Dartmoor, Haytor and the source of the Avon

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.

Photos Landscape Photography Monochrome Hi-Resolution Quality Dartmoor scene
Haytor

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.

Landscape Photography Monochrome Hi-Resolution Quality Dartmoor scene
Rowan Tree

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.

Photos Landscape Photography Monochrome Hi-Resolution Quality Dartmoor scene
Across the moor

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.

Photos Landscape Photography Monochrome Hi-Resolution Quality Dartmoor scene
The Avon near its source

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.

Photos Landscape Photography Monochrome Hi-Resolution Quality Dartmoor scene
Small granite rock

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Normandy and the French Connection

These photographs are the result of a recent impromptu five day trip to Normandy in northern France. We caught the boat from Dover and just over an hour later landed in Calais. We planned to stay for one night a few miles down the coast in Bolougne sur Mer and then to travel south west to the picturesque  towns of Deauville and Trouville.

Time to relax

All we wanted to do was to relax, drink some nice french wine, eat some tasty french food and have a lot of fun.

Photos FujiX Fuji Travel France Hi-Res Quality Image Photograph
The Waiter

 

“…things that were typically french…..”

Its easy to do all of that in France but for me I wanted something else as well, and that was to try and capture with my camera things that were typically french.

Photos FujiX Fuji Travel France Hi-Res Quality Image Photograph
Restaurant scene

That was it! My theme for my pics was Frenchness!! In a global, multi-cultural, corporate world it can sometimes be difficult to find a specific quality such as this.

French culture

Often what I was looking for lay in landscape and  buildings, sometimes in people, occasionally objects and other times in small details such as wall and building colours. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been but it was a lot fun trying.

Photos FujiX Fuji Travel France Hi-Res Quality Image Photograph
Antique shop

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Llanthony, Capel y Fin and Hay Bluff

About 9 miles north of Abergavenny is the beautiful Llanthony Valley. It’s well worth a visit whatever the weather. It’s pretty in places, rough and tough in others but always peaceful and serene.

Llanthony : A place for quiet contemplation
Photos Llanthony Priory Joatamon Blog Photography FujiX
Llanthony Priory

‘The landscape opens up and you can see for miles…..”

As you head north up through the valley the hills close in and the climb gets steeper until you reach Hay Bluff. The landscape opens up and you can see for miles into the Herefordshire countryside below. If you’ve ever seen the film ‘An American werewolf in London’ the creepy opening scenes were filmed here.Loads of opportunities for photographs along the route.

Remnants of the past

Llanthony Priory is fabulous, mostly derelict but what remains hosts an amazing old cellar bar with Felin Foel regularly on tap. If you want stay the night its possible to book a room in the Priory or there’s a very basic camping field nearby.

Photos Llanthony Priory Joatamon Blog Photography FujiX
Hay Bluff

Capel y Fin is little more that one cottage and a small chapel. The chapel dates back to the mid 16th century. Its a small single story building painted white and to my eyes doesn’t depict a typical welsh chapel but I’m no expert.

‘….Yew trees a few of which are more than 2000 years old.’

 

2000 year old Yew tree

 

Llanthony Capel Y Fin Yew Tree Graveyard FujiX
Capel y Fin                                                                                                                                          The grave yard is littered with ancient Yew trees a few of which are more than 2000 years old. Yew trees are often associated with graveyards, there’s actually  a Yew tree in a chapel graveyard in Carmarthenshire thats one of the oldest trees in Europe, dating back to more than 5000 years. I know that I’ve bored many of my friends and family with that little fact but I really think its amazing that anything could live for that amount of time.

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Waterfall Country-south rim of the Brecon Beacons

Nestled into the southern slopes of the Fforest Fawr massif, west of Merthyr Tydfil, Waterfall Country is one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Fforest Fawr Geopark, with steep, tree-lined gorges and an abundance of tumbling water.

‘…wooded gorges, caves, swallow holes and waterfalls.’

Coed-y-Rhaeadr (Wood of the Water), Waterfall Country lies within the triangle formed by the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan. Here, old red sandstone and a long belt of outcrop limestone have created a highly distinctive environment of wooded gorges, caves, swallow holes and waterfalls.

The Rivers Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-Fechan, tributaries of the River Neath, have their headwaters in the Fans, the old red sandstone mountains further north, and wind their way south through Waterfall Country via steep-sided, tree-lined gorges.

It’s well worth a visit at any time of the year…..

I had a fab day here. It can be a bit tough in places but lots to see. It’s well worth a visit at any time of the year but especially after heavy rains increases the flow of water over the many falls.The most famous waterfall is Sgwd-y-Eira, the Snow Waterfall, on the River Hepste, where a natural path leads right behind the curtain of water.

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Theatre photography : A night in the pit.

This is an environment I know very well but as a musician and not a photographer. Theatre photography is an area I’ve always wanted to try. I’ve worked in many theatres in Wales and England as gigging ‘pit’ musician during the last 40 years or so. It can be a very special place, intimate, occasionally intense nearly always business like and focused. Pit musicians have to be able to turn on a great performance, instantly and sometimes after long periods of doing very little. Theatre work is quite a craft and there’s often a great sense of camaraderie. I’d often thought that I’d really enjoy a three hour theatre photography session documenting some of the moments that typically happen in the orchestra pit.

‘…a very special place, intimate, occasionally intense nearly always business like…’

On Tour

When I discovered that a good friend of mine was on a UK tour with The Sound of Music I asked her if she could approach the music director to see if he’d grant permission for me to sit amongst the musicians and take photographs.I was delighted when he agreed. Here was my chance!

The Maestro
Be Prepared

I arrived at the theatre in plenty of time to find some of the best locations to shoot from but also to meet all of the musicians, firstly to thank them and to explain what I was doing and secondly to tell them to ignore me. Shooting in an orchestra pit environment can pose some very special problems for the photographer. Low light and camera noise are certainly at the top of my list.

‘The Fuji XT2 was incredible and performed brilliantly.’

Up close

 

Fuji XT2 Camera

.This was the first time I’d used my new Fuji X T2 camera n this type of situation. Technically the Fuji offered  some big advantages. Many Fuji lenses have Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and this is implemented brilliantly. Also the camera has two basic ways of operating the shutter, mechanically or electronically. In this latter mode its quite possible to set the camera up to be able to shoot completely silently. I mean completely silent!!

Silence is golden

The only disadvantage using the electronic shutter can happen under certain lighting conditions. This shows up as a strobing effect. The Fuji XT2 was incredible and performed brilliantly. I managed to use both types of shutter mechanisms during the performance. The mechanical shutter during loud passages of music and the electronic (silent) shutter during periods of no musical activity.

Dynamic ISO

The newly developed Fuji X CMOS cropped frame sensor is incredible. It’s also worth mentioning that camera implements a dynamic ISO setting. This can optimise the shutter speed against a higher ISO setting. This was really useful and even when operating at 12500 ISO, great results can still be had.

Stage Right

Lenses used were a Fuji X 10mm-24mm a Fuji X 50mm F1.2 and even a Fuji X 100mm-400mm zoom (hand held!)

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I do not share personal information with third-parties nor do I store information I collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance. I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.