Whilst I was visiting Bude recently, I had to deliver some pictures that are being featured in an exhibition in Taunton, Somerset. This journey took me from north Cornwall to south Devon, on into somerset and rather than return the same way I’d come, I decided to drive north to the north Devon Coast.
In 1976, here in the UK, we had the most extraordinary summer. Weeks of Mediterranean type weather. I was lucky enough, as an 11 year old boy, to spend that summer staying with a great uncle in North Devon. Everyday we visited the beach. Saunton Sands was the destination of choice and this was somewhere I really wanted to revisit.
Unfortunately, the weather was certainly not that of the summer of ’76 however, it was great to see people enjoying the beach regardless.
A Postcard or two from Fuerteventura
Regular followers of this blog will know that I love the sea, I love the coast and I love the beach. Whether visiting the beaches around the coast of my home county of Cornwall, the black volcanic snow and ice covered beaches of Iceland or the sun drenched beaches of the Canaries, I’m a happy man.
Here a few picture postcard beach shots from my recent visit to Fuerteventura, I hope you enjoy them..
A trip to Iceland, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a place that has really captured my heart, Höfn. As we were driving down the east coast from Akureyri to Höfn, I found myself asking ‘what time will we be home’. I have made such good friends here and for a photographer, Höfn and the surrounding area, really takes some beating.
As we approached ‘home’ after a day photographing back along the east coast, the sun was low and preparing to set. The light was magical. I knew immediately that just after the tunnel, I would have to turn left and take the gravel road to Stokksnes. The last time I visited I was with my good friend Ronnie and being with a local, I was spared the 600 kr per person entry fee that Omar, the land owner has imposed on tourists. I must point out that this is extremely un-Icelandic behaviour and something that local people are horrified by but Omar is known for his love of the Krona so there it is, you pay to continue along the gravel road to this amazing beauty spot.
I paid my 600 kr and continued on my way but quickly became aware of someone in a pick-up truck persuing us. I pulled over and the truck pulled up. A man leaned out of the window claimed I hadn’t paid. This must be Omar I thought. He’d certainly checked that honesty box smartish. I did pay I explained, I put the money in your honesty box’. There’s a box outside the small cafe for you to pay should the cafe be closed. However what I hadn’t realised was Omar was now charging 600 kr per person and there were two of us in the car.
I handed over the money and asked ‘last time I was here with Ronnie from the village’, someone Omar knows well, ‘he took us to an old fishing boat’. ‘You want to take more pictures’ Omar asked. ‘I do’ I replied. ‘Follow me he said..’ He drove round the gate to the left that had a handmade sign strung across it. A read circle with a white band across it, ‘No Entry’ had been added at the bottom just in case someone might not have got the message.
We followed Omar around the gate and through a puddle that came half-way up Omars wheels so I was guessing a little higher on my rented Kia Sorento. Both myself and my passenger looked down to see if we were about to get wet feet. Not this time thankfully. On down the track Omar pulled up at the edge of the very shiny black sand. It was high tide. Something I only realised when we got to the edge. I could see the surf crashing not too far out.
‘I’ll leave you here’ Omar said. ‘Keep within 50 metres of the green and you’ll be OK’, the green being the marsh grasses to our left, ‘but don’t stop mind’ at this, Omar made gestures that left us in no doubt that we’d sink if we did. He reversed, smiling and waving. Did I detect a certain mischievousness to that smile? Surely not.
Behind us the sky was an amazing pink, ablaze as the sun was sinking lower. I took a deep breath, I’m a photographer, I need to get my picture, and drove onto the wet sand. The 4×4 was managing well, traction was good but the car felt the same way I’ve felt when walking across a very deep pile carpet, it was decidedly spongy. As I made my way from one raised bit of dry sand to another, I was beginning to think that maybe this time I’d gone too far.. I should have waited for Ronnie except Ronnie was in Paris. I was beginning to worry a little. We were driving through porridge. The spongy, squidginess of the going beneath us seemed to be increasing. I checked my distance from the ‘green’. I was about 25m away so apparently safe, nonetheless, I pressed the gass. Did Omar send us out here only to charge us an exorbitant fee for rescue? I banished the thought.
Thankfully, off in the distance I could see the track emerging from the sand and I knew we’d soon be on terra firma once more. I drove on to the small cove where I knew the boat lay. We made it! The light was beautiful but we were very aware of the crashing surf. It really looked as though the tide was still coming in.. Extra porridgey, spongy, squidginess to come.. Hmm. I didn’t relish the thought.
Below is one of the pictures I took that white knuckle late afternoon. I didn’t hang about. I was keen to get back across the sands. I began to worry that I’d never find that exit track in the gloom and we’d be left searching in the dark for a way off the sand. I was comforted, sort of, that Omar would still be watching. He wouldn’t wish us any harm I was sure. We set off back across the sand, hopping from one small island of higher drier sand to the next. Searching the horizon for the ‘exit’ I began to enjoy myself, weaving this way and that.
Passing the Viking Village on the right (A film set waiting for a film apparently) I knew it couldn’t be too much further when out of the gloom, I could see what looked like a track. Sure enough, in no time at all I was off the sand and on our way ‘home’. It was a big relief. At no time were we in physical danger I’m sure. Just in danger of getting stuck on the sand. Not a welcome thought as it was a lot further than I could manage to walk.
As we passed the cafe there was no sign of Omar’s truck. We hadn’t seen headlights departing as we approached dry land and we hadn’t passed it as we passed what I think was his house so at what point he’d left we just don’t know. I must add again, Omar is very much an exception. The Icelandic people are warm, friendly and extremely eager to help their ‘guests’ get the very most from their stays in Iceland.
14mm f/8 1/15 ISO-100.
I think I’ve mentioned before that we had an incredible September weatherwise here in Cornwall and with the summer tourist season over and most children back in school, the beaches were deserted.
These two girls were certainly making the most of this unusual freedom. A whole beach on which to play with mum and dad always in view. The sort of day that lifetime memories are made of. Click on the image for a sharper, clearer view.. :-)
I visited Trebarwith Strand a couple of weeks ago. It was blowing a gale, the sun was shining and the sea was rough. Lots of people were watching the spectacle, taking pictures with phones. Up on the rocks, a couple of youngsters were really not giving the sea ’nuff respect’ to use the colloquial expression.
Standing so close to the edge with a rising tide, these two were lucky to get a warning. The next wave may well have swept them into the sea..
Please give the sea the respect it deserves, always! Far too many people drown each year around the coast of Cornwall.
52mm f/16 1/125 sec. ISO-100
One of my new favourite places, Holywell Bay near Newquay in Cornwall. With a National Trust car park providing convenient parking, sand dunes, cliffs, rocky islands and the most amazing surf, this is a beach definitely worth a visit. More to follow. Click on the image for a sharper, clearer view.. :-)
It was a very early (3.30am) start again this morning to capture some photos as the sun came up. Standing on the beach in the dark, not a sound but the waves gently breaking in the distance as the tide was low, waiting for first light, all tension slipping away, I knew I would get a picture. I was again reminded that this is where I want to be. Under these conditions I can really engage creatively with my environment and as the birds started to sing and the first streaks of light appeared in the sky, my shutter started clicking.
We’re enjoying some lovely spring weather here in the UK and given the weather has been so poor the last five years, I feel I must take advantage. This shot was taken at Hawker’s Cove on the Camel Estuary. The village of Trebetherick can be seen on the opposite side of the river. It is at the village church, almost buried amongst the dunes, that the grave of the poet Sir John Betjeman can be found. I hope you enjoy the picture, I certainly enjoyed taking it! :-)
I was down on the beach at first light this morning and, unusually at this time, I was not alone. A fisherman was out in the surf casting for bass. He didn’t catch anything but as we were chatting, I suggested it wasn’t really about the fish though was it? To be out here at dawn surrounded by all this beauty, ‘No’ he agreed, it wasn’t about the fish. If he caught anything it was a bonus and I feel pretty much the same about my photography. If I get a picture it’s a bonus, as it was this morning, thanks in part to my new friend the fisherman and a rather impressive medium format Phase One 645 DF camera, a P45+ digital back and a Schneider Kreuznach LS 28mm f/4.5 Aspherical lens but more about all that another time. For now, I hope you enjoy the picture. I certainly enjoyed taking it. ;-)
28mm f/11 4 sec. ISO-1oo
By the way, my new site, cornwallphotographicsales.com is progressing nicely up the page rankings thanks to all your visits. Please keep visiting though, I’ve a little way to go yet. Just click on the logo and take a look around the site, you’d be most welcome. ;-)
Arriving at Porthnanven in the Cot Valley at around 4.45am last Friday, having got up at 3 :|, I was rewarded with a very near full moon shining on the sea turning it a steely blue. I was soon joined by fellow blogger, Poppy and we quickly set about unpacking gear. We were both struggling to take our eyes off such a beautiful scene while getting tripods fixed and focus points found with the help of a torch, shining on the giant sized pebbles. With the waves crashing and the good ozone filling our lungs, it was difficult not to just sit, drinking it all in.
We were there to take photographs however and we set to it. Not having taken this kind of shot before, it was all a bit experimental but I’m quite pleased with the result. Waiting out the full 5 minute exposure, by the time I’d done a quick check and thought, ‘I’ll try a few more of those, perhaps a slightly longer exposure and a very short one to give me two images I can merge in Photoshop’, the clouds rolled in and this turned out to be my one shot at getting it right. I’d have liked the opportunity to merge a couple of images to give a nice clear, crisp moon but.. Well, I’ll be back. I hope you enjoy the picture .. ;-)
I’m having serious problems publishing at the moment. This post didn’t go out as it should. I have contacted WordPress but no reply so far so I’m going to republish. If you get the post twice my aplogies.. :|
I was on the beach at 4.45am yesterday for a dawn shoot. The surf was probably around 4ft so quite rough and as is the way with the sea, every now and again, and in a very random way, a much larger series of waves would surge in. I know this about the sea of course, I’ve been wet any number of times before, but as the intrepid photographer that I am ;-) I’m always keen to get as close and as low to the surf as possible. I got wet again.
As I set my tripod down, preparing to take another series of shots and with my back turned to the beach while I exchanged a few words with fellow blogger Poppy, one of those much larger waves put in and appearance, soaking me to the waist.
With the wave trying to knock me off my feet, I managed to hang on to the camera and tripod and take a shot. I’m very glad my camera and lens are weather sealed and both came through the ordeal unharmed.
I’ll be posting more (if WordPress fix my feed) from an extraordinary week of photography I shared with fellow blogger, Poppytump, in the coming days and weeks. I’m still having real problems with WordPress so please bear with me…
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… ;-)
Dawn really has become my favourite time of day of late and my experiences yesterday morning just confirmed my belief that there is nothing quite so glorious as sitting on a beach, on rocks or on the top of a cliff waiting to greet a brand new day with your camera primed.
This is a series of photographs, some long exposures, some regular shots that document the changing light over the course of about 45 minutes as the sun rose. I used a graduated neutral density filter to allow for a balanced exposure given the brightness of the sky, shooting directly into the sun.
If you’re thinking of buying a set of graduated neutral density filters, I wouldn’t bother with the soft variety. It’s important to position a hard graduated filter correctly to ensure you don’t get a line across your picture but I don’t believe a soft grad ND filter is a substitute for not positioning your filter correctly in the first place.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. Click for a clearer sharper view.. :-)
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.
I need to apologise for apparently not visiting your blogs lately. I have been, only my presence has not been registering. I liked too many of your posts in too short a time frame apparently. This is what happened. Not wanting blogging to totally dominate every waking hour, I thought I could perhaps spend a few hours, a couple of times a week, going through your blogs, I thought I’d cracked the blog/life equation.
However, WordPress had other ideas. In order to prevent what the ‘Happiness Engineers’ term ‘Spam likers’, you can only press the like button so many times within a given time frame before your like button becomes inoperable and you are labelled – spam liker. How many likes this is and what the time frame is, I don’t know and WordPress aren’t telling me but my like button has been disabled for some time now. I’ve been deemed to be liking you all too much.
I’ve been happily reading your posts and liking them but these likes have been considered spam and have not been registering.
I happen to follow the blogs of a select number of very talented photographers and writers and press the like button to show my appreciation. Why wouldn’t I? And because I do this in the course of a couple of hours rather than popping back every hour or so, I’ve had my like button taken away. I questioned WordPress. I asked if it was the case then that I could only like some of the blogs I follow, ‘Yes’ was the answer. If and when I get my like button back, I don’t quite know how I’m going to choose.
Some of you have been telling me you have been unable to comment or like my posts. Perhaps any likes on my posts have been deemed the result of me liking too many of your posts and that would be why you haven’t been able to let me know what you think lately. Who knows?
Anyway, can’t let all that get me down and I hope you can forgive my apparent absence. It’s still summer here in Cornwall after nearly a whole week of fine days. Unprecedented in recent years. Enjoying the weather, I was on my way back from an appointment with a book binder when I had to stop the car and snap this shot. There will be hoards of sunseekers heading to Cornwall this weekend. This is a clue as to why. No colour enhancement necessary. I feel so privileged to live in Cornwall as followers of my blog will know. Even more so when the sun shines..
24mm f/18 1/60 sec. ISO 100