Friday, March 14, 2008

As I was going to St. Ives (part one).


I am about to plunge back into a period of relatively quiet writing here at the Cabinet, I fear. It's for the best of reasons: a particular person you know as my beloved Brooklynite will, this time tomorrow, be boarding a plane to the nearest metropolis, and so soon I will see her. As I'm about to type d.v., I realize that I should be extra careful this time around because my own traveling on Monday didn't quite work out the way it was meant to do. I did make it to St. Ives on Monday, but when I chalked it all up at the end of the day, I'd been traveling for more or less 13 hours: three cab trips to and from the Cambridge rail station (because high winds knocked all of the trains between Cambridge and London out of service, leaving me unable to get to my connecting train down to the southwest, where they were going through the first of two waves of bad storms that day, and also leaving me not sure what to do besides catch a cab home and start over with the help of an internet connection and some tea and muffins obligingly provided by my sympathetic friend), three trains, one Underground trip, and another cab at the end of the journey. I'm hoping that her version of this scenario goes: an easy cab ride, a painless check-in and security screening, a completely safe and smooth flight, an easy coach trip to my town.

And I'm still teetering on the brink of finishing my essay, having taken today to feel my way back into where I left off at 4:30 Monday morning--so that's likely to take much of my writing energy tomorrow.

And--here's the real explanation, really--I took 718 photographs while I was away, and the challenge of sorting through them is pretty exemplary of the bigger challenge ahead of me, sorting through the myriad dreams (new and old) that I suddenly found myself generating while I prowled around the streets of St. Ives. (I find myself regretting intensely that I won't have my new Mac until the summer, because if I had it now, I could rock up to Aperture 2, and my computer's processor would be able to handle these huge graphics files. Alas.)

For now, then, you get some of my favorite images from the week, with only brief captions for now.

Because I arrived after dark, I had no idea where I was or what I would be able to see from my window when I woke up on Tuesday. My view was the furthest thing from disappointing:


In fact, for a literature person, it was as fine a view as I could have begged: that island in the background? with the lighthouse on it? That's the lighthouse, kids. Of To the Lighthouse fame. You'll spot it again and again in my pictures, because Godrevy Lighthouse is visible from almost everywhere in St. Ives. Such as the harbor:


(where St. Ives's own lighthouse stands guard) and also from the Tate St. Ives coffeeshop


which also affords a wonderful view of the part of St. Ives that was originally the center of its fishing trade. (Here's another version of that view, from Wednesday, sans reflection in glass. Also sans sun.)


The color of the roofs in St. Ives is immediately eye-catching, almost no matter what the background--preternaturally blue sky, preternaturally blue-green sea, grey sky, grey-green sea: they all catch the color of the roofs and cast it back with a drama you might not have expected of roofs.


I'm mixing my days up a bit here. This last picture, and the next, are both from my first full day in St. Ives, when the weather was at first overcast and incredibly windy, and then sunny and incredibly windy.


The moment when the weather started to turn was visible and glorious:


That picture of the view from my room is actually from Wednesday morning, because I didn't think you needed to see just how grim things looked when I got up on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning was immediately and consistently heart-stoppingly and mind-tinglingly beautiful. Like, well, the entire Cornish coast, St. Ives is steeply hilly, so that prowling and exploring was a very different prospect there than it is in utterly flat Cambridge and environs. The vistas are, in many ways, more fun in Cornwall, really:


By the end of Wednesday, I found myself trying out new perspectives on things I'd already photographed. Porthmeor Beach, for instance, which is the westernmost beach of the four (!) in St. Ives--the benefits of being a peninsula, see--looks very different when one is standing on it than when one is walking along the top of its sea wall.


On a purely art-making note, I spent part of the week puttering among white balance settings on my camera but not in a systematic enough way. Now I find myself looking at a picture like this previous one and thinking, were the waves really blue like that? Is that one of the pictures where I left the setting somewhere where it shouldn't have been? And how is it that I haven't yet figured out how to preserve my colors better when shifting out of RAW format? I mean, I know that the whole point of RAW is that it captures more colors than JPEG. But is there a more lossless way to handle my images than the one I'm using? What happened to my greens? You don't need to hear this inner monlogue. And yet I give it to you anyhow.

It's well past my bedtime, so I will offer just one more picture and promise some more tomorrow. Hell, at this rate, I think that I could make a substantial portion of my remaining posts-from-England into pieces illustrated by this St. Ives archive. For now, enjoy this one. I have never seen such a thing. Then again, I've never seen a sign instructing me against importuning and touting, either.

2 Comments:

Blogger Thomas said...

Ah, the signage!!! It is glorious!!! I had forgotten how much I missed the UK and the wonderful, insane signage.

I also think my house needs a Holy Water Overflow pipe.

Tee Hee..

8:43 AM, March 15, 2008  
Blogger Gryphon said...

Welcome home! While you were gone, I learned how to steal your images and transform them in to wallpaper for my laptop. I hope that's okay! (By the way: on your journey, did you happen to meet a man with seven wives?)

5:39 PM, March 16, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home