I have been asked to talk about photography in Cornwall on BBC Radio Cornwall and thought I’d share some of my favourite pictures I have taken.
Here are some things you might want to consider to make the best of your photography opportunities in Cornwall
For me, I like to find some peace and solitude so I seek out places that are perhaps a little less busy than the main tourist hotspots. You can find these by walking half a mile along the coast from most villages and you’ll usually find you have the location to yourself. Also if you want to shoot the most photographed locations, go either early or late. Remember some of the best light is before the sunrise or around 20 minutes after sunset.
Here are some of my favourite places
- Cape Cornwall
- Land’s End (Half a mile in the opposite direction to Sennen)
- St Ives (esp. Porthmeor and Porthgwidden)
- The mines at Chapel Porth and at Botallack
- Marazion (St Michael’s Mount)
- Mullion Cove
I love the old fishing villages of Mevagissey, Port Issac, Polperro, Padstowe, and, of course, St Ives. Go early to capture fewer people and better light.
Capturing the scene
Virtually all cameras and most phones these days are capable of taking outstanding images. Here are some ideas to think about.
- The best light (and therefore best images) is usually at the beginning and the end of the day. Blue skies are wonderful to enjoy but blue skies in the middle of the day can make for somewhat harsh images.
- A sunrise/sunset doesn’t make a great picture in and of itself. Think about some foreground interest
- Check the tide times on an app like “My Tide Times” and if you not sure about how to find a location/parking area, look at Google Earth.
- Sometimes the best light and views are behind you. If you are looking at a sunset, the light from the falling sun will be making beautiful golden light on the things behind you.
- In addition to taking big vistas, take pictures of small details that give the flavour and tell the story of your visit to a location (doorways, fliower pots, cobbles, steps, sand, shop windows, people).
- Remember to capture your group – you’ll be pleased you have a picture of your granny in years to come.
- A tripod can be useful if you want to capture moving water (waves – a 0.5 second exposure can be very pleasing). You might need to adjust your camera to make this happen.
- Try using a wide aperture (the lower the “f-stop” number the wider the aperture to make backgrounds out of focus to make your subject stand out)
- Move about (up/down/left/right) to find the best composition – small changes in where you shoot from can make big differences to the image
Using filters/editing software to bring the best out of your image
Phone apps like Snapseed and VSCO and even Instagram have some great features to edit and improve your image. Be careful as a little editing goes a long way. I prefer to edit carefully so the final image looks natural.
- Correct the horizon
- Lift shadows to bring out details
- Reduce highlights if you have a very bright sky.
- Add some contrast (this also adds more colour)