Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Towanroath Engine House - Photography Week 16 (2017)

Sitting high the cliffs close to Chapel Porth is Wheal Coates, a former tin mine which includes the Towanroath engine house. The location is absolutely perfect for landscape photography and, despite photographing it many times, there is always a detail either in landscape, or the weather, that makes me reach for the camera.

On this occasion it was a patch of pink thrift positioned nicely on the coastal path which caught my eye. Interestingly though, whilst the composition was obvious, it took a while to line up the shot. Maximising the foreground and getting the positioning of the engine house correct was the challenge. Even slight corrections changed the composition as demonstrated in the following two images:

In the first image the engine house and the clouds sit nicely in the composition. However, the foreground in the second image is far superior but the engine house is little too far to the right and the framing on the clouds is less effective. These are only small margins but they make a difference and demonstrates that whilst the location may be perfect for photography, there is no such thing as a perfect photograph.

When the tide allows, there is an alternative view of the engine house from the beach at Chapel Porth. The standing sea water can be used to add a reflection into the composition:

Of course, the engine house doesn't need to be every shot at this venue. In fact many photographers would deliberately exclude the building and references to location, preferring compositions that are based on shape, form, colour and texture. Photographs with obvious references to locations can be seen as clichéd or postcard photography.

For example, I have removed much of the locational information in the next set of images. The beach compositions are now about the sand patterns and the light. The cliff top image concentrates on colour and relationship between the yellow gorse flowers and the blue sea:

From my point of view, I see photographs which include elements like the Towanroath engine house as landscape standards. The aim is to represent the scene in the best possible way. I also see that landscape photography needs to be progressive and this means challenging the viewer beyond simple references to location.

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