The Lizard, Cornwall

Day 2 - The Lizard Peninsula.  We woke up to a clear blue sky and warm sunshine.  Great for the holiday, but it does make landscape shooting more difficult.  Battling high contrast and washed out colours makes this a less than ideal day for making images, but as is the case with most amateurs, you have to shoot when you have the chance, often at times of day landscape photographers try to avoid.  This was probably one of the days on this trip where I wish I had a decent polariser in the bag... The Lizard Peninsula is the most southerly point in the United Kingdom, and it consists mainly of a relatively rare rock called serpentine.  Because of the nature of this rock (it is actually metamorphic, and was pushed out of the mantle during tectonic plate movement), there are many dramatic outcrops and bits of rock jutting out of the sea.

Lizard Point

It was such a bright day that even with a Lee Big Stopper the shutter speed was still a relatively fast 5 seconds (I used the filter more to blur out any people walking round by the lighthouse, and to get rid of the seagulls drawn to this area).  The exposure was balanced with the ND grad, producing an image with relatively nice colours.  This area is a geologist's dream, with the fascinating rock colours and shapes on the cliff, but the steepness of the cliff did claim a single victim of an inflatable ball while we were here...

Steps out to sea C-0877 Steps out to sea BW-0877

You can take the coastal path past the old lifeboat station which will take you west and then north towards Kynance Cove.  Along the way there were plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the view.  As the sun was more or less in front of us the whole way along the path, it made for some more challenging conditions.  The contrast was so high between the sun reflecting off the sea and the dark rocks poking out of it, the dynamic range of my Nikon D750 really had to help me out!  During editing, I couldn't decide if I preferred the black and white conversion or the colour (if you have an opinion, I would love to hear it in a brief comment below!).

The road in the sea

With a longer exposure, this location gave some interesting wave breaks which almost took on the look of the lines on a road.  The rocks also helped create a leading line from bottom left to top right, making it more of a classically pleasing photograph.  Which is one thing that slightly annoys me about some landscape shots being produced at the moment.  If you flick through 500px or Flickr, many of the landscape images will look very similar - sunset or sunrise, magenta tint, some path or road going through etc etc.  And on the whole they look great, but similar.  Because of this I find myself on trips trying to do the same thing!  As I learn more about shooting landscapes, I hope will get better at seeing more unusual angles and viewpoints to make my images a bit more standout.

Big skies - using the new pano stitching feature in Lightroom

Southern Cornwall has some lovely horseshoe coves along the coast, and some big skies that sit above them.  With such a clear sky, the colour was being reflected wonderfully in the sea of the cove.  This view was a perfect opportunity to try out the panorama stitching mode recently introduced in Lightroom CC.  As this method produces a "RAW" panorama, it still leaves you with plenty of data in the file to produce a good edited image.  It's a great feature!

Coastal wander

Overall we spent around three hours exploring this little part of Cornwall, and I came away with a load of images which I'm relatively pleased with.  I'll be honest, I would have been happier if the weather had been worse, or if the sun was a bit lower in the sky, but as I said at the beginning of this post when this is not your job you sometimes have to shoot when you have the chance. And actually, facing these challenging conditions is surely better practice, right?