Sidmouth in November

A sunny Friday in November, the perfect recipe for a seaside photo walk in the East Devon town of Sidmouth.

If ambling around the coast in the off season months is a pleasure, that pleasure is twofold when it is before the weekend, almost as though it’s an exclusive members only club.

With my Canon S95 taking a day off, I use the Lumix LX5 for many of today’s shots, I love using this camera with its multi aspect ratio switch, where I choose to shoot a good few 1:1 square images alongside the usual 4:3.

The more I use these compact cameras, the more I am amazed at how good they are and just how much enjoyment I get in using them, they have become the latest chapter in my photographic journey.

One frame – Old school social media

This time last year I would have never imagined that some of my favourite images would come from using a small digicam but my foray into the world of older photography gear has been an absolute joy.

Today’s favourite image comes from a trip to the Seaside town of Sidmouth in East Devon, as I was walking along the beach, there are a number of shelters along the sea front.
Glancing up, I immediately saw the potential of the candid nature of this shot, using a compact camera would not draw that much attention.

It was when I looked back at the shot later that I noticed a rare phenomenon, there was not a mobile phone in sight, this was a good old fashioned face to face chat between a group of people who may or may not have known one another, social media old style!






Telling stories

Up to just a few months ago, my photography was limited to my weekends off, an unintended barrier between work and play but since diving both feet first into the world of old digital compact cameras, I carry one with me most days, including work days.

Today was no exception, my Lumix LX5 takes little space in my daily rucksack,however I did not hold out much hope of getting many photos this morning at 4am, as the heavens were at their widest aperture, allowing a deluge of heavy rain to soak anything it touched within a few seconds.

Reaching my bus stop in a record time, I had more time than I anticipated and immediately saw the raindrops on the shelter windows and the street lamp reflections on the wet ground, snap!


It had to be black and white, no other edit would convey the sense of atmosphere these wet, dark mornings have at this time of year.

I was hoping for kinder weather on the way home after work, back at St David’s station bus stop, it was groundhog day as the skies opened up once more with another deluge.
I could play the waiting game this time, no place to be anytime soon, the LX5 came out as I sheltered under the station awning, what stories could I tell while the rain fell?

Just outside the station, some have a sense of urgency, while others increase their screen time statistics, waiting patiently for the rain to ease.

A quick dash to the station but the brolly offers little or no protection.


This deluge could last for a while, it’s barely 3pm but it looks like daylight has been stolen!


It could be brightening up a little ….


Five more minutes and I will leg it home.


Definitely not the best composition but the orange against the grey sky was striking, the workman by the fence carrying on as though nothing had happened.

The more I shoot with these tiny cameras, the more I am enjoying what they are capable of, their limitations are also improving my photographic skills on a daily basis, what’s not to like about that?

Autumnal walk at Fingle bridge

At this time of year, there are a number of places that I like to visit to take in the autumnal colours, today sees a walk around an old favourite but the first visit here in at least four years, Fingle bridge near Drewsteignton, a national trust owned woodland, where the River Teign runs alongside the well trodden foot path.

Today’s lens of choice is probably my favourite vintage lens, the Pentacon 50mm F1.8, the ideal lens for woodland photography as I like the colour rendition and softer corner edges wide open.

After a recent spate of strong winds, I was expecting to see a lot of skeletal looking trees, bereft of their autumn foliage but was pleasantly surprised to see the golds and oranges still very much in place.

The path itself is a carpet of bronze, sandwiched either side with banks of green, which are randomly peppered with this arboreal snowfall.

My walk is just under five miles, perhaps nearer six and a half with my various detours off the main path but it still takes a good three hours as I stop and start constantly in search of my next shot.

Saving the best until last?

My recent 50mm for fifty days project saw me using a 50mm lens on an older camera body (canon 5d MKII), as I simply no longer wanted to participate in the race to keep up with all the latest gear, it was a chance to use camera gear that I would have liked when it was new but was simply financially out of reach, or in the case of the small point and shoots I now have, simply not even considered.

Those flagship cameras of a decade or more ago have long since been superceded by newer and more advanced versions, where they can be bought for a fraction of the price, this is where I acquired a collection of varied older cameras that had been left in a box and unused, until now.

I have posted a number of blogs of photos taken with a Canon G11, Canon s95 and the two more recent additions a Leica X1 and Dlux-6 but I had one more to try from my original box of goodies, a lumix GF2 which I paired with a Panasonic 20mm F1.7 that I had retained from my dalliance with the Micro four thirds system.

Wanting to take a smaller camera with me on a seaside walk last weekend, I finally packed the GF2 and 20mm into my bag and rarely used the 5dII as I was enjoying the smaller combo so much.

The 20mm lens is spoken in high regard with many of the Micro four thirds fraternity, it is not hard to see why, this unobtrusive lens is sharp even at the widest aperture, what’s not to like?

A few years ago, a camera without a viewfinder would not have found its way into my camera bag, since then, I have come to love how not having a viewfinder helps me see shots I may not have seen with the camera at my eye.

Enough about the gear, the images of my walk around Teignmouth were a very enjoyable way of spending a couple of hours by the coast.



A trip to Ilfracombe

My twenty or so years working in the catering industry meant that the summer holiday months of July and August were ‘out of bounds’ but September and October were times that I could look forward to a few days away.

I have become so used to this arrangement that even now, I still like to take a few days in late October and early November, where popular destinations are a little less busy and the pace a little less frenetic.

My last visit to the coastal town of Ilfracombe was over three years ago, it was time to catch up with friends once more and enjoy a couple of days exploring a favourite location.

My arrival on Wednesday afternoon was welcomed by strong winds and persistent rain, perhaps the beginning of the payback for such a good summer but in any case, I had promised to reprise my catering skills, in the form of a slowly cooked lamb stew as a token of appreciation for some very comfortable accommodation for the next two nights.

Thursday morning was a little brighter, so just after seven thirty I headed out for some fresh air and hopefully a good few photos.

A typical November morning with a blustery wind found me watching the sheer power of the waves as they pounded the rocks below my viewpoint, the roar of water as it crashes against rock never fails to remind me to respect nature in this kind of mood.

Rain clouds and blue sky fought for dominance as I meandered my way up the hill just above the town, where a brief squall presented me with a great view of the town partially bathed in sunlight and the start of a rainbow to boot.


There would be no doubt that I would take photos of Damien Hirst’s legacy ‘Verity’ but just a few footsteps away from my hilltop view is a more understated monument, dedicated to the memory of a 14 year old Russian girl who tragically fell from the cliffs in foggy conditions, she had come to study English in the town.

‘Ekaterine’ is a very poignant reminder of the fragility of life, as I took a photo of this memorial, I was blessed with some golden sunlight, as I paid my own quiet respect to a life taken far too soon.



Descending the hill to follow the sea wall footpath, my route takes me to the harbour and another visit to a little gem of cafe I found on my last visit here, for a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast.

Again, I was spoiled with some striking scenery, St. Nicholas chapel standing atop lantern hill since the 14th century was aglow in the sunlight as the clouds parted once more to allow the sunlight freedom of the sky.


After my breakfast and two cups of tea, my meander took me to the breakwater and harbour beaches, retracing my footsteps of previous visits where I was happy to oblige with the typical seaside photography imagery.

My three hour amble seemed like just an hour, it never ceases to amaze me just how quickly time flies when I am in my photography walk mode, I hope to return to Ilfracombe again in the not too distant future, but for now, thank you for the (new) memories.

A rainy Saturday

A Saturday morning in early November, rain tapping gently against the windows as it falls from a featureless blanket of grey, the ideal recipe to catch up on writing blogs from my recent outings, instead I decide to head out for a few more shots around the city.

Just after ten AM and the city is already quite busy, the organised types are embarking upon some early Christmas shopping, tell tale rolls of wrapping paper peering above carrier bags like festively adorned periscopes.

Coffee shops are doing a brisk trade, havens from the persistent rainfall, a welcome warming indulgence in the form of hot teas and coffees, perhaps even a slice of cake to complete the decadence.

Other signs of the impending festive season are evident, Christmas lights in place for the annual switch on, the Christmas market stalls in the cathedral grounds, empty but ready to go.

For the record, today’s images were taken with my Leica X1 and my Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm (40mm equivalent) lens, the latter of which I have rarely used since its acquisition earlier in the year.



Autumn photography

October has always been one of my favourite months for photography, the colours of Autumn are always something I look forward to, a kind of photographic pilgrimage if you like.

This year has been particularly rich in its annual harvest, maybe because I am now in the habit of carrying a compact camera at all times, I am able to take more photos instead of waiting for the weekend, coupled with the unseasonably mild weather conditions, it has been ‘the perfect storm’.

My love of this time of year is always tinged with that bittersweet thought that winter is not far away, bringing with it, longer hours of darkness like an unwelcome guest at a wedding or birthday bash but for as long as I can, I will continue to enjoy this all too brief festival of colour that nature provides.







One frame – Light and patterns


Since I have decided to carry a small digicam in my workday rucksack, I leave for work a few minutes earlier just to allow for any potential stoppages to take photos, even at silly O’ clock in the morning.

With a healthy student population attending the University, Exeter has several purpose built student blocks throughout the city, one in particular is opposite the bus station where I await my transport to work.

The light in the canteen of the building along with the stencils on the glass made for an image that was too good to pass up, it may or may not work, in monochrome it most certainly did.

In all honesty, I was not expecting the shot to have come out so well with such a small camera, but the little Canon S95 has delivered one of my favourite low light images ever.

A new habit

Since delving into the world of almost forgotten camera gear, I am pleasantly surprised at how much fun I am having using small sensor compact cameras, so much so that my Canon S95 has found a spot on a regular basis in my take to work rucksack.

Knowing I have a camera with me at all times on my travels, means that I have developed a habit of walking a more circuitous route back home from work, in the hope of taking a few shots on an almost daily basis,keeping the photographic eye and mind in good shape for my lengthier weekend outings.

My preference for early morning sunrises have become my comfort zone, to the extent that I rarely seem to shoot later in the day but it is time to shed that skin and develop new habits, however short these more spontaneous photo outings are.





I managed about twenty or so shots on my way back home today, I have picked six that show the everyday things that catch my eye.