Back from Cornwall
May 15, 2010 | Landscape Photography, Travel | by Michael Breitung
It’s been a while …. The past 10 days I’ve been on a trip to England, first 2 days London and then one whole week in Englands wonderful south-west, Cornwall. Despite the cold weather this vacation has been a real bliss. During the seven days in Cornwall I managed to photograph a sunset every evening on another coast. Starting with Holywell Bay on our first day, still with sun, then the stormy Bedruthan Steps, folowed by a spectacular sunset at the Portreath Beach . The next day came the Kynance Cove – I will write some more about it and show you the picture further down, since it’s the first photo I managed to process. Then a beautiful clear sunset at Godrevy Lighthouse and the next day after much rain, I got both Porth Nanven and Cape Cornwall. Finally we went to St. Michaels Mount to catch the golden hour. Might seem stressy but since the weather besides the sunsets was not so good and very cold I had enough time to get some recovery during the days 😉
Since this vacation has been so productive in case of photography I will do a little series of showing you the shots I got with some information about the various places, about the technical details of the shots and some lines on how I processed them. There are even some Panoramas to come so I will take the opportunity and shed some light on how I do panoramics as I already promised a few times 😉
So lets start with the Kynance Cove sunset.
The Kynance Cove is located on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, nearly all the way down to Lizard on the west coast. It’s such a beautiful place to wander around. The cliffs are spectacular and during spring there are various coastal flowers on top of them. The top of the cliffs is also dottet with little rocks jutting out which create a nice foreground for wide angle photography. For this shot I got down to the nearest cliff next to the cove with good view on the well known rock formation called The Bishop, Gull Rock and Asparagus Island. A little climbing is needed to get on top of the rocks where I found this nice patch of coastal flowers blooming. It harmonizes nicely with the cloudy sky in case of structure and forms so I tried to create a balance between the two with the cove in between.
For this shot it was important for me to get the whole scene as sharp as possible. I had my Canon EOS 40d with the Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lense set to 11mm attached to it and used f/11 since I know it is one of the sharpest focal lengths on this combination with no noticable diffraction yet. I got very low and manually set the focus wheel to about 1,5 meters which I know from other shots makes the foreground very crisp and extends the sharpness into the middle ground! Since it’s near the hyperfocal distance the background will also come out quite sharp but I wanted to get a bit more detail there so I did a second shot focused on roughly the middle between the two meter mark and the infinity mark on my lense. There are no more marks but again from other shots I knew I would get a very sharp middle and background from this. This counts for my combination of camera and lense and it might differ for other equipment, so it’s always best to try and later know how to set the focus for the various results one wants to achieve. But anyway with a wide angle lense no automatic focusing is needed! Walk around with the focus set to a bit above 2 meters, use a focal lenght between f/8 and f/13 and you will get sharp shots in most occasions, if you get down low some closer focusing might be needed. Better even to know the hyperfocal principle and use it to set the focus.
Later in potprocessing I blended the two shots using a simple mask in photoshop to get the sharpest bits from both. For this easy scene in case of foreground and background separation a simple gradient will suffice. I don’t know how it is for other camera and lense combinations but for mine those two shots give me a good enough overall sharpness for large prints. You could always push it further and add some more focus shots in between.
Ok, till now I described only half of the truth. I did not only two shots with different focus but I also used bracketing exposures for each one to get more dynamic range. Since my lee filters didn’t arrive in time for my vacation I had to do a little DRI for my sunset shots. How I do it I described lengthly in 4 older posts on my blog here. If you are interested insert DRI in the search field on the right 😉
So that’s the story behind this shot. Stay tuned for more sunsets to come and also some bad weather photography 😉 I think I also had a post on this earlier…