Random Cornwall

Whilst writing Random Dorset, I realised I still had a large archive of images from my 2013 holiday to Cornwall that had been (mostly) edited but never released, for the same reasons that led to the creation of the Dorset post. So I delved into my rarely-opened Aperture Library – and suffered through some painful computer problems in the process as this was before my sickly computer had been ostensibly fixed – to dig out some of the photographs I took in Cornwall that didn’t fit into the other posts I published a few years ago.

I should add, as these were taken almost three years ago, my recollection of where some of them were taken might be a bit hazy, and I was shooting on some slightly older gear, namely the 18-135mm and Nifty Fifty which have since been replaced by my 24-105mm and 50mm f/1.4 respectively.

The very first photograph I took on the holiday, not long after arriving in Tintagel after a long old drive, was of this old abandoned door in what seemed to be the town hall.

1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm

At some point we visited a rocky bay somewhere (sorry, I did warn I’d be vague), where my wife and father-in-law stood in the rain with my in-laws’ dogs looking at the sea.

1/2500, f/4, ISO 400, 25mm
1/2500, f/4, ISO 400, 25mm

Many years previously, something happened at this beach of sorts. I have no idea what, or why the date of July 22nd 1971 is so important to someone.

1/160, f/4.5, ISO 100, 25mm
1/160, f/4.5, ISO 100, 25mm

The trek along to the beach, assuming I’m talking about the same beach here, included a narrow jetty that, during low tide, wasn’t surrounded by any water at all. It did, however, make for a nice leading line photograph.

1/640, f/4.5, ISO 100, 28mm
1/640, f/4.5, ISO 100, 28mm

Another day, another bay, and better weather, and the sort of geography that makes Cornwall so stunning.

1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 47mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 47mm
f/5.6, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 125, 18mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 125, 18mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 125, 18mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 125, 18mm (HDR)

As you can see, it turns out using HDR bracketed exposures can make it look a lot more Mediterranean than in fact it was. It wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to capture sea and clouds in the same image (nowadays I’d just do that with a single raw exposure and bring in the highlights and shadows for a more natural look).

On one day, we took a walk to a place unimaginably called Rocky Valley, at least on Google Maps (I seem to recall it having a more traditional name at the time). The walk to the sea, down said rocky valley, took us through some forested section, with old abandoned stone houses and far more modern things hanging from trees. There was quite the Blair Witch vibe.

1/100, f/3.5, ISO 500, 18mm
1/100, f/3.5, ISO 500, 18mm
f/3.5, ISO 500, 18mm (HDR)
f/3.5, ISO 500, 18mm (HDR)
1/20, f/4.5, ISO 500, 37mm
1/20, f/4.5, ISO 500, 37mm
1/40, f/4.5, ISO 800, 33mm
1/40, f/4.5, ISO 800, 33mm
1/200, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm
1/200, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm
1/125, f/3.5, ISO 400, 18mm
1/125, f/3.5, ISO 400, 18mm
1/100, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/100, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm

We rarely strayed far from the river that had carved the valley. The greyness of the day and the foliage meant it wasn’t too difficult to get some long exposures of the water without needing a ND filter (useful since I didn’t own one at the time).

1sec, f/29, ISO 100, 47mm
1sec, f/29, ISO 100, 47mm
1sec, f/22, ISO 100, 18mm
1sec, f/22, ISO 100, 18mm

There was also some colourful spiky flora.

1/50, f/5, ISO 100, 41mm
1/50, f/5, ISO 100, 41mm

Before long we saw the sight we were there for.

1/160, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/160, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

Whilst Holly and I sat taking things in a bit, my in-laws continued on with their dogs, letting me get a shot that conveys some sense of scale.

f/5.6, ISO 100, 62mm (HDR)
f/5.6, ISO 100, 62mm (HDR)

With all the water pouring down the valley I decided to try some more long exposures. Again, this is before I knew of ND filters, so the exposures aren’t hugely long, but I’m pleased I managed to get such decent result handheld with only normal glass in front of my sensor.

1sec, f/25, ISO 100, 25mm
1sec, f/25, ISO 100, 25mm
1sec, f/29, ISO 100, 36mm
1sec, f/29, ISO 100, 36mm

Where the valley met the sea was rather beautiful.

1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 19mm
1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 19mm

At this point, where the valley met the sea, the valley turned more into a trench, with steep walls on either side of the water.

1.3sec, f/22, ISO 100, 18mm
1.3sec, f/22, ISO 100, 18mm

Contrary to the long exposure shots, I also got a high speed shot of the water tumbling over the rocks.

1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 79mm
1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 79mm

On the walk back, I saw an angle of a bridge I’d missed on the journey down.

1sec, f/25, ISO 100, 31mm
1sec, f/25, ISO 100, 31mm

I also liked the look of the road where we parked.

f/4.5, ISO 100, 37mm (HDR)
f/4.5, ISO 100, 37mm (HDR)

On another day we took a trip down to Tintagel Castle. I became a bit enamoured with this ‘beware falling rocks’ sign, bolted into the rock face in a way that can surely only cause more rockslides.

1/1600, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm
1/1600, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm
1/1600, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm
1/1600, f/3.5, ISO 800, 18mm

I can’t decide if I prefer the landscape or portrait shot (due to the rock formations in each). In each shot I’ve used a desaturation brush to monochrome the rock face whilst leaving the sign untouched.

Outside a pottery shop in Tintagel – no, not that one – I found a rusty watering can that produced a picture very in keeping of the ‘random’ remit of this post.

1/125, f/5.6, ISO 100, 18mm
1/125, f/5.6, ISO 100, 18mm

One day we visited the town of Mevagissey – primarily to see the Model Railway Museum – we also took a walk around their harbour on what was a grey and soon to be drizzly day.

1/125, f/3.5, ISO 100, 20mm
1/125, f/3.5, ISO 100, 20mm
1/80, f/3.5, ISO 100, 20mm
1/80, f/3.5, ISO 100, 20mm

One of the interesting things that caught my eye just as it started raining was the rope mooring this boat. It was stopping the ripples caused by the wind, creating an unnatural-looking divide.

1/200, f/4, ISO 100, 29mm
1/200, f/4, ISO 100, 29mm
1/160, f/5, ISO 100, 42mm
1/160, f/5, ISO 100, 42mm
1/500, f/4.5, ISO 100, 39mm
1/500, f/4.5, ISO 100, 39mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 52mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 52mm
1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/800, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/200, f/5.6, ISO 100, 67mm
1/200, f/5.6, ISO 100, 67mm
1/500, f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm
1/500, f/4.5, ISO 100, 38mm
1/125, f/5, ISO 100, 41mm
1/125, f/5, ISO 100, 41mm
1/125, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm
1/125, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm

During the week we stayed in Cornwall we visited quite a few locations, scattered all over the county. As I said at the outset, after over three years my recollection of where we visited when is lost to time, which is why so many of these paragraphs start ‘one day we visited’. That said, these images are all being posted in more or less chronological order, and I suppose I could go into the metadata to piece together things a bit more precisely, but I’m not sure it would serve any decent purpose other than giving me something to open paragraphs with other than ‘one day we visited’.

By which I of course mean I want to start this next paragraph with something other than ‘one day we visited’ but I can’t think of anything decent.

One day we visited the small town of Polperro (sigh. Look, I’m still pretty rusty at this writing lark). It’s quite a pretty place, a small town on the coast with a small river running through, one of those Cornish towns that looks like it’s not changed fundamentally in centuries.

1/320, f/3.5, ISO 125, 18mm
1/320, f/3.5, ISO 125, 18mm
1/320, f/4.5, ISO 125, 36mm
1/320, f/4.5, ISO 125, 36mm

The river was one of those small, hidden-behind-houses rivers.

1/80, f/4, ISO 125, 26mm
1/80, f/4, ISO 125, 26mm

In keeping with the randomness of this post, we visited Trebarwith Sands a couple of times during the week we were there – this is the only photo I took I’m sure was taken there (I suspect some of the shots at the top of this post might have ben from round there).

1/40, f/4, ISO 400, 26mm
1/40, f/4, ISO 400, 26mm

On one of our busiest days of the holiday, Holly and I got up early to drive the 70-odd miles to Land’s End, the most westerly point of the mainland British Isles. The theory being we were rarely so close, and it would be good to go and have a look, and if nothing else say we’d been there (we also planned to take a scenic route back, visiting various other stops on the way – this wasn’t a go all the way there, have a look and come back trip).

As it turns out, Land’s End is a pretty beautiful place.

1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 25mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 25mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm

At Land’s End, aside from a major A-road that turns into a car park with little warning and a weird amusement-cum-shopoping village with gift shops, film shows and exhibitions, is the First and Last Refreshment House in England. Fortunately it was far enough away from a lot of the other nonsense to get some clean photos of it looking truly isolated.

1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 24mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 24mm

The cliffs there were apparently dangerous.

1/1250, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/1250, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 180mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 180mm

Also at Land’s End, as you’d expect for a rocky protuberance into the Atlantic, there was a lighthouse. This one isn’t on the mainland, but on a separate rocky island a little further out.

1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

Lighthouses and rest houses aside, there was also an amount of the usual coastal things I love to photograph, like boats…

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

… and seagulls…

1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

… and my wife looking bored.

1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 57mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 57mm

And also, for no particular reason, me reflected in Holly’s sunglasses.

1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 67mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 67mm

We went for a bit of a wander along the coast, never more aware whilst walking a coast path that if we wandered too far we’d end up back where we started eventually.

1/400, f/5, ISO 100, 180mm
1/400, f/5, ISO 100, 180mm

The stroll gave me plenty of opportunities to photograph the coast.

1/1600, f/5, ISO 100, 29mm
1/1600, f/5, ISO 100, 29mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 48mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 48mm

Along the way we found that somebody had taken the time to do a rock sculpture. Not a particularly impressive one, but it was at least made up of rocks of different types, colours and textures.

1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm

On our roundabout way back to our Cornish base – which also included a trip to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary – we stopped by the village of Lizard to visit Lizard Point, which is the most southerly point on the mainland British Isles (we also had a nice meal in a pub in the village). In one day we visited the most westerly and southerly points of the British Isles; I’d already visited the most easterly point in Suffolk many years prior. I’m hoping at some point in the not-too-distant future I’ll be able to visit Dunnet Head in northern Scotland and complete the full set.

I stopped to take a photograph of the landscape, and some people just completely oblivious walked into my shot and started taking pictures of my own. So I guess they wanted to be in my picture.

1/200, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm
1/200, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm

I waited patiently for them to bugger off so I could get the shot I was intending to get.

1/200, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm
1/200, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm

I’m not sure it was worth it. This shot would have been a lot better with an interesting sky.

We continued to walk the path to the point itself, and I came across a gate that gave an interesting foreground to the coast in the background.

1/250, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm
1/250, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm

A little further on we found a field of buttercups, and I took a HDR shot to add some drama to the sky.

f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)

We got to the point itself, and I let Holly have her moment.

1/1250, f/8, ISO 100, 87mm
1/1250, f/8, ISO 100, 87mm
1/800, f/8, ISO 100, 39mm
1/800, f/8, ISO 100, 39mm
f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/8, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)

The wind was something else up there, the largely unimpeded Atlantic winds doing their best to blow us back inland.

The sights were pretty good too.

1/400, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm
1/400, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm

The last shot I took, apparently of the whole holiday (apart from any others I’ve posted separately) was of a gate on the way back.

1/160, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm
1/160, f/8, ISO 100, 18mm

And that rounds out the images from my trip to Cornwall. It’s not usual for me to sit on images for so long, but with an unsorted pile of photographs such as this, other more interesting (and to be honest, ready) posts ended up getting in the way until they were forgotten about. In this case, they ended up wallowing in my Aperture library after I’d switched to Lightroom, so they fell off my radar almost completely. I still have other sets of images like this, sitting away in an old piece of software I rarely use any more, hoping some time to see the light of day. I’m sure they will.

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