Cornwall – The Next Few Days

The alarm on my iPhone shrieks multiple times when I realize that I fell asleep on the sofa in front of the TV. It’s three o’clock and I planned to go back to the area around Prussia Cove for a shoot at sunrise. My legs and my back hurt badly after carrying all my gear yesterday for around 20 km.

I head out with all my gear, but I manage only around 500m before my legs and my back start to hurt so much again that I decide to go back to bed for another two hours and return to St.Michaels Mount at sunrise and hope for the conditions that I would like to have.

I will hate myself later for that. The conditions at St.Michaels Mount weren’t bad that morning, but it looked like it would have been good from where I planned to shoot. But a 10 km walk before breakfast simply wasn’t possible today.

This morning it’s a blue sky with some clouds. No perfect, but a good start. I get some exposures as well as some for a panoramic image and decide to head out to Land’s End in the afternoon with the bus. The conditions seem to be right. Clouds and sun. So let’s hope for the best.

During my bus ride to Land’s End I see for the first time the beautiful countryside of Cornwall. It sure is mystical and makes it even more obvious for me, why this part of England is so popular amongst photographers. Unfortunately the weather starts to change during this ride and more and more clouds show up. By the time I’m there it’s almost entirely cloudy. I look around and see some of the spots from which some of my favorite images from there were taken.

Lands Ends #1

I think David Noton was standing on those rocks below me, but the path there seemed to be a little too slippery on that day for me. Basically, I chickened. ;-) Too bad it’s so cloudy and windy now. I try to make the best out of this, and do a few exposures, fighting a little against the now heavy wind, the spray from the sea and the occasional raindrops.

I’m the last and only person there it seems and I have to hurry a little to catch the last bus back to Penzance. Tomorrow morning I plan to head out to the rocky coast line of Trenow Cove, west to St.Michaels mount and again I fall asleep the sofa, which starts to become a habit. In fact, I slept in the bed only twice.

Day 5

Another 5 am rise. I pack my stuff and leave the apartment. It’s still windy, but I see stars in the still dark sky. I light my way along the path with my flashlight and climb over the rocky coast. I start by doing some long exposures, but it gets brighter so fast, that within two minutes I loose a whole stop of light.

This coast is full of nice big rocks and I climb over them to find some interesting formations to shoot before it gets too bright to do some long exposures. It’s not very easy to get from one place to the other here. I have to climb over the slippery rocks all the time and need my hands to do so. It means thatt I always have to pack and un-pack my gear, which doesn’t make me work any faster. I drop my remote shutter release into a puddle on one of those rocks. Luckily after drying and cleaning it later at home, it turns out it still works fine.

The clouds break up from time to time and the sun adds a nice tint to them. It’s a rather eventful shoot this morning and I think I got at least a few keepers here.

I return with wet clothing for breakfast at the pub. During the day the weather gets worse and worse and in the evening it’s raining badly. The weather forecast prognoses rain and clouds for the next day. Sounds nice.

Approaching the 1000th Comment and a Little Give-Away

I know what you’re thinking…. Now he’s asking for more comments and more visitors by giving away free stuff….

Yeah, some might think that, but I have to disappoint you: I’m not asking for comments, and also I’m not announcing how many comments are still left. Let’s say, there’s still some way to go.

The idea behind this is such…

When I launched this blog of mine, I just wanted to have a little blog, where I can post some of my images but I did not expect anything like the things to happen which actually happened. My images have received more comments that I would have possibly imagined, the blog enter finals, gets featured, I get interviewed and so on… It’s unbelievable, I’m overwhelmed.

To celebrate this and in order to give something back to the community, I thought it would be nice to have a little give-away. I will offer a 50x70cm sized print to the commenter who leaves the 1000th comment on this blog. It will be then image he or she has commented on.

The only thing I will say is, don’t get stressed out and just leave random comments, or try to sell me something which I don’t want or need.

It’s still a while ahead, and by the time it’s the 1000th comment, everybody will most likely already have forgotten this. In fact, it’s most likely that I will notice it way too late.

I will then contact the winner and also announce it here on the blog.

Cornwall – The first days

It’s eleven o-clock and I my train is leaving in little less than two hours when I to my surprise receive my recently ordered new Tripod-Head. Just in time, A Manfrotto Junior Geared Head.

I already gave up the thought that I will appear in time but luck was with me. I do a quick test with it and squeeze the tripod-head into my backpack and head off to the railway station from where my journey starts. It’s going to be a long trip. With a lot of waiting at airports and railway stations. 28 hours in total. I guess that’s the price one has to pay when traveling on a budget. But I have enough time to follow up with some podcasts.

The traveling itself turned out to be uneventful and trains, busses, flights, trains and more trains are to my surprise all on schedule and I arrive in Marazion just as planned and check-in into my apartment. After grabbing a well deserved drink and food I head out to take some few images in the not ideal overcast weather.

Luckily it get’s a little better to the end of the day. The weather forecast for the next few days goes from cloudy to sunny to cloudy and rain. Let’s see what happens.

Day 3

The alarm clock throws me out of the bed at 5 o’clock and after having a few instant coffee’s I head to St.Micheal’s Mount. Unfortunately the conditions aren’t right at the moment for the shot that I had in mind. The tide’s too high and the sky at the moment still too cloudy, or at least not the way I would like it to be. Anyway I keep exposing and hope for the best and after the outing I go back to have another nap.

The weather keeps on improving, and the sky fills with nice fluffy clouds and sun. I decide to take a walk along the paths to the east passing Cudden Point and down to Prussia Cove.

The more I walk the more beautiful the scenery becomes. Nice bays, lot’s of rocks. I’m stunned. The bays and coves are also getting bigger and bigger the more I walk it seems. The scenery is so beautiful, but the light is so harsh at the moment that it doesn’t make too much sense to take some pictures.

My walking leads me from one bay to another and every time I think “Maybe only this one more, and then I will try to ‘find’ some images” . But I continue walking and walking. My back and my feet start to hurt and I arrive in this beautiful cove and use the opportunity of the now slightly softer light to take a few images and a little rest.

Thinking that this location should be great at sunset I return to the location which I found on my way to here where I had some ideas for possible images. A group of ponys is grazing on the cliffs and start to pose for me a little.

Quickly they found out that I have nothing to eat on me, and they disappear again somewhere down the cliff.

I continue my walk to my first shot and wait for the sun to get closer to the horizon and hope it will illuminate the clouds in the sky with it’s warm light. Unfortunately the clouds which have been present the whole day, disappear right in time and leaving the sky now in a plain blue. Too bad. I do some exposures and head down to another location.

I learn my first lesson now. The light fades here a lot faster than at home in Finland. While I’m still composing and trying to find a good frame the sun disappears and it’s get’s very quickly very dark.

I still have a 8-9 km walk ahead of me and head home along the paths on the cliffs in the dark. Luckily I was prepared for that and had a flashlight with me.

After some time I arrive in my apartment, set my alarm clock to three o’clock. I plan to return to todays location in the morning to do some images from the other side of the cove at sunrise.

And I'm off…

As some of you might have noticed it my Twitter stream or here from the blog of course, is that I’m about to leave to the beautiful area of Cornwall to do some, hopefully nice, landscape photography.

The bags are packed, the batteries charged and the journey starts in about an hour and now there are about 27 hrs of traveling ahead of me. As with some of my previous shoots, I will try to do some sort of live covering from there if possible. It depends surely on the availability of free internet access of course. Since I’m not sure yet about this I can’t promise anything. I will at least try to cover as much as possible from there, that’s for sure.

The whole thing will go live as usual from my Twitter/Twitpic feed which you can see here on the blog or on Twitter of course.
When I’m back, I will also post some sort of diary here on the blog, which will accompany the images that I hopefully take.

I think I have prepared as much as I could and so far the weather report so far looks… say interesting. I have checked three different reports and all said something different. Since there’s nothing I can do about that, I chose to believe in the better one and I’m looking forward to a week (well almost) of landscape photography.

In case we don’t hear from each other, see you next week.

I'm Guest Blogging Today

I have been guest blogging again.

No, I’m not neglecting this blog of mine, but Julia from german photography blog “Fotoholiker.com” asked me to contribute an article for her blog. I think it’s an honor to be asked to write something for someone elses blog and of course fun. In that article I have listed some things that I learned about landscape photography. Stay tuned for an english version of that post in the near future.

But I have to tell you that it’s nowadays surprisingly much more difficult to write something in my mother-tongue than in English, maybe I should do that more often.

Either way, for those of you who understand Deutsch I would like to send you over to Fotoholik.er to have a look at the article and the blog.

Location scouting with a touch of 2.0

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As I’m now deep in the planning of my upcoming trip to Cornwall, I though I share some part of my workflow concerning the location scouting process.

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Already a while ago I have chosen to go to the area around Marazion, Cornwall, because I saw some images from photographer David Noton from that area which were like the kind I like. I enjoy seascapes, old harbours and rugged coastlines, and there should be plenty.

It is common sense, that the better prepared a shooting is, the better will be the result. Since I never have been visiting this area before, it’s best to get as much knowledge about the surroundings as possible. Precise location searching will still need to be done when I’m there, but I want to know some main spots to shoot already before.

First of all I got me a guide book and maps from the area I’m going to, which provided me with a good overall idea what to expect in that area. Most important it offered me a some example images from the scenery and also which map material is available. Also I got some hint from blogfriend and fellow Pixyblogger Richard from 635 Images who used to live in this area. From there on, I proceeded more in a 2.0 style.

Software I use:

  1. Google Earth

Most of my planning is done so far in the just released Google Earth 5.0, which has proven to be the most useful tool for that. Not only can I see the location, but with the image layer enabled it provides me with some example images from that area wherever available. This feature is enormously useful, as the satelite imagery doesn’t offer a much detailed view of the scenery in this area. Also I used it to calculate the distances between the different keypoints that I had in mind. Additionally I found two more possible locations due to that.

Knowing the distances, I was able to make up my mind about the actual travelling during that trip and figured out that it’s maybe best to stay in one place as a kind of base station. Getting up at four or earlier will still be necessary though.

A very useful feature, which has raised the awesomeness factor, is the sunlight overlay in Google Earth which shows the where the light will fall at which time of the day. You can actually see the sunlight moving over the landscapes on a certain spot, which is a enormous help.

  1. Focalware

Another software I use to see where the sun will come from, is a software called “Focalware” available for the iPhone. With it you can also see from which angle the sun will come from and where the moon will be in the sky at any given time of day. I use it to decide which location should be best lit at which time of the day. Therefore I can make a little plan, which location to shoot at either sunrise or sunset, or maybe even both. This together with Google Earth gives me a decent idea about the lighting conditions.

  1. Image Search

Additionally to that I used Flickr image search to view geotagged images from this area.

  1. Evernote

Whenever I run into a interesting location or anything related to the trip I quickly note this or place a bookmark in Evernote, where I have created a notebook just for this trip. I found this to be very useful, since I don’t want to also have to remember where on my computer I have made a bookmark, note or whatever. Just saves some time. Naturally every other notebook application should to the same trick, I just happen to like this one.

One more factor to consider in this area is the tide schedule. A quick search though provides the needed information.

I think, that’s about it and I have the feeling I’m pretty much prepared, the only thing I’m worried about is the weather, since I have a history of bad weather following me, and I surely don’t want to spend the whole time shooting the interior of the local pubs ;-)

I don’t claim this is the perfect way to do some basic location scouting, but so far it seems to be useful and works for me. If you have some ideas, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and share it.

Interview on Blog On Photoblogs

Today I have another announcement to make.

I’m proud to tell you that Brett from Blog On Photoblogs has published an interview with me. If you are interested to see what I have to say please head over this his blog and the article here. Or head over there anyway since he has some very content on his site.

Thanks to Brett to give me the opportunity for this interview.

Diary of a Shooting #1 – Hailouto-January 2009

After almost two months of an annoying mixture of snow/rain/ice the weather finally changed to the better and something blue showed up above us. Yesterdays shooting feels still fresh, and at least one strong image came out of it. As the forecast for today was promising me and a buddy of mine decided to head out again.

Last night was clear, which usually means that it get’s cold and the wind is adding some extra chill to the real minus 17 degrees. The plan is to head out to the island of Hailuoto, which is not too far away. But since island also means ferry, the naturally slow transfer on the boat adds another 30min to the tight schedule with the sun disappearing already around 14.30.

The ferry is scheduled for 12 o’clock and from there to our planned destination on the other side of the island it’s roughly another 20min. We should be at location around 13 o’clock, leaving us enough time to explore the scenery. I have been there last time during summer and have a rough idea what to expect there now. In winter things are of course a lot different, but I have a few shots in mind, which with any luck, might work out in this weather.

But plans are made to fail it seems. Usually there should be two ferries going to the island, but for some reason today it’s only one. The other one just lies in front of us in the harbour. Maybe it’s damaged, or the schedule just wasn’t right. Either way, we’re waiting.

In the distance we can see the other boat arriving and we are now already behind our schedule and with a delay of 40min we finally arrive on the ferry to our destination. The sky is blue and the permanently low sun at this time of the year lights the scene with a warm light. What worries me a little is that layer of clouds on the horizon, and I’m fearing that they might end our shooting earlier than expected.

Ferry

The ferry docks at the island and after another half an hour ride in the car, we arrive at our location. At first sight it seems that all comes together nicely: the sun is coming from the right direction for the image that I have in mind, the baltic sea is frozen as I hoped, but there’s still the layer of clouds slowly creeping around the horizon and directly into the wrong direction….straight into the sun. Now I’m sure that these clouds are going to finish our shooting earlier than expected. Trying to make the most of it, we head out of the car and off to the beach.

The heavy storm on New Years eve seems to have pushed a lot of the ice from the sea straight onto the beach and has formed a rather bizarre wall of ice. Some parts of this wall are man high and make it a little difficult to get past them. The sun is luckily not yet behind the clouds and throws a nice warm light on this wall, turning the ice in a slightly orangy tone.

Hailuoto_1

Behind this wall, the sea has frozen again and since there was no snow afterwards, the surface is plain, perfect for skating, and on some other place it’s visible how plates of ice have been thrown together and frozen to each other. The whole scenery feels surreal.

Hailuoto_2

But the time is ticking. The sun is getting slowly nearer to the clouds, and we have not much time to explore the scene. Attaching and adjusting the filters in these conditions is a rather painful experience, but after a some practicing I get better doing that with gloves. The remote shutter release starts to behave a little odd right now, and get’s stuck. Maybe it’s frozen and after warming it up a little in my pocket it starts to work again.

I get some interesting frames of the structures on the ice, but then sun disappears behind the clouds, and with it, the nice warm evening light. The ice which was bathed a few minutes ago in the warm sunlight turned now to a boring, dirty looking grey.

With the feeling that there would have more to explore out there we return to the car and a warm cup of coffee. But I already know that there are at least a few nice images waiting on the memory card the winter will last a few more months here, so there will be other possibilities.

On Ice