On the north coast of Cornwall between Padstow and Newquay, Bedruthan Steps is a series of rocky islands rising out of a sandy beach. There is a National Trust car park just south of Bedruthan Steps, at Carnewas, with an essential café. A short walk northwards from the car park brings you to Bedruthan Steps. Although the path is well-defined and maintained, some very steep climbs and descents exist. The island pictured is named Redcove Island.
Some very steep steps down the cliff face would formerly have given access to the beach, but these have been closed since 2020 for safety reasons. This restricts views of the stacks to the coastal path along the clifftop. A benefit is that the beach is clean, devoid of people, dogs, and footprints, even in the early afternoon. Despite the time of year, the coastal path was popular, so perhaps I would not have been able to capture this uninhabited photo if the beach access had been open.
The photo was taken on an overcast day in mid-October, hence grey skies with no texture. The enforced high viewpoint, however, allowed me to exclude it entirely, isolating the island against the sea. The breaking waves in the background were a distraction from my subject, Redcove Island. Due to the overcast sky, the lighting was dull and very flat. This enabled a long exposure without the need for a neutral density filter. The 30-second exposure retained some detail in the breaking waves without them being a distraction.
I liked the muted colours that resulted. All the focus was on Redcove Island and the smaller rocks on the left, all linked by the strand of water leading back to the sea. I returned to the café at Carnewas with some satisfaction.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor