Michael Breitung Photography


Blog - Holywell Bay – near Newquay

For a change after the last two more stormy pictures here’s one from our first day in Cornwall. We had just arrived after a 5 hour drive from London and after we had taken a first look at our little cottage we went to the holywell beach a few miles south of Newquay. Here the weather was still great and the low tide allowed us to wander around the cliffs and explore this wonderful beach.

Around the cliffs to the left there are various caverns and a lot of rocks which also make a nice subject for a picture but I wanted to get in the whole beach and show it’s width. We settled in the nearby dunes for this and I set up my tripod. Then we enjoyed the sunset and I took some photos.

I usually like to take my pictures this way. It’s far more relaxing if you check out the scene a good time before sunset and then when nearing the end of day settle in for just a few compositions and have a good time. This way you don’t get into a rush, running around and chasing for the right shot which usually gets in the way when you want to capture the essence of a landscape. I first want to get a feeling for a place, then I try to find the composition which best conveys that feeling and take the shot.

Well when walking around and taking many shots, you often also get very good results. I do it in the exploring phase when the light starts to change or sometimes I just don’t have the time to settle in and so I try to quickly find a good place for the shot. For example the last picture from Porth Nanven was one where I just stayed 15 minutes in the place, took 3 photos and went to the next place.
But at least for me I found that I’m usually more satisfied with a photo when I had the time to lengthily explore a place and then knowing that this photo will be the right one!

So enough babbling, here’s the sunset shot from the Holywell Bay.

Sunset at the Holywell beach near Newquay

As I said I wanted to convey the feeling of the place which for me was a very warm and calm one. The sun painting the scene in warm light did most of the job and the grasses show no movement and for me help to convey the calmness. The clouds bring in some of my fear for bad weather in the following days 😉

One thing I do quite often is shooting directly into the sun because I like to use the sunstar as a graphical element to balance some of my shots. The problem with shooting into the sun especially with wide angle lenses are lense flares! With my Tokina 11-16mm they show quite heavy in the lower part of the image, diagonal to the sun. So what I do is taking two shots. One shot with my hand held before the sun shading the upper part of the picture which kills the flares in the lower part. Then I take the second shot without my hand held in front, all done on a tripod. The upper part is usually no problem when the sun is placed in the upper half or better third of the frame. At least for my lense the flares then show on a diagonal leading to the lower corner on the other side of the picture.

Best is to do some test shots in advance and know how to cope with the various flare situations. Usually you don’t even see the flares on the camera display, so best is to know they are there, else when looking at the pictures later on the pc you will be very disappointed 🙁

It might be obvious… yes I did bracketing exposures again, so 6 shots in all, three with hand and three without. After using Enfuse GUI (see older posts) two shots are left to combine in Photoshop. Simple masking is enough here. Then some postprocessing for contrast and colors, some sharpening and there’s the picture.

For those who are interested I used 11mm at f/13 here. Sill not much diffraction showing and with focus on the grasses in the front DOF over the whole picture.

So what will be the next shot…. Maybe something from Mevagissey or the Godrevy Lighthouse. Soon you will know.


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