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Towanroath Gold by phil hemsley


Small (23.2" x 15.4")

Available to buy on…

“In every out-thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth”

-Rachel Carson

Transient ‘golden hour’ winter light bathing the cliffs around Towanroath engine house, between Chapel Porth and St. Agnes in Cornwall, UK.

The Wheal Coates mine opened in 1802 and was worked until its closure in 1889. It was re-opened for a short period between 1911 and 1913 when it was finally closed.

The site is most notable for its three engine houses and in particular the iconic Towanroath Shaft engine house, which is now a Grade II listed building. The whole site is in the care of the National Trust.

Built in 1872 the Towanroath engine house was responsible for keeping the water out of the shaft 600 feet deep shaft of this tin mine.

The other two engine houses on the site were stamping and winding (whim) engine houses, built at around the same time. These were responsible for hoisting and crushing the tin ore.

There is also evidence of prehistoric and medieval mine workings in the vicinity including signs of excavations in the Towanroath Vugga cave on the beach below

In its heyday Wheal Coates employed some 140 miners with tin being transported on the tramways and shipped from Portreath, Hayle, Trevaunance Pier in St Agnes and Truro.

Cassiterite has been the chief tin ore throughout ancient history and remains the most important source of tin today. It is a widespread minor constituent of igneous rocks. The old exhausted workings of Cornwall, England, are concentrated in high temperature quartz veins and pegmatites associated with granitic intrusives. The veins commonly contain tourmaline, topaz, fluorite, apatite, wolframite, molybdenite, and arsenopyrite.

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference – SW 698 500

Pentax K-X
Pentax 18-55mm SMC/ DAL lens
Hoya Circular Polarizer
tripod (weighted down with rocks!, average windspeed = 50 knots)

1/45 second

Pseudo- HDR created from 3 Spilt-RAW processed TIFFs (at 1.5, 0, -1.5 ev equivalents) in Photomatix Pro 3.26. Finished in Adobe Photoshop 6.0 (including Orton Effect layer, which was blended with original HDR)

An emerging landscape photographer based in Totnes, South Devon, UK – Phil Hemsley (a.k.a. ‘Morpheus71’ – from his graffiti days) is incredibly lucky to live between stunning beaches and fantastic moorland – he loves walking in the moors, climbing the cliffs and catching waves.

He is passionate about using visual imagery to capture the emotions, atmosphere and action of his subjects. His highly detailed work reflects his passion for rich light, colour and contrasting textures.

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  • Barssel
    Barsselalmost 3 years ago

    Superb image……………wonderful post treatment.

  • Thanks so much for your very encouraging comments Ademac :) It was outrageously windy up there but exhilarating with it, such a lovely place to spend some time. Must have been a harsh place to work as a miner over the winter months.

    – phil hemsley

  • Dave Godden
    Dave Goddenalmost 3 years ago

    Lovely treatment – faved

  • Thanks ever so much for your great comment and fave Dave :)

    – phil hemsley

  • CRose
    CRosealmost 3 years ago

    Congratulations! Your Host: CRose 12-30-11

  • Wow! Thanks ever so much CRose for the feature! It was an exhilarating experience in 50 mph winds and great light, such a wonderful place to go for a walk:)

    – phil hemsley

  • Jeanne Sheridan
    Jeanne Sheridanalmost 3 years ago

    awesome color!

  • Thanks so much for the encouragement Jeanne :)

    – phil hemsley

  • Laura  Knight
    Laura Knightalmost 3 years ago

    Congratulations on a well captured ‘Moment in Time’

  • Your encouraging words are much appreciated Laura – cheers :)

    – phil hemsley

  • Dave Godden
    Dave Goddenalmost 3 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature 31/12/11

  • Wow! Thanks ever so much for the feature Dave – Happy 2012 to you:) Cheers!

    – phil hemsley

  • Mary Sedici
    Mary Sedicialmost 3 years ago

    December 31st, 2011
    Happy New Year

    See your work in the Permanents Featured Gallery
    ►Please participate in the ongoing Challenges

  • Awesome news! Thanks so much for the generous feature Mary – Happy New Year!

    – phil hemsley

  • Maree Cardinale
    Maree Cardinalealmost 3 years ago

    January 1st, 2012
    Happy New Year!

  • Wow! That’s so kind of you Maree tr feature my work – cheers :)

    – phil hemsley

  • Denise Abé
    Denise Abéalmost 3 years ago

    so very beautiful :) xxx

  • Thanks ever so much Denise! Happy New Year to you :)

    – phil hemsley

  • TeresaB
    TeresaBalmost 3 years ago

    January 1, 2012

  • Blimey! Thanks ever so much for featuring my work Teresa:)

    – phil hemsley

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