Following our trip to Polperro last Monday, Tuesday was down on the itinerary that I’d put together for my good friend and fellow photographer/blogger Poppy, as a dawn shoot at Godrevy Lighthouse. With the alarm clocks set for 3am, wheelchair and camera bags loaded into Poppy’s camper (the wheelchair would come in handy after the Godrevy shoot) we set off around 3.45, joining the A30 (the main road west) from the slip road just as the heavens opened and ahead of a large truck. Gaining speed and with trucks restricted to 60mph we thought we’d leave that truck behind but in a cloud of spray and buffeting wind, the truck came thundering past us.
With Poppy’s VW camper, affectionately known as Chester, doing its level best, we kept pace with the truck. A narrow section of the A30 approaching I suggested to Poppy it might be an idea to get ahead of the truck as it would surely struggle on the bends and hills. Not sure we’d manage it with the truck ignoring all sorts of laws, a good downhill section coming up, followed by a slight incline, seemed the best bet to make our move. With the first rays of light streaking the sky and both of us willing Chester on, we took the truck and as we passed I looked up into the cab, no driver, honestly, I couldn’t see anyone behind the wheel. I kept this to myself as very quickly the truck was once more bearing down on us and as we both began to feel we were in a reenactment of Steven Spielberg’s first film, Duel, we hung on tight.
We made it onto the narrow section of road ahead of the truck but strangely, and I have followed many trucks along the narrow section of windy road at a snail’s pace, this truck wasn’t fazed. With the constant glare of the truck’s headlights in Chester’s mirrors, we began to get a little worried. There was a small overtaking section coming up and I began to question whether the truck would make another move for the lead but we managed to stay ahead. I was beginning to wonder however why we’d bothered to get there in the first place, this truck was not hanging around. I began to wish for a patrol car to pull out and pull the truck over but that didn’t happen but perhaps, if we’d been behind, the truck would have slowed and slowed. We were certainly getting the sense that the driver was toying with us.
Shooting around the next roundabout that heralded another section of dual carriageway, the truck was still with us. Poppy hung on to the wheel, dropping a gear as we began the next incline. Surely the truck would have built up enough momentum to take us this time but suddenly it was gone. No turn off visible the truck just disappeared. Breathing sighs of relief and with the turnoff for Godrevy approaching, we realised with a laugh what amazingly good time we’d made. We’d be on the rocks and in position for the rising sun in no time.
The squally showers that had dogged our run down the A30 seemed to have cleared as we made our way onto the rocks and into what has to be the most challenging conditions in which I have ever tried to take photographs. The wind was howling, dead on shore and the waves were crashing, the spray being whipped into the air and flung at us with such ferocity I began to wonder if we’d get any pictures after all. We both set up though, we’d come this far and survived our encounter with the truck. Graduated neutral density filters seemed like the order of the day. At the very least they’d keep the spray from the lens. With the spray and the dew point soaking everything, I think I spent more time mopping up and cleaning the filter to steal a few shots than anything else. However, here’s what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of taking it. :-)