Saturday had been a busy day, with no chance of getting out with the camera, so I decided to get out early on Sunday before the forecast band of rain set in.
I had meandered slowly through the city centre, honing my low light skills, heading towards Exeter quayside as the night began to fade into day.
It was as I neared the Haven banks area, I noticed the changing light, a dull orange / yellow hue hung over the water, my pace quickened to capture this brief unusual light show.
I have taken shots of this particular view countless times in my twenty plus years here in Exeter, this one is easily my favourite.
For someone who enjoys street photography, the notion of getting up early to enjoy the experience of having a place to oneself may sound odd, but every now and then, even the most tranquil scenes need that human element to help tell a story, or give an image context.
Walking along the riverside footpath earlier this spring, I had taken a few shots with the puddles on the path and the sun slowly making itself visible through the mist, while I was quite happy with the results, I felt it needed something else.
Just a few moments later and these three very obliging ladies walked into frame, for me completing the image perfectly and one of my favourite shots of the last couple of years.
As the autumn colours begin to appear, my ambles to Dartmoor will cease for a short time, as I begin my annual photographic pilgrimages around the local reservoirs, rivers and woodlands, in search of the treasures this wonderful season gives us.
The slow mooch around woodland trails in search of fungi, especially the ever elusive fly agaric. fallen leaves on algae covered rocks, glints of copper and yellow like coins in a wishing well and of course, the long exposure flowing water shot.
As much as anything, it is an excuse to stand idly by the riverside, where the sound of rushing water is so relaxing, to watch the dippers flit from rock to rock, or just to simply watch the river flow past.
This particular shot, is the River Dart at Deadman’s corner near Holne, a good mile or so following the woodland path, away from the popular kayak launching areas.
The trees may not yet be in their full autumn splendour but that gives me a reason to re visit in another couple of weeks…..
One of my favourite photos from this year, I took this back in February, on one of my (permitted) walks along the River Exe during lockdown.
A crisp clear morning where the footpaths glistened with frost as the sun was about to rise and the mist upon the river, adding an ethereal feel to an already beautiful daybreak.
As the sun began to rise, a golden light painted the scene where a young woman was feeding swans on a landing stage, the silhouette was what made the scene for me.
I could have just carried on walking after the shot but decided to wait until she walked back to the path, where we spoke about the lovely sunrise, I explained that I had taken a picture of her, asking if she was okay with me to put it on social media, which she was perfectly happy with as long as I sent her a copy too.
The best part of our (socially distanced) conversation was when she explained that she was due to have been in Mexico that day, for a friend’s twenty first birthday but of course, covid travel restrictions had cancelled that plan some time ago.
After I had sent the photo to Amla, I was so pleased when she explained that she had used the photo as an E-Card to her friend for her birthday, a happy thought that was small chink of light and hope during the long weeks of lockdown.
As a way of keeping a more regular blogging routine, I have decided to take a single frame from one of my photo shoots and give a little back story to the image.
I spent a few days away near Cheltenham last week, a town I have only ever passed through until now but was given a quick fire guided tour on the Sunday afternoon.
This particular location is Pitville park, first opened in 1825 and is the largest ornamental lake in Cheltenham.
I had wandered around the lake, looking for a suitable composition, as I was toing and froing , the sun peered from behind its cumulus mask to bathe the boathouse in its late afternoon light.
With the trees above me acting as a natural frame, this was my first shot of the day and easily one of my favourites from the four day excursion.
A few days away exploring Gloucester and the Cotswold’s gave an opportunity to explore a site that I have had bookmarked for a number of years but thought I would never see for myself.
Anyone that has read my blog for long enough, will know my love of canals, boats and pretty much anything with a nautical theme, so after listening to a radio broadcast about the ‘Purton hulks’, my interest was piqued.
Purton is situated on the southern bank of the River Severn, about half a mile from the port of Sharpness.
A river bank collapse in 1909 lead to concerns that the canal may be breached, so a collection of old steel barges, Severn trows and concrete barges were deliberately run aground to reinforce the banks.
These hulks were then deliberately holed, so as the sediment from the river may weight them down further into position.
The beaching of this varied collection of boats continued up until 1965, where the remains are still visible.
The weathering of the remains are perfect for my appetite of weathered wood and rust, the autumn sunshine and cloudy conditions adding a little more drama to the scene.
Perhaps some time in the future, I could return to explore a little more this fascinating piece of maritime history.
It’s a Sunday morning and an invitation to get out on to Dartmoor once again will rarely be turned down, today is no exception as I go through my pre outing routine of checking batteries are charged and most importantly, I have a thermos of tea to look forward to after the morning’s walk.
It’s a lovely September morning, that autumnal freshness is making itself more prominent, there are also signs of low cloud in the distance, as usual, my eyes are peeled for any impromptu shots on the way.
With this potential for mist in the landscape, the thought is to head to Foggintor, scene of quarry workings and former quarry workers buildings, long since abandoned.
The blue skies of Exeter, less than an hour earlier are replaced by more moody skies, my second shot of the day is barely yards from the car park, a wonderful interplay of light upon the landscape, one of the many reasons for my frequent visits here.
As I think about the images I have just captured, I look forward to whatever else I may be fortunate to see as the next 3 or four miles begin in earnest.
My next shot, taken a few steps to the left of the one above, will be the last of the sunlight I will see on the moor today, a huge front of ominous grey approached from the distance, there may well be a few monochrome images today.
The footpath passes Yellowmeade farm, the bovine community is out and about, of course I take a shot and a name immediately comes to mind for the image, ‘The Yellowmeade farm beef mountain’.
I come to realise This will become something of a theme today, the name of the image is decided before the click of the shutter, I come to realise that I actually do this on a regular basis…. here another one named before the shot was taken on the return leg of the walk.
It is a good half way around the walk that the grey seems to want a permanent residency over the landscape, a chance for me to experiment with black and white images in camera or for later editing.
The ruins that remain of this part of Dartmoor look stark against the barren moorland, I do my best to capture the atmosphere which is helped by approaching mist.
My favourite trees, alone in most cases, stand defiant as ever against the elements, while horses look to find what little shelter they may offer.
I will finish this blog entry with the last picks of todays’s outing, all in monochrome, these really capture the essence of the moor in it’s raw beauty.
After a short two day week, I have three days off plus the weekend to enjoy some well earned time off.
What better way to enjoy the time, than to head out to Dartmoor for a little shutter therapy, a trip to Hound Tor, famously said to have inspired Conan Doyle’s The hound of the Baskervilles.
Dartmoor folklore has it that the tors were hounds turned to stone by a vengeful witch, while fact has Hound Tor recorded in the Domesday book as ‘Hundatora’.
It is a pleasant September morning, with a noticeably cool breeze, with sporadic sunshine peering from increasingly thickening clouds.
I am barely out of the car park before the first shot of the day is in the bag, looking back towards the car park and the view beyond, a low layer of cloud hangs over the landscape.
Climbing higher towards the Tors, there are already a few climbers being shown the ropes (pun intended) with much encouragement from their instructors below, I watch for a while, take a couple of snaps and continue onwards.
The views from here are nothing short of breathtaking, I take several shots in close proximity, each added to my treasure trove of Dartmoor memories.
No trip to the moor is complete without at least a couple of moody monochrome shots, there will be no exception to that rule today, as Dartmoor does what it does best in having a complete change of mind about the weather, from bright skies and some gorgeous light to grey skies and a poor attempt at rain in the matter of a few moments but for all that, in all her moods Dartmoor will always be beautiful.
I have only covered three miles today but it was always going to be more of a mooch and an explore rather than a full on hike, as usual, there are reasons to be back again as there are so many paths and trails to follow.
For all my trips here to the moor, I still feel that I have barely scratched the surface, what better excuse for continued exploration of this truly wonderful landscape.
There is a chill to these late September mornings, this morning is one of those, with a cloak of grey mist adding a ghostly feel through the gloom.
I love these atmospheric days, and head out with a camera in hand, with a view to some moody monochrome images.
The walk towards the quayside may be familiar but the moments I capture today will be unique, as I seek out the abstract and the seemingly ordinary.
Cobwebs in railings, shimmer in the slight breeze, dew laden, like pearls as they capture what little light the morning offers.
A council workman steam cleans the pavements, almost enveloped in his self made mist, another shot in the bag.
The panic of pigeons as they sense my approach, I love how the camera caught the moment just before the last one took off, maybe not the best composition, yet it conveys that avian sense of urgency in perceived danger.
I have walked past the pane of cracked glass umpteen times before, today I see its potential in my ‘noir’ mindset, another abstract to the collection.
With a busy day ahead, I call time on my spontaneous outing but look forward to sharing the images later in the day.
For last week’s three day weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend two of them out and about with the camera, with Dartmoor on Friday and a local trip to Exmouth on Sunday.
My expeditions to Dartmoor may be a more recent bookmark in my photography timeline but my love of the coast and seaside towns is etched into my DNA, growing up as I did in a small seaside town in South Devon.
Of course, in my formative years, I did not have a camera but my innate curiosity always drew me to the well weathered maritime paraphernalia of the fishing quays and the treasure trove of flotsam that would wash up on the beaches after a storm, the very things that I look to capture with my camera.
With the summer holidays now a fading memory, the local beaches will be a little quieter until half term, I have never been a ‘crowds’ person so I am happy to wait my turn to visit on my camera days out.
I have decided to travel light, it’s the x100v and the Ricoh Gr3 that have their place in my bag, however, it is the ‘V’ that will get most use today, as I have been experimenting with more ‘home brew’ recipes using the various film simulations built into Fuji cameras.
I have really enjoyed experimenting with these simulations, by doing so, I have learned the attributes of each and have started getting some pleasing JPEG’s out of camera, using Astia for my woodland walks with a warmer white balance to add vibrancy, while Classic chrome with a more muted colour setting is ideal for those moody days on the moor.
While I shoot today, I will be fine tuning a recipe based on the classic neg simulation that so many Fuji shooters love, another more muted based on the videocentric Eterna.
As the day seems to alternate between sunshine and overcast conditions, it will be a good test of how both act in different light, with an aim to using as many of the Jpeg images as possible for my final image.
Over the last few months I have been shooting this way more and more, simply because I love the colours that come from the Fuji camera and I am spending less time trying to replicate them via a computer screen and a plethora of sliders.
For the record, each of the gallery shots were from the Jpeg, with nothing more than a crop or a tweak in exposure settings.