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Best of Cornwall 2019

As we begin a new decade, it's that time again to look back at the year's highlights. Here are my 15 favourite landscape & seascape photographs I took in Cornwall during 2019. And who knows, some of these may feature in a second calendar! So, in chronological order...


**Check out my 2020 Calendar**


S O F T S T A C K S

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 35mm | ƒ/11 | 120 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Soft Grad and Big Stopper Filters | Taken on 24-03-2019 at Godrevy


Here's a shot taken at Godrevy Heritage Coast on a misty March morning. I originally planned to shoot Godrevy Lighthouse. But, when I arrived on location just before sunrise, I found the misty conditions didn't look overly photogenic.


I jumped back in the car, and decided to head up to the cliffs to the east, near "Hell's Mouth." I had never scouted these cliffs for photography, but with the post sunrise light about to happen soon (my favourite time to shoot), I had to act fast.


I soon found these interesting sea stacks with rows of headlands behind disappearing into the mist. I also quite liked how the mist diffused the horizon - so that the sea and sky merged together for a simple image.


I was pleased to have had this one printed in "Outdoor Photography" magazine.


S T E P S I N T O T H E B L U E

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/11 | 1.3 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Hard Grad Filters | Taken on 02-04-2019 at Watergate Bay


I took this shot of rocks leading towards the sea at Watergate Bay on my first visit to the beach.


Not really knowing what to expect, I arrived on an April evening with a receding mid tide. This happened to work perfectly - the retreating tide left "clean" sand behind and revealed rocks sitting in shallow pools of water which I was able to use as points of interest.


I made the mistake though, of rushing out without a hat and gloves - getting caught in icy hail showers was no fun at all! The cold definitely distracted my concentration from taking photos a little.


D O W N P O U R

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/11 | 0.8 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Grad Filters | Taken on 02-04-2019 at Watergate Bay


On the same evening, I made this image - just as the final glimmer from the setting sun disappeared below the horizon. The cloud in centre leaking icy rain and hail is the one that got me!


Q U E E N B E S S E M B E R S


Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/16 | 2 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Grad Filter | Taken on 16-04-2019 at Bedruthan Steps


The "Queen Bess" stack at Bedruthan Steps on Cornwall's north coast. Taken at around half an hour after sunset as the last embers of light softly illuminate the scene.


B A M A L U Z R E M N A N T S

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 40mm | ƒ/9 | 1/3 sec | ISO 100 | Tripod | Lee Filters | Taken on 08-06-2019 at Bamaluz Beach, St Ives


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


I'd been meaning to make this image since I spotted the potential in these old pier stumps on Bamaluz Beach, St Ives, while out with my family on Easter Sunday.


Aiming to capture the stumps at low tide, I caught it just right! This shot was taken maybe five minutes before sunrise - which was uneventful in terms of light and colour due to the low cloud. There was enough light though, and also enough water white swirling around the stumps.


The lines of stumps lead towards a break in the clouds - which was a stroke of luck, adding an interesting element and focal point to the scene.


C O A S T P A T H

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/11 | 1/3 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Soft Grad filter | Tripod | 3x images Focus Stacked | Taken on 12-07-2019 at Holywell Bay


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


This is what I believe could be an old footpath in Holywell Bay's sand dunes - which have shifted over time to leave the structure hanging off the side of a dune.


I was going to attempt this shot a few days prior after spotting the broken decked path. On that occasion though, as I walked towards the dune, a group of people sat on the ledge and scuppering my shot.


The dune was much steeper than it looks here - so I didn't attempt to physically tidy the scene (charcoal on the ledge and netting underneath it) as I could well have taken a tumble with my camera gear. So, with just a little tidying of the net in Photoshop, the scene is pretty much as it was.


In order to get everything sharp from front to back, I tried focus stacking for the first time. Three shots with the focus on different focal planes were blended in Photoshop.


D A W N G L O W

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/11 | 148 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Big Stopper & Soft Grad filters | Tripod | Taken on 06-07-2019 at Marazion


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


As the sun rose behind me, it illuminated just the castle on St Michael's Mount in a reddish glow - before ascending into some mid-level cloud.


A long exposure of two and a half minutes emphasises the calm sea and tranquillity of the early summer morning.


P O R T H A L L O W J E N

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/11 | 1/4 sec | ISO 100 | Lee 0.9 Med Grad filter | Tripod | Taken on 28-07-2019 at Porthallow


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


The sun rose through a distant veil of thin cloud- casting a warm glow to the sky - contrasting with the cooler tones of Porthallow's shore on the Lizard peninsula.


I find this little corner of Cornwall unlike anywhere else in the county - with a rugged aesthetic, dark shingle beaches and relatively little sign of tourism.


N E W H O P E

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 81mm | ƒ/11 | 5 sec | ISO 100 | Hoya Polarising filter | Tripod | Taken on 17-08-2019 at Idless


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


I tend to head inland when the tide is in. I find that overcast days are ideal for photographing woodland, as the light is softer without dark shadows and harsh highlights as it filters through the canopy.


That said, and as beautiful as woodland locations are, I find searching for clean compositions amongst the tangle of trunks and branches a real challenge.


On this occasion at Idless woods early one morning, I was helped by a thin veil of haze lingering amongst the trees - which served to knock back the distant trees - simplifying the scene and giving depth to the image.


All that was left to do, was to search for a focal point. When I spotted this young tree amongst it's taller neighbours, it was just the contrast and focal point I needed. A long focal length served to compress the scene for a simpler, more powerful image.


S T . M I C H A E L S S E R E N I T Y

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 24mm | ƒ/10 | 300 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Hard Grad ND & Big Stopper Filters | Tripod | Taken on 28-08-2019 at Marazion


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


After shooting from the beach pre-sunrise and the rising tide now covering St Michaels Mount's causeway, I hurried to the jetty for foreground interest and a lead into the image. As I walked down the steps, I could see eight or so other photographers milling around. It turned out that they were on an organised "Light & Land" photography workshop.


This very much restricted where I could set up. I didn't want other photographers in my shot - and equally, I didn't want to photo-bomb theirs!


I planted my tripod in front of rock-pool - which I liked as the reflection helped to balance the tones amongst the dark rocks. And, I managed to use the path to the jetty to lead the eye into the image.


It soon became clear that we weren't going to be blessed with fantastic light and colour at sunrise - to the disappointment of the workshop party (and myself).


I decided to throw on a Lee Big Stopper filter together with a hard grad ND and took a five minute exposure. The long exposure served to smooth the already calm sea and streak the clouds for a softer image.


In the end, I was pretty happy with this image, given the conditions and composition challenges.


P R I M E V A L D A W N

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 42mm | ƒ/10 | 0.6 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Hard Grad ND Filters | Tripod | Taken on 06-10-2019 at Kennack Sands


**Available to buy as a greeting card (£1.50 or multi-pack of 10 for £10 +P&P) - Contact me**


Kennack Sands just before sunrise. Taken with a slow shutter to capture the movement of the waves as they rushed in over the rocks. This image is comprised of a main base shot with small extracts from three other shots layered on top of it to show the best characteristics of the moving water.


R O C K Y T W I L I G H T

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 35mm | ƒ/14 | 2.5 sec | ISO 100 | Lee Hard Grad ND Filter | Tripod | Taken on 22-10-2019 at Gunwalloe


Before the clocks went back in October, I was able to bomb down to Gunwalloe Church Cove after work for one last weekday evening shoot.


Arriving half an hour before sunset, I rushed to find compositions. This was image was taken a little after the sun went down.


T W I S T E D A U T U M N

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 59mm | ƒ/11 | 2 sec | ISO 200 | Hoya Polarising Filter | Manual WB | Tripod | Taken on 24-11-2019 at Luxulyan


**This one has suffered a little more than the others from heavy compression for the web**


During the Autumnal months of October and November, I focused solely on a woodland photography project.


With a 2021 calendar in mind, I headed out into various woods around Cornwall at every opportunity to bag an Autumnal image. This shot taken at Luxulyan Valley was my favourite.


On the morning of the shoot, I decided to head for an area of mid-Cornwall with an abundance of woods - most with rivers to help churn up some mist, and valley sides to use for background. On the way, I decided to park up at Luxulyan Valley.


This composition almost has two contrasting focal points; the moss-covered twisted tree at the front, shed of all it's leaves; and the vibrant orange birch leaves. I think this provides a balanced tension - that keeps the eye moving around the image (in a good way... hopefully!)


L A B Y R I N T H

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 35mm | ƒ/11 | 1/6 sec | ISO 400 | Lee ND Hard Grad | Tripod | Taken on 14-12-2019 at Godrevy


Godrevy Point on a dark and stormy evening...


Keeping the filter dry in the wind, spray and rain was an ongoing challenge - something that I hadn't missed with my recent woodland project! In my struggle against the elements, I dropped and scratched my favourite filter - so this was a pretty expensive photo!


The image is a composite of four slow shutter exposures taken on a tripod and blended to reveal pleasing characteristics of the rushing water - such as the splashes!


I composed the shot to lead through the labyrinth-like maze of gullies towards Godrevy Lighthouse.


C O N C R E T E S T O R M

Canon 6D MkII | 24-105mm lens at 35mm | ƒ/11 | 0.6 sec | ISO 320 | Lee ND Hard Grad | Tripod | Taken on 19-12-2019 at Millendreath


Keen to stay with shooting the coast after my stint photographing woodland, I decided to head east... Further east than I'd normally go, where I thought the tide would be low enough at sunrise.


I'd never visited Millendreath (near Looe) before, but I'd seen some great photos of the characterful rocks there.


Upon arrival though, after driving over an hour, the said rocks were already cut off by the incoming tide.


So instead, I turned my attention to the concrete sea defence. The tide level was actually perfect to photograph it.


The composition was simple - with a natural lead-in along the wall to the railings as a focal point. With such an obvious composition, I made sure that I nailed the other details...


The pre-sunrise light allowed for a slow shutter to capture the movement of the sea. In fact, at F11 I had to dial the ISO up to 320 to quicken the shutter.


While shooting, I tried to capture the sea water interacting with different parts of the scene. Then, in Photoshop, I blended three exposures to incorporate the best features of the moving water in one image.

Hopefully I'll be out shooting as much in 2020 as I did last year - and share more of my images with you.


I hope you enjoyed this blog - please feel free to share your thoughts on my social media channels or contact me through my website.


**All of these images are available to buy as prints via "Pixieset" or by contacting me**



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Bio / Contact    arhocking@hotmail.com    07824 440233

© Andrew Hocking - 2016    Penryn, Cornwall, UK

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