One frame – A glimpse of light

It has been a grey and moody December and January to say the least, but these conditions are favourable for any photo walk on Dartmoor, the bleak,sultry days are fitting in this harsh yet beautiful landscape.

This recent snapshot is taken at Combestone Tor, one of Dartmoor’s more accessible and subsequently popular destinations but on arrival today, there are just a couple of other cars in the car park.

With a strong wind the cloud above scuttles along at a fair pace, mostly fifty shades of greyscale with just an occasional glimpse of escaping light penetrating the gloom.

The muted colours of winter browns add contrast to the cold grey of these granite sentinels, the solitary tree amidst its rocky haven, testament to the desire of nature to adapt and survive against the elements.

This for me, is Dartmoor at its very best, in its beauty and brutality, just one of the many reasons that keep me going back for more.

One frame – Medusa’s lair

It is the start of another week and as has become something of a routine, I take another browse through the images of my weekend photo shoot, with the intention of writing the back story of either the whole outing, or taking ideas from a single image for my ‘one frame’ series.

From Saturday’s outing to Fernworthy reservoir, may I present ‘Medusa’s lair’ the title for which I had in an instant, even before I composed this final image.

I had taken a similar shot on a previous outing but the diffused light and the tight crop of a 50mm lens added more impact.

There are a few landscape / woodland photographers that may find this scene a little to busy for their tastes, for me, it is this apparent chaos that makes the eye want to follow every twist and turn of these Medusa like lichen coated branches.

In such an incredibly inspiring place such as Dartmoor, steeped as it is in legend and folklore, it is not hard to let the imagination run free.

One frame – Pigeons


As I set off for today’s photo walk by the Exeter quayside , in the back of my mind there was that nagging voice about trying to find new subjects on familiar walks, after all, having lived in Exeter for over twenty years, it is easy to take a place for granted.

Yes, I know Exeter pretty well but what I never know on any given outing is what may unfold as I follow my chosen route, what story can I tell with the camera today?

I would not have guessed that today’s favourite picture would be of a trio of pigeons, what the photo does not show, is the pigeon on my shoulder and one on my camera bag, looking for non non existent bird seed!

An excited cry of ‘That man has a pigeon on his shoulder’ from a giggling youngster who just seconds earlier was lamenting the fact he could not have another ice cream that day, along with some good banter with other walkers enjoying their Sunday stroll.

With my spontaneous pigeon camouflage, I have clearly made my way into this avian fraternity where I am able to get close to the trio already perched on the bridge railings.

Okay, an osprey plucking an unsuspecting fish from the water it is not but it was a moment that kept several onlookers and myself amused….

One frame – the sea tractor

Nestled away in the South Devon coast is the Iconic Burgh Island, famous for its links with Agatha Christie, the luxury art deco hotel and a plethora of tales of pirates and smuggling.

As the tide submerges the narrow strip of sand between the island and Bigbury, the island businesses have a unique solution in enabling visitors to cross the short distance during high, in the form of its sea tractor.

This one off design was the brainchild of Robert Jackson CBE, known originally for his pioneering work in the 1950’s nuclear power station programme.

Designed in 1969, it cost £9000, however payment is said to have been made in the form of a case of champagne!

This was my first visit to Bigbury for a couple of years, a bright and warm November afternoon, the tractor plods its way through the incoming tide, I chose a black and white edit, as I was shooting into the sunlight, it’s striking design makes for an interesting silhouette.

One frame – the bridge

As the year flies by, we are already hurtling into November, the clocks have gone back, giving us those extra hours of darkness, the perfect chance to indulge in one of my favourite genres of photography, low light.

The way that the hours of darkness transform a city can often mean that we may see compositions in low light that we may never consider during the day.

Exe bridges, located in my home of Exeter is one of the main arteries into the city, so unless you want pictures of traffic, not a place that one would think of spending any time looking for shots during daylight hours, especially with the River Exe, just a few steps away.

Looking for a sunrise just a couple weeks ago, I am heading to the River, where I am walking over the bridge, where I see the first signs of light emerging from the darkness.

I had not carried a tripod, as I had wanted to travel light, however, the bridge has a very convenient flat railing, perfectly suitable to use as an impromptu tripod, where I set a 40 second long exposure.

I liked the way the street lamps lit the Renslade house building in the centre of the image (now a hotel) and the sporadic traffic added the light trails as they made their way to B from A.

With the local Christmas market starting within the next week and the festive decorations awaiting the big switch on ceremony, I hope to share more low light images from the place I call home.

One frame – The sea front



With summer all but a distant memory, my trips to local seaside towns become more frequent, especially when the first of the autumn winds begin to make their presence known.

A trip to the East Devon seaside town of Sidmouth did not disappoint on Friday, blustery winds and showers being on the meteorological menu.

I had initially thought that my ‘one frame’ blog from this trip would have been one of the photos I took of waves crashing dramatically over the sea wall, edited with a contrasty black and white vibe but there was just something about this scene that appealed more and was perhaps less of a photographic clich√©.

In a world that is forever in a hurry, these coastal towns have a way of slowing down the madding crowd, where we actually make the time to watch the waves crash and recede over the beach below.



One frame – Beautiful light


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.

One frame – Misty morning


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.

One frame – The long exposure shot.


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 frame – The swan feeder



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.