Pic­ture per­fect Pad­stow

David Chap­man turns his lens on Pad­stow

Cornwall Life - - INSIDE -

Pad­stow is a bril­liant base for a pho­to­graphic trip, whether that’s a full-blown hol­i­day or sim­ply a day out. Not only is it packed to the gun­nels with trendy eater­ies, charm­ing back streets and a pho­to­genic har­bour but from it lead a net­work of paths, cy­cle ways and boats which al­low vis­i­tors to ex­plore and pho­to­graph the sur­round­ing area in a mul­ti­tude of ways. In this ar­ti­cle I aim to share some of my own ex­pe­ri­ences of pho­tograph­ing in and around Pad­stow.

I said in my in­tro that the har­bour in Pad­stow is pho­to­genic and that is the way I al­ways think of it, but hav­ing said that I al­ways strug­gle to find the ‘per­fect’ com­po­si­tion. There are some lovely old build­ings around the har­bour, par­tic­u­larly on the west side, and a good range of boats in the wa­ter which is of­ten calm enough to pro­vide won­der­ful re­flec­tions. The early morn­ing light can be fan­tas­tic and I love pho­tograph­ing har­bours at dusk when the street­lights have just come on. So what is the prob­lem? I al­ways like to in­clude fore­ground in­ter­est in a land­scape photo and I have al­ways found that a strug­gle at Pad­stow har­bour. The big boats are too close and too big to use; the small boats are too small and too far away to be clearly de­fined but be­fore I start to sound too much like Goldilocks I think I should move on, there are plenty more fish to fry in Pad­stow.

Should the weather be stormy I rec­om­mend a drive out to Trevose Head. Here it is pos­si­ble to get big waves break­ing in Stink­ing Cove with the light­house in the back­ground. Also from here it is a short walk around the coast path to Pad­stow Lifeboat House. On the cliffs near Merope Rocks there are nest­ing ful­mars which can be pho­tographed with a tele­photo lens and of­ten there are shags on the rocks nearby, but take care on the cliff edge. Con­tin­u­ing along the coast path the views over Mother Ivey’s Bay from the cliff top are stun­ning and it is pos­si­ble to cut across to Booby’s Bay to com­plete a won­der­ful cir­cu­lar walk.

I hope we have fine sunny weather rather than storms, but you never know. If it is sunny and calm then I rec­om­mend a boat trip. One of the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing

‘At about the one hour mark I spot­ted a dol­phin off the star­board bow and within ten min­utes it had brought all its friends to come and play around us.’

boat trips of my life was on the Pad­stow Sea Life Sa­fari RIB. A few years ago in sum­mer I went out on a three hour cruise look­ing for wildlife and we found it, or more ac­cu­rately, it found us!

For the first hour our trip was dom­i­nated by seabirds,

par­tic­u­larly the large rafts of Manx shear­wa­ters. At about the one hour mark I spot­ted a dol­phin off the star­board bow and within ten min­utes it had brought all its friends to come and play around us. It is dif­fi­cult to say why dolphins are so ap­peal­ing but the group of my boat trip were en­tranced, en­chanted and en­thralled.

My trip on The Ju­bilee Queen was slightly less ex­hil­a­rat­ing but very en­joy­able. Be­ing early in July we were lucky enough to see the last of the puffins on The Mouls (but not close enough to pho­to­graph) and gen­er­ally had a re­lax­ing trip pho­tograph­ing the coast.

I have also ex­plored the es­tu­ary by kayak, which in late sum­mer al­lowed me to pho­to­graph the sand­wich terns and Mediter­ranean gulls which rest on the buoys in the es­tu­ary. Tak­ing pho­tos from a kayak has its chal­lenges, though, and with ex­pen­sive gear the risk is ob­vi­ous.

There is a reg­u­lar ferry across the es­tu­ary to Rock from where it is pos­si­ble to walk through the dunes to St En­odoc Church. The church, rest­ing place of Sir John Bet­je­man, is de­light­ful and pho­to­genic, pro­vid­ing you have a very wide-an­gle lens, but for me the high­lights are the wild­flow­ers and but­ter­flies of the dunes.

July is a great time to ex­plore the dunes, it is the peak flow­er­ing time for the pyra­mi­dal orchid and other flow­ers to look out for in­clude viper’s bu­gloss, ivy broom­rape, eye­bright, wild thyme and knap­weed. But­ter­flies en­joy feed­ing on knap­weed and here, dur­ing July, it is pos­si­ble to see dark green frit­il­lar­ies and mar­bled white but­ter­flies as well as the more com­mon species such as gate­keeper, meadow brown, red ad­mi­ral and small tor­toise­shell. To pho­to­graph flow­ers and but­ter­flies it makes sense to have a macro lens, though most com­pact and bridge cam­eras have a built-in macro fa­cil­ity, mak­ing them ide­ally suited to this type of pho­tog­ra­phy.

Now I’ve run out of space and I haven’t even men­tioned the Camel Trail, but I did tell you there are plenty of things to see and pho­to­graph around Pad­stow.

‘The church, rest­ing place of Sir John Bet­je­man, is de­light­ful and pho­to­genic’

OP­PO­SITE: Pad­stow Lifeboat House seen from Mother Ivey’s Bay.ABOVE:I like pho­tograph­ing the har­bour at dusk when the yel­low of the street­lights con­trasts with the blue colour of wa­ter and sky.

Mother Ivey’s Bay is a stun­ning beach seen from above.

The Denis Hill mon­u­ment seen from a kayak­ing trip.

The church at St En­odoc oozes with char­ac­ter.

A com­mon dol­phin seen on a trip with Pad­stow Sea Life Sa­faris.

Ful­mars can be seen and pho­tographed around the coast near Pad­stow lifeboat sta­tion.

Trevose Head is a dra­matic place to be in stormy weather.

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