Devon’s Rugged Atlantic Coast

A bespoke course of coastal photography on the cliffs and in the coves of Devon’s Hartland region

Photography on Devon’s rugged Atlantic coast

Would you like to:

  • Explore and photograph the magnificent cliffs of this remote area?
  • Photograph sand and rock patterns in a beach at low tide?
  • Delve into a deep coastal gorge to photograph a waterfall crashing down a cliff onto the rocky beach?
  • Soak in and photograph the sunset (conditions permitting) over the Atlantic?
  • In the low light of dusk do blurred-motion photography of surf rolling around the shoreline rocks?

If yes, then this course is for you.

What the locations and photography consist of

This is an afternoon and evening photographic trip, based around remote Hartland Quay, site of a small hotel and defunct harbour on north Devon’s Hartland coast. From here we’ll walk about a mile along the coast to the next bay southwards, where we’ll descend to the beach to photograph the rock formations, low tide sand patterns, and a magnificent waterfall cascading onto the beach. Note that this part of the trip can be done only at low tide.

After leaving the beach we’ll photograph the upper parts of the waterfall. On the return walk towards Hartland Quay we’ll stop to photograph a number of the views and rock formations, plus also (in spring and early summer only) some of the coastal wild flowers found here.

Towards the end of the day, at Hartland Quay itself we’ll photograph the sunset over the Atlantic (conditions permitting), and blurred-motion of surf rolling around the shoreline rocks.

What you will learn about

The course will aim to teach the following skills:

● How to spot potential image compositions within this wild coastline, juggling juxtapositions of jagged rocks, sand and water;

● How to control and make use of the balance between shutter speed and lens aperture to gain the best exposure, and to control depth of field (ie the amount of the image that is sharply in focus);

● How to use some of the camera’s most important features, such as semi-manual modes, in particular shutter-priority and aperture-priority, in order to help you to get away from ‘auto-everything’, as well as the ISO settings, image histogram and exposure compensation;

● Executing the image, using positioning, perspective, focus control, use of light, and lens focal length to create simple, strong compositions;

● An overview of certain specific techniques, such as the blurring of moving water to add mood and dynamism, and the use of neutral density graduated filters (ND grads) to darken over-bright skies.

Participants should have an understanding of what shutter speed and lens aperture mean, plus a knowledge of how to operate their own camera in order to get at least basic images. Beyond this, the main requirements are enthusiasm, an open mind and a readiness to learn!

Full-day or half-day?

Naturally, it is not possible to cover as much material in a half-day as can be achieved with a full-day. The itinerary described above can be applied to both a full-day and a half-day trip, though of course with the latter it will be much more rushed.

A half-day course will give you roughly a four-hour trip, most of which will consist of photography, though there will be some tuition time and time travelling between sites.

A full-day provides a seven-hour trip, again consisting mostly of photography time, but interspersed with some tuition and time travelling between sites.

See the prices below as part of making your choice.


Half-day (up to four hours): £280 for 1-4 people, and an additional £70 for each additional person;

Full-day (seven hours): £380 for 1-4 people, and an additional £100 for each additional person.

  • Devon's rugged Atlantic coast
  • Devon's rugged Atlantic coast
  • Devon's rugged Atlantic coast
  • Devon's rugged Atlantic coast
  • Sunset over the Atlantic; Devon's rugged Atlantic coast

What you will need

The camera equipment you’ll need to bring is simply what is useful for general landscape photography. If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with several lenses then a focal length range of about 17-300mm will be fine. If you have just the one zoom lens, or a compact camera, these are fine too – you’ll still be able to take great photos without having to worry about changing lens!

If you have any close-up equipment bring this, though it is not essential. Similarly, if you have any filters bring these too, though again they are not essential.

Please bring a tripod – it will be needed for sunset/dusk, and for blurred-motion photography of the waves. If you don’t have one please let me know as I may be able to lend you one.

Please make sure your camera battery/ies is/are fully charged, and that there is lots of space on your memory card(s).

Be sure to wear good walking shoes – most of the paths we’ll be walking on are in good condition, but this is the coast path nonetheless, so the ground can be rough.

Also, bring plenty of weather-proofing for both yourself and your camera gear. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that we will have some rain.

You will need to bring your own food and drink, as there will be nowhere on our route where it will be possible to buy much, apart from the pub at Hartland Quay (see below).


There is a free car park alongside the hotel at Hartland Quay, although you may be charged to use the private road that leads down the hillside to it. The road ends in this car park, so it cannot be missed!

There are toilets attached to the pub next to the Hartland Quay Hotel.

The only place to buy anything is the pub at Hartland Quay, a good place to retreat to in the evening once the course is finished!

A weather note

The entire length of this trip, whether half-day or full-day, will be spent out in the open, so please be prepared for rain showers.

Some flexibility regarding the scheduling may be needed. If in the final few days before the event we have a severe weather forecast for the planned day then it may be necessary to reschedule the event, hopefully for just one or perhaps two days later. Please try to include this flexibility when making your travel plans.

The course location

The nearest town is Bideford, about 30 minutes’ drive east of Hartland Quay, along the A39 and then the B3248.

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