These remains at Swanage are quite possibly the most popular subject matter along the south coast for photographers specialising in ultra long exposures. This is my second attempt to capture the ruined pier and I was lucky; my first back in February coincided with blustery winds that made it nigh on impossible to keep a tripod still - resulting in unuseable blur.
It's rather an iconic subject for anyone equipped with a heavy ND filter - you couldn't wish for much more really. Intriguing repeating patterns, textures, shapes (love that curl!) and an uncluttered horizon lend it excellent photogenic properties.
The down side is it's becoming so instantly recogniseable that it's hard to achieve an original composition. This is the most common view, and the easiest to shoot given firm level ground (as opposed to shooting from the 'new' adjacent wooden pier which can move a little during the necessary extended shutter speeds) and the clear horizon. I should apologise to Rob Cherry, as I was heavily influenced by his brilliant shot 'All That Remains' which has been teasing me from two of the photography mags I buy, including a great cover so congratulations to Rob! I hesitated about posting my shot because it's so similar (just not as good) and brings nothing new (apart from a seagull to the fore...?!), but on the other hand it's such an amazing structure I just couldn't ignore it - plus I've been desperate to have this image in my arsenal as, well, you just have to really!
There is one other viewpoint that I think works very well, as shown in the work of Mark Bauer. The shoreline is clearly visible in his version, which although detracting from the minimalism is still incredibly effective. One advantage of this shot is that it provides a sense of just how long the pier is, as opposed to shooting from the front which tends to compress everything. I love how Mark has made the most of the reflections here also, they look amazing.
Finally, this is my longest exposure to date - 16 minutes and 7 seconds! Bit of an experiment really combining a B+W110 filter with a B+W106 (plus a 0.6 Lee hard grad), I don't think I'll be frying my sensor like this too often as the effect isn't very much more enhanced after 3 or 4 minutes usually.