Photography from the dark side

With autumn stepping into Summer’s vacant shoes, I reluctantly bid a fond farewell to those long, light evenings, but welcome the opportunity to capture the colours and moods of one of my favourite seasons of the year.

With woodland and riverside walks high on the agenda, hopes will be high to capture that colourful carpet of fallen leaves before they fade to winter mulch, golden leaves on lichen cloaked rocks teasing us with a show of colour before the barren winter months to come.

It is also at this time of year that I try to embrace the inevitable darker evenings, by honing my favourite photographic genre, low light and night time photography.

Emerging from summer photography mode into the discipline of low light work, my skills area little ring rusty, it is time to re-hone the skills with a couple hours night shooting around Exeter.

With me, I have my Olympus EM5 MKII with a recent new addition, the 17mm F1.2 Pro lens, with the EM5’s image stabilization and the wide aperture, I want to see how this combo performs with hand held shots.

As usual, the Ricoh GR3 tags along, small enough to fit in a pocket, it is a great little camera to stand on some of the street furniture, that act as a substitute tripod.

No night time foray is complete without the obligatory traffic trail shots, I do my duty with the ricoh perched on top of a metal pavement bollard, a passing bus giving a nice abstract look to the scene.

The olympus with the 17mm perform admirably too, my first shoot with this lens, so experimenting aplenty here.

I have deliberately chosen a less busy Thursday night for tonight’s foray, tomorrow will see more looking to start the weekend, I am happy in an emptier city.





With a little of the ring rust shaken off, I have a couple of ideas for some night time photography projects in the coming months, after all, I may as well take full advantage of the longer hours of darkness.

October sunrise

Thursday morning, the fourth morning of a well earned week off and the most promising in terms of a possible sunrise, after a damp and miserable start to my holiday.

Today also happens to be my 54th birthday, so I have set aside the whole day to indulge in my two favourite pastimes, walking and photography.

Sunrise is around 7:30 am, so I arrange to leave Exeter Central station an hour or so earlier, the twenty minute journey gives plenty of time to find my sunrise location and to scout other potential areas of interest.

Having set up close to the sea shore, I opt for a place near one of the many groynes along the beach, a typical sunrise shot with a silhouette of groynes and beacon against the rising sun, that is when the plan changes.

Two shots into today’s outing and the lighting behind me casts a golden glow on the path above the beach, the picket fence and grass, either side,the sand covered footpath is a shot to good to miss.





It was to become one of those rare days that wherever I turned, the beautiful October light presented so many photo opportunities, I was in my element!

Happy with the shots I had captured, it felt like I had put a single coin into a fruit machine and won the jackpot on the first roll, yet I still had the rest of the day ahead and a small matter of 12 miles to walk back home…..

….But first, a pit stop at a local bakery, where a hot cup of tea and a breakfast baguette went down rather well, the perfect fuel for an October morning hike.

Signs of autumn are all around, the local amusement park closed until half term, its attractions hidden under tarpaulins, the transition of greens to golds, oranges and reds of leaves along the way, the coolness of the early morning, lingering for a few minutes a day more.




The walk along the estuary trail to the Exeter canal has some of the most wonderful scenery, it is a walk I will always enjoy, whatever the season,my camera will be kept busy today, with the wealth of opportunities.

From Dawlish Warren and Starcross, through the small village of Cockwood, the path takes me through Powderham, where my route goes from B Road to footpath, alongside the estuary, where it passes another favourite haunt, Turf locks.
The Turf locks pub is sadly closed, the views, fortunately are still very much open.

One could be forgiven for thinking that this route cannot offer any more in the way of stunning views, yet as the path meanders from estuary trail to canal trail, there is still much to see, changing with the seasons.




With a good nine miles under my belt, the opportunity for a welcome refreshment at the double locks pub is far to good to pass up, from the outside, the pub commands picture postcard views, even the interior is worth a photo, as I like the way the light and shadows play through the large windows.

It is well into the afternoon before I reach Exeter, it has been a long time since I had a whole day set aside for my own indulgence, it is a day I have enjoyed immensely, a day that will end with a well earned fish and chip supper before looking through the days efforts.