50 days of 50mm #39

With my week long excursion to Wales all but a memory, it was time to tread more familiar territory once more, with a visit to Torcross and Start point.

I have happy memories of visiting both venues occasionally on Sunday afternoons, the one special day reserved for ‘family time’ in the 1970’s, the post Sunday roast outing.

A few years later on, I would work as as a chef in the nearby town of Dartmouth and become more acquainted with the coast paths around the area, it would be some years later again before any sort of camera would become a part of these walks.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy revisiting a place as much as I do seeing somewhere for the first time, making up for those days when I did not do photography… enough rambling what about today’s walk?

Arriving at just before 10am, being a Saturday, it’s ‘change over day’, those that have enjoyed their week here are getting ready to leave their holiday lets, making space for those arriving later today, I chat with one couple packing up their car, they say they have simply loved watching the sea views from the upper balcony of their holiday rental, it has been their most relaxing holiday ever!

It’s comments such as these that make me appreciate all the more, the fact these views are just an hour’s drive away and just how beautiful the county of Devon is.

After an hour or so capturing a few images around Torcross, it’s time to head out towards Start point, famous for it’s lighthouse and another beautiful part of the South west coast path.


The path towards the lighthouse is a winding route, the views are simply beautiful looking back once more towards Torcross and towards Dartmouth, I am only distracted from these views by a sighting of a pair of yellowhammers and stonechats in the hedges below the footpath wall, no chance of a photo of either species with my 50mm lens, I do not fancy carrying a lens the size of a small ship in my camera bag, I will leave that to the dedicated wildlife photographers.

As I come to the lighthouse itself, the gate is firmly closed, not open for visitors today, this is a trip for another day and a wider lens, something to look forward to on another day.

The last few yards before the footpath ends at Start point lighthouse

50 days of 50mm #38

One of the many pleasures I get from my photography walks, is getting to photograph somewhere for the first time.

With the plethora of online resources available to us all, it is easy enough to research places, especially useful if it were for a working assignment but for my pleasure photography, I try to avoid ‘spoilers’, that way, I can see a new venue for the first time.

There is no doubt that somewhere along the line, I will find a well photographed landmark, the fun is finding such images for myself, maybe with the hope of seeing it from a more unusual aspect.

So day #38 finds me on a brief trip to Barmouth, situated on the west coast of Wales, it is a popular seaside destination, luckily for me, it is just before the peak holiday season but even in mid June, I am joined by a healthy number of other day trippers.

With postcard perfect blue skies and pristine, almond white sands, this town oozes charm and some stunning views, especially that of the impressive railway bridge and the Snowdonia national park for its backdrop.




As has become customary during my 50mm project, I create a multiple shot panorama, this time of my view from the walk along the breakwater, too good an opportunity to pass up.

A 12 image panorama of Barmouth harbour

Today’s visit is all too brief but there is a certainty that I will return for a longer exploration and a promise to myself that I will add the railway bridge walk to that itinerary, something I am already looking forward to.

50 days of 50mm #37

If I have learned just one lesson from my photographic journey over the years, I would probably suggest that patience would be in my list of possibilities.

The nature of my line of work within the catering industry has demanded a sense of urgency, that trait often found its way within my extra curricular activities, where perhaps a little more thought before jumping in with both feet would have been the wiser option.

Certainly, my single focal length projects have taught me to be more patient in finding alternative angles where a zoom lens would allow me to find the obvious but perhaps a better example of this point is from my recent Welsh excursion.

With the holiday rental just a 10 minute walk away from the beautiful Bala Lake, it was natural that my love of early mornings would find me making early forays here.
Saturday and Sunday morning were quite windy, with some low cloud in the mountains beyond and while I captured some pleasing images, I was secretly hoping for something a little calmer, a reminder of a scene I captured a few years before perhaps on my first and fleeting visit to a now favourite place.

Tuesday morning and I had not set an early alarm but I was awake just before 4am, I was about to head to the kitchen to make my first brew of the day, instead, I looked out from my bedroom window and saw firstly that the wind had dropped, and in the distance a plume of low cloud over the lake.

That first brew would come later, as I was dressed and out within a few minutes, heading towards photographic utopia.


This first image is from my favoured spot, the nearest to the holiday let but a mile or walk around to the opposite side of the lake to this the site of the local yacht club, was to be one of my best decisions of the holiday as I took shot after shot of the breathtaking beauty before me, my patience had been rewarded and then some.


To actually witness any landscape in such a beautiful light is a pleasure, to capture the scene photographically, is a privilege but to do so, you just have to keep on keeping on.

50 days of 50mm #36

After a wonderful few days off exploring the breathtaking scenery of Wales, it’s back to reality with a bump and that feeling that the holiday went far too quickly.

The holiday may have finished but the memories have already commenced, in the form of the few hundred photos that I have taken along the way.

Over the next few days, as I pick out my favourites from my morning walks around Bala Lake and my excursions further afield, I will attempt to share my days away through the medium of images from my trusty 50mm lens.

Today’s images are just a few of my favourites from Monday……



50 days of 50mm #34

Over the last few weeks, I have been incredibly fortunate with the weather, managing to capture some wonderful sunrises and early morning light, day #34 however would buck this trend, with overcast skies and more than a little rain.

A trip to the Powdermills on Dartmoor, an area once used to produce the gunpowder required for the local quarries, has been a long time favourite destination for my camera walks, until today, I had not captured this fascinating place in the rain, I would have my chance today.

Arriving on Dartmoor at just after 11am, the heavens decided to open, rain beating against the metal shelter of the car while waiting patiently for the rain clouds to pass.

This was not going to happen any time soon, so my impatience to get out and take at least a few photos, was greater than my need to stay dry.

To me, Dartmoor in this moody maelstrom is as beautiful as Dartmoor on a fine day, just being here the perfect antidote to a very busy working week.

Barely five minutes into my walk and the rain changes from a few drops to ‘the rain that soaks you through’ in Peter Kaye parlance,yet I have already bagged a few shots before quickly hiding the camera back under my coat before my next shot.

Shoot, wipe dry and conceal, shoot, wipe dry and conceal, regardless of the fact that my walking shoes are now leaking and I have wet feet, the camera is dry and ready for the next image.

My personal favourite image is the black and white image on the approach to the nearby pottery where a welcome cup of tea and toasted fruit bread was consumed with gusto.

50 days of 50mm #33

It has been a rather busy week, so my first post for this weekend is my early morning walk from last weekend.

I had not set an alarm for this morning, not having anything planned, it was to be a spontaneous outing, more than likely another riverside walk to begin my day.

It was just after 5AM, a good two hour lie in by normal workday standards, the day was bright with clear skies, with that late spring stillness of the early morning.

Too early to eat breakfast, I fuelled up with a generous mug of tea before heading out, I will look forward to a cooked breakfast on my return.

The river lies still, reflections of riverside residences reflect in the water below, it is not long before the first rays of sun paint the scene in a gentle glow.

I love the early light as it finds its way through trees and foliage, fresh verdant leaves bathing in the early rays, a tree trunk surrounded by its garland of wild flora, perfect subjects for my favoured close up style shots.




Above, a collection of my favourite shots from my brief but enjoyable morning walk, it may be just after eight AM but I feel that I have seen the best of the day….

50 days of 50mm #32

In the years that I have spent on my photographic journey, it is clear that in every photographer’s repertoire, certain iconic images are sought by amateurs and professionals alike.

The row of coloured beach huts lining a seaside beach front, the colours of morning sunrises and evening sunsets and those late spring woodlands carpeted in bluebells, just to name a few.

It is the latter that forms a variation on a theme for day 32 of my 50mm challenge, bluebells.

There is a popular location on Dartmoor where it is possible to capture these beautiful spring flowers in all their glory, a place that I have not visited for over two years because of lockdown, so I was looking forward to this walk immensely.

Unsure of whether there would be the sea of blue I was hoping for, there is plenty here to photograph, it’s just that the bluebells really add that something to any image here.

Its a short stroll from the car park to my destination, it is clear that although it is just after ten AM, there is plenty of other photographers already here, toting huge wildlife lenses, their prey, a pair of redstarts nesting in the vicinity, as well as a pair of elusive cuckoos.

I try to keep a distance from these photographers, so as not to disturb the subject they may have waited some time for already, I work around the scene skirting my main objective.

One of the photographers takes some to chat to me, he has already photographed the redstarts, he also shows me some wonderful images of the stonechats and wheatears he has captured today, I admire his patience, he admires my discipline in shooting one focal length for a long period of time.

Once they have moved on to other locations, I am able to work closer to the old barn that adds such a lovely contrast to the verdant grass and of course, the bluebells.

Once again, I have my favourite vintage 50mm attached to my camera, manually focusing is a more deliberate and enjoyable process than half pressing a shutter or back button focusing, I am an integral part of the image making, not a bit part player.

In the space of an hour, the location is filling with more walkers and photographers, it is time for me to make room for them to get their shots of spring time glory.


One frame – Into the woods

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.


50 days of 50mm #31

For day 31 I am back in my former home town of Salcombe, where I once again make an early morning start in the hope of watching another sunrise.

The chances of capturing the vibrant colours of late are lessened by a thick layer of cloud but the light is favourable and there is little or no breeze.

The stillness of the morning is emphasized more by the silence of a town devoid of people and traffic, in just a couple of hours, it will be a typical bustling seaside town waiting to welcome the weekend’s pleasure seeking tourists.

For now, I enjoy the solitude and serenity of the scenes in front of me, capturing the shimmering reflections and subdued light of this Saturday morning.

Using the native Canon 50mm for the landscape shots, I decide to shoot with my Pentacon 50mm lens, capturing a few shots on the walk back, with an emphasis on close ups of a patch of daisies that appealed to the eye.

One of things I have come to appreciate with shooting at 50mm, is how an apparently mundane subject can be seen as a potential image, especially through the glass of an older lens, where its soft corners and vignetting can be used to my advantage for that more organic and imperfect look.






50 days of 50mm #29

A lot of my seaside visits for camera walks involve getting up early for a sunrise and enjoy the indulgence of having an entire beach to myself for a short while.

Brixham is different, this bustling fishing town on the ‘English riviera’ is more photogenic when there are plenty of people around, walking the breakwater wall, or exploring the town itself.

It has been over a year since my last visit here, little may have changed but sometimes after a long absence from a favourite place, it is almost like visiting for the first time again.

Famous for its fishing heritage, Brixham’s fish market and fishing fleet retain a healthy presence here, where the fish market sells to both Joe public and the catering industry.

An array of kiosks along the sea front sell cockles, prawns and crab to those visitors keen to taste the local wares,
If shellfish is not your thing there are cafes and restaurants aplenty, to entertain ones gourmet cravings.

My choice is the local pasty shop after my meandering around the quayside and breakwater wall, where I am under scrutiny from a herring gull, who is keen to share the delight of my lamb and mint flavoured pasty, they have become so adept at taking the slimmest of opportunities to steal food, that I keep my lunch very much within its bag after each bite, it is far too good to share with this avian thief!