“There it loomed up, stark and straight, glaring white and black, and one could see the waves breaking in white splinters like smashed glass upon the rocks. One could see lines and creases in the rocks. One could see the windows clearly.”
(Virginia Woolf, from the novel “To the Lighthouse”)
We visited the lighthouse of Breskens (the Netherlands) twice in two days. The first time, the beach was taken by storm, the drifting sand blurring our vision. While we made our way up towards the lighthouse, we came as close to experiencing weightlessness as we will probably ever come. The wind was the most relentless I’ve ever come across. My mind told my legs to move forward, but instead I was almost thrown up into the air. One step forward turned out to become two steps backward, until by trial and error I learned how to proceed leaning forward on the wind. In those circumstances shooting was impossible: I didn’t want to expose my lens to the fierce fits of wind and lifted sand. Not to mention that posing elegantly is a precarious business when one is shivering and convulsively trying to get the better of the wind. Instead, I stored the image of the whitecaps and the ever-changing gauze of sand in my mind.
We came back the next day, but when we arrived, it was pouring. Forced by the circumstances (and again the risk of my camera being subject to damage), we decided to ditch the whole idea of shooting at the lighthouse and went for dinner instead in the village of Breskens. When we finished our meal, we suddenly noticed it had stopped raining and the sun had started to peak through the clouds that covered the sky from horizon to horizon. As we drove back to the Lighthouse, the faint evening sun steadily made room for darkness as it fell below the horizon. We arrived at a scenery that could have been painted by Edward Hopper, the lighthouse and the moon looking down upon us, scenic and indifferent to change or nature. We only had a few minutes before it was too dark to shoot, but that was enough to capture that faintly forlorn sight.
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