Down by the sea

I have always considered myself so lucky to have grown up in a seaside town, where a love of fishing, swimming and all things nautical were always going to be deeply etched into my DNA.

As a child, the seaside meant buckets and spades, rock pools, running into the sea whatever the temperature, ice cream and the joy of seemingly endless summer holidays.

As a keen photographer, the seaside means textures and colours, fine golden sands or weathered shingle beaches, the sights and sounds of happy holidays and ….. ice cream!

Torbay, or the English Riviera as it was once so named, became a part of my life in the early to mid eighties where I attended college one day a week as I trained to become a chef.

While I enjoyed the thriving nightlife it had to offer, with a myriad of pubs and nightclubs, the attraction for me was still the beaches and coastal paths in the bay and surrounding area.

Lazy Sunday_on the beachbig wheel viewa view of the bay

So on a sunny Easter Sunday, there was no better time to walk the familiar sea front once more.

Torquay was thriving with the early season holiday makers, many of the and B&B’s and hotels now reopened and refurbished after their winter hibernation.

As much as I enjoy the solitude of a seaside town in winter, there is something about the way it comes alive for the forthcoming season, the gaudy displays of seaside toys, waiting to be bought, the hustle and bustle of the cafes and restaurants, the sound of excited children as they run from the still wintery water.

For me, the seaside will always hold these fond memories of my own childhood, it makes me happy to think in these days of games consoles, smartphones and such,  there is still a place for family time and a chance for another generation to build similar memories of their own.

Ashclyst Forest – Spring

Easter weekend is upon us, so attempting to find somewhere not too busy to go with the camera was not going to be easy.

How easy it is to overlook the many places virtually on the doorstep… enter Ashclyst forest.
Not far from Killerton house and gardens, Ashclyst is part of the national trust, so a well maintained area with several different trails of varying distance.

Finding a place to park just away from the main car park area, we had our chosen path to ourselves for a good half hour, even then, it was brief encounters with dog walkers.

An overcast morning, there was not much sunlight coming through the trees, also a little too early in the year for the abundance of butterflies that may be seen in the warmer months.

So with my favourite 50mm vintage lens and my trusty Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Macro, it was time to explore this quiet little haven, with just the sound of birdsong and the gentle breeze whispering through the trees….


Woodland exploration always fills me with wonder, the cycle of nature demonstrated so clearly with some branches festooned with last winter’s foliage hanging by gossamer threads, while others hold the promise of new blossom, seeking the warmth of a summer sun.

Ferns uncoil, fronded fingers of pure symmetry, while delicate wild flowers carpet the ground in a show of defiance from winter’s grasp.

I hope to explore the forest in summer, autumn and winter, watching the change as the year passes by.

Venford Falls

Another Sunday, another trip to the place that is fast becoming a second home, Dartmoor.

A bright and sunny April Sunday, this time to find the well hidden gem of Venford falls.

Armed with instructions on how to find the falls, we walk along the main footpath for a while until we hear the sound of fast running water in the valley below.

Our instructions recommend the use of walking poles to reach the falls, advice that would be well heeded as the walk path down is not that well trodden and is pretty steep! Finally we reach the sun dappled valley, with the falls cascading majestically below us.

Because the falls are so well hidden, we were able to take our time getting the shots we wanted without disturbance or interruption, perfect conditions for the long exposure shots we wanted.

From a photography point of view, the light was fantastic as it filtered through the woodland onto the ferns and floor below, where with one of my favourite 50mm vintage lenses, I sought out the most appealing images

The route we took back up was somewhat meandering, as we spent time looking for places to cross to the opposite path and while it is possible to cross the river in places, the rocks look very slippery, and the water flows through rapidly!

A place well worth visiting, but be prepared for some challenging terrain.