Wave - Porthcothnan

Thank you Michelle..

I’d just like to say thank you to Michelle from WordPress who contacted me last week to say that I am now, and I’m very proud to say this, a WordPress recommended photography blog.  Since receiving this news, I’ve gained a lot of new followers so I’d like to welcome you all to Cornwall Photographic and hope that you enjoy my posts.

These photographs were taken at a smashing little beach called Porthcothnan on the north coast of Cornwall.  Up until last winter, just around the cliff on the left, there was a huge rock that had a hole worn through it forming an arch, a bit like the one at Durdle Door in Dorset.  One could get to it at low tide only.  Sadly, it was smashed to pieces in the severe storms of last winter.  Lets hope we don’t have a repeat of all that this winter.  This rock arch was one of those features that I kept telling myself, I must check the tides and go down and take some pictures.  I missed my chance and it’s now lost forever.  Definitely a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.  Click on the images for a sharper, clearer view.. :-)

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Always carry a camera..

I recently bought a Lumix LF1.  It’s a super little camera for £150.  I like the fact that it has a viewfinder so in sunny weather, I can still frame a shot and I like the fact that if fits in my shirt pocket.  I like that it shoots RAW and I can have full manual control which with a little point and shoot, can make all the difference between getting a shot or not.  These little cameras in my experience do tend to blow out skies when the conditions are a little dull as they were this afternoon so I took over.

The main reasons I bought this little camera though is that I can always have it on me and when I see a shot, out and about, it can be just about anywhere, I can press the shutter and if it’s a shot I like, as with this one, I can return with my D800 and tripod when the conditions are just right..

This shot won’t win any prizes, the quality isn’t quite there on full zoom but I’m really quite pleased with this and I’m really looking forward to returning.  A bit more colour in those leaves and perhaps a sunset.. Hmm.. I like that idea.. :-)

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Nuff respect..?

I visited Trebarwith Strand a couple of weeks ago.  It was blowing a gale, the sun was shining and the sea was rough.  Lots of people were watching the spectacle, taking pictures with phones.  Up on the rocks, a couple of youngsters were really not giving the sea ’nuff respect’ to use the colloquial expression.

Standing so close to the edge with a rising tide, these two were lucky to get a warning.  The next wave may well have swept them into the sea..

Please give the sea the respect it deserves, always!  Far too many people drown each year around the coast of Cornwall.

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Associate of the Royal Photographic Society..

A couple of weeks ago I presented a panel of 15 images to the Royal Photographic Society and I have been awarded an Associate Distinction making me an Associate member of the Society.  I feel very honoured.

The distinction was the culmination of a project I have been working on for some time. A project totally out of my comfort zone which has stretched me creatively and photographically.  Imerys, the company behind the china clay mining business in Cornwall gave me hard hatted, hi vis, escorted access to the docks and other abandoned clay sites in Cornwall.  I am very grateful to Imerys for their help in creating this project.

For many years, china clay blasted from the hills above St Austell with water canon was pumped in suspension to Par Docks where it was stored in huge concrete silos before being dried and loaded aboard ships for export around the world but in 2006, it was announced that the docks would close along with the loss of 800 jobs.

One of my earliest memories is paddling in the sea at Par, sinking up to my ankles in sand mixed with china clay, the result of spillages from the docks. I was only two so this place has been a part of my consciousness for 48 years, I wanted to mark its passing with this project.

The panel I presented in the Contemporary category to the Royal Photographic Society is about my sense of loss and sadness that this closure evoked; my choice of processing served to emphasise the decline and abandonment. Once a hive of industry, the docks now just echo with the past and only its ghosts remain.

On a site once teeming with people and activity, wagons no longer run along their steel tracks. The vast sheds and huge silos stand empty, their machinery rusting slowly. The café with its strings of bunting still poignantly clinging on, hoping for better times, no longer serves its burgers and chips.

For seaman who needed spiritual guidance with their coffee, a welcome once awaited them at the flying angel club, but this too stands empty. The harbour office no longer takes enquiries and the phone box outside no longer makes calls, it stands at a drunken angle, its door long gone.

In my central image, the cross in the concrete suggests to me the need for an epitaph… ‘rest in peace’ perhaps?

I’m grateful to Imerys, the company responsible for china clay mining in central Cornwall, for providing escorted, hard hatted, hi vis access over an extensive period to what is now a closed demolition site in order to produce the panel.

When presenting a panel candidates are required to prepare a hanging plan as well as a statement of intent part, of which I’ve reproduced above.  Below is my hanging plan.  Candidates are advised to choose and arrange photographs so that they form a cohesive and balanced panel.

After a morning when not a single panel passed, lunch was rapidly approaching and I was sure my panel would go up after we’d all had a break but, when another panel was brought in and I realised it was mine, I hardly dared watch.

My statement of intent was read out and the panel of Royal Photographic Society Fellows, all experts in their field, got up to view the images.  Some photographs were taken down for closer inspection, others pondered from a slight distance.  After a short while, the panelists took their places once more and the Chairman of the Contemporary Panel asked for an initial vote on my work.  The voting is done such that the audience cannot see how the panelists have voted.  Each judge was then asked to offer a critique.  I heard some good things said but we’d heard good things said about all the previous panels of pictures that had failed.  The Chairman then asked for another vote.  I could hardly believe it when the Chairman said, ‘this panel meets the standard’.  Up until now it had all been anonymous so my name was read out and there was a round of applause.  We broke for lunch and quite a few people came up to congratulate me. It was a nice moment.

Contemporary A - Panel FinalNaturally there were many more than 15 photographs taken during the course of this project but for the purposes of the distinction panel, I had to choose just 15.  I’ve put my 15 pictures into a gallery that you can view below.  It’s been a very absorbing project and I’m now left thinking what I should tackle next..

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Holywell Bay..

One of my new favourite places, Holywell Bay near Newquay in Cornwall.  With a National Trust car park providing convenient parking, sand dunes, cliffs, rocky islands and the most amazing surf, this is a beach definitely worth a visit.  More to follow.  Click on the image for a sharper, clearer view.. :-)

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Just one day left to vote..

There is now just one day left in which to vote for the best ‘People’ photograph in the latest Digital Lightroom photography Competition.  Photographer David Penprase judged the initial round and gave us 12 shorlisted photographs.  It is now down to a public vote as to which photograph wins the competition.  It’d be great if you could take a moment to look at the pictures and vote for the one that you think deserves to win. Appreciate it, thank you.. http://thedigitallightroom.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/the-polls-are-open-5/

The pictures below were taken at Perranporth and Porthcothnan, Cornwall :-)

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Wheal Coates Revisited..

There is no doubt that I will keep returning to this beach time after time.  Chapel Porth has got to be one of my favourite places to be.  The beach only appears during spring tides that coincide with the full moon.  During spring tides, the difference between the highest and the lowest tide is at its greatest.  Neap tides, where there is little change between high tide and low tide, coincide with the new moon.  Between new moon and full moon, the height of the tide at its lowest and highest, changes a little each day.  Tide tables come in very handy when planning shoots, along with the weather forecast of course.

The day these photographs were taken, the tide was at its lowest at around 11.30 in the morning and on a beautiful September day, the shots I got weren’t the shots I was hoping for but I was quite pleased with these nonetheless.  Waiting patiently for the moment the tide dropped low enough to be able to get onto this part of the beach, I was there before anybody else.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  It’s a long time since I had a paddle in the ocean usually preferring the Wellington boot to taking my shoes and socks off and rolling up my trouser legs but on this day, I couldn’t resist.. Click on the pictures for a clearer sharper view :-)

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