Summer sunset at Crooklets, Bude.

With traffic up to your eyeballs and changeable weather this past month. It’s been a bit difficult to choose a time to head up to North Cornwall. My plan was to head as far North as possible before you hit Devon. I was then going to work my way back down the coast, stopping where I thought would be good. Having the camper makes this all that much easier, apart from it costing an arm and a leg to run! I saw a break in the weather on the forecast that looked promising for a few days, so headed my way up to Bude. After having been to Crooklets Beach earlier on in the year, I knew it had potential for good pictures. The weather just hadn’t played ball the first time around. I thought I’d try my luck here for the first night…

When I left the North Cliffs, the weather was awesome. Literally not a cloud in sight. The further I drove towards Bude, the more grey cloud came over. The longer I drove, the more I cursed the weather, thinking I was going to be out of luck when I got to Bude! As I neared Bude, and drove over the first hill where I could see it, there was sunshine literally only glowing on Bude. Knowing there was still about an hour and a half until sunset, I knew all too well the cloud cover could come in, and probably would. But I hoped…

The view from the cliffs, with the rock formations pointing towards the Sun at Crooklets.

The view from the cliffs, with the rock formations pointing towards the Sun at Crooklets.

I got parked up, had a quick drink, and got straight to it. There was promise in the sky, with the sun burning through the grey clouds. It’s these kind of scenarios that go one way or another. You either get unlucky, and end up with cloud cover and no sunset to spectate at all. Or you get lucky, and it accentuates everything about the sunset. If you get unlucky, so be it, it’s just another boring mass of grey. If you get lucky though, you end up getting pretty excited. Running around whatever place you’re at, trying to find the best composition for the setting Sun.

The reason I’d known that Crooklets had potential for good pictures, is the way the rocks all seem to point out to sea. It’s quite a weird geology that stretches for this part of the coastline. Where there’s lines of rocks, there’s leading lines for your pictures which are one of my favourite rules to try to follow.

A stark contrast between the ominous clouds on the left, and the bright Sun on the right.

A stark contrast between the ominous clouds on the left, and the bright Sun on the right.

I started on the cliffs. The views from up here are pretty spectacular. The coastline stretches pretty far in a straight line, and beyond you can see towards Crackington Haven. The Sun was still pretty high in the sky at this point and so had quite an effect on my exposure. I wanted to scour the beach for some compositions too, so I found what I thought might work if I needed to run up later, and then headed down towards the beach.

On the beach, the contrast in the sky became quite apparent. One side of the sky was cloaked in miserable and gloomy dark grey skies. Whereas the other side was still clear and allowing the Sun through. It made for some awesome simple shots.

The Sun begins to wash the sky with colour over the rocks at Crooklets.

The Sun begins to wash the sky with colour over the rocks at Crooklets.

The Sun made its way lower in the sky and so I started looking for places to shoot with a little more urgency. What I was trying to do was to photograph the lines of rocks pointing towards the Sun. This was proving difficult as they all point just slightly away from the sunset on the beach. I struggled and struggled until I finally found a few that worked for me.

The Sun sits in between the rocks painting the clouds and reflecting off the sandpools at Crooklets.

The Sun sits in between the rocks painting the clouds and reflecting off the sandpools at Crooklets.

With how stressed I was getting watching the weather get worse as I headed to Bude. I ended up so happy with the shots I managed to capture here. It showed that even when it looks like you’re going to get a dud sunset, not to give up on it. Until you actually arrive on the beach (or wherever you’re photographing), you never really know what you’re going to get.

The rock formations point towards the gorgeous sunset at Crooklets.

The rock formations point towards the gorgeous sunset at Crooklets.

Most of my best sunset pictures have come on days of poor weather. The reason being, is that without the clouds to reflect the colours of the sunset, it’ll only be the horizon that lights up. For a sunset that’s going to wow, you need the clouds to be leaving the horizon line, but still be in sight. So for the sake of a simple explanation, if there’s been bad weather, or cloudy weather, and the next day is meant to be nice, it’s always worth having a look to see what the sunset is doing.

The Sun shadows the rocks at Crooklets.

The Sun shadows the rocks at Crooklets.

Crooklets is an awesome beach. The surf picks up really good here at times as well. There’s plenty to do. From rockpooling, to surfing, to strolling along its ridiculously long sands at low tide.

This was an awesome start to my North Cornwall trip and I couldn’t have hoped for a better sunset! All in all, I was more than happy, and can tick Crooklets off my list for the timebeing. Until next year…

 

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