On the edge of the seashore, each moving sunlit ripple becomes a prism that splits the colours and distorts the images of the stones beneath the clear water.
The MacIntosh Brook is one of the stopping places along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada. This clear mountain stream flows rapidly via waterfalls and over stones of many colours as it passes through dense old-growth hardwood forest. The water source is high up in the hills at about 430 metres. It starts in Ordovician-Carboniferous granitic plutons, then passes over Ordovician-Silurian meta-igneous rocks (both rock formations belong to the Aspy Terrane). Finally, in the lower reaches it flows over red Horton Group sand stones and conglomerates from the early Carboniferous Period. The torrents of winter storms and spring snow melt bring rocks of all these types tumbling down the ravines to the stream bed where they ‘colour’ the water and create a rapidly transitioning series of riffles, ripples, and water reflections – a kaleidoscope of impressions.
The river flowing down to the seashore meets with waves from the sea at Charmouth in Dorset, England. This somewhat abstract image of the natural patterns generated from the meeting of the two forces shows the freshwater continuing to flow smoothly seawards on the left of the channel (top left) while on the right it rebounds from the curving bank with the ripples moving upstream and towards the middle of the channel. The blue and white are reflected sky, and the yellow is reflection from the shingle beach.
The further you walk along Weymouth pier the deeper and bluer the water – turquoise tinted. In the shallows, the sand on the sea bed makes the water appear more yellow. On this calm day, the water surface was riffled by the wind to produce patterned textures where the transient ridges were delineated by the light they caught.
These images are a study of patterns and surface texture on the shallow water over the sandy seabed at Weymouth, viewed from the promenade leading to the pier. I like the way that the waves look as if they are drawn with fine lines onto the sea with a white pencil. The clear water reveals the yellow of the sand below the waves. (If you wish, you can click on the photographs to enlarge them and see the details).
Waves breaking with white sea surf on beach boulders at Charmouth, Dorset, England. The metallic tapping noise in the background is the sound of a geologist’s hammer as he tries to find fossils in the stones.