Tuesday, May 25, 2010

around Combe Martin

Most photographers will look forward to sunshine, the weekend, or a time of day like sunrise or sunset. I look forward to the full moon and the new moon and note these in my calendar. A day or two after these moons heralds the highest and lowest tides, or spring tides, which occur every fortnight. A spring low tide, which always falls around 1 or 2pm in North Devon, gives me access to places at the waters edge that would be impossible to get to on any other day or time; places which are often totally hidden under the waves.

At the end of April on such a tide I went to the Combe Martin coast where the following images come from. The inspiration for the trip was an old postcard of Briary Cave at Watermouth. Postcards of caves are rare, this being the first I’d seen, and although I’d photographed this cave before I find that every time I explore a space the image comes out differently. Often this is because of that ever changing tide, light, season and the wave action on the interior of the cave.

The Combe Martin area has a very long history of mining. These 2 images were former mines, which probably starting out as caves before they were mined for silver, lead or manganese. They’re accessible, like many others, from the beach. The interiors of these ex-mines are often are usually rougher and more textured than a cave which is carved out by the force of waves throwing boulders against it’s interior.

This was a rich day’s photography for me. Usually I’d be lucky with one good result, but here I have four; and there were three other failed attempts also. These four images where made from 121 separate photographs in total. The overcast day and wet cave walls helped with the balancing of highlights with shadows. I was forever using bits of my hands as a shield to prevent light flare spilling into my lens, which nearly always points towards the light.

Three of these images will be part of my exhibition at Schooners tea and coffee shop in Appledore for their Visual Arts Festival 3rd – 6th June. I’m really exited about being a part of the festival which has an appropriate theme of ‘Coastline’ this year. If you’re reading this and want to know more you can download a flier at the following link: http://www.greengallery.co.uk/invite.jpg and come and chat with me in Appledore.

The image above is from a huge cave very near to Briary Cave. The headland seen through it is Great Hangman the highest sea cliff in England.

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