One frame – Bluebell view

One notable absence from my photographic calendar in the last two or three years, has been the annual pilgrimage to photograph the bluebells at Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor.

This particular location is very popular with photographers, as it has a barn with a rusting tin roof to add contrast to the trees surrounding it, as well as the blanket of bluebells that parade their late spring splendour in the sunshine.

I had imagined that this well photographed scene would form the basis of this particular ‘one frame’ post but as I looked through the many images I captured on the day, it is this view that I particularly liked more than the cliched image.

The said barn is hidden from view just right of centre in the cluster of trees but it was the wall in the foreground forming a kind of frame that I liked, the small cluster of bluebells at its base, then the centre ground with its cavalcade of colour that completed the scene for me.

In just a few days, this scene will disappear for another year but the memories of this beautiful late spring morning will remain.

A Sunday surprise

On my regular monthly visits to Salcombe, I generally make Saturday mornings my photography day, leaving Sunday as a more relaxed affair as I prepare for my return to Exeter and another working week.

I was happy with yesterdays exploits, despite the lack of those sunrise colours that I enjoy so much but this Sunday morning was to provide a pleasant surprise as I was about to make my six AM brew…

My first look out of the upstairs window showed a lovely bright morning with a layer of mist on the estuary, that cup of tea could wait, I was off like a ferret up a drainpipe!

Mornings like this are so few and far between, it always feels such a privilege to be able to capture the landscape in this mood.

One frame – early doors

An early Saturday morning in Salcombe, sunrise is at just after five thirty AM, so I am up and about around five, still a two hour lay in from my weekday mornings!

Hoping to capture the first light of the day, it takes less than ten minutes to walk to the town centre and one of my favourite harbour views.

The early melody of the dawn chorus is rudely interrupted by a pair of attention seeking gulls, their squawking turned up to eleven for maximum annoyance.

By the waterfront, I wait patiently for the sun to rise above the skyline but a layer of thick cloud decides to linger a while longer, so no colour filled skies but there is some rather subtle light.

For all of my regular visits to my home town of Salcombe, I have not captured this picturesque town as often as perhaps I should, at least today, I am doing just that.

The featured image was the third frame of the day, the hues of ‘blue’ hour make for a striking contrast as the first light turns up for duty.

It’s not rude to point …. and shoot

For about a year now, I have been shooting exclusively with older cameras, my hankering for the latest and best, a thing of the past as I do not need a camera with the latest video technology, neither do I need a trillion megapixels when the majority of my images are shared on social media.

There is nothing wrong with the latest and best, I am not a hater in that respect, I have simply realised that they are overkill for me.

Up to last year, I would never have entertained the notion of using a small ‘digicam’, until I stumbled upon an online video of Charlie Waite, the world famous landscape photographer, extolling the virtues of his Lumix LX5….

I often set myself challenges for my weekend camera walks, this weekend I had decided to shoot exclusively with a point and shoot camera, with no ‘bigger camera’ as a safety net, as I very often do.

A trip to a favourite steam railway was the venue, the weather, a grey overcast and drizzly affair that was a perfect challenge for the tiny sensor camera.
The fun in using these cameras is just to see how far they can be pushed, as well as how far they can challenge me as a photographer.

I have learned to really like the way they render monochrome images for that imperfect and grainy vibe that adds atmosphere to an image, most of all my photography has become fun again, without my self imposed expectation to get the perfect shot that comes with using more expensive gear.

It’s all black and white to me….

Since my foray into using smaller digicam style cameras began, I have noticed a distinct change in my mindset in my photography when I am out on my regular walks.

My DSLR style cameras are the serious, well educated older brother, aiming to excel at everything, where as the smaller cameras are the more streetwise younger sibling, a little more fun to be around and a more adventurous nature.

It is the fun nature of these cameras that makes me experiment more with them, just to see what I can get out of their small sensors, subsequently, over the last few months I have found myself taking more monochrome images because I have learned to embrace the grain or noise produced at comparatively low ISO’s .

As most cameras these days have some option for storing custom settings, I have made a monochrome custom setting that shoots in JPEG with an in camera Black and white setting and am really quite pleased with the images produced.

They are far from fine art photographic masterpieces but for me, they capture a mood or a moment that will evoke a memory years down the line, it is after all the moment, not how sharp an image is.

A selection from the last few weeks …..

What’s in my bag? the retro collection.

Even before the cost of living crisis had become a permanent fixture in our daily phraseology, I began to notice just how much new camera gear was beginning to creep up in price, of course all the latest bells and whistles come at a price but it was my eureka moment and realisation that I neither needed or wanted to continue in the upgrade game any more.

My fifty days at 50mm project was the start of my appreciation for older cameras that I could not have bought brand new, I purchased a canon 5d Mark II with the canon 50mm F1.8 lens and really liked the results I was getting from a 14 year old camera.

Towards the end of this project, I was starting to look at ideas for my next photographic chapter, a few youtube videos later and I was digging out my Lumix LX3 that had been hidden away since its purchase in a charity shop some months back.

I did my usual homework of looking at images on various websites, the images from this little powerhouse were superb and so begin my journey down the retro camera footpath!

It was a box of older camera gear purchased from a friend of a friend for a good price that has made me continue this remarkably fun foray into older camera gear and since it will continue for the foreseeable future, here is a list of my retro collection.

The newest additions to my collection are the Lumix LX100 and the Sony RX100, both of which are finding a space in my somewhat lighter camera bag.