On Saturday I set out with fellow young wildlife photographers Danielle Connor, Will Hawkes, Max Thompson and Ben Porter to the Lizard, hoping to catch the stormy weather as it battered the coast. With our tripods, cameras and binoculars at the ready and layered up with raincoats and woolly hats we headed onto the cliffs to embrace whatever the weather could throw at us.
The first port of call was the wonderful Kynance Cove. The wind here was brutal. Whipping, bracing and forceful, it was churning up the sea, producing mighty waves that crashed against the cliffs, sending up gigantic splashes. The sea was tossed up and foaming angrily. Sea spray and foam was caught up in the gusts and constantly drizzled down on us. Up on the cliffs the wind pushed and tugged at your body. Walking in a straight line an impossible task. It was important to place your hat firmly on your head, as I found out after having to chase mine as the wind carried it along the cliff top! Above the waves, Herring Gulls and Greater Black-Backed gulls soared on the currents effortlessly, gliding and swooping. Shags had more trouble battling the winds, wobbling and wavering, before taking refuge on the rocks. Down in the water, a grey seal was dwarfed by the waves, it’s head occasionally surfacing in the wash. I wondered if it was enjoying itself or was absolutely terrified – one or the other, surely?
It’s safe to say that photographing in these conditions was a challenge. For a start, the sea spray was a total nightmare, making wiping down your lens a futile task. Secondly setting up a tripod for a steady picture was a risky business. We resorted to using rope to hold onto our tripods as we balanced them precariously the cliff edge!
After taking in the scenery, we walked down to the cove. The usually idyllic, sandy and spacious beach was was almost completely engrossed by the waves. We clambered along the rocks to the sea edge, the sea roaring right in front of us. A couple of large waves came rolling in towards us, smacking the rocks below our feet. The sea reminded us of its power with a suitable drenching.
In the afternoon we headed to the Lizard Point, which was just as dramatic, if not more dramatic than Kynance. We took refuge in a derelict hut looking over the vast ocean. With a large open window, this offered little shelter against the winds, but still gave us the opportunity to take a few more photographs. On a small area of sand, a group of turnstones kept getting caught out by the waves. Every time a wave hit they tried to run away, their little legs barely keeping up with them. It was very entertaining to watch them make the same mistake time and time again.
However harsh the conditions were; they were nonetheless awesome. Standing up on the cliff edge, being attacked by the wind and watching the waves smashing against the enormous and beautiful rocky landscape filled us with adrenaline and awe.