I have just returned from a week of much needed R&R staying in a lovely barn conversion just outside Bude in North Cornwall with my good friends Poppy and AJ. Poppy is now blogging again with a shiny new photography and art blog so if you haven’t checked it out yet, follow this link.
The north Cornish and Devon coast is rugged, the surf fantastic and as ever for me, a pleasure to visit. One particular feature of Bude is that it has a sea pool. The pools were constructed in the 20’s and 30’s for people to be able to enjoy a swim in the sea, without having to swim in the sea. A safe environment without the waves and treacherous currents so much a feature of many Cornish beaches and coves. These pools cropped up all over the country but few now remain. The Bude Sea Pool has been restored with donations and fundraising and for both Poppy and myself, a sure fire subject for a photograph or two. The pool is replenished with fresh sea water at every high tide and it was high tide that was bound to elicit the best pictures.
With spring tides in the offing and occuring very accommodatingly at around 10 in the morning, on one of the few sunnier days, we were there, tripods at the ready. Surfers often use the pool to launch themselves into the water, timing the moment with great precision. I was able to capture one such surfer, contemplating and timing the waves. This picture forms part of the series below. I hope you enjoy them.. :-)
I’ve been involved in a lot of other projects for the last few months that haven’t allowed me to do much landscape photography. It’s easy to forget where we come from creatively and this weekend, it just came to a head, I was forgetting who I was as a photographer. I knew I needed to get back in touch with my roots. I needed to get out there at dawn, stand on a beach in the dark and in a biting, finger numbing cold wind to capture the start of a new day. This is where it all starts for me literally and figuratively. This kind of shoot nourishes my soul and my creativity in a very unique and very special way and it can’t get much better than that.
I went back to basics this morning and reconnected with the environment I love so much in the way I like to do it best, with a camera, a tripod and an empty beach. Despite growing, developing and exploring new areas of my photographic creativity which is how it should be, I needed this. This kind of creative exercise is like going back to your hometown after years away and rediscovering the building blocks that made you the person you are. It never does to lose sight of these things.
At this time of year in these more northerly latitudes, this meant an incredibly early start so this morning, I was up at 3.30, checking equipment and drinking loads of tea before heading out the door and driving towards a location I hadn’t been before, Harlyn Bay. I hope you enjoy the picture.. :-)
Click on the picture for a sharper image.
I posted a picture a few days ago from my recent dawn shoot at Trebarwith Strand. This was the scene about an hour and a half later. The sunshine had made significant inroads into the shadows..
Taking pictures like these mean making certain sacrifices. Apart from waiting the four and a half hours on a rock in the cold to get the shot, when you’re totally engrossed in what you’re doing, you tend to miss certain important little details like a rising tide and getting wet seems to have become the norm when Chillbrook gets anywhere near the ocean..
The following pictures depict the scene behind the long exposures and apparent tranquillity that belie a surging, roaring surf that was threatening to knock me off the rock. The rock I was perched on is about 8 feet, at it’s highest point, above the channels either side that have been carved over thousands of years by the actions of the surf and the stream that runs down on the left.
Bearing this in mind, you’ll get some idea of the height of the surf and crashing waves that were surging shoreward whilst I was taking the long exposures My Wellington boots were of little use as I found myself standing in about two and a half feet of water when this particular wave came ashore.
24mm f/22 1/10 sec. ISO 100
I took the following two shots on my first ever visit to Trebarwith Strand this week. The beach is a photographer’s dream and can be found on the north Cornish coast, not far from Tintagel. Another early start for me but I was rewarded once more for my effort, this time with the most beautiful sunrise. The sun was rising behind me but the colours thrown across the sky were fantastic.
I’ve posted two shots, both with different exposure times. The first shot had an exposure of just under 8 minutes made possible with the use of a Lee big stopper filter. The second shot had an exposure of just over a second. Both photographs were taken with a 0.9 hard graduated neutral density filter. Which do you prefer..? ;-)
24mm f/22 467 sec. ISO-100
24mm f/22 1.3 sec. ISO-100
Please note that these images are posted here at 1/8th their original resolution and in a heavily compressed jpeg format, introducing a slight halo effect and other artifacts not visible in the print which will be available from my new website, coming soon. ;-)
It’s now just over a month ago that I posted about my new website, thinking it’d be ready in about a week.. Hmm. It’s turned out to be a hell of a lot more work than I’d ever imagined. I have had my head buried in code for this last month, lost all my data several times, been unable to restore back-ups, tears of frustration when I could quite happily have thrown the computer out of the window to moments of sheer joy when a light bulb of an idea has flickered on in my head, often when least expected, and I’ve inserted an additional line of code and it’s made everything work.
The site is now functioning and I’m very nearly ready for launch. I’m now just stocking the store as it were. Adding my products, finalising my prices, etc etc. This is the reason for my relative absence although I have been dipping into my reader on a regular basis and enjoying many of your posts.
I haven’t been doing a whole lot of photography, for obvious reasons, but a fellow blogger friend and her husband have booked the holiday cottage next door to me for a few days so if the weather will behave (not looking great at the moment) we’ll be out and about taking tons of pictures over the next few days. Watch this space, thanks for your patience, I will be back… ;-)
Chillbrook became a company director this week when Cornwall photographic became Cornwall Photographic Sales Ltd, incorporated on the 29th July. Fed up with sites like Photoshelter, Smug Mug and all the rest taking a disproportionately large share of my photographic sales, I bit the bullet, did a self-taught crash course in PHP and Java to build a commercial site of my own with shopping carts, credit card facilities, SSL certificate and all the other stuff that goes with .com commerce. It’s a scary but exciting step. A bit like letting go of the side for the first time when learning to swim. I should have my portfolio uploaded and product options finalised this week and then the site can go live.
I did take a few hours off yesterday however and set off for Godrevy lighthouse at dawn. I waited for the first light of dawn to illuminate the lighthouse as the sun rose above the cliff to my right. I used a Lee 10 stop ND and a 0.9 hard graduated neutral density filter and a 10 minute exposure to get this shot. This is pretty much how it came out of the camera. The only thing I’ve done is add 1% noise to deal with some slight banding. If you missed the tutorial I did on banding and how to remedy it, you can find that here..
Click on the picture for a clearer, sharper view.. ;-)
I’m still struggling with liking posts and commenting as well as posts not making it to readers. I have an ongoing dialogue with WordPress and hope I can get the problems sorted soon. In the meantime, once again my apologies. I am looking and liking your blogs, I’m just not able to let you know always.
Having recently done battle with the ‘Happiness Engineers’ and the ‘Likes’ police (How many Likes is too Many) I’ve now had to go head to head with the Spam Police, those awfully nice people at Akismet who, in there overly zealous attempts to protect us from the occasional spam comment, are dumping perfectly good, honest, decent comments in our spam folders. I’ve just had to retrieve over a dozen from my spam folder and having spent a great deal of time recently writing many, well thought out, thoroughly considered and appreciative comment on someone’s work only to see it disappear before my very eyes as it’s whisked away and dumped where few people care to look, the spam folder, I’m getting pretty fed up.
I know it’s always a case of the few spoil it for the many but can we not deal with the ‘likes’ that come from people looking to solicit something from us and those that ‘like’ to get likes back? They’re easy enough to spot. Are WordPress users really complaining so loudly about this that WordPress’s reaction to ration our ‘likes’ is justified? The same goes for the spam comment. It’s easy enough to dump them in the trash. In trying to stop what is really a reality of the world we live in, WordPress are starting to make this platform unusable for decent, honest bloggers like you and me.
While they figure that out for themselves as, surely as night follows day, they’re not going to listen to us, all we can do is check our spam folders daily and like in moderation hoping, as I hope, that we all understand we’re there, following and reading and appreciating the posts we read daily anyway, we just can’t necessarily show it. :-)
If you’re struggling with this as I am, you can contact Akismet at firstname.lastname@example.org and the happiness engineers at email@example.com. I’m sure they’d be happy to hear from you ;-)
35mm f/11 1/20 sec. ISO-100