Continuing his series of photography articles focusing on the coast of Cornwall, David Chapman looks to the far west from Penberth to Pendeen, picking out the most photogenic parts of the coast
1 Penberth is a pretty cove 1 with wonderful old character houses, boats and slipway. Formerly a lesser known location it has been made famous through being heavily featured in Poldark. Photographically there is potential for close-up photos of boats, various ﬁshing gear, the river and the houses. Wide-angle views are difﬁcult, try the coast path leading up the hill to the west for which the direction of sun is best later in the day.
2 Porthcurno is one of the 2 most photogenic beaches in Cornwall. The view looking down onto the beach from the coast path to the west is a classic with the distant Logan Rock making a great focal point. There are many other wonderful views within walking distance of here notably from the clifftop between Porthcurno and Logan Rock, looking down onto Pednvounder Beach. The clifftops are great in summer with plenty of ﬂowers enriching the foreground.
Time of day needs careful consideration. If you visit at sunset then the whole coastline would be in the shade. So I prefer early evening in summer. Sunrise can work well because there is the chance of getting the sun rising over Logan Rock but only in the winter when the sun rises in the south east.
If you visit in the middle of the day try photographing the backlit waves at Porthcurno Beach. These can look fantastic when the sea is high and particularly when there is an offshore wind blowing the tops off the waves. Your friends won’t believe how turquoise the sea can look here!
3 Gwennap Head is the last 3 fortress of land jutting out into the Atlantic at the south western tip of Cornwall. It is made of granite and this is one of the best places to see the amazing shapes that wind, rain and sea can sculpt from this wonderful rock. Towering piles of granite blocks create columns in the cliffs and huge lichen-clad contorted boulders lie on the land. Even
the heather moor around the headland is whipped into a sealike waved structure in response to the wind and salt spray.
Tucked away in a small valley just east of Gwennap Head is the pretty hamlet of Porthgwarra with its lovely little slipway and track carved through the rock.
Head up onto Gwennap Head in the evening. First take photographs of Porthgwarra then as the sun sinks lower in the sky concentrate on the granite sculptures and coastline.
4 Land’s End is an iconic 4 location and truly great for photography. The view from Pordenack Point with the Armed Knight and Enys Dodnan sea stack and arch is almost perfect for photography, particularly at sunset in summer.
Longships Lighthouse is always a good focal point from this stretch of the coastline. At most times of the year it is possible to ﬁnd a position on the coast from which the sun will set behind the lighthouse, or at least to get the lighthouse with a colourful sky surrounding it.
The heathland around Land’s End is one of the most colourful in Cornwall. Western gorse, heather and bell heather come into ﬂower at roughly the same time from mid-July to early September, providing a riot of colour against which to set other elements of a photograph.
In the school’s summer holiday there are ﬁreworks at Land’s End every Tuesday and Thursday evening. To photograph them you can join the masses at Land’s End complex or take up a position on the coast path to the south or north. I prefer Pordenack Point, to the south because from here the sky might still have a little colour in it as you will be photographing in a north-northwesterly direction.
Most photography at Land’s End will be best as the sun heads towards sunset.
5 At low tide Priest’s Cove 5 is dominated by a large expanse of dark rocks so it is most attractive at high tide when the sea makes a brighter foreground. Just above the high tide mark is a selection of boats and huts which can make good foregrounds for seascapes.
For the best view of The Cape I recommend walking up the coast path to the south as far as the top of the headland at Carn Gloose. From here ﬁght your way to the top of the granite tors overlooking the bay and try to ﬁnd some heather to use as foreground.
Sunset is a good time to take photos at Cape Cornwall though in July the sun will be setting a little too far to the north casting shade on the south side of the headland. So either visit a couple of hours before sunset in summer or leave your visit until autumn or winter when the angle of the setting sun will be slightly more favourable.
6 Botallack and Levant are 6 at the centre of the mining interest on this stretch of coast. Both have engine houses to act as classic focal points for photographs.
At Botallack we have twin engine houses at the foot of a long sloping track down to the sea. There are plenty of potential viewpoints using the track,
coast or ﬂowers as foreground interest. The light can work well at any time of day, except sunrise. Apart from choosing the right foreground I think the condition of the sea is important, big waves can transform this view, as can a colourful sky at sunset.
Levant is a great location for late summer. A short distance from the car park there is a classic view of the engine houses with colourful heather in the foreground. As the sun sinks towards the horizon at sunset its low angle emphasises the shape and texture of the heathland and the warm glow enriches the colour of the heathland ﬂowers.
7 Portheras Cove is a short 7 walk from Pendeen Watch. It faces north and has a steep headland to its eastern side so the only time of year when a lowangle of sun shines into the cove is at sunset in the summer and that’s why I mention it now!
It isn’t a particularly wellknown location and certainly hasn’t been photographed to death (yet), but it is beautiful and it does have photographic merits. I’ll say no more. N
‘Porthcurno is one of the most photogenic beaches in Cornwall. The view looking down onto the beach from the coast path to the west is a classic with the distant Logan Rock making a great focal point’
A view of Cape Cornwall from the headland at Carn Gloose
Penberth Cove, photographed at dusk with a long shutter speed RIGHT: Fireworks at Land’s End visitor area LEFT: Heather in ﬂower at Levant Mine just before sunset