south west

Lands End, Cornwall

Day 1 - Lands End.  After Mousehole, we moved on round the coast towards Lands End.  The extreme landscape this far west was striking, with rolling hills and steep drops into the ocean.  People usually claim Lands End to be pretty tacky and a bit of a tourist trap - we stayed away from the attraction itself (a bizarre bright white building perched pretty much on the edge of a cliff) and instead tackled the nature trail around the clifftops. The landscape gave a hint of what the weather was usually like there - consistent high winds has led to a stark lack of vegetation which makes it less interesting as a subject.  We got a taste of that weather, which meant keeping the tripod steady a bit of a challenge, especially during longer exposures with the Lee Big Stopper.  Looking out towards the Isles of Scilly, there were plenty of subjects to photograph.  We chose a perch pretty close to the edge - mainly to avoid the tourists trying to grab a quick snapshot!

Lands end rocks-0858

This is a 15 sec exposure at f/8.0, using my 16-35mm f/4 Nikon lens.  An ND filter was used to minimise the chaos of the ocean and to smooth out some of the waves.  I quite like the white smudge this causes in the water, but of course it always comes down to personal taste...All around this part of Cornwall there are these stacks of rocks jutting out from the water, which always make interesting subjects.

Lands end lighthouse-0860

This is the same rock stack, but this images took in the iconic lighthouse about a mile out to sea (same settings as the previous image).  Again, a Lee ND filter was used to smooth the motion in the sea, creating a nice bright area which draws the eye into the image.  The idea was to have the rock stack point diagonally across the image and direct the viewer towards the lighthouse.

Lands end coast-0862

We switched position to face south, just as the weather changed once again.  The new dehaze feature in Lightroom CC worked great as it minimised some of the spray coming off the ocean, improving the clarity of the rocks - filter management was a pain at this point as they kept getting coated in moisture.

Lands end photographer-0868

In the final image from this location I decided to include a human element, namely a bird watcher in the most brightly coloured coat I've ever seen a wildlife shooter in!  (30 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 100, 21mm)  You can see his motion, moving his camera around to photograph the birds, and this gels well with the motion captured in the ocean.  It's a common issue with landscape shooters - do you include people, or will it make the image cluttered and take something away from the scene?  I'm still on the fence, but in this image I did like how his coat actually made the green foliage stand out more.  As for the best (or right) choice, I'll leave that to you...