Rachel & Chris' Industrial pre-wedding sunset session at South Gare

Rachel and Chris are a cool creative couple so they were on the lookout for something different for their pre-wedding couples session. They introduced me to South Gare, an area of reclaimed land and breakwater on the southern side of the mouth of the River Tees in Redcar and Cleveland. 

It's an area of bizarre contradictions. The area is dominated by Teeside steelworks, with an ore terminal, sinter plant, coke plant, and blast furnace dominating the skyline. Traces of the second world war can be found in the form of anti-aircraft batteries, and mortar emplacements that have been partially demolished. There are a number of defensive concrete pill boxes still scattered around the area in the dunes and on the beach.

Nestled amongst this industrial hell is Paddy's Hole, a small harbour constructed from slag in the lagoon on the Teesmouth side of South Gare. Fisherman's huts can be found nearby, protected from the fierce winds that whip through the area by in a dip in the ground.

South Gare & Coatham Sands is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The land is made from thousands of tons of basic slag from blast furnaces and the high limestone content of the slag produces a base rich soil that is attractive to lime loving plants. The area consists of tidal mudflats, scrub, grassland, sand dunes, rocks and freshwater and saltwater pools, and attracts a very wide range of birds. Seals can also be spotted.

Ridley Scott grew up in this area and used it as inspiration for the film Blade Runner.

What an amazing location for an engagement shoot!

As we were taking a creative risk with the location I thought that it was only fitting to take some creative risks with my gear and I brought along an old manual focus Russian lens - the Helios 44m 58mm f2 to be exact. 

Rachel and Chris were so much fun on the day, and were totally up for scrambling through waist high reeds, up and down slag heaps and getting their feet wet on the beach. 

Here's what happened.

To see more couples sessions, and real weddings, in the area check out my Yorkshire weddings page.