Mawgan Porth Beach

Mawgan Porth Beach - Mawgan Porth, Near Newquay, Mid Cornwall (David Carvey)

Mawgan Porth Beach - Mawgan Porth, Near Newquay, Mid Cornwall

This is Mawgan Porth Beach taken on a cold winter’s day in the late afternoon, although by the bright blue sky and the sun reflecting off the sand you’d be forgiven for thinking it was taken on a summers day. Of course what would give it away is the complete absence of a living soul to be found in the image, which would not be the case in summer as Mawgan Porth is a very popular holiday destination.

Winter is a great time to be out on photographic shoots in Cornwall, provided you get some good light, and as an added bonus you are very likely to get a shot of a beach without a single footprint, as here.

Evening at Porthcothan Bay, Near Padstow, North Cornwall

Evening at Porthcothan Bay, Near Padstow, North Cornwall (David Carvey)

Evening at Porthcothan Bay, Near Padstow, North Cornwall

This is Porthcothan on the North Cornwall coast which is a little north of Bedruthan Steps. I remember this evening shoot particularly as there was a bitterly cold breeze coming off the sea. It was getting towards sunset and because of the haze colour was permeating the sky to my left and reflecting off the wet sand in the foreground. There are some substantial stacks similar to those at Bedruthan Steps dotted around the beach including one known as Wills Rock which you can see in the distance adjacent to the headland. Porthcothan is a great family beach and with Easter nearly upon us one to put on your list for places to visit this coming weekend.

To see more images from my Porthcothan Bay Gallery – Click Here

Sunset – Trevone, North Cornwall

Sunset - Trevone, North Cornwall (David Carvey)

Sunset - Trevone, North Cornwall

Trevone is a popular holiday destination on the north Cornish coast just west of Padstow. It has a lovely west facing beach, but the location for this shot was a little west of the main beach. Having previously scouted the area I had settled on this spot as having the the best mix of elements for the shot I had in mind. There is a substantial slate shelf that forms the foreshore at this point, so my tripod was firmly planted which I would need for the technique I was going to use. After composing the image and setting the focus I fixed my 10 stop neutral density filter to my wide-angle lens set to 25mm. The resultant exposure was 2.5 seconds at f16 which would give me adequate depth of field and the shutter would be open long enough to blur the waves in the foreground. This is the resultant shot.

The 10 stop neutral density filter is a beast as I bought the largest diameter version to cover all my lenses with the use of stepper rings to adapt it to each lens. For those not familiar with this accessory it comprises a round piece of optical glass which looks almost black and when looking through the viewfinder you can hardly make out anything, it is so dark. The point of this is that the filter cuts out a lot of light and extends the time the shutter needs to be open to capture anything, and the longer the shutter is open the more movement is blurred. Originally used for looking into the depths of blast furnaces the filter is strong enough to cut down the extremely bright light emanating from the furnace. It has been adapted for photographic purposes and now is widely used as a creative device placed between the subject and the lens. What is meant by 10 stop, well put simply it means that a shot that would need 1/4 second of exposure normally would need 4 minutes with this filter. With the length of time the shutter is open in this example any movement becomes blurred, and if the shutter were open long enough a person walking in front of your camera would not even register on the image. If you are interested in this type of filter have a look at this page for information and comparative reviews.

Click Here to view more images in my Trevone Gallery

Chapel Rock Reflection – Perranporth, Mid Cornwall

Chapel Rock Reflection, Perranporth, Mid Cornwall (David Carvey)

Chapel Rock Reflection, Perranporth, Mid Cornwall

This image looks as if it was taken on a hot summers day in August, when in fact I took this on Boxing Day a couple of years ago. Yes it is possible to have sunny days in winter, but that clear blue sky is often accompanied by a freezing northerly wind. In fact Winter is a great time for photography – the sun never climbs very high in the sky, sunrise and sunset is at a more civilised time and there is always the chance of extreme weather conditions to give a touch of the dramatic to an image.

Anyway here I was at Perranporth on a blue sky winters day – what can I take ? Well Perranporth offers a wealth of opportunities from a huge stretch of dunes covered in maram grass, surfers (even on a winters day), a huge stretch of beach at low tide and the iconic Arch Rock and Chapel Rock. This is a simple picture with just the rock placed almost dead centre in the composition. The low sun has bathed the rock in a warm light and so I waited for a wave to make its way towards me so that the beach between my position and the rock was covered in a film of water revealing the reflection. I had to wait for the right wave for only a few minutes, though in that time I managed to get my shoes full of water, making for an uncomfortable drive home, but in the end I was pleased with my day at the seaside.

To see more of my pictures of Perranporth – Click Here

Sunset from Bude Breakwater – Bude, North Cornwall

Sunset from Bude Breakwater - Bude, North Cornwall (David Carvey)

Sunset from Bude Breakwater - Bude, North Cornwall

I love taking sunset shots (You can view more HERE) for a number of reasons. First there is the technical challenge – balancing the exposure for a bright sky against a darker foreground means I have to assess and apply the correct filtration to get a natural effect. Secondly the colours produced can be sublime and are always different with each shot. Thirdly there is often the sheer luck you sometimes need to get a satisfying result – many times I have gone to a location hoping to catch the sunset only to be disappointed when the sun disappears behind a heavy bank of cloud on the horizon – but when the conditions come together it a thrilling experience. With experience I have become more adept at spotting good sunset conditions – the best conditions occur when there is some cloud in the sky because as the sun sinks below the horizon it starts to light up the underside of the clouds giving you some wonderfully colourful scenes

This location is Bude Breakwater which stands at the entrance to the beach and was built to provide a sheltered area before the Bude Canal sea lock so ships could manoeuvre in safety. Although the marker and the rocks it stands on are in silhouette I am not too perturbed about that as it provides an easily distinguishable shape. The rocks in the foreground are mainly boulders that have been arranged on the breakwater to provide it with protection against the elements, they slope down towards the sea and so reflect quite a bit of the light from the sky. This location is best approached at low tide and you should be able to get a good sunset shot at almost any time of the year – so why not take yourself along there one evening.

To see more shots from Bude including some taken on the same evening as this one – Click Here

Sunset – Lundy Bay, Polzeath, North Cornwall

Sunset, Lundy Bay, Polzeath, North Cornwall (David Carvey)

Sunset, Lundy Bay, Polzeath, North Cornwall

Here we are in the depths of winter, the outside temperature was -9 C this morning and I’ve already gone through two cans of de-icer this week. It’s at times like these that you start to look forward to the summer, and just to remind me of what it feels like I brought up this picture from the archive. In truth this image looks as if it could have been taken at any time of the year, when in actual fact to get this picture from this location I only had a two week window of opportunity around Midsummer in June. The location is Lundy Bay which is situated about a mile outside New Polzeath and to get to it you will need to park in the National Trust car park on the left, cross the road and walk about half a mile down to the bay. When you get to the beach there is a short scrabble over some rocks and boulders to get onto the sandy part of the beach. The bay faces almost due north so a sunset shot is only attainable in late June to early July. I had previously consulted the tide table and picked out a day when the tide would be at its lowest ebb around 10.00pm and was lucky enough to get this sunset image.

It was a beautiful warm evening, there was absolutely nobody else about so I had the whole location to myself and I continued taking pictures well after the sun had set. I reluctantly left to walk back up the hill to the car using my torch to pick my way through the path. This is one of the pleasures of Landscape photography, to be at one with your surroundings with no distractions, just concentrating on making images is for me total bliss and that people enjoy viewing my work just adds to the satisfaction I gain from it. So if you too are feeling the cold just now remember that summer is not that far off and start thinking about making your own adventures.

Click here to view more of my images from Lundy Bay including more sunsets taken on the same day as this one.

Breaking Wave – Trebarwith Strand, Tintagel, North Cornwall

Breaking Wave - Trebarwith Strand, Tintagel, North Cornwall (David Carvey)

Breaking Wave - Trebarwith Strand, Tintagel, North Cornwall

Trebarwith Strand is a favourite Cornish location among photographers and I have visited on many occasions – in every season and at different times of the day. If you like taking sunset pictures then it is an ideal location with its slate shelf leading on to the beach and the iconic Gull Rock offshore. Incidentally it is worth taking note of the tide tables as at high tide the beach practically disappears and you could be crammed into a small space with half a dozen other photographers and assorted holidaymakers trying to get the best spot to take the sunset

Luckily I didn’t have to use my elbows to take this picture as it was made on an early spring day in mid afternoon. I set the tripod up on the slate shelf and focused on the rocks in the fore and mid ground with Lower Penhallic Point off in the distance. In order to get everything in focus I set a small aperture of f16 and waited for a wave to break on the rocks ahead, and at just the right moment pressed the shutter and got this image. The breaking wave is an important element in the image as it provides a viewer with a point of interest, the foreground rocks leading the eye through the picture and then the headland beyond. Imagine the wave wasn’t there or put your fingers over the wave on the screen and you will see what I mean. I could have wished for a bigger wave perhaps but it simply wasn’t that sort of day and sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Sunset – Sharrow Point, Whitsand Bay, S.E.Cornwall

Sharrow Point
Its a little while since my last post but I’m gearing up for a site overhaul so this is just an interim post to keep things going. This was taken at Sharrow Point, near Freathy on the Rame Peninsula in South East Cornwall. I went there with my friend Graham and although the sunset was not the best, too little cloud in the sky, I thought this image came out well. I like the band of pink on the horizon and with the tide being out exposing the rocks on the beach, I like the purple hues on the sand. Notice that I have placed the horizon on the upper third of the image, I did this so that I would have more of the rock features in the image and less of the blue sky. I was careful where I placed the tripod as I didn’t want to get any footmarks in the sand showing up on the image, I was also careful where I walked prior to setting up for the same reason. I continued taking photographs after the sun had disappeared below the horizon as you can sometimes get some superb colours in the afterglow.