Benoath Cove is tucked around a headland from it’s main access at Bossiney Haven. It’s beach is usually under the waves, but on a low spring tide rocky cave pierced cliffs are like heaven to me! I was there in mid-March on one of the lowest tides of the year which gave me four hours to explore and photograph. This blog post represents my sketchbook or work-in-progress as I haven’t made a finished image at the time of posting; that will have to wait until a rainy day. However my working practice includes making iPhone photo-constructions on location and I like to process my RAW images asap and then make quick, automated, photomerges from the jpegs produced.
I timed my visit to Benoath so that I was there two hours before low tide and took the less used, old path, down to the beach. This path isn’t way-marked and I wouldn’t recommend it; the first part was covered in brambles which are only bearable in the winter when they’ve died back and heavy jeans are worn, the second part, the decent down the cliff, is treacherous as most of it is on a steep ledge with only a rail to keep you from plunging to the beach. The last section has no handrail and just an old fishing rope, tied to the end of the rail, to help you over the steep, wet, smooth, slippery rocks onto to equally difficult beach below. I had been on the beach in the past but it was disorientating with the sea still so far in, so it took a few minutes of clambering up and down the so far accessible rocky beach, before I could find the cave I was looking for. I refer to this cave as Signal Cave because you can actually make a mobile phone call inside. I even received a text right at the very back which has to be at least 30 metre from the opening.
My reason for getting into the cave as soon as possible after the receding tide was aesthetic, the wet walls and dripping ceiling make for a far more dramatic image. This particular cave is my current favourite and I could easily have spent all four hours here, as it has three distinct entrances which all join together far into the the cliff. It takes me approximately an hour to shoot the frames for a single constructed photograph so four hours was never going to be enough on this beach as it was visually so generous.
It takes me approximately an hour to shoot the frames for a single constructed photograph so four hours was never going to be enough on this beach as it was visually so generous. These last two iPhone AutoStich images will have to wait to photographed properly! The first I entered with only a few minutes before low tide, which was lapping at it’s mouth, and I had to force myself to leave it for another day (I know how obsessive I can be to perfect the image, I knew I would be so absorbed in my work that time would disappear and I could be cut off, inside the cave!).
I’m working on totally revamping my website so please be patient for a few days – It will be fully working very soon!
Meanwhile I have a new series of Photographic Workshops available from next month. For more information or to book please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07530 508681
Half Day Intro to your digital camera – Friday 3rd June in Barnstaple, (1.30-4.30pm) ?25
A ‘sit around the table’ workshop to get to know your camera better. You’ll learn about shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash and setting your camera up for optimum quality.
iPhoneography Workshop ? Wednesday 15th June in Barnstaple, (9.30am-12.30pm) ?25
A practical workshop to learn how to use your iPhone’s camera to take professional looking photographs and enhance those images on the go. Suitable for anyone with an iPhone. You will need to install a few cheap photo apps in advance which I’ll advise on when booking!
Digital Camera Skills ? Thursday 23rd June in Bideford, (10am-5pm) ?50
A practical days workshop learning to gain control over your camera, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash etc, setting it up for optimum quality under any given lighting, and making better pictures through composition. Numbers limited to a hand-full. I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ? a day for ?75
Photographing your own Artwork ? Friday 1st July in Bideford, (11am-6pm) ?60 with lunch, tea and coffee provided!
I have a wealth of knowledge and experience of photographing 2D artwork, jewellery and ceramics and I’m willing to pass this on to artists eager to improve their own image making camera skills. Although this workshop is for a small group (max 4) I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ? a day for ?75, or I can deliver the workshop in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for ?125
Introduction to Photoshop ? Thursday 7th July in Bideford (10am?5pm) – ?60 with lunch, tea and coffee provided!
Opening an image file and adjusting levels, contrast, brightness and colour balance. Rotating, resizing and cropping an image. Placing an image or images into a new file. Using layers and history. Participants will need to be computer literate i.e. use a computer on regular basis and understand the basic controls. Small group (max 4). I also offer it on a 1:1 basis in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for ?175
|Invite wonderfully designed by Kitty Dough|
Meeting and greeting was at 6pm around the exhibition cabinets. This helped to guage the interest level and questions my audience might have; and calmed my nerves. There was a great spread of Anglo/American food available that had either been bought from the next State that likes to call itself a commonwealth, or homemade like the scones.
7pm was the presentation. Kitty introduced me to the audience numbering 50+. The talk was far more than my photographs, although there was a fascination in the way I construct my images from as many as 100 seperately taken frames. This exhibition, to me, had always been about introducing Manteo to it’s twin town through it’s surrounding coast, river and, originally shared, history. Using old maps, the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty map and Richard Larn’s shipwreck map, I took my audience on a journey from Marsland Mouth on the border with Cornwall, along the Hartland coast, across Bideford Bay, up the Torridge into Bideford, around Saunton Sands to Baggy Point, along to Briery Cave at Watermouth, into Combe Martin and it’s caves which were mines; and finished off on the Exmoor coast at Wringapeak, near to the Somerset border.
It was supposed to be a half hour presentation and in practice it had been 45 minutes to I had vowed to cut it shorter. But, when I get excited I can’t stop; so it was more like 50 minutes, plus questions which were many. Nobody seemed to mind the length except perhaps my ever supportive wife Sadie who had been gesticulating ‘cut it’ and ‘wind it up’ but I hadn’t noticed! Sadie is also credited for all of these photographs.