesside which is an amazing place. With its white sands and dunes you could be on any idyllic British coastal resort. Look a bit further though and on the horizon, not more than a mile away, is the massive Seal Sands and Teesmouth industrial complex, home to huge petrochemical facilities, oil refineries, a nuclear power station and a deepwater berth for large ships.
I wanted to show the contrast between the two aspects to the area. I spent some time climbing the dunes checking potential compositions until I found this area. I was taken by the ripples in the white sand caused by the wind rushing between the dunes. I set up my tripod (carefully in the very soft sand) and used a focal length of 40mm. Had I shot the scene with a longer focal length I would have compressed the scene which would have made it look like the chemical plant was on top of the dunes. If I'd used a wider focal length the chemical plant would be lost in the scene and just be a spot on the horizon. I used a Lee Big Stopper to slow the exposure to 15 seconds from my initial 1/60th of a second, this ensured the sea would be flattened and there would be some movement in the reeds atop the dunes, it also smoothed the steam coming out of the chimney. A 2 stop graduated neutral density filter balanced the bright sky, on this occasion I used a soft edged filter to avoid a harsh line across the dunes.
When I processed the shot I used Silver Efex software to convert it to black and white, I think this adds to the shot and helps bring out the ripples in the sand, emphasising the natural side of that part of the shot.
I hope you like the finished result.