The Road Home..

I posted a picture of a copse on top of a hill a couple of weeks back.  This copse sits right on the border between Devon and Cornwall on the main arterial route into the county, the A30.

It’s a very distinctive landmark.  Quite a few people commented that when they see the copse, they know they’re nearly home.  For others it was a sign that their holiday starts here.

I was up early this morning.  Just as it was getting easier to make first light shoots, the clocks went back an hour for daylight saving time.  This doesn’t save any daylight of course, daylight hours remain the same, it just means landscape photographers have to get up really, really early again.. ;-)

I wanted to photograph the copse again but I also wanted to try to capture this sense of arriving and leaving. I decided dawn would be a good time to do this as I’d be able to capture the light trails from cars leaving and arriving, capturing a sense of movement below the copse that stands silently, immobile, marking the transition.

The Road Home.135mm f/11 94 sec. ISO-100

Click on the image for a clearer sharper view. :)

There was a lot of water on the road hence the spray so I will be re-shooting this on a dry day.  On a technical note, you have a very narrow window of opportunity when taking a shot like this.  It needs to be

a) light enough that your background is properly exposed and not too grainy.

b) dark enough that the cars still have their lights on and

c) dark enough to allow for a long enough exposure to create decent light trails and ensure the vehicles themselves don’t show up in the photo.

It worked out to around 10 minutes this morning in which to get it right. My first exposure was at 6.15 and lasted nearly 7 minutes. I guess I must have set that exposure off at 6.08.  My second exposure, this one, was taken at 6.21 and was just one and a half minutes.  All other settings were constant.  That’s how quickly the light changes.  By 6.30, the light trails were weak, the vehicles were showing up in the picture as a blur.  The exposure time was down to just 8 seconds.  I could of course have used a filter at this point to extend the exposure time again but cars were starting to turn off their lights.  I don’t think I’d have got the shot I wanted.

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63 responses

  1. Yvonne Theze

    Super photo. X x x

    Sent from my iPad


    November 1, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    • Thanks Mum! :-) x

      November 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

  2. I love the contrast in colours, stunning x

    November 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    • Thank you Angie! Glad you liked this one. This was one of those photos I had in my mind long before I got to the location and set up. Thankfully it came off pretty much as I’d imagined it. Always good to be flexible but I didn’t need to be on this one. A couple of areas I’d like to improve but I’m going to need dry roads for that! :)x

      November 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

  3. I love this photo. Just gorgeous!!

    November 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    • Thank you Isabel. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! :)

      November 2, 2014 at 1:16 am

  4. Your efforts were quite successful in my view, nicely done!

    November 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    • Thank you very much Phil! Much appreciated!

      November 2, 2014 at 1:17 am

  5. Don’t you just love it when a plan come together? Well done, Adrian, Your shot is absolutely amazing. :)

    November 2, 2014 at 1:54 am

    • Thank you Sylvia! :)

      November 2, 2014 at 3:52 am

  6. Johann Briffa

    Nicely done Adrian! I much prefer light trails at dawn/dusk, but as you point out they’re so much trickier to pull off.

    November 2, 2014 at 7:04 am

    • Thank you very much Johann! Appreciate your comment!

      November 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

  7. nicely done , love the colors

    November 2, 2014 at 7:13 am

    • Thank you very much Ahmad! :)

      November 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

  8. nyc

    November 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

  9. Lovely shot Adrian and I appreciate the technical note at the end……very useful

    November 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    • Thank you very much Mark! I managed to nail it so I thought I’d pass it on! :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm

  10. poppytump

    Quite a challenge with timings and conditions ChillB am glad it worked out so well !
    … and beyond the racing trail lights … sheep may safely graze … or sleep …
    I’ve no doubt we’ll see this copse again ;-)

    November 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    • Thank you very much Poppy.. You know, I think you might be right on that one.. :-D

      November 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    • I like your sheep may safely graze bit.. I guess they’ve become immune to the traffic noise.. it’s still buzzing in my ears.. :)

      November 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

  11. Great photo and many thanks for the technical information. I know that spot and have thought about taking a photo. We travel past it on our journeys between The Midlands and St Ives.

    November 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    • Thank you Rhys. I had a feeling you might recognise it. Get ready when you see the brown sign for Dingles Heritage Fairground and Roadford Lake.. blink and you’ve missed the layby! :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

  12. Wow!

    November 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    • Thank you Arlene! :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

  13. It is obviously a very tricky shot, but well worth taking and very well done.

    November 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    • Thank Dave. Worth giving it a go sometime if you can find a road with a nice view.. Plenty of those around your part of the woods! :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      • I’ll keep a look out Adrian.

        November 2, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      • :-)

        November 2, 2014 at 6:46 pm

  14. Wow . . . people are driving on the wrong side of the road!

    Luckily everyone is doing it, otherwise it would be a real mess.

    . . . very nice shot; amo have to try that sometimes (not there; somewhere here).

    November 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    • Thanks Emilio. Hmm, just the odd person taking it upon themselves to drive on the right (wrong) side of the road, an American on vacation for example, and things do get pretty chaotic! ;-)

      November 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

  15. Very cool shot Adrian – and am bummed about the time change and morning photography impact!!

    November 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    • Thanks Tina. I always think somehow a dawn shoot is going to be easier come the winter with the darker mornings but I still end up having to get up around 3.30.. Thankfully it’s not every day of the week and if I get the shot I’m after, it makes it all worthwhile. :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 10:01 pm

  16. That is really something new, Adrian. Exciting.

    November 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    • Thank you Bente! I thought I’d give it a try.. I’ve a few other locations in mind now where a shot like this might work.. :-)

      November 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm

  17. Great photo

    November 3, 2014 at 12:18 am

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      November 3, 2014 at 7:57 am

  18. You’re certainly expanding your horizons. Nice concept.

    November 3, 2014 at 1:51 am

    • I like to try new things Gunta. Thank you! :-)

      November 3, 2014 at 7:57 am

  19. Beautiful image Adrian! Can’t wait to re-visit Cornwall when I am back over in the UK next year!

    November 4, 2014 at 5:15 am

    • Thank you very much Michael. Good to hear you’re going to make it Cornwall when you visit! Let me know when you’re coming, I’ll give you some great locations for photographs!

      November 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      • Thanks Adrian, really appreciate it! I’m going to head back to see my parents who live in Usk in Gwent, and then head down to Cornwall for a few days if possible. If you don’t mind I’ll be in touch closer to the time to see what you recommend..?

        November 5, 2014 at 8:19 am

      • No Problem! :)

        November 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm

  20. that is so colorful and beautiful :)

    November 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    • Thank you Joshi! Much appreciated! :)

      November 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm

  21. I remember this Copse – I immediately thought I ought to find a way to photograph of it when heading SW three years ago. And then forgot all about it on the way back! A very effective shot, Adrian.

    November 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    • Thanks Andy. This is something a lot of people have mentioned. They’ve seen the copse, they’ve wanted to photograph it but unless you know where it is (Lifton) and you remember you want to photograph it, by the time you see it travelling at 70mph, it’s too late to pull into the layby. On the way out of Cornwall, if you remember and pull into the layby on the opposite side of the road, you can’t get a shot. I obviously set out deliberately to take these pictures, not too far from home, and I’m quite pleased with the result. :)

      November 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      • Thanks for the info, Adrian.

        November 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm

  22. Wow…love it Adrian.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

    • Thank you Edith! :)

      November 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

  23. is impressive!

    November 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    • Thank you Indah! :)

      November 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm

  24. Super cool shot, Adrian!! Wow :D

    November 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    • Thank you Camilla! Really appreciate that! :-)

      November 5, 2014 at 7:17 pm

  25. Better a copse on a hill than a corpse on one, right?

    November 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    • Definitely!

      November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm

  26. Wow, great photo! I love that juxtaposition of copse and cars. And thank you (as always) for sharing the technical points, because it’s obvious this ain’t an easy thing to do! :-)

    November 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    • Thank you Lynn. I’m happy to be of help with this kind of picture. It is a bit tricky that’s for sure and you don’t get long to start experimenting with differing exposures. :-)

      November 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm

  27. Interesting idea to incorporate the ‘travellers’ and the copse to tell the story.
    I play with light trails every now and then and have found the most quirky/fun results with tanks, double decker buses and police cars – not sure how many of any of those you get in Cornwall though! :D

    November 9, 2014 at 11:00 am

    • Thank you Noeline! I was doing a long exposure for light trails on a country road in Malvern when an ambulance went past with blue light blazing, it did create an interesting picture. Definitely not many tanks in Cornwall in fact I’m going to stick my neck out and say no tanks in Cornwall. :-)

      November 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

  28. Beautiful photo … though, I discovered that it is important to read things slowly … I read the first sentence as a “corpse on a hilltop” and thought “I don’t remember seeing a corpse picture on your blog…” :-)

    November 26, 2014 at 6:23 am

    • Thank you John. It does indeed do to read things carefully! :-D

      November 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm

  29. I never saw something like this.Well done.

    November 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    • Thank you Lou. A long exposure with a lot of traffic! :-)

      November 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm