A morning on the beach

Cornish granite
Granite on the Beach

Christmas day 2019 was the best day of the entire Christmas week in Cornwall. The strong, gusty winds had stopped and there was a bright, diffuse light thanks to some thin cloud. The day had started early with a successful trip to Porthgwarra for sunrise – more on that in a later post – followed by a lazy hotel breakfast and planning for the rest of the day. Given the bright, diffuse lighting I thought Sennen beach would be good for some intimate landscapes.

I’d heard the beach would be busy and busy it was. The Eastern end of the beach was packed with lots of people in swimwear and santa suits going for a dip in the ocean! Or at least a screaming, running dash into and out of the water! No wetsuits allowed! Fortunetly, the Western end was quiet with just a few dog walkers.

I’m no geologist but Cornish granite seems very distinctive. It is a mixture of small white/cream, black, brown stone infulsed with large rectangular flecks of a whiteish stone. Rooting around the beach I searched for a collection of stones that worked as a photograph. There were lots of rocks but nothing seemed to work as a photograph. Finally after much searching the closest I got was the above photograph.

Seaweed on Sennen beach
Seaweed on the Beach

By the time I’d finished the Granite on the Beach photograph the tide was starting to move back up the beach with speed.

A lesson: Whilst photographing on a beach it’s important to remain aware of what’s going on around you. On an incoming tide the sea can creep silently up the beach and the result of not paying attention is wet feet or worse, wet gear if the camera bag isn’t on your back! Never put a camera bag on a beach unless you are very sure it’s well outside the reach of Neptune!

After a little more exploration I spotted this lovely piece of brown/black seaweed lying in an undistrubed area of sand. I was immedietly attracted to the shape, the curving limbs and delicate ends covered, in places, with a scattering of white sand. In post I’ve tried a black and white as it’s such a simple photograph, however, the subtle colours of the sand and browns are lost. Colour just works much better for this.

Not far from the Seaweed on the Beach I spotted an amazing site but the tide was getting very close by this time and it would have taken just one larger wave to have washed over the subject, ruining the intended photograph. Speed was of the essence!

Great #Seahorse photograph by Andy Gawthrope Photography! Click To Tweet
The Seahorse

What had caught my eye was the classical Seahorse shape formed by tendris of seaweed clinging to a small rock. Sweet. 🙂 I took the above photograph and a few others like it then moved the tripod and started to setup for a different angle but whilst doing that a wave washed in totally distroying the shape and I had to grab the tripod and run… 🙁


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