Day 6: Saturday, September 29

The First Full Day Of The Cornwall “Wild West” Photography Tour

Today’s Shooting Locations

  • Mousehole
  • Porthcurno/Minack Theatre
  • Sennen Cove
  • Botallack Tin Mines

Today is our group’s first full day of shooting. It’s going to be a long day as we get a 6:00AM start from the hotel (which means, of course, a very early rising prior to meeting the group).

The routine for each day of the tour will be:

  • a pre-dawn start to catch the sunrise at the day’s first shooting location
  • return to the hotel for breakfast
  • shower, change clothes, then hit the road for the day’s shooting
  • lunch somewhere along the way
  • a sunset shoot at the day’s last location
  • return to the hotel for that evening’s meal, normally at 8:45PM

The schedule above allows us to average four shooting locations per day.


Our first stop, and sunrise shoot, today is a quaint and historic little fishing village called Mousehole. Mousehole is correctly pronounced in the Cornish way as “Mow-zel” (rhyme the “mow” with “now” and add “zel” at the end).

Mousehole is on the south coast of Cornwall between Penzance and Land’s End:

There’s still a lot of old world charm in Mousehole, and it’s filled with small, interesting shops, galleries and restaurants. Our main aim in this morning’s pre-dawn shoot is to capture the sunrise as it appears on the harbour and houses of the village. Unfortunately the sun did not entirely cooperate this morning (as is frequently the case in the UK), but we were still able to get some interesting shots.

Below is a little panoramic video I made of the Mousehole harbour. You’re able to see some of my colleagues setting up their tripods and shooting the harbour:

After capturing the dawn I did a mini-wander through the village. I didn’t have a lot of time before our group had to move on to the next location, but was able to capture a few interesting sites around the village:

Porthcurno / Minack Theatre

Porthcurno is a small village on the south coast of Cornwall. Just outside of Porthcurno is the Minack Theatre, which was our next shoot.

The Minack Theatre is really an awe-inspiring place. It is a working, open-air theatre constructed above a gully with a rocky granite outcrop jutting into the sea. The theatre season runs each year from May to September, and some 80,000 people a year see a production here. The classics are usually performed here, with Shakespeare being the staple.

The theatre was the brainchild of one Rowena Cade who, with her gardener Billy Rawlings, made the terrace, stage and rough seating of the complex from carved and relocated rock. They hauled materials down from the cliff above or up via the winding path from the beach below. Looking at the structure, it truly amazed me that just one woman and one man built and carved this theatre by hand with no advanced tools at their disposal – it was the early 1930s after all.

Here are some shots of the Cornwall coast beside the theatre. The actors have quite a background against which to perform:

Here is the theatre itself:

On the balcony

Sennen Cove

After leaving the Minack Theatre we moved on to Sennen Cove. Sennen Cove is a small coastal village in the parish of Sennen in Cornwall. The population of this settlement is estimated at 180 people (year 2000 stats).

The village of Sennen Cove overlooks the southern end of Whitesand Bay. Sennen is not a cove in the usual sense but it has a massive beach with the village located on the banks above. The site is an extremely popular surfing destination with locals and visitors (they must be a hearty lot to surf in these freezing waters, but at least they have protective wet suits).

Footprints in the sand
Surf’s up – there were actually several surfers in the water today
Beach Volleyball
I don’t know who these people are but they were coming uncomfortably close to the edge of this thing

Botallack Tin Mines

Our next stop was our last of the day, and also our sunset shoot.

The Crown Engine Houses of the Botallack Tin Mines are remnants of an earlier time in Cornwall’s history. Mining tin from the earth was one of Cornwall’s means of survival. It is not known exactly when mining started in this area but early records date from the 1500s. According to Wikipedia, some archaeological evidence points to mining here in the Roman era or even as far back as the Bronze Age.  The mining tunnels extend under the sea, in places for half a mile. Over its recorded lifetime, the mine produced around 14,500 tonnes of tin, 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1,500 tonnes of arsenic. The mine closed in 1895 as a result of falling tin and copper prices.

In the following Botallack Tin Mine shots of the Crown Engine Houses I experimented with long and regular exposures, and applied different white balances to the images as I captured them:

And, related to tin mining…

These are Cornish pasties. A Cornish pasty is a baked pastry filled with very hearty ingredients, such as meat, potatoes and vegetables. The one side of a pasty has a raised, ridged edge – this is so the tin miners could grip the pasty on that edge and not contaminate their lunch with their tin-covered hands. Pasties are very filling, to say the least, and it’s easy to see why they were such a popular lunch for the mine workers. The Cornish pasty tradition continues in Cornwall today, being extremely popular here.

Well, that’s the end of today’s adventures and I hope you enjoyed. I’ll be back tomorrow with more awesome Cornwall scenery and landscapes.

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