Another early start

My alarm was set for 4am but at three thirty I am already awake, keen to get another sunrise along the coast.
I am happy to drink the first brew of the day but food is beyond me at this time of day, I will treat myself later when I arrive back into town.

With my camera gear already packed, I slip quietly out into the early darkness, to catch the first train to Starcross.
My train departs at just after 5:15am, I will reach my destination a good half an hour before sunrise at 06:15, time to find a spot to await the awakening of the day.

On my arrival, the  first signs of dawn are already there, a beautiful red hue paints the scene with its warmth, I think I have picked a good day.

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The tide is well out,  I look for different locations along the shoreline, for possible shots, being careful to avoid the random areas of soft estuary mud.

As the light brightens, the silhouettes of geese, gathered by the waters edge are visible, their presence had been noted moments earlier, their cackling the only noise above the otherwise tranquil start to the day.

I have been here just about 20 minutes but already the palette in the sky is changing, a few shots already in the bank, it is such a pleasure to watch the morning unfold.

Initially, I was hoping to catch the sunrise on a rising tide but the light reflections on the shore and mud flats give added texture to the images, I am spoiled for choice with the rapidly changing scene.

With a glow of bright orange in the distance, the red and orange make way for the yellow and gold carnival to begin, how glad I am that I decided to choose this morning for my shoot!

An hour has flown by, my intention is to hike back to Exeter for breakfast, a nine mile walk, so it is time to pack away the tripod, but will leave the camera close to hand for any shots along the way.

I finish the last of the flask of tea I had brought and make my way home, slowly of course, this morning’s sunlight has a warm ambience as it caresses the landscape, one of my best morning shoots in a long time

Above, a handful of shots I took  as I hiked back to Exeter, to a well earned breakfast and a meeting up of friends.

The early bird

A 4am alarm call and just for a few seconds, a reluctance to get out of bed but after a few days of rain and wind, the forecast today is good for the chance of a sun rise.

Walking to the train station after a hurried first cuppa of the day, it is noticeable that darkness is slowly extending its territory once more, a sure sign that autumn is not that far away.

My arrival time at Teignmouth is just over 10 minutes before the sunrise, so without delay, set up the tripod and camera, ready for sun’s appearance over the horizon.
With a part of the sky already showing some warm fiery hues, there is still a thick layer of cloud that may yet spoil the show but with a strong wind, there will also be the chance of some long exposure cloud movement.

The sun makes the briefest of appearances before being masked by more cloud but the subtle light gives the pier a lovely ambient glow, while I take the first shots of the morning.

I have always found this time of the day something special, the feeling of having a place pretty much to yourself, feeling privileged to watch the day awaken is worth the early start.

Before I know it, 2 hours have been spent watching the changing light and taking a selection of photos, my next mission is to find a place for breakfast and a more leisurely cuppa than the morning’s first one, before embarking on a walk along the sea wall to Dawlish.

I find a cafe that has opened early and order the house special full English, the manager explains there may be a wait as she has still yet to fully set up, but with a mug of tea already served, I am happy to sit and watch the town awaken, I am in no hurry.
I sit happily browsing through the images I have taken so far.

It has been a while since I last walked the stretch between Teignmouth and Dawlish, the sea wall takes me as far as a railway tunnel, where it takes me under the railway and onto a steep path leading out of Teignmouth.

The majority of my chosen route has taken me along the main road, so not many photos taken here, but the view looking down into Dawlish on a path leading into the town is stunning, as it is bathed in a little morning sunshine.

Sitting on the sea wall near to Dawlish station, I check the train times, the earliest one is just 10 minutes away, so decide to take this one back home, saving Dawlish for another day.

By the sea again

For the first time in 30 plus years, I have the month of June to myself, an opportunity to spend time with family and friends before starting something new.
It will also mean having to spend time out with the camera …..

Friday afternoon sees the first of these outings with a trip to the seaside at Dawlish Warren, just a twenty minute trip away from Exeter.
The beaches are already busy with half term holiday makers, all waiting for the sunshine that is promised for later today.

Vibrantly coloured wind breaks are dotted across the beach, each family group huddle around their chosen spot while the youngsters ignore the lack of sunshine, engrossed in the ancient art of sand castle building, or stood with fascination over the many jellyfish that have been washed ashore this year.

Other families play beach cricket, the yell of ‘CATCH IT’ carries in the wind, while the bowler watches with disappointment as the ball falls short of outstretched fingers of his younger sibling, while dad will claim another hour at the sandy crease.

As the earlier grey skies are beaten away to reveal blue skies, the light offers some much more photogenic opportunities, as I enjoy the meander along the beach.

Walking to the furthest end of the beach, the town of Exmouth lies across the estuary, I am sure to be posting photos from there in the coming weeks.

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