I did find a bookshop in a bar, so I'd call it a definite success.
I took a trip down to Falmouth in Cornwall, UK to visit my girlfriend for a few days and even though the weather didn't exactly play along, it was a fantastic trip spent shooting in some challenging light, often on the fly and with little time to work. It was made manageable by the fact that the town and surrounds offered much in terms of interesting compositions and subjects. I still managed some great shots, taking the camera out a couple of times as we wondered around the little town and the beach (in the pouring rain). It's an interesting town, a combination of students from the university in the nearby Penryn and the locals of the old fishing town.
Arriving at the station we were greeted by the stark contrast of activity that it provides to London. I had left to the sounds of hurried phone conversations, sirens and mid-morning traffic only to find myself surrounded by nothing but the whisper of wind in the trees, the distant sound of the ocean and the soft laughter and cheer coming from restaurants and pubs we passed as we walked through the town centre. Though I enjoy the speed that London life moves at, whenever I find myself in places like this I can't help but to dwell on the elements of life that I miss from being able to take a 20 minute drive from my home in Cape Town to the beach or a forest or mountain walk. Being removed from the bustle is a beautiful thing and I found myself already making promises and plans to make trips like this one a more regular feature of my life.
As mentioned, the weather wasn't the most inviting as far as exploring the town goes, but there were two occasions where I was able to get the camera out and take advantage of the quaint surrounds. I had limited myself to only camera body (Canon 5D mkIII) and one lens (Canon 40mm f/2.8) as a creative experiment and also for the portability of the 'pancake lens' form factor. I felt that although I was expecting to be shooting a lot of landscapes and always in daylight, so you'd expect that the 24-105mm f/fL would be the more versatile and useful tool, 40mm is wide enough and I also wanted to include some portraits and more focused compositions to the experiment, so the 40mm would cover as much ground as I would need it to. Being wide enough for the natural beauty of the landscapes and also the aperture allowing for some creamy backgrounds and framing of the natural beauty of my companion.
Falmouth has a lot to offer on a slow day spent wandering the tiny cobblestone streets and seeing the sights. It's an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, interspersed with some incredible views hiding just around every other corner. We were lucky to get a couple of decent moments while I was there, but even on the murky days there's a character to the town that is alluring and keeps you turning those corners to find the little gems that are on offer.
But when the clouds broke and we got some sunlight, it was really something special. The quality of light on these couple of days as well as the lingering drama that the clouds were creating made for some really fun compositions and a technical challenge of balancing the highlights and shadows that the light was obviously creating. It was one of the times where you have to shoot with the edit process in mind, knowing what the image WILL be rather than what it IS in camera. The technology you have at your disposal makes new and interesting compositions possible and you'd be a fool not to take advantage of it.
On our travels we found ourselves in a great little spot called Beerwolf where you can buy a book then a great tasting beer and enjoy both in a cosy wooden space surrounded by interesting and quirky decor. As far as hideaways from the rain go, it'll do nicely! As soon as the rain let up we were greeted by the sun blasting through the clouds so made for the water to see what we could see.
It wasn't quite 'golden hour' but the light was good, with a relatively low angle in the sky and lending a golden hue to the scenes. From time to time as the clouds parted in just the right way we would get a contrast of the choppy water and the texture that creates with the rolling clouds, golden light hitting each layer in different ways and then to top it off the bright and clear blue of the sky itself. We were also lucky in that the homes and other buildings surrounding the water were quirky in colour and arrangement, there were also old stone details to be found and the tide was low enough that I could get down under the dock without to much risk to my equipment.
This was the last real opportunity that I had to shoot and I'm glad that we managed to make the most of it. The rest of the time was quite dull in terms of the light but I had other things to focus on, like edits and planning more trips and shoots. Falmouth is a little town with a whole lot to offer to anyone looking to escape the big city or just a photographer looking for a breath of fresh air and some new inspiration. I'll leave you with two more images from our impromptu photo shoot in the fleeting evening sunlight.