A rainy Saturday

A Saturday morning in early November, rain tapping gently against the windows as it falls from a featureless blanket of grey, the ideal recipe to catch up on writing blogs from my recent outings, instead I decide to head out for a few more shots around the city.

Just after ten AM and the city is already quite busy, the organised types are embarking upon some early Christmas shopping, tell tale rolls of wrapping paper peering above carrier bags like festively adorned periscopes.

Coffee shops are doing a brisk trade, havens from the persistent rainfall, a welcome warming indulgence in the form of hot teas and coffees, perhaps even a slice of cake to complete the decadence.

Other signs of the impending festive season are evident, Christmas lights in place for the annual switch on, the Christmas market stalls in the cathedral grounds, empty but ready to go.

For the record, today’s images were taken with my Leica X1 and my Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm (40mm equivalent) lens, the latter of which I have rarely used since its acquisition earlier in the year.



50 days of 50mm – the final day

After eight months, today sees the completion of my 50mm project and where better to complete my goal than my home city of Exeter, sharing some of my favourite views and images through my Carl Zeiss 50mm F2.8 Tessar lens and trusty Canon 5d II camera.

It has been an enjoyable journey, seeing the world through one focal length has honed my observational and creative skills no end, one revelation being my now regular usage of multiple vertical shots stitched together in post to create panoramas without the barrel distortion a wide angle lens would have.

Wider apertures on a fifty make them ideal for low light shots or those close ups I have come to enjoy so much, especially with the vintage manual lenses I have used more often than not.

There is no doubt that I will continue to have a 50mm lens in my bag, it is a lens that I have rediscovered after thinking I preferred 35mm.

From a financial prespective, I have rarely thought about new expensive lenses or gear since this project began, if anything, I will continue my ongoing ‘older gear’ theme for some time to come.

I already have a few ideas in the meting pot for new projects but for now I want to dig out more of my other vintage lenses and get used to shooting with a variety of lenses.

To all that have followed and encouraged me on this journey, thank you.. here are the pick of day 50’s images

50 days of 50mm #3

After yesterday’s washout, I am determined this Sunday morning to get on with day three of my 50mm challenge, so after devouring a rather tasty bacon and egg sandwich and finishing my second mug of tea, I will head towards the riverside to see how much the water levels have risen after the deluge.

It is just after eight thirty, as I make my way through the city centre, the streets are Sunday morning quiet, with just the council sweeping teams making their rounds and the first buses waiting at empty stops for their first passengers of the day.

My first image of the day is of Miller’s crossing bridge, a black and white image to emphasize the fast torrent of water flowing by, the incredible roar of water even drowns out the noise of passing traffic on the nearby road.


I walk over the bridge and stop to take a few more photos and stand for a few minutes to watch this mesmerizing maelstrom as it carries several large tree branches like matchsticks in its watery grasp.

The normal footpath following the river is all but submerged, cyclists and walkers alike will have to follow the higher footpath for now, which becomes busier by the minute as others look to get out for some fresh air.


It has become a habit for me to pick out my favourite shot of the day, today’s image is a monochrome of gull’s perching on Cricklepit bridge, moody skies above add some drama to the scene.


It has not been the longest of walks today, but it is another couple of hours testing my creativity with a 50mm lens, I just hope that my next outing offers brighter skies and perhaps even a little sunshine.

50 days of 50mm #2

As the second weekend of the new year approaches, I tentatively make plans for my second outing of 50mm, the prospects are not looking good as each of my weather apps show yet more rain for most of the weekend.

I do however, have an ace up my sleeve, a bonus Friday off, where the weekend rain is due later in the morning, so I head into town to run a few errands but will make some time to get a few shots around the city before the deluge and my date with a necessary booster jab.

My usual habit, would be to head towards the river and quayside but instead I keep myself around the city centre and local parks, seeing what subject matter may present itself on this dull grey morning.



Given that I was not expecting to get out for any photography this weekend, I feel that the shots I have taken are all a bonus, unless of course Sunday offers me a chance to get out for day 3 of fifty mm.

One frame – the bridge

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.

Out at last

Friday and Saturday had been a complete wash out in terms of any plans I had of getting out for my weekend photo walk, can there be any rain left to fall I ask?

Sunday morning and much of the same, as I enjoy my first brew of the day and a bacon butty, the skies are a grey wash of mediocrity, the gentle sound of rain against the windows, is this to be another ‘stay in’ day?

As I finish breakfast, I look out to see that there appears to be a break in the rainfall, without further ado, I decide to get some fresh air, even if it is only for a brief time.

The rain may have stopped but the sky still shows intent, so I set a brisk pace as I head towards my undetermined destination.

It is on these spontaneous forays that I find myself becoming more creative, looking for shots that I have not taken before, which in a city I have lived in for over twenty years, can be a challenge.

A lot of today’s shots will be black and white, to capture the mood of the day, but keep an open mind.




It has been my intention this year, to spend less time editing my photos, attempting to capture the mood with in camera presets or ‘recipes’ I have been creating over the last few weeks.

With today being such a dull day, monochrome and desaturated colour images, with contrasty shadows are the order of the day, with only a little cropping as needed done in post processing.

Despite the short duration and distance of today’s jaunt, I feel that I have salvaged something from this weekend and look forward to my next outing.

A city at night

Last weekend was the first weekend in a long time that I did not manage to get out with the camera, my days off were spent unpacking boxes and settling into my new abode, so no opportunity for the usual shutter therapy.

My hopes for a bright and sunny Friday and Saturday are to be dashed by two days of wind and rain.

Ever the opportunist, Thursday evening is at least dry, so decide to head out for an hour or so, just around the city centre for some night time photography.

As I walk past St James station, I realise that I have lived in Exeter for twenty years and never taken a photo here, in daytime the small station is one of the many smaller ones along the Exmouth railway route but the lights reflecting on the platform catch my eye enough to take a photo.

In all honesty, I have no plan in mind for tonight’s impromptu foray, as with the station image, it will be whatever catches my eye, as I make my way into the city centre.


My favourite shot of the evening, I liked the lines and light through the window

I love the way a city seems to take on another persona at night, the way light reflects onto other buildings, or onto the street, offer chances not seen during daylight hours.

While I do not consider myself to be a ‘crowds’ person, I look forward to times when the city streets will be busy once more, where the hospitality and retail industry can open their doors once more and to see my home city getting back to business as usual.

Winter walks in lockdown

After the expected recent lockdown measures, any thoughts of trips to the seaside or Dartmoor are out of the question for now, so my new January musings will follow familiar waking routes around the River and other local haunts.

I had considered starting another long term photography project this year that is on hold for now but still have one or two ideas for some themed photo shoots around my home city that can still be achieved during the lockdown period.

As usual, I had been checking the weather forecast for this weekend, hoping for a couple of dry days to get out for my permitted daily exercise, Saturday was looking good until Friday night, when the promise of sunshine was to be cancelled due to overcast skies.

Unperturbed, at just after seven thirty, I head out into the cold of the day to hopefully get a few shots.
As I walk through the city centre, I grasp the chance of a couple of quick photos, before heading towards the riverside.

From here, a steady walk to the River, where slowly but surely the night gives way to daylight, albeit overcast, uninspiring skies.



While Saturday was grey and drab, Sunday started with some early mist and perhaps a little sunshine to come a little later, so with a new optimism I set forth once more.

I was not to be disappointed today, as a combination of the mist and the morning sunrise competing for attention were to offer some lovely images, so glad I made the decision to get out again instead of the lazy Sunday option I had considered.

The best bit of winter walks is getting home to the self promised hot cup of tea and bacon roll, while looking at the mornings efforts, then embracing that idea of a lazy Sunday.

Another night time shoot

I had made the most of a bright and sunny Friday bonus day off to get out for my weekly photo walk, knowing that the rest of the weekend was likely to be unsettled.

Saturday was as forecast, wind and rain for most of the day but it looked as if there may be a break much later in the day, a chance for another night time shoot around Exeter city centre.

On a normal Saturday night at just after 7pm, the streets would be full of people having enjoyed a day out and looking for a place to eat, or those looking to meet with friends in one of the many city city centre pubs or clubs but this is 2020, a year that is far from normal.

With the second national lockdown going into its second week, the city is like a ghost town, more like a Monday night in January instead of a Saturday just a few weeks from the festive countdown.

For all the adversity this year has brought, a spirit of ‘the show must go on’ prevails, as the Christmas lights have been turned on, almost as an act of defiance in the face of covid, normally I would be the first to say that it is too early, this year I welcome the cheer that they offer.

The eerie silence is disturbed only briefly by the sounds of buses going about their business, virtually empty chariots going to places where nobody waits.

While taxis lie still at their ranks, it is the takeaway delivery driver that is king of the road, knights on two wheels, delivering Saturday night treats to the many, one of my favourite images of tonight’s outing being one such rider awaiting his next delivery.

With the streets empty of diners, this delivery driver waits for his next call

I seek out a few compositions for some light trails, but there is little traffic around of course but do manage one or two, so decide to turn my attention to some black and white shots around the city.

The black and white shots are pretty much straight out of camera Jpeg’s from the Ricoh GR3, the high contrast preset is a favourite of mine.

Returning home to the inevitable brew, I see that I have walked around 5 miles tonight, not bad considering I just intended an hour or so, that ended up as a 3 hour mooch.

I have found that seeing a place in the dark offers so many different ways of seeing the familiar, the speed of a car passing a zebra crossing, the shadows and light of a car park staircase are not things I would consider during the day.

With the longer hours of darkness here for the duration, I will look to embrace the chances they offer but I will still look forward to those longer, lighter days at the end of March.

Photography from the dark side

With autumn stepping into Summer’s vacant shoes, I reluctantly bid a fond farewell to those long, light evenings, but welcome the opportunity to capture the colours and moods of one of my favourite seasons of the year.

With woodland and riverside walks high on the agenda, hopes will be high to capture that colourful carpet of fallen leaves before they fade to winter mulch, golden leaves on lichen cloaked rocks teasing us with a show of colour before the barren winter months to come.

It is also at this time of year that I try to embrace the inevitable darker evenings, by honing my favourite photographic genre, low light and night time photography.

Emerging from summer photography mode into the discipline of low light work, my skills area little ring rusty, it is time to re-hone the skills with a couple hours night shooting around Exeter.

With me, I have my Olympus EM5 MKII with a recent new addition, the 17mm F1.2 Pro lens, with the EM5’s image stabilization and the wide aperture, I want to see how this combo performs with hand held shots.

As usual, the Ricoh GR3 tags along, small enough to fit in a pocket, it is a great little camera to stand on some of the street furniture, that act as a substitute tripod.

No night time foray is complete without the obligatory traffic trail shots, I do my duty with the ricoh perched on top of a metal pavement bollard, a passing bus giving a nice abstract look to the scene.

The olympus with the 17mm perform admirably too, my first shoot with this lens, so experimenting aplenty here.

I have deliberately chosen a less busy Thursday night for tonight’s foray, tomorrow will see more looking to start the weekend, I am happy in an emptier city.





With a little of the ring rust shaken off, I have a couple of ideas for some night time photography projects in the coming months, after all, I may as well take full advantage of the longer hours of darkness.