On Top of the Clays..

And other stories..

The sun shone today! Albeit intermittently but the endless grey skies of late lifted so I grabbed my camera and headed out.  I found myself at the top of the clay burrows.  I’ve talked a little about the clay burrows before, these are huge mounds of waste material that pile up as the ultra precious china clay is blasted from the decaying granite which can be found in huge abundance in the hills of central Cornwall.  Burrow is a Cornish word meaning pile of waste material.

These are some of the biggest deposits of the best quality china clay (Kaolin) in the world and as the aerial photograph from Google Earth below shows, the workings are extensive.  Visible from space these white scars on the landscape remain hidden from the ground for the most part due to very careful management and ‘Greening’ of the landscape following the extraction of the clay.

What you don’t see from the air is the height of the waste, and the depth of the excavations.  I’ve put a little marker on the Google Earth image where I took my picture today.  The bright blue colour of the water in the bottom of the pit comes from minerals left behind when the clay is extracted.  The Google Earth image shows these pools as bright green, the colour changes with the light but it is always extremely intense.

_1AT5572A Post   14mm f/22 1/50 sec. ISO-100

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The ClaysGoogle Earth

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I mentioned other stories.  I was very flattered to be approached by a young composer in Sri Lanka who asked to use some of my images (I should have sent high resolution copies) in a video to accompany his most recent composition, Loneliness, that he was making to post on YouTube. This was certainly a first for me, it’s a lovely piece of music…

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41 responses

  1. Absolutely stunning x

    February 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    • Thank you Angi! :-)

      February 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

  2. Your pictures and his music is a great combination! Both so beautiful.

    February 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    • Thank you Calee, the music is lovely isn’t it! :-)

      February 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm

  3. Incredible shot Chillbrook…love the icy blue.

    February 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    • Thank you Randall, much appreciated. The air was lovely and clear today and the Nikkor 14-24mm is an incredible lens.

      February 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm

  4. The music video is really wonderful, Adrian. What great idea! So glad you had some sunshine. The brilliant blue of that water looks just like the Caribbean. :)

    February 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    • It was lovely wasn’t it! I’m not sure I’d want to take a dip in this water Sylvia, I’d probably dissolve before I made it to the other side. Still on the plus side, Imerys, the company behind the China Clay works, is busy clearing up all the mess that has been made over the years extracting the Kaolin and they’re doing a very good job of it too. :-).

      February 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm

  5. Cynthia

    What a wonderful collaboration. ;)

    February 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    • Thank you Cynthia, I was very touched by the request and from somebody as far away from Cornwall as you could possibly get I think. Wonderful as you say. :-)

      February 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

  6. PhotograpPhotography is fascinating and the information is very interesting.
    Thank you.
    A greeting.

    February 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    • Thank you Isabel. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      February 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

  7. superb!

    February 2, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    • Thanks Lou! :-)

      February 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

  8. Not only are the colors intense, but the textures are stunning!

    February 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    • Thanks Elena. It’s a pretty amazing landscape. It’s the first time I’ve been along this particular path. I’ll definitely be returning. :-)

      February 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm

  9. Sachie

    Fantastic!

    February 3, 2014 at 6:46 am

    • Thank you Sachie! :-)

      February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

  10. Great shot and fascinating post Adrian

    February 3, 2014 at 6:57 am

    • Thank you very much Mark!

      February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

  11. There used to be a speedway track in one of these bowls next to the water. It was a surreal experience at night with floodlights over the scene and spotlights playing on the cliffs!

    The video is wonderful – the music and your photos complement each other perfectly.

    February 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    • Thank you Noeline. It’s the perfect spot for a speedway, I wonder what happened to that. I know there is a track out to the west for local club stuff still. Perhaps I ought to take a closer look. Sounds like a dream for a photographer.

      February 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  12. what a beautiful image, and the music collaboration is wonderful. the beauty of the blogosphere!

    February 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    • Thank you Marina, it’s brilliant isn’t it? A collaboration with a young musician half a world away. The Internet and blogging bring people so much closer together. :-)

      February 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm

  13. Firstly, a wonderful panorama over one of the workings. There’s an amazing sense of depth to it and the foreground detail provides a touch of ruggedness. Secondly what an honour to be asked to provide the images to that beautiful piece of music. The coastline images chosen really do speak of the loneliness and desolation (particularly those last ones of the deserted Tin mines) of the cornish coastline. I hope that brings more business to your sites, Adrian.

    February 3, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    • Thank you Andy, it was such a pleasant surprise when I read the request to use my pictures in this way. I did feel honoured. The beauty of Cornwall inspiring an artist half a world away. Wonderful stuff!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

  14. What a wonderful post! Being a potter, I found the information about the China clay very interesting. So far I have not mastered the wide-angle shooting, thus, I find your shooting data is quite useful. Love the global collaboration on the video!

    February 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    • Thank you Andelieya, I really must do a post that goes into much more detail about the china clay industry here in central Cornwall. :-)

      February 4, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  15. Wow! Great shot, but the collaboration with such wonderful music was superb.

    February 5, 2014 at 6:32 am

    • Thank you Gunta. It was really so nice to be asked to collaborate like that. The music is wonderful and we hope to do some more collaborations like this in the future. :-)

      February 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

  16. A great post from Your hand, excellent photowork!

    February 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

    • Thank you vey much Hans!

      February 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

  17. Beautiful images, as always, Adrian…and congratulations on this new venture.

    February 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    • Thank you Scott! :-)

      February 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

  18. Stunning photography and music, Adrian. They work well together.

    February 11, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    • Thank you Simon, I thought the music was fabulous. I’m looking forward to another collaboration. The composer is now working on another piece. :-)

      February 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

  19. Perfect combination, music and photo. What an honour! Of course he would choose you for this! I cannot imagine a better choice. And the blue photos again, beautiful.

    February 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    • Thank you Anne Christine. It was indeed a huge honour. He is currently working on another piece with some other photos I sent him so I’m looking forward to that very much. :-)

      February 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      • I hope you will share? Together they give you a kind of holistic feeling. Or how to explain it…it’s for eyes, ears, body and soul.

        February 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      • I will definitely share! :-)

        February 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      • :))

        February 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm