My camera collection has grown a little over the last few days, my recent outing with a Lumix LX3 that I had bought for next to nothing, prompted search for more digital compacts at reasonable prices.
While an online search was promising, a friend of mine mentioned he had a box of camera gear he was looking to shift and would I be interested? Does a bear facilitate its lavatorial functions in the woods?
Long story short, I have four ‘new to me’ cameras in my collection, two of which had their first proper shoot yesterday, the others will have their day in the coming weekends.
The Canon G11 and S95 are both around 10-12 years old and fit my old camera theme very well, so I was looking forward to using them on today’s shoot.
While the S95 is very pocketable, the G11 is bulkier but both lighter in my camera bag than my trusty 5dII.
Keen to get out before the bank holiday crowds descended, I set out at just after 6am, a familiar route along the riverside for what was to be one of my most enjoyable photo walks.
I will post another blog over the next day or two of the many pictures I took today but my favourite was a minimalist image of 3 pigeons perched on top of one of the flood defence pillars on my route, the almost clear sky adding a good backdrop.
Initially there were just the 2 pigeons, as I approached, a third joined the avian meeting, which made me remember one of my favourite Genesis albums “And then there were three”
With the s95 in hand, the image was mine, I knew immediately it was going to be a monochrome image, the slight grain from the tiny sensor adding more character to the image.
I think the S95 will be in a bag with me at all times now, it’s small size is ideal, as I still prefer a camera to my mobile phone for images.
I had not set an alarm for Saturday morning but woke up just after 4:30 am, a lie in of some 90 minutes from my normal work day alarm.
Summer is knocking on the door when it is almost light at this time of day, such a welcome respite from those long hours of darkness of wintertime.
I feel that I need to make the most of these few short months of extra daylight, so after my first brew of the day, I set out for an early stroll along the river, breakfast will be my Saturday treat upon my return.
The sun has already begun its ascent into a cloudless sky, casting a golden glow across all it touches, the river is perfectly still, there appears to be a photograph wherever I look.
It is this one particular scene that falls into my photo of the day category, the reflections of the houses reflecting in the serene waters with the beautiful green of the bankside grasses and flora, bathed in the early morning sunlight, what a perfect storm of photographic ingredients.
It is scenes such as thuis that are my reward for those early starts, a small price to pay for such beauty.
It has been some time since my last ‘one frame’ blog but as I have been going through my images from the last couple of months, I have picked out one of my favourite images from just a couple of weeks ago.
A walk around a local forest had started off with dull clouds smothering any sunlight but gradually the cloud disappeared, offering small areas of light for brief periods of time.
With the untrodden areas of woodland, a carpet of verdant ferns surround the base of the trees, this particular tree, catching the light as it finally escaped its prison of cloud.
With my vintage 50mm lens at an aperture of F2, I wanted to capture the detail and texture of the tree bark with its adornment of ivy, while leaving a softer out of focus background.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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 cliché.
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.