The spring tides in February were spent exploring Samson’s Bay, just east of Hele Bay, North Devon. Philip Henry Gosse in A Naturalists Rambles on the Devonshire Coast 1853 described it like this, and I expect it hasn’t changed too much since then as it is rarely visited:
"A little way beyond this point the traveller looks down upon a cove called Sampson's Bay; it is girt in with rocky cliffs of great massiveness and wild grandeur, too abrupt and perpendicular to be scaled, even by the most expert climber. An ample cavern yawns on the western side of the bay, into whose depths, as the tide was high, the surf was dashing, with a roar that rivalled the discharge of artillery. I thought of the fine simile of Thomas Moore:
'Beneath, terrific caverns gave
Dark welcome to each stormy wave
That dash'd, like midnight revellers, in'
A new friend, Alan, showed me the old mining track down, very overgrown but not needing a rope to safely access the beach. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of a shipwreck in the bay of a British Sharpshooter-class torpedo gunboat launched in 1889/90 but no-one knows for sure which one it is, and whether it was actually wrecked or just left to die! There was also a passenger steamer that ran aground here:
"Much excitement was caused in Ilfracombe and neighbourhood on Thursday evening when it became known that the saloon steamer Alexandra, with about 300 passengers on boards, was ashore near Watermouth castle, the exact spot being Sampson's Beach." (Ilfracombe Observer August 22 1893 p 7 c 2)
But I was really here to explore the caves, of which there are many, including the largest of these Samson’s Cave. This cave is legendary, it might have got it’s name from an infamous smuggler said to have used it as a store house. It is probably the cave used for hiding contraband in the allegedly true story ‘The Call of Chambercome’ written in the 1850’s and set in the seventeenth century. A lot will have changed over 400 years, especially as the cave was mined for limestone and possibly silver up to 150 years ago. But it is still a fascinating place, awesome, sublime and majestic.
You’ll have to wait another few months for some finished images from here but the thumbnail images, or sketches are looking very promising. The top image is a sketch from my second visit and gives an impression of what might be achievable once I have spent some days editing, combining, stitching and merging the 128 RAW frames shot of this subject; over a time period of 65 minutes in a cramped position. I accesses Samson’s Cave just as the huge tide had left it’s entrance, sliding down an almost sheer, smooth rock wall to get in. A cave always looks its best when it is wet, ideally with water dripping from the ceiling.
"Another name which conjures up visions of smuggling days is Sampson's Bay - one of the most convenient spots along the coast for men who gained their livelihood by luring vessels to destruction. Sampson was a smuggler of repute." (Ilfracombe Chronicle Sept. 1st 1933 p 6)
I’m indebted to John Moore who’s website devoted to Hele Bay is a wealth of knowledge.
Also I include below a quick iPhone snapshot using the AutoStitch app
Photographic Workshops in Devon, Spring 2013Introduction to digital photography - £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 ½ a day for £75
Tuesday 19th March in Exeter (11am - 6pm) Click to reserve a place
Saturday 23rd March in Ilfracombe (10am - 5pm) Click to reserve a place
Wednesday 8th May in Bideford (10am - 5pm) Click to reserve a place
Sunday 19th May in Barnstaple (10am - 5pm) Click to reserve a place
Saturday 31st May in Appledore (10am - 5pm) Click to reserve a place
Half Day Intro to digital photography - £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.
Monday 8th April in Appledore 10.30am - 1pm Click to reserve a place
Sea Caves, Shipwrecks and the Rocky Shore 10am - 5pm - £50
An introduction to Dave Green's own photography. Spend a day with Dave experiencing the secret coast, hidden at the far ends of a sandy beach, full of caves and shipwrecks. Learn how to make the best of your own camera under demanding landscape and lighting.
Saturday 30th March 2013 starting at Ilfracombe 10am-5pm Click to reserve a place
Course Description Combe Martin pdf
Thursday 11th April starting at Sandymouth, nr Bude 10am-5pm Click to reserve a place
Course Description Sandymouth pdf available soon
Photographing your own Artwork 10am - 5pm - £50
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 5) I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ½ a day for £75, or I can deliver the workshop in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for £100
Course Description pdf
Wednesday 10th April in Bideford Click to reserve a place
Saturday 4th May in Bideford Click to reserve a place
Introduction to Photoshop 10am – 5pm - £50
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 for £150, or I can deliver the workshop in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for £175
Sunday 17th March (10am-5pm) in Bideford Click to reserve a place
Thursday 9th May (10am-5pm) in Bideford Click to reserve a place
Intermediate Photoshop 10am – 5pm - £50
Using tools, masks and filters to manipulate your image. Tools used in this session are: marquee, move, lasso, magic wand, eraser, paint bucket, eyedropper, hand and zoom. Making a contact sheet and using batch production. Adding type to your image. 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 for £150, or I can deliver the workshop in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for £175
TBA May 2013 in Bideford - enquiries welcome click here