Have a Great Sunday
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It’s amazing what you can find if you look close enough. This part of the north coast of Cornwall is well known for its unusual rock formations, but we tend to view them standing back a few yards as we take in the overall shape and marvel at what the forces of nature can wrought. However if you take a moment to look really closely a whole different world will open up. This is just one of the images I made on my recent Widemouth Bay shoot, I could have chosen from at least a dozen, but I think this one best illustrates the point I want to make. The image is chaotic, but after a few moments of looking at it some order starts to appear. There are geometric shapes – circles, lines and polygrams, the image has two distinct areas – The lower two-thirds comprises an inner circle with concentric rings around it, while the upper half is more chaotic, but still retaining some basic shapes. It took me a long time to select this particular area to photograph, it was only by adjusting the composition in the viewfinder, sometimes by minute amounts that the image finally took shape and led me to what I feel is a satisfying composition.
Focussing a relatively flat surface from close-up, where none of the features are particularly sharp can be quite difficult, so if you are in the same position here’s a little tip. You need something to focus on so here I used one of my cards which has some writing on, I placed it on the surface, focussed on that then removed it. This meant that everything on the same plane as the card would be in focus, quite handy and very quick to carry out.
I have visited this location many times but the day I took this image I think the quality of light I had made it one of the best ever. Practically wherever I pointed the camera I couldn’t fail but make a memorable picture, and this image was one of the best. The dramatic clouds were an unexpected bonus and they seem to almost have a 3D effect in this picture. Luckily there were enough gaps in the clouds to allow some sunlight through, one of which has caught the shoreline and breaking wave. I even had the luck to get some pictures with what I call ‘God Light’ – you know where the suns rays have punched a hole in the clouds and a beam of light is shining down onto the surface. Maybe I will put one of those up tomorrow – in the meantime please enjoy.
Another from my Widemouth Bay shoot. Not much to say about this one only that I love the cloud formation in this one. That dark cloud to the top left helps the composition and I like the pink and orange tinges to the edges of the clouds. I have positioned the horizon on the top third of the image which gives me plenty of detail in the fore and mid ground. If I was bing picky I would have liked the tide to have been in a little further which would have given me some wave detail, but although the tide was on the way in sunset came before I could take advantage of that.
This is the second image from my shoot at Widemouth Bay. I had previously visited this spot and made a mental note to return for this shot, and although the light was not that good on my arrival I noticed there was a break in the clouds towards the horizon which might provide for a dramatic shot as he sun began to set. I set my tripod up in the middle of the maram grass and focussed on the middle distance with a small aperture to maximise the depth of field. I think the dark cloud, punctuated by the orange glow of the setting sun gave me the drama I was seeking.
An image from a recent shoot at Widemouth Bay, Near Bude on the North Cornish Coast. You find this sort of rock formation all along this part of the coast, at locations such as Sandymouth, Duckpool, Millook Haven and Welcombe Mouth in Devon. I find them endlessly fascinating and never tire of shooting them, though I can understand that the viewer may be wondering why I might want to do that, and I will try and answer that here. For me these formations, or indeed any feature that has been made by the action of natural forces; wind, the action of the sea, volcanic or seismic disruption have a primeval quality that can not be manufactured by the hand of man. One can stand beside these rocks and imagine that this was the landscape after the last ice age and how it will be for many thousands of years into the future, they have a timeless quality.
The shot was taken late in the afternoon just prior to sunset and I was particularly lucky to get the pink tinged clouds as a few minutes later the sun disappeared behind a big bank of dark cloud on the horizon, putting paid to any thoughts of getting a nice sunset shot. I used a wide angle lens to get as much of the foreground in as possible and chose the portrait format to concentrate the image onto the formations a they run towards the sea leading your eye into the picture.
I love the rock formations you find all around the Cornish Coast and this one is typical of this area of North Cornwall. I used my 105mm telephoto a I wanted to isolate this image from its surroundings, and to elliminate the distortion you get when using a wide-angle lens. It was a bright overcast day which I find ideal for taking this type of picture as basically the sky acts as a giant softbox giving you soft even light. I think this was the most interesting part of the formation as there is a variety of textures, fissures and shapes you can find in the image. I am no geologist but this is obviously some type of sedimentary rock which over the millennia has been folded and tipped from the horizontal to provide this interesting shape.
Note the small stone in the upper right – I promise I did not put it there and although its perfectly possible that somebody else did I like to think that it landed there having been picked up by a wave and deposited in this position.