It's a shame but the last time I visited the coast for photography was in January. That image became explored on Flickr and I felt really pleased. Since then somehow I haven't managed to make it to there again. But last week we spent a short family holiday in North Devon in the neighbourhood of the beautiful Exmoor National Park. This area is a big favourite of mine. It's packed with all kinds of goodies both for families and for photographers. Rolling hills, rushing rivers with waterfalls, rocky bays and sandy beaches with dunes, all reachable within a 25 miles radius. I brought all my landscape gear with me and I planned to shoot some sunsets. I had luck as the weather was exceptional. Lying on the western edge of the UK, Exmoor is well exposed to the weather’s quirkiness. It's not unusual that there is bright sunshine inland and just 5-10 miles away towards the coast it's misty and cloudy with zero visibility. Fortunately this time it wasn't the case. I managed to shoot two very nice sunsets.
The first evening I headed out to find something nice between Combe Martin and Ilfracombe. I didn't have too much time to explore so I just drove in my car and stopped when I saw something promising. Eventually I found a place next to the Costguard Cottages. I walked down on the Coast Path to Rillage Point. This area provides a good vantage point towards Hele Bay and in case you have luck it's lit beautifully by the the setting Sun. I had around an hour to play with different compositions and light. When I edited them at home I kept two photos. The first one shot more than half an hour before sunset and the other one was with the longest shutter speed of 104 seconds. For me these gave back the mood and feeling of that warm summer evening.
Two days later I left a little bit earlier in the evening to have enough time to explore. The targeted area was between Martinhoe and Lynton. I approached on single track roads from the direction of Martinhoe. This is a very wild part of the coast with steep hills and rocks combined with lush vegetation. There is not many place to park your car close to the shoreline. There are some nice sheltered small beaches but they were busy with people, I didn’t want to stop there. From here the coastal road leads to the magnificent Valley of Rocks. You have to pay toll here so prepare to bring a £2 coin with you. The valley itself is really an outer-worldly place. It looks like a big giant played here with the rocks and built huge piles out of them millions of years ago. The coast path is surfaced here so it's easy to walk. It leads straight to the heart of the village of Lynton. Views are breathtaking and probably the best is the one looking toward the famous Castle Rock towering above Wringcliff Bay. Of course I chose this to photograph. I had more than one and a half hour before sunset. As the light was changing I tried different compositions. For my final sunset shot I hoped for a nice sunstar. Unfortunately as the sunset was approaching mist was starting to develop above the sea and the air turned hazier. That meant very weak or no sunstar at all. I kept these two shots when processing the photos at home. For the sunset shot I had to choose an unusual aspect ratio. Neither 3:2 nor 16:9 worked well with the scene so I didn't pick any of them. I simply set it according to my taste which became 16:10.
I really enjoyed the two short photo trips during our holiday. My motivation has started to return. In two weeks time I’m going to spend four days in South Pembrokeshire which I’m really looking forward to. I have already started to prepare for it studying the possibilities in the area.