Capturing Cornwall’s Storms: Photography Tips

Published: Wednesday 20th Nov 2019

Everyone knows that Cornwall’s turquoise waters and snowy-white sands make for perfect subjects in the summer, but what about winter? Hit by awe-inspiring storms rolling in from the Atlantic, Cornwall’s serene beachscapes transform into boisterous cauldrons of heaving waves and frothy spray. If you are a photographer, these dramatic scenes make for exciting creative inspiration, great for sticking on your social media or printing off and putting on your walls at home.

So what are the tricks for capturing Cornwall’s storms? Helping you to remember some of the fundamental secrets for achieving that perfect shot, here is our STORM mnemonic of top photography tips:

Safety: First things first, safety is a crucial element of storm photography in Cornwall. Before you begin snapping, make sure you have fully analysed the severity of the storm, and if it’s just too rough, stay inside. To help keep you safe, make sure you pick a spot way back from the water and out of the reach of waves (particularly big set waves that sometimes take you by surprise). Places like Penzance, Porthtowan and Polpeor at the Lizard are great because they offer plenty of safe vantage points, including lots of cosy cafés from which to admire the show!

Tripods: Capturing a great shot is all about keeping steady and tripods help you to maintain a wobble-free stance. By using a tripod, you are less likely to get caught out by the wind and will achieve a much clearer shot. With a greater level of detail and less blurring, your finished product will have much more finesse.

Originality: Something that makes a really memorable shot is originality. Scout out places that aren’t as well-known in Cornwall or get a unique angle on popular storm watching locations such as Sennen and Land’s End. Try using something in the foreground for perspective or shoot from a different height. By using aperture, ISO and other functions, you can also play around with the sharpness, light and colour within your photo.

Range: Range and scale are hugely important factors when considering storm photography in Cornwall. Sometimes it’s hard to do the size of waves justice, so putting that into focus really helps to give your shot depth. Perfect examples of this are Porthleven (famous for the images of mighty waves crashing over its clock tower) and Kynance Cove (whose beautiful islands soar from the sea). Incorporating something else into the frame and giving your audience a sense of perspective will make a massive difference.

Movement: The mesmeric pull of waves and the strength of Mother Nature is something that captivates us all, and this is part of the draw of storm watching in Cornwall. Capture some of the incredible movement of storms by adjusting your camera’s shutter speed and create more of a feel for the incredible forces at play. In addition, by checking wind direction and swell before you leave, you can pick the best spot for your photography and bag the best action shot of them all.

Check out cottages near your favourite storm watching spots here 

Porthleven holiday cottage