Back in the first week of August I took a trip to Bath for a few shoots with various West Country businesses, the first of which was the unforgettable (unless you indulge in too many of their cocktails!) Bath on the Beach. When I got asked to do the shoot I had a certain idealised image in my head of the place, namely a sun drenched paradise with white sand, palm trees and free flowing ice cold cocktails. What I was not expecting however (due to the fact that we're still very much in England) was that that would be exactly what I found there!
The beach comes complete with tiki huts, sun loungers, a 'lovers bridge' and my personal favourite; table tennis. They also have fantastic oven fired pizzas and a well stocked bar with iced coffees, 6 types of beer on tap and did I mention the cocktails? In fact my only mistake of the day was saying 'yes' when owner Simon Smith said 'I've got just the thing for you' at lunchtime. What he produced was one of the bar's speciality cocktails, the 'Beach Tea', which is delicious and seems like a great idea, until you find out it contains 3 shots and you have an afternoon's shooting in the hot sun ahead of you!
I must say, sometimes this job makes itself easy. I don't think it's much of a secret that photography by nature is essentially making things look good; therefore when you've got an idylic paradise and perfect weather to shoot it in, it's never going to be that tough! The crew at BOTB have done a fantastic job at creating a perfect slice of escapism right in the heart of the city. It's really quite unbelievable that all this is 10 minutes walk from the main train station and shopping district. Literally the only thing it's missing is the sea!
BOTB are of course observing strict social distancing, so with tables at least 5m apart and the sun blazing down on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, it's not especially surprising that it filled up fast. An unexpected benefit that distancing has provided is that this year the beach have switched to table service only, meaning you don't even need to get up from your deckchair to go to the bar! No wonder there were a few slightly 'merry' looking customers by the end of the day!
As anyone that's spent any time at all with me while I'm taking pictures will tell you; I love golden hour. So it's hardly surprising that when the sun started going down and that damned lunchtime cocktail wore off, I started running round in a frenzy trying to capture that perfect golden glow which should really be a staple for any beach shots. All these were taken with either a Canon 50mm prime lens or a Yonguo 35mm aimed directly at the sun with the subject in the foreground and the shutter speed set nice and high to avoid the photos being completely blown out. Maybe I'm biased, but I believe you could be forgiven for thinking they were taken in the Caribbean at the height of summer!
As you can probably tell, I had a lovely time at Bath on the Beach. In fact at times it became pretty easy to forget I was on a shoot and not on my summer holidays, especially after 5 months of not leaving about a half mile radius of my house in London! I stuck around for a couple of drinks with the crew when the sun went down and it really is a very nice family type atmosphere they've created down there, which made the days shooting and the post work cocktail buzz even warmer. If you live in Bath and like beaches, cocktails and generally just chilling the hell out, then I really recommend you get down to Bath on the Beach in Royal Victoria park. It's a smasher! Check out their website here.