Cap­tur­ing Cornwall

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

Cornwall Life - - CONTENTS - David Chap­man goes West

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

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