Godrevy Lighthouse..

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. :-)

1AT_3648_-3AB Post24mm f/22 3 sec. ISO-100

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70 responses

  1. Great story with a beautiful result!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    • Thank you Neil! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

  2. Wow, that’s so gorgeous. Otherworldly with it’s fantastic ‘waterfall’ on the foreground rocks.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    • Thank you Karen. I was pleased to be able to salvage a picture from the salt onslaught. It was kind of fun on the rocks though, certainly challenging.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm

  3. Good story. The pink sky is a matter of taste, I suppose. But the picture is elegant. Good use of ND filter.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    • Thank you very much Shimon. I’ve always a bit wary about using coloured filters. I guess we all have to give them a try at some point though and I think they have a place. I always associate them with car advertisements in glossy magazines.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

  4. What an adventure Adrian! And the result – magnificent! Absolutely stunning image!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    • Thank you very much Robyn. It was a fun start to the day that’s for sure! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

  5. Well worth the efforts. This photo is a beauty!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    • Thank you Bente. Much appreciated! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

  6. Absolutely beautiful :-) Love the pastel tones! That’s one spooky story to go with the photo!!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    • It was quite spooky Sarah. I’m still baffled as to where the truck could have gone with no turn offs visible. It will remain a mystery! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm

  7. Beautiful!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    • Thank you very much Hans! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  8. Beautiful photo! I’ve been wanting to experiment with ND filters for a while now. You’ve given me an idea!

    May 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    • Thank you Jawahar. Filters are great and really bring a new dimension to your photography. Well worth experimenting. Good luck with it! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

  9. Marianne Ensz

    WOW!  Phenominal!  Well done!

    Marianne Ensz 913.649.6544 (h) 913.707.8916 (c) ma_designs2002@yahoo.com

    May 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    • Thank you so much Marianne. I owe you an email.. I will catch up soon! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

  10. poppytump

    This is a gorgeous shot ChillB to come from that wild morning ! It was high on my wish list visit here and see Godrevy Lighthouse for myself … quite a trek wasn’t it , but so worth it .
    I thought I’d quite enough excitement for the day after that phantom truck driver … but once we got down to set up
    I hardly knew where to stand with all the wave action and buffeting of wind, except I knew to get off THAT rock when I saw you gesticulating after a wave surprised me and the sea came swirling past just below my knees . Oh how we laughed .. Later . :-D
    I’m s l o w l y wading through my pictures …

    May 20, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    • Thank you Poppy. Yes the sea was a little unpredictable there. Always well worth adding a couple of mm to your focal length rather than getting too close I think. I was seriously worried when I saw how close you were. It was an adventurous day all round not least the next chapter, pushing the wheelchair to its limits in St Ives and Chester taking on the 1 in 4 streets. Save that for another day. I’m looking forward to the gallery I know you will post. I’m a little better organised than usual with two folders on my desktop for each days shooting. One containing the RAW files and one containing pictures exported from Lightroom for processing in Photoshop. It seems to be working out. Oh and yes we did laugh, a lot. It was a really fun week all round. :-) x

      May 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm

  11. Awesome!

    May 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    • Thank you Isabel! :-)

      May 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

  12. Love the pastel shades you’ve been doing, or is that the result of those early mornings?

    May 20, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    • Some of it’s me Gunta using filters, some of it the natural early morning light. The lighthouse photo had help although the sky was fairly pink to start with. The St Michael’s mount photo didn’t have any filters applied. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

  13. Wow

    May 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    • Thank you Camilla! :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

  14. Stunny photo but are this the real colors of is it photoshopt?

    May 21, 2014 at 12:04 am

    • Thank you Lou. This picture had some help from a coloured filter, first time I’ve used one. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm

  15. leecleland

    A grand story and an exciting adventure to relate. Part of the pleasure of the story is the lovely camaraderie you two share on your adventures. Beautiful image, I like this one a lot.

    May 21, 2014 at 2:27 am

    • Thank you Lee. It’s been a lot of fun taking pictures with Poppy. This particular morning was hilarious afterwards but not much fun at the time. :-D

      May 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

  16. Great post Adrian…..so are you saying that there was something other worldly about that truck? Lovely image.

    May 21, 2014 at 6:13 am

    • Hi Mark, thanks. I don’t believe in such things, no it was just one of those strange experiences that was a little unsettling although I have heard that ghost trucks reportedly run the A30 on certain nights of the year.. ;-)

      May 21, 2014 at 6:56 am

  17. Wonderful shot!

    May 21, 2014 at 8:03 am

    • Thank you very much indeed! :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

  18. Phew! You write that story so well, Adrian. I’ve had a similar experience – they are bullies – I’m sure they deliberately harass ordinary motorists. An unnerving experience. But… worth it. A hard-won image for sure, and one with tons of atmosphere. Its calmness belies the storm that was raging.

    May 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

    • Thank you Andy. This guy was a bully for sure. He shouldn’t have been doing the speeds we were but there he was, right on our tail the whole time. We had a really good laugh afterwards but it was unnerving at the time. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

  19. what a story and a wonderful image

    May 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

  20. What an exciting adventure and a stunning result! That A30 is sometimes a world of its own ….

    May 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    • It can be Patti! Thank you :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

  21. Oh wow, I love the colors in this picture! Very nice, Adrian.

    May 21, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    • Thank you so much Camilla! :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm

  22. YorkshireRascal

    A lovely photograph and excellent read… I was hanging in there for you :)

    May 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    • Thank you Mitch. It was an unnerving experience but it did get us to where we needed to be in very good time. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm

  23. I think it’s an incredible image, Adrian…and quite a tale on getting there to make it, as well. :)

    May 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    • Thank you Scott! that’s very kind. It was quite a journey as it turned out. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm

  24. Without a doubt worth all your efforts! An amazing image! You and Poppy make an excellent team:)

    May 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    • Thank you very much Elena. It’s been fun working together. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm

  25. Pingback: Cornwall Cornucopia … | poppytump@number4

  26. You had my heart in my mouth with your scary truck story. It must have been quite a hair raising ride, and I can well imagine your relief when it disappeared into thin air. Maybe it was ‘raptured’. :D Your dawn capture of the lighthouse is so ethereal. Well done, Adrian.

    May 21, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia. I still have this image of Poppy hanging grimly to the steering wheel, wrestling Chester into a lower gear with that huge gearstick when necessary before pressing the throttle to the floor once more to tackle another Cornish hill.. It makes me smile but at the time, it was a little scary. :-)

      May 21, 2014 at 8:31 pm

  27. Awesome! Love the colors.

    May 22, 2014 at 6:26 am

    • Thank you very much Julia! :-)

      May 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

  28. Great story – could have been a post on its own!
    I haven’t played with coloured filters as they can look a bit cheesy – and I don’t have any anyway! BUT this is fabulous, maybe because you’ve matched the tones so well? The slightly misty effect is gorgeous and your shutter speed was perfect. Lovely !

    May 22, 2014 at 8:01 am

    • I’ve always been a bit dubious about colour filters too Noeline but I wanted to give them a try. As I mentioned in another comment, I’ve always associated them with advertisements for sports cars in glossy magazines where somehow the red or orange sky, worked. I was quite pleased with the result here but I don’t think I’ll be making their use a habit. I’m glad you appreciated the image, thank you. :-)

      May 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

  29. That is an amazingly atmospheric photo and what a scary ride you had to get there. Good old Chester, and Poppy, deserve a medal…

    May 22, 2014 at 11:43 am

    • Thank you PP. It was an interesting journey. Poppy certainly deserves a medal. She hung on grimly, teasing every possible extra mile per hour out of Chester, keeping us that one step ahead! :-)

      May 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm

  30. A gorgeous image – I would say definitely worth all the trouble. But what a story – and what we do to get those photos. I admired your stamina and energy.

    May 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    • Thank you Otto. It was an eventful shoot that’s for sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the image! :-)

      May 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

  31. Reblogged this on Melody Balthaser and commented:
    Just breathtaking…

    May 24, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    • Thank you so much Melody. Much appreciated! :-)

      May 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  32. Peach, pink, lavender, blue…thank you!

    May 26, 2014 at 1:31 am

    • :-) Thank you Lynn!

      May 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

  33. simply awesome :)

    June 3, 2014 at 7:28 am

    • Thank you very much Joshi!

      June 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm