Mullion Island Long Exposure

Back at the tail end of 2021 I visited Mullion Cove.  Depsite living 20 mins down the road, it was the first time I had been here for some years.  The harbour is very picturesque but I find it awkward to photograph from within the harbour itself as it’s very confined and at this time of year (winter), I seem to be shooting directly into the sun or the harbour is in shadow making any images flat and lifeless.


In an effort to find a better view, I walked up the cliffs to south to get some distance between the harbour and my lens and get the sun behind me.  It was during this walk I discovered this view of Mullion Island.


Mullion Island sits about half a mile off shore, opposite the the harbour entrance.  It is uninhabited and forms part of the Lizard Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  (Wikipedia entry for Mullion Island)


I took a shot of the Island from the cliffs last year and was not really happy with it.  I had in my mind that is should sit in a soft sea with streaking clouds over it to contrast with it’s rocky features.  At the time I didn’t own a neutral density filter greater than 3 stops, so I couldn’t get the look I wanted.  Fast forward a few months and I now have a Format Hi-Tech 16 stop ND filter….and so it was time for a return visit.


Hiking back up the cliffs, armed with my new piece of glass, I setup my tripod in the same spot as last time, composed and took just one shot.


Mullion Island - Click for Larger View.


Ordinarily of course, I’d take more shots than just one on a visit like this.  But as I had the composition fixed in my mind from the previous visit, all I needed was to get the exposure I wanted and the first shot exposed perfectly.  However, I know the image still isn’t quite what I had in mind, purely becuase the cloud cover was too heavy and slow moving.  Since I couldn’t control these things, there was no need to stay on a cold, windy cliff any longer. 


This exposure was 5 min 30 seconds.  I could have shot a longer exposure, but then the cloud would lose any definition and become a white mess.  I could simply change the sky in post…but where’s the fun in that!


So…the image is very close to how I want.  But not perfect.  There will have to be third visit!



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