For years watching Doc Martin or more recently having to sit obediently through episodes of Poldark, I had a bit of an idea what Cornwall may offer. Jax worked here after leaving London in the mid 70’s and she talks with such pleasure about her “surfy years” of being barefoot and bohemian on the Cornish coast.

Cornwall, at the southwest tip of England, is a photographer’s dream. A rugged land with cliffs moulded by the sea and shadowed by stormy clouds, it glows in the light.
We stayed in St. Ives while we did day trips out to varying townships in Cornwall. Attracting artists for decades, and bustling with tourists, St. Ives has a little bit of everything: galleries, art museums (including the Tate St. Ives), beaches, eclectic shops and restaurants, a harbour where you get dive bombed by seagulls the size of albatross! My checklist of shots for cities, such as St. Ives, includes street scenes, viewpoints, landmarks, local people, architecture, markets, night scenes, sunrises and sunsets, and close-ups. With the little time I had, I knew I wouldn’t hit everything on my checklist.  There were also hoards of tourists to manoeuvre through, and because you have to park about 2 miles away from the township you have a lot of heavy equipment to carry up and down hills.

For architectural shots I got out very early, before the streets were busy and when the light was soft. When the sun was bright, I looked for colours and shapes enhanced by the bright light of the day. I added “tourists on holiday” to my checklist, since tourism defines St. Ives today. The best way to photograph people when there are so many crowds is to stay in one spot and wait and watch. You can preset the camera’s exposure and focus, and divert your attention to what you are experiencing.

When we were in West Cornwall, it’s  was only a short-ish (and beautiful) drive to The Minack Theatre. Known across the world, The Minack is an awe-inspiring open-air theatre carved from the cliffs high above Porthcurno beach. This spectacular theatre offers a fabulous programme of productions, we were lucky to see “La Traviata” giving us thrills to hear such a beautiful opera with such a majestic backdrop of the turquoise ocean…… Was the sea really this blue? And the cottages so white?... yes on both counts - and I finally understood why so many painters flock to Cornwall. The light danced off the blue waters in Porthcurno, the tiny streets and the white washed houses of Polperro were quaint and beautiful, Port Isaac (Port Wenn) oozed with the picturesque scenes from Doc Martin and Tintagal overflowed with legends and history whilst Boscastle was brimming with tales of witchcraft and the supernatural.