Inspiring Photography Tours & Workshops

Cove Bay, Moray Coast, Scotland

High Expectations
I visited Cove Bay on the Moray Coast in Scotland and I had high expectations as I had heard a lot about it. Did the place live up to its reputation for excellent seascape photography?

Are you sure this is the right place? Cove Bay on the Moray Coast of Scotland?
No, not really.
I thought you said you had been here before.
I have, I just can’t remember, I must have confused it with another location.

This is the dialogue I had with my good friend Mike as we arrived at Cove Bay. He had been there before, but he had no recollection of its appearance. Nevertheless, as we were standing on the cliffs of the Moray coast in Scotland, we decided to find the safest path for our descent to the bay.

There is a cave at one end of the bay that leads you to a separate little cove – well, a jewel actually. Access to that cove from the beach is only during very low tide or through the cave during any tide levels. So if you are afraid of entering caves you need to wait for very low tide.

The problem was that we could not see the cave entrance from the top. It became more obvious as we walked down to a lower level.

‘There it is!’ said Mike, with excitement in his voice. All of a sudden I realised that we were now walking faster than before, as if the cave entrance would close. Upon our arrival at the entrance, I realised that the cave was no deeper than 20 yards – you could see light at the other end. We walked through the cave and… wow, the little cove was absolutely gorgeous, just as expected. Colourful pebbles of all sizes, sand rock paving and sand – this bay had it all. Now if, like me, you enjoy intimate landscape photography you will be in heaven there; you can spend hours in the place and we did.

The best thing about this location is that, during April (the time we visited), the cove is in the shade and every subject is under beautifully diffused light – no need for diffusers to keep the sun off the compositions. Also, most of the small and beautiful details are just under the cliff’s rock face, which can be part of the compositions and act as background.

I had read somewhere that access to this cove was only during very low tide. This is not true. As I said above, access is attainable through the cave regardless of the tide.

The best part is that, depending on the tide, you will find different subjects to photograph – so, more than one visit (during different tides) is highly recommended.

About the picture
To do the picture absolute justice, I needed to use a not too small aperture to achieve maximum sharpness. At the same time, I also needed to get the maximum depth of field. For this, I opted for the Canon 70D (APS-C sensors offer great depth of field) and the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L lens (tilt & shift). I focused on the nearest pebble and adjusted the tilt to the cliff face in the distance. After a few adjustments and check ups, I was ready to capture the mood of the place. A 0.45 hard grad filter helped to bring down the brightness of the sky.

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