Featured Image: Little Cudden

Cornwall Spring 2009:

It’s my second day in Cornwall. It was a 27 hour journey to get here and after a quick explore at dawn I fall into bed only to be waken up a few hours later just before sunrise. After all, I came to take pictures.


At sunrise the conditions are nice and I do some photography at St.Michaels Mount. The weather improves during the course of the morning and after a good breakfast and another nap I head out along the coast and explore the scenery.

At the end of my hike along the coast I take a rest at this beautiful bay. It’s in the middle of the day, a time I usually don’t do much photography but this scene was just too beautiful. Lovely clouds in the sky the light actually isn’t that harsh with the sun side-lighting the scene.

If you are interested you can read more about my trip to Cornwall here on the blog in my photo-journals. Also you are welcome to have a look at my slideshow from last year which I updated just yesterday and is now available here in HD.

Norway Revisited

It’s only a few weeks since I had been visiting the beautiful scenery of Norway, but it feels a long time ago and since work and basic life have come back it feels I have to go back as soon as possible. It has to wait for another year though…

The few days me and my wonderful girlfriend had there had passed too quickly and we were lucky to find good weather conditions. For some reason the weather conditions seem to be always best on my last day of visit to a location. Happened in Cornwall and again now in Norway.

We had not really planned certain locations here, and rather explored the scenery first in Google Maps and later during the day at location. It has proven to he useful, but for my next trip to the Lofoten Islands next summer I try to prepare a little more and have maybe some shots already planned in advance.

Continue reading “Norway Revisited”

Cornwall – The Last Days

The alarm wakes me up at 4am. Not only do I realize that I have fallen asleep on the sofa again, I also hear the heavy rain hammering on the window. Disappointed I decide to go back to sleep and doze off again. When I wake up at 7.30 I hear birds singing. I get up and see clouds and blue sky. What a crap! Now I’m seriously angry at myself, but it should get even worse.

On the days before nothing really nice was happening at this time anymore and I decide to go and get some breakfast. When I arrive at the store, I see rainbows in the bay in front of St.Michaels mount, but it’s too late now to get my gear which I left in the apartment. Talking about being totally pi***d off.

I go down to one of the causeways and run into local landscape photographer who is, as opposed to me, talking pictures from that place. We have a little chat and she gives me a few tips on some locations on the west coast, near St.Just. It is this moment when another rainbow shows up. I hate myself by now, as this would have been the shot I came here for, not knowing now that I will have a second chance.

Annoyed I go back, but with the knowledge of a few new locations, get my gear and take the bus to St.Just.

I arrive at St.Just and head out to the coast. It’s still early in the day and I try to find the location I heard about. The weather is still mixed. Some blue skies, rain, clouds and heavy winds. Just as I arrive at the coast it starts to rain heavily. Much to the amusement of some people sitting and waiting in their cars for the bad conditions to pass, my just purchased 1.99£ umbrella, gets severely tested for stability, bent and beaten up but somehow it survived.

The rain was short, but heavy and I start to explore the coast line. Again, another very beautiful location but somehow I can’t find the place the photographer was tipping me off to. As I later found out, I was already rather close. Well, next time. I’m exploring the cliffs and set up for a shot and as I turned around I realized that I got some visitors. You never know where you meet friends ;-)

The weather doesn’t improve much, it seems to get just more cloudy. I have some ideas, and get some interesting frames. To wind was so heavy though, that I could only take images on the right side of the coves where the cliffs were blocking the wind.

It starts to get dark and knowing that I will take at least a few good frames from here back home, I go back to St.Just, have a nice dinner in a pub and take the bus.

The last day – Lady Luck is with me:

The alarm rings at 5 o’clock again. My plan is to go back to St.Michaels Mount again as the tide should be right today at sunrise, not too high to cover up the causeways. I leave the apartment and see stars and some clouds. So far everything looks nice.

At St.Michaels Mount I try some long exposures, but the light of the street lamp casts a unattractive shadow and light on the first third of my frame. It becomes brighter very fast again I go down to the causeway and do some exposures there. Now the sun creeps up the horizon and illuminates some of the clouds.

I try some different angles one the castle and everything comes together nicely. The tide is right and the light also. Perfect! Instead of trying to do some frames on the other causeway I decide to go to do that panorama shot that I had in mind. In fact, it was a panorama made by David Noton which I saw and which ultimately motivated me to go to this location and I planned to do a similar image.

I set up my tripod and try to get it as level as possible. To get the best angle I unfortunately have to pull out the middle post of the tripod to raise the camera a bit. Something I usually try to avoid as it is not so stable.

Camera and filters attached I wait. The scene is just beautiful. The sun rising on the left and some clouds show up on the right. The scene is a little difficult to meter for a whole panorama but the with the help of my filters it should work. I check the exposure on the left and right and try to find an exposure somewhere in the middle.

I do a first panorama image to test. 9 images all around. Some more clouds show up and I do another one. Then a little rainbow appears…. Quickly I do another one with the rainbow in the frame. Just to make sure I take another series. Just in the middle of it the card is full.

Quickly I change the CF-cards and set up again. The rainbow is now gone and it starts to rain slightly. I protect my camera with my torn umbrella and wait but nothing seems to happen. The rain stopped. Thinking this is the end of this shoot I start taking the filters off the lens. While I just take off the first one, I see a little bit of another rainbow showing up again. Quickly I put back the filter and focus the camera. But the rainbow is still very weak. And then it all happens very fast….

Some clouds must have passed and the sun throws much stronger light on the scene and one big, nice and colorful rainbow appears, and while I try to meter the changing conditions and frame the shot, another rainbow appears. I do a panorama of 11 images. By the time I reach the “other” side of the frame the rainbows have disappeared.

Where The Rainbow's Are At Hom-2
A quick look at the display on the back of the camera shows me that I got what I came here for! Yes! Something I didn’t even dare to dream of. Now it’s up to Photoshop to merge all the frames hopefully nicely together.

With the feeling that I got something very nice I go and get breakfast.

Back at the apartment I have to pack all my stuff to get back home. Since I leave in the evening I decide to go back to St.Just to explore the scenery a little more before taking the train home.

This time I decide to go to another cove. The Priest Cove. It’s a beautiful day now, but the sun is too bright for me to take some images. I wait around and as the light gets softer I do some exposures, but before the sun actually sets I have to leave to catch the bus. The nice sunset I only see from the distance, but I don’t mind anymore.

The rest of the trip is uneventful and the biggest challenge was to get out of the Apple Store in Regent Street, London without doing any major damages to my credit card limit. About 20 hrs later I arrive in my apartment and import the images to my computer. The first thing I do is to check whether or not the panorama worked out. And it did.

Resume:

It was a fantastic trip and I have learned a lot about photography here. First of all I realized that even though my preparation for this trip was rather decent, it wasn’t as good as I thought. Next time I should have as much key viewpoints as possible already, based on existing photographs from this area. This would help a lot, and then try to find even more once I’m here.

Also I will need to rent a car. Even though those locations are not too far away from each other they’re still to far away to walk or take a bus. On my last day for example I would have been better off to go to Lands End again, but walking there from St.Just wouldn’t have been helpful. With the car it would have only a matter of a few minutes.

I also had to learn that the light here fades and comes in a lot faster as here in Finland. Something that I didn’t really consider. The golden, warm light of the setting and rising sun last a lot longer up here in the north.

I will definitely come back here and I already now think when I will have the chance to do so. Most likely it will be next year as this summer is already full booked with trips to Lapland and Norway and some more exploring here in Finland of course.

This now was my last little article on my trip and I hope you enjoyed it.

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.

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.

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