As I have made my way to work over the last few days, a spell of icy weather has given us some cold frosty mornings, as the weekend approached, I was hoping that there may be a chance for me to capture the beauty that winter provides all too rarely these days.
As my alarm went off at a leisurely six forty five, I was still somewhat reluctant to remove myself from the warmth of my cosy bed but the forecast was good and I would not be happy to miss out on the chance of some wintry images.
It was clear that just a few minutes in that today was to be one of those fabulous photographic days where there is something at every turn, the early glow of the sun, the dusting of hoar frost coating anything it touches with its icy sprinkles, the sheer joy of seeing the day come to life.
I managed a ten mile hike on today’s walk and offer a selection of today’s offerings, there may well be a second post from this wonderful winter walk.
In autumn last year I posted a blog about always carrying a compact camera of some description while travelling to and from work during the week.
Through the autumn months, I took plenty of images of the changing colours as I walked through local parks and public gardens, from mid November the Christmas markets, were easy fodder, food stalls, vibrant displays of Christmas decorations adorning the many and varied stalls.
January will always be more of a challenge, often grey wet days do their best to deter my short impromptu photography walks but today I was determined to buck the trend and attempt to keep the habit going.
My bus journey from work takes me to St, David’s station, from there my walk home takes around 15 minutes, it is this area of my home city that I decide to capture a few frames of what to me is familiar ground but trying to capture the grey bleakness of a January afternoon.
The images were taken with my Canon s95, one of my bargain purchases last year but a camera I often reach for on my daily commute and a camera that is just fun to use.
As the new year approaches, I look fondly back at my photographic year, it started with my ’50mm for fifty days ‘ project, a way of keeping my gear to a minimum , while challenging my creativity.
The minimal idea worked very well until August, that’s how long it took to reach the fiftieth day, then I decided to ‘adopt’ and use some older cameras bought for bargain prices, this is where my collection started to grow quite rapidly.
One such camera to find its way into my collection was a Leica X1, my first foray into the world of the famous ‘red dot’, some purists may argue this camera is not a ‘true’ Leica but I care not a jot, I have come to really love using this camera.
Just as the Fujifilm Xpro 1 and the original Fujifil X100, the X1 was described as slow and clunky but the images produced by its fixed 23mm (35mm full Frame) are exceptional.
Known for it’s exceptional monochrome rendition, Leica cameras are legendary, so I thought I would explore for myself as I took just the X1 for a camera walk around the River Exe yesterday.
The remnants of the earlier rain showers were perfect for shooting monochrome, so no better time to see exactly what the X1 could do.
If I decide to embark upon some sort of project in 2023, there is a good chance the X1 may form a part, for now, I will continue to enjoy the gems I acquired in 2022.
Perhaps I could set myself the goal of buying no more gear in 2023, I think there would be a good chance that I might fail miserably!
As a final word of this year, I wish all my followers and fellow bloggers a very happy and creative 2023!
As the Christmas cold bug from hell finally consigns itself to a back stage role, today was the first time in a couple of weeks that I have felt like getting out with the camera.
It may have just been a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Exe but it was the perfect tonic from a constant feeling of lethargy and a complete lack of creative spark.
Not wishing to lug a huge camera with me, my Lumix GF2 with a 20mm (40 mm for those that like equivalence figures) was the perfect tool to capture a few images along my route.
My walk was accompanied by some late December sunshine, a welcome visitor after seemingly endless days of grey skies but there was a keen chill to the air, to give enough incentive to keep a brisk pace.
Today’s walk was more about getting a few miles under my belt and getting back to a sense of normality but it’s always good to capture a few images and feel that my creative mojo is on the mend.
December 21st, my first blog entry for this month, which even by my own irregular posting patterns is somewhat tardy.
While I have taken plenty of photos, I seemed to have lacked the spark to weave the words around the images, the story behind the picture, you get my drift, we shall call it a December malaise.
The majority of December’s images have been from my walk back from work, taking in the Christmas market and the high street as the festive season gets closer, there are also a few out of town shots, my walk via the canal side back home for that welcome post work brew.
Most of these shots are taken with either my GF2, GF6 and canon s95, g11 , or Lumix LX5 cameras, the stars of my 2022 photographic year
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.
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 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.
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.
As I prepare for my impending house move, the blog posts may have slowed a little as I spend my evenings after work on the onerous task of packing boxes, allowing me the leeway for a few hours shutter therapy at weekends.
My last outing to Teignmouth was on the first train of the day at just after 5am, back in May or June, where the sunrise was at just after five thirty AM, with the first week of autumn already history, I catch the six fifty five from St. David’s for a seven AM sunrise.
With about thirty minutes before the sun’s daily ascent, the sky already has tinges of orange and blue and there is a noticable chill in the air, as the temperature sits at two degrees celcius.
While I was tempted to find a different viewpoint to watch the day break, the contrasts of deep orange against the pier seemed too good to pass up, out came the camera and the obligitory flask of tea as I watched the scene unfold.
It never ceases to amaze me just how quickly the sun rises from it’s inital appearance from the horizon, the blues and oranges from a few moments ago dissolve away in the blink of an eye, with just a pastel glow of yellowy orange paint the surroundings in an attractive glow.
With the sunrise part of today’s shoot done, I head for a local cafe for a cuppa and a fry up, my treat for my an early start, before moving on to explore Shaldon, just on the other side of the estuary.