Behind the Lens with Kernow From Above – aka Matt

For our latest instalment of behind the lens we caught up with Matt Warren aka Kernow From Above. Matt’s drone photography gives us a different perspective to Cornwall, enjoying the view from above. Matt’s unique style is much loved, having won him national awards and gaining him a big online following. As fan’s of Matts photography ourselves you might recognise his images having been featured on our own feed.  We chatted to Matt to find out more about his photography.

The Gannel

How did you get into Photography?

Growing up in Cornwall I was a beach baby. My parents never had a lot of money so a day out for us was a day spent on the beach and honestly I couldn’t thank them enough for it. It was there that I learnt to swim, surf, explore and ultimately gain the respect I have for nature and our ocean. Its hard to explain the feeling I have when I’m out on the coast but I always feel so at peace there and it will always feel like home to me.

From a young age I was very imaginative and creative which at first led me to write music. I was lucky enough to have constant access to a music studio at my local youth club and as I got older I eventually bought my own music equipment. I just loved experimenting with sounds and that feeling of creating something from nothing. The problem I had was that the more I wrote music the more I found myself being stuck inside, I rarely visited the coast anymore even though it was only a few miles away.

One day my Nephew called me telling me he had bought a drone and I should head out with him to check it out. From the very first time I saw it fly and seen the pictures that it could capture I knew I had to buy one, literally my imagination ran wild! Soon enough I bought one and my love for the coast was reignited and not long after ‘Kernow from above’ was born.

I’ve always seen my photography as a form of art. I think naturally I’ve always had an artistic eye for composing images but it’s the editing side that allows you to be a bit more creative and original with your captures, it’s still something that I’m learning a lot about now. I’m very skeptic about my work and rarely think it’s good enough but I have the passion to keep growing my skills, keep learning and trying to become better than I was yesterday.

What I really do look for in a shot is an unusual angle, plenty of texture, shadows and something that allows me to play with colours in post editing.

Where is your favourite location to shoot?

Well that’s a tough one to answer. I really think it depends on what I’m wanting to capture on the day. For example if I want to shoot Surf stuff then I quite like Constantine Bay, Fistral and Polzeath. To be fair there are plenty of places in Cornwall that can produce good surf but these three are fairly local to me.. and I mean Fistral is a no brainer right?

I really like the Camel Estuary and the Doom Bar at low tide for abstract pictures like tidal pools and texture stuff.. and of course Rock beach is on the Camel Estuary as well which is a beautiful location.

Probably the most versatile place though for aerial photography is St Ives, with its harbour, its pretty town, beaches and surf means there’s a lot to capture in a relatively small area. Its just so hard to choose one location, there are many places in Cornwall that are photogenic and deserve to be listed here.

Sand Snipe

Fistral Firing

What do you look for when capturing that shot?

Firstly I normally like to shoot in the evening when the light is softer and the shadows are longer. There’s also the chance of colourful skies if the sunset delivers.

There are a few things I like to take into consideration when heading out to shoot. For example tide times, weather, swell height and time of the year are a few. A location like a beach can look a lot different when the tide is in to when its out and it could play a huge factor on how you would compose your images. The sun sets at different positions throughout the year which plays a big part on when and where to shoot so there’s lots of things to consider.

I find myself scrolling through google maps searching for places that may look interesting from above. It’s a rough visual guide but it certainly helps when making plans especially for first time locations.

What I really do look for in a shot is an unusual angle, plenty of texture, shadows and something that allows me to play with colours in post editing. Birds eye views over the ocean are great as they provide plenty of shapes, textures and colours to play with.

Drones allow you to capture normal things from a completely different perspective, I want to take advantage of that!

Follow and learn from people that inspire you to be creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment or be different.

The Seahorse
Constantine Bay
Tidal Pools

Surf Check

What is your favourite photo and why?

I don’t have a particular favourite. I think ‘The Gannel’ is possibly my favourite aerial landscape picture. It was a beautiful evening at a beautiful location. The tide was out so I had some texture in the sand below and the river made a nice leading line out to sea. Im also quite fond of the colours in this one.

My favourite abstract capture is probably my ‘Autumn’ tree shot. Its just something a bit different from my usual coastal compositions and colours. It has a simple but effective composition, a nice play on the light and shadows and it has plenty of texture!

I also quite like ’The Seahorse’ Its one of those images that makes you stop, stare and think what the heck is going on here. Its amazing how much texture the ocean has from a birds eye view and I feel because its an unusual perspective it allows me to play with colours a bit more in post editing, this all helps me to deliver something a bit different to your eyes.

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

Follow and learn from people that inspire you to be creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment or be different. Photography is subjective, there’s no right or wrong way of doing things as long as its pleasing to your eyes and you enjoy it that’s all that matters. You will always have people that don’t like your work, ‘get over it’, There will be plenty of people that do!. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other photographers for advice, most of us are friendly and happy to help.

Most of what I know has been self taught but I could of saved hours of my time by watching YouTube tutorials, there’s plenty of decent photography and editing tutorials on Youtube to start you off.

Most importantly for drone photographers just starting out. Study and follow the drone code. Drones are great fun until something goes wrong. You don’t want to be the guy/girl that gives the rest of us a bad rep by causing an accident from careless flying….. As long as you follow the code and be sensible your good to go.

Fly Safe

Matt KFA


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