Since I emigrated to London in 1994, I’ve been Cornwall three times and my last visit was some 7 years ago. My last trip to Cornwall was somewhat different, I was single and had no fear. It was organised as a group activity holiday when we did different activities everyday. I even enjoyed all the bruises and cuts that I got from rock climbing! It was the fun days.
Seven years on, I am a more mature, I think, married man with a lovely wife who is pregnant with twins. Things have absolutely changed, for the better of course. So I am back at Cornwall again. I am still as adventurous as before but just more cautious as I don’t want to hurt myself so I can’t take care of my family, though I did fractured my ankle a few months ago from basketball. Again, we are staying for a week and in a rented cottage. But this time, I also went with my mother and brother. A full house it is.
Cornwall has always been loved by photographic enthusiasts and professionals. It’s landscape combines with countless fabulous castles just make it the perfect wonderland. I didn’t have a digital camera seven years ago. I took my film Canon EOS 1v and one lens, Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM. Though my sole intention was to enjoy the activities so I didn’t take many photos before. This time, with a more restraint schedules and intentions, I am more of a photographer this time round. I packed my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, together with my 17in Macbook Pro, Epson P-7000, Harinzumi digital and Canon 580 EX II flashgun all in my travel rug sack, the Kata Bumblebee UL 222. Ok, my Macbook Pro isn’t particular a travel size but it’s my workhorse and I didn’t want to carry my Macbook Air because it can’t handle my 5D RAW files.
I used the three lenses equally during my stay in Cornwall. It all served different purposes. First, both the L lenses were weather proof so I could still photograph in the rain. Yes, it rained for three days when I was there. Cornwall’s weather has always been unpredictable and rainy but this is also the reasons why photographers love it. You could capture some really dramatic sceneries and the sun breaks out after the storm or rain. Rainbows are a common sight.
There was one afternoon when I walked out by myself, I was hit by some heavy down pour that got my soaked badly. My camera worked until I got back to the cottage. My navigation button stopped working for nearly a day. So my 5D isn’t so weather proof after all. But if you can brave the elements, you can be sure to capture something great!
Patience is also a key to photograph in Cornwall. You can easily capture the already beautiful landscape but the great ones are reserved for those who wait for the right moments. I didn’t have enough time myself but I did a few early mornings and braved the rain and wind to capture some really good photographs.
If you ever have a chance to visit Cornwall, you have to go to Minack Theatre. More information can been seen HERE. It’s a must for anyone. You will not be disappointed.
Then it’s St. Michael’s Mount, which isn’t too far from St. Ive and Penzance. I stayed there for one whole day, capturing some sun rise photographs all the way until sunset. I am not joking. During low tide, a secret path will appear before you and you can walk over from the beach. When the tide is high, you have to catch a boat, which costs £2 or USD 3 to cross (at time of writing 2012). Then you have to pay to go up to the castle, which is a must also. There’s a garden if you really like flowers and plants, but even I am not a gardener, I still enjoyed seeing all those weird plants.
Eden Project is a bubble green house but a good family day out. It’s an experience also when you tour around the tropical biodome. I won’t spoil the fun for you but be prepared for the heat and stickiness.
St. Ive is a great seaside town and a great place to relax yourself and do a few shoppings there. There are some great beaches and the town itself is characterful with nice original shops, pubs and restaurants. I love those fish and chips there! Parking is a nightmare however, with maximum stay of 3 hours only.
Of course there are a lot more to see and photograph but my time there just isn’t enough to go through all the places that I want to go. But if you want to ‘properly’ see Cornwall, I will recommend at least two weeks and a hire car and be prepared for the extreme weather!
So this has been one of my highlights this year and I thoroughly enjoy my stay at Cornwall, especially with my wife and family. I am hoping to go back soon and hope it won’t be another 7 years.
Have a fantastic day!