Lyme regis revisited

The Easter holidays now over, the dress rehearsal for the summer season is done, a perfect time to revisit one of my favourite destinations, Lyme Regis.

Known as “The pearl of Dorset” along the Jurassic coast, it is deemed a world heritage site.
The sea wall or cobb, has been used in both film and literature, Jane Austen’s ‘persuasion’ and John Fowle’s ‘The French lieutenants woman’.

From the car park, 114 steps lead down to the main footpath alongside the beach, the tide is well out, revealing algae covered rocks which will be concealed as the tide makes its way in once more.

Heading away from Church cliffs along the path towards the town, a few day trippers, dog walkers and photographers have already arrived, making the most of what is a lovely sunny day but with a keen wind.

It is still just mid morning, the seaside cafes and restaurants are already doing a good trade, customers sipping coffee or tea while sat under brightly coloured parasols, the excited laughter of children dipping their toes into the cold sea, or making sandcastles with brightly coloured buckets and spades.

I always enjoy a walk up to the famous cobb, plenty of industrial fishing paraphernalia to be photographed, the usual colours, textures and rust that appeal.

 

Being midweek, there is no feel of hustle and bustle, the cafes are busy but not to the weekend or high season extremes, numerous opportunities to chat to fellow day trippers enjoying the day.

On the steady walk back to the car, there is ample time to dart in and out of the various back streets of this charming town, a chance to find hidden cafes and gardens or those random things that catch the eye.

Spring time at the seaside

A late March morning begins with an early shroud of mist, with a promise of a warm spring day later in the morning.
Today is one of my single days off work, so a few errands to run before getting out again with the camera.

Ten AM, my tasks complete, the day is mine and within the hour, I am heading towards the East Devon town of Sidmouth.
On arrival, the low cloud is just lifting from the coast, a couple of photos capture the ghost like presence against the cliffs.
I have made previous blogs about my enjoyment of visiting seaside towns post season, but the pre season seaside town has another character.
Many of the hotels and eateries have come out of winter hibernation, with newly painted facades and interiors, awaiting the coming seasons holiday makers, it’s like a freshly laid dining table awaiting the guests.

It seems I am a creature of habit in many of my seaside forays, I like to try to capture as much of the landscape as I can before the peak visiting time, then around lunch time, head for refreshment before a wander into the main town.

Seaside towns offer a wealth of photographic opportunities, long exposure shots for the sea, as well as the town offering the urban textures and colours for some street photography.

Sea front benches offer perfect views to enjoy paper wrapped fish and chips, the smell of freshly cooked chips doused in vinegar tease the taste buds, while those with a sweeter tooth enjoy cone laden treats of dairy ice cream.

Today sees just a gentle wind, the incoming tide laps gently at the shore, while clouds drift like gossamer across the horizon, today is truly a prelude to summer, very much the lull before the storm, for in just a few weeks, Easter will see the first holidays of the year, and this currently quiet town will be transformed into a buzzing seaside haven once more.

 

 

 

Spring in February

February, normally one of those months that likes to dish up a menu of cold winds and grey skies, just to remind us that winter is still here for a few more weeks but occasionally, we are offered a respite, where the temperature touches double figures and there is a real warmth in the sun.
Today was one of those days, with the added bonus that it was a day off, a perfect day for a visit to the seaside.

With half term on the horizon, Dawlish Warren was emerging from its winter hibernation, as the local shops began receiving their first deliveries of the year in anticipation of the first holiday makers of 2019.

With high tide just an hour away, there would be no chance of my usual meander along the beach, to the nature reserve and back along the path to the car park, but more than content to enjoy an hour or two taking photos and watching the waves roll in.

Continuing with my one camera, one lens theme for the year, I feel that I am becoming more considered and creative in my choice of shot, rather than worrying if perhaps I should be using a different lens.

 
I have been asked a number of times why I want to ‘restrict’ myself with just one camera for a whole year, the answer is mainly because I like to challenge myself, it breeds a more fertile imagination and it will stop me buying more camera gear!
Henri Cartier-Bresson used a 50mm lens exclusively for over 60 years, what better way to be inspired.

By the seaside

A windy February day, the rain holds off for an hour or two and I can get out with the camera once more.

Growing up in a seaside town, it is easy to take the beauty of your surroundings for granted, I certainly did until I spent a few years away, since coming back home to Devon, I am only ever a short journey away from the seaside.

As a child, I would love the days such as yesterday, strong winds whipping waves up to the shore, I would have so much fun at low tide, combing the shore for ‘treasure’, a playground amongst nature.

My fascination for the shoreline has never diminished, neither has my desire to take photos of regularly visited haunts, capturing the moods of the different seasons.
Summer beaches are a riot of colour, sandcastles built from psychedelic buckets, colourfully striped windbreaks hammered into the sand, brightly adorned beach huts completing the quintessential seaside holiday.

For all of the fun of the above, I find as much pleasure in the winter beach, watching the waves, listening to the sound of pebbles being dragged back from the shore into the briny maelstrom, the sight of seabirds soaring and diving against the gusts, or sometimes the undiluted emptiness.

Yesterdays jaunt to Exmouth was no exception to the winter beach enjoyment, dogs running after a favourite ball or playing with newly made canine friends.
Anglers trying their hand against the tide and mother nature, others sat in shelters watching, supping hot coffee, or devouring paper wrapped fish & chips, that wonderful smell of vinegar on chunky chips….

I had no pre conceived theme for yestedays shoot other than my ongoing one camera project, however it turns out that most of my shots were taken in monochrome, hopefully, I have captured the mood of the day by doing so

 

January in Sidmouth

The day starts off with its usual grey, insipid cloak, this has been the norm for the year so far.
Deciding that the moors would not be a good idea after the recent rains, today’s venue is an early jaunt to Sidmouth.

The closer we get to our destination, the skies show a promise of clearing as sun lit clouds make a most welcome appearance.
Approaching the sea front, the wind is still keen to make its prescence known, but the sight of sun dappled waves lapping the pebbled shore and golden sun rays, reaching like fingers into the sea, is a sight I will never tire of.
Bwater 3

Joined only by dog walkers and those looking for a newspaper to read with their breakfast and coffee, the beach is pretty deserted for now.

Watching the clouds float by, I decide to take a few long exposure shots, the waves on the breakwater, the clouds sailing across the sky….


As the tide ebbs, a chance to walk across the full length of the beach is too good to miss, a chance for the customary stone stacking, and foraging for images….

 

As usual, time has wings and flies so quickly, the beach fills with like minded folk, seeking to enjoy the rare visit of sunshine.
On winter days such as this, the light is not too harsh, the contrasts of the red rock against a blue sky is such a change from the monochrome cloud and rain we have endured throughout the last few weeks.

With such inspiring landscapes upon my doorstep, it is not hard to see why tourists flock from far and wide during the holiday season, but for me, the true beauty is to see these places in the quieter times, when we have a chance to stand and stare.

A January outing

The festivities are well and truly over, January sees life return to a semblance of normality, for some, it is a month to hibernate away from the cold, damp weather, for me, it is an oppotunity to capture popular summer haunts in their winter clothing.

Cafes remain closed, their owners taking a well deserved break before the coming season, beaches bereft of sandcastles and brightly clad bathers.
The gentle solitude of a seaside town in winter has its own kind of beauty, it is a chance to capture a place in another mood, an opportunity to capture the things that can be missed as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of those warmer days.

A recent visit to my home town of Salcombe for a couple of days, offered a chance to capture the town in its post Christmas lull….


Winter time often gives some wonderful lighting, the textures of the quay area caught my eye as the light fell uopn the walls and floor, equally, the long exposure taken at North sands gave a very pleasing end result.

Working with my self imposed square format perspective with my photos, has made an enjoyable hobby even more so, as I am seeing different ways to shoot everyday scenes.

Even the days I travel back from my visits to Salcombe are often photo opportunities, a quick trip to Slapton, capturing images between the rain showers ….

 

By the sea

Growing up in Salcombe, meant that from an early age, I was going to have a love of the surrounding coastline and the sea.
I have fond memories of summer holidays in my dads boat either fishing, or exploring the many hidden creeks and beaches.

Fishing was often for mackerel in those long summer weeks of the school holidays, but mainly for bass, a fine fighting fish and tasty to eat as well.
My early forays into bass fishing were hard on the windier days, as I clearly remember the misery of sea sickness, until I finally got my ‘sea legs’

These days, I do not do as much fishing, but with my love of walking, I still find the same pleasure in discovering the many coves and inlets to be found upon the coast path.

With my photographer’s ‘eye’ the many textures and colours to be found are plenty, especially with the variety of plants and flowers that can be found.