Cornish Seascape Adventures
12/08/12Cornwall’s spectacular coastline offers me almost every kind of seascape location. From sweeping golden beaches to tiny hidden bays, towering rugged cliffs to sleepy silent estuaries, this magical county is a photographer’s dreamland.
I first came here on holiday when I was fourteen. Staying in the little fishing harbour of Porthleven, I made friends with a fisherman’s son and had an adventure-filled fortnight going out in his father’s boat. I became enthralled by places such as St. Michael’s Mount, Porthcurno, Sennen Cove and Loe Bar and have been going back at every opportunity ever since.
The great thing photography-wise, is when you know your way around Cornwall, you can take advantage of the time of year, time of day, tidal times and of course, the often temperamental weather conditions. Even in the height of Summer, when heaving with holidaymakers, I can navigate from East coast to North, without seeing a soul in my viewfinder. Catching the dawn on The Lizard. Climbing down to a deserted sandy cove in the morning. Perching on a rocky outcrop overhanging plummeting cliffs at noon. Sitting in sand dunes along an estuary in the afternoon. Shooting the setting sun’s reflections in a vast swathe of Atlantic coast beach in the evening. Whatever the season, I can enjoy a perfect day's photographic adventure.
Luckily, I don’t mind shooting in the rain, so, as long as there’s some textural detail in the clouds, I’m usually happy. However, if the sky where I am is flat and uninteresting, or it's lashing down, I will drive up to Bodmin moor. From up there, if the cloud base isn't too low, you can survey almost 90% the county. I often find this high moorland 'backbone' somehow divides the weather systems coming off the Atlantic and I can take advantage of the more promising conditions, on one side of the road or the other.
Winter is perhaps my favourite time in Cornwall. There's a fabulous wildness to the dark, moody seas and even the most popular beaches and locations are often deserted. I've yet to capture a storm in full-blow but I managed to get a favourite shot on Marazion last November as the weather cleared - see 'Winter Storm Passing' in the Seascapes, Sunrises and Sunsets gallery. You can just make out St. Michael's Mount in the crashing surf as it pounds the weed-strewn sands. Also, early one March morning I had a wonderful time down at Porthcurno, when the clouds broke and I got an award-winning shot. Check out the 'Cornish Point of View Awards' gallery to see the image.
Even though I know the Cornish coast relatively well, I always take my OS Explorer maps on my travels. For there are literally hundreds of tracks and paths leading to hidden-away coastal features. So, if other people are around, I’ll head off down one of these. My Kayak also lets me reach places no one else can. With the camera gear stashed in my waterproof rucksack (and having checked the shipping forecast and told my better-half where I’m heading for) I can paddle away for distant coves to get unique perspectives on this beautiful coastline.
When we drove back from Porthleven all those years ago, I announced to my family that I’d live in Cornwall one day. And now, with my Cornish-born girlfriend wanting to return home and my own children grown-up and flown the nest, I’ve put the house on the market and am ready for the next big Cornish adventure to begin.