It was minus 6 degrees here on Dartmoor. My little dog (Ella) stepped from the car on to the snow and almost disappeared! The light was fantastic, the air was crisp and all sounds were muted. I had tried to get to Haytor but this was the nearest I got. Haytor was about 3.5 miles away but I’d already passed too many vehicles that had gotten stuck and didn’t want to run out of luck.
A fuji 10mm-24mm lens was used at the 10mm end on a Fuji XT2 mirrorless camera.
Slightly abstract image here. Made up of three different textures. Concrete, water and sand. The colours and contrast have been exaggerated massively to create more impact. The shot was made looking downwards from a seaside carpark (lower left of frame) into the water (middle of frame) with the submerged boat ramp on the right side of the frame. I think though that knowing this makes the picture less interesting.
On my way back home from a trip on to Dartmoor I turned a corner to see the South Devon lower fields lit up by the sun. The contrast between the snow covered fields and the dark wintery hedgerows and trees looked fabulous. The light gave the landscape a ‘graphic’ two dimensional quality that I thought a monotone approach would suit.
The image was taken on a fairly long range telephoto lens at the 400mm end (equivalent to about 600mm on a 35mm full frame camera)
A lot of people ask, what is the best camera? The answer has to be,the one you’ve got with you. Nowadays theres so many many ways to capture interesting images. Sports cameras , mobile phones, Go Pro’s and of course conventional digital and analogue cameras.
This image was taken using my old Go Pro camera in a waterproof housing. I set it take rapid fire stills images. Placed on a cheap little tripod in-between the rocks. As the waves came down the gulley the camera fired maybe about 50 images. This was my favourite.
It’s not what you could call an ‘intelligent’ image. I didn’t really frame it, set exposure values or focus it, but it captured the effect I was looking for. It can be fun to experiment even if thing go wrong. The point here is I wouldn’t have risked placing an expensive camera and lens so close to this fast flowing salt water full of tiny stones, sand and rocks.
This simple shot was taken almost a year ago. The weather had brought everything to a standstill. My wife couldn’t get to work, so by lunchtime we did the only thing we could and that was to dress up warm and walk to the pub. We went the scenic way (also the quickest). This pic was taken on our way to the St Julians pub. This group of trees is known locally as ‘The devils circle’. High contrast shows it off to its best.
The location of this photograph was on the edge of the Black Mountains in the Brecon National park. It’s a great place to visit in any season. The shot was composed using a fairly long telephoto lens. I love the way these lenses compress and compact the view. What struck me when looking at the scene was the sense of isolation that the cottage has. From what I could see there was no road going to it, just a small path. I’d like to think I’d be happy living in a remote place like this but I’m sure the reality would pose some real issues and problems.
I normally only post one image per blog but here I’ve included a second that is framed quite differently. It omits the steep cliff face on the right hand side of the first image and to my mind gives a different feel.
I took this photograph about nine months ago. I’d planned a photo shoot along the river Exe estuary. My original plan was to leave Newport at about 5.30am to arrive at the northern most point of the estuary (near Exeter) and work my way along the shoreline toward Exmouth. That was the plan. In reality I slept right through my alarm finally getting out of bed about 8am.
In the end I arrived about 1.30pm and gradually travelled southwards as per original plan but obviously much later in the day. As it worked out things couldn’t have gone much better. I caught an amazing ‘Golden hour” (actually more like 35 minutes). This was my final shot of the day. The light had faded very quickly but I managed to snap this shot of a solitary looking building against the late evening sky.
Although quite a few years old this building (Newport University) still looks very contemporary. The wood, welsh slate, steel and other materials really compliment each other in this fantastic design. It’s constructed on the west bank of the river Usk and very near the town centre. Well worth getting up close to. It looks fab from all sides imo.
The River Avon (originally River Aune) starts it 21 mile journey to the sea on the lower slopes of Dartmoor National Park in South Devon. It’s a wonderful river that cuts its way through some truly beautiful countryside before entering the sea near Bantham on its eastern shoreline and Bigbury on its west bank. I’ve already posted a blog that looks at the rivers early stages on Dartmoor. (Click here to view the gallery).This post will focus on the rivers lower reaches from Aveton Gifford to the coast.
The river is tidal to this point. Along the west bank of the river is a tidal road that gets totally flooded and impassable twice a day at high tides. It was at this point that I started my early morning photo shoot. This part of the river is beautiful at all times of the day but changes its character depending on the tide.
I arrived here at about 4 a.m. It definitely wasn’t easy getting out of bed in the dark at 3 a.m but was really worth the effort. The early morning light can have a very unique quality. On this particular day and time it had a soft and pinkish quality that was simply wonderful.
The tide was on the turn as I arrived making it impossible to walk the tidal road. It’s amazing though to witness just how fast the water recedes. It was so quiet and peaceful with the only sounds coming from the many and varied birdlife. Just before the road becomes non tidal it crosses a small tributary. The roadway is marked out by tall wooden poles that are sunk deep into the ground. They act as a guide to prevent vehicles driving into the river. This looks fantastic at high and low tides.
The rivers course takes it through South Brent, then Avonwick before skirting Loddiswell moving south mostly then onto Aveton Gifford before entering the sea near Bantham and Bigbury. The landscape is wonderful and varied often with the backdrop of the moor in the distance.
My original plan was to follow the public footpath all the way along the western side of the river until I reached Bigbury beach but having covered the first mile or so (mostly uphill) I decided against this. I made a mental note to lose 3 or 4 stone and get fit.
As the river gets nearer to the sea it becomes broader and takes on a majestic quality as it twists and turns. I’d studied an OS map that had shown there was access to what looked like a beautiful area opposite the village of Bantham. It would be quite difficult to get to (in fact my first attempt failed miserably) but it looked like it’d be worthwhile. The difficulty in getting to this part of the river meant that very few people went there and those that did generally went by boat. On my second attempt a few weeks later I succeeded, it was early evening and the light was fab.
Just before the final sweeping turn in the river the landscape opens up. The river becomes its widest and the terrain becomes broad and sandy above the tideline and full of flat greyish pebbles below the rivers edge. When I arrived at this point I noticed a few groups of youngsters who’d managed to cross the river. A few had made a small fire and were in a circle chatting.
The coastline surrounding the mouth of the river is equally wonderful. Its great for water sports and there’s loads of great places to eat and drink. It’s a place I know I’m going to visit again (and again) maybe next time in the middle of winter.
Dartmoor is an amazing and rugged place. Approximately 400 square miles of wild and generally unpopulated high moorland. Dotted across the landscape are Tors or rocky outcrops. You really get a sense of an ancient and slightly dangerous place. Lots of opportunities for photos here.
If you ever walk there alone it’s a good idea to go prepared for sudden changes in the weather and to let someone know the area you plan to visit.
‘..the place really does have its own kind of ‘vibe’..’
The terrain here hasn’t really changed for thousands of years. Haytor pictured above is a relatively easy place to get and can be the perfect introduction to anyone thats unfamiliar with the moor.
I love being up here, its difficult to explain but the place really does have its own kind of ‘vibe’. Many trees have grown into strange and unusual shapes, the result of unrelenting strong winds. Criss crossing the landscape are lots of fast flowing rivers and streams.
A few miles north of Buckfastleigh in South Devon is the Avon Dam and the source of the river Avon. The avon starts here and flows more or less southwards through South Brent, Avonwick and Averton Gifford before flowing into the sea at Bantham a distance of about 18 miles.
Theres a great walk from Shipley Bridge (OS grid reference SX680629 Lat 50.451047 // Long -3.860666 Postcode TQ10 9EL (approx. location only) up to the dam with lots of great opportunities for photos. Just take a lot of care, it’s really easy to fall in.
To see more more imagers go to the gallery or click this LINK