50 days of 50mm #42

My first visit to Dartmoor after the constraints of lockdown felt like it was my first and though I knew what to expect, my appreciation for the landscape and the freedom it gives, had grown.

Slowly but surely, life has got back to some semblance of normality, however, I was going to have to wait another year to visit one of my favourite summer diary events, the Powderham historic vehicle gathering.

Yesterday was the day I had been waiting for, the two day event was to welcome the public once more to the grounds of Powderham Castle, again I felt as though it was my first time after such a long enforced absence.

With the next few days set to be some of the hottest of the summer so far, the event organisers have certainly picked the right week, the morning was already warming up at seven am as I walked to a nearby shop to pick up some refeshments for later in the day.

With the gates open at 10am, I was there for just a few minutes after, my online purchase of my ticket allowed me through the prepaid ticket queue a little faster than those buying on the day, as well as saving a couple of quid by doing so.

The event covers a vast space in the grounds of the Powderham estate, it is almost like a village within the grounds, with the varied and many vehicle exhibitors as well as the food vendors and vehicle related memorabilia outlets.

My first point of call will be the traction engine zone, I like to capture the proud owners of these incredible workhorses as they polish their charges for the umpteenth time, before they head towards the concourse later in the day to show off their gleaming engines.

My common sense head tells me to slow down as I head from exhibnit to exhibit but frankly I am like a child in a sweetshop, wide eyed with the choices available, then I tell myself that I have all day!

I think that everone senses the carnival atmosphere of today’s event, like the welcome return of an old friend, it is a field of perfect strangers chatting and laughing as though we had known each other for years.

While I have not had time to go through all of yesterdays images, I have picked a few that hopefully give some measure of why I look forward to this event so much and why I will look out for the same exhibits at Torbay steam rally in a few weeks time.

Classic cars & steam

With the summer calendar of events now in full swing, an opportunity for me to visit a local classic car and steam rally in the grounds of Powderham Castle was too good to miss.
Arriving slightly before the 10am opening, there were already a few early birds waiting to purchase tickets and and the now mandatory wrist band.

The exhibition area is huge but well organised, a large ring roped off in preparation for the various vehicle displays throughout the day.
With so many exhibits to look at, it will be a slow and deliberate approach to the day, patience is key in attempting composition without too many inadvertent photo bombs as onlookers come into shot.

Where possible, I like to chat with the vehicle owners, their enthusiasm is evident as they talk with a smile on their face and no small amount of passion about the history of their vehicle and the work they have done.
It is from these conversations that the spontaneous photos can be inspired by, the proud owner of a Bugatti, seeing my interest in his various props inside the car, took out a bottle of vintage Bugatti labelled champagne for me to photograph.

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The owner of my favourite car of the day, a vintage Volvo rally car took so much joy in telling me he still uses his car for rally events, the most used tool in the back of the car is a crowbar to pull out any dents from any collisions with walls or trees!
The car did not gleam as so many, it showed battle scars aplenty and character in spades!

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The display of cars, motor bikes, trucks and buses are so varied and interesting, but I will always have a soft spot for the traction engines and steam trucks, the traction engines have a certain majesty as they steam sedately by…. and that smell! The mixture of burning coal, oil and steam pervades through the air.

Seeing youngsters around these engines is so good to see, the family ritual of cleaning and polishing the engines before the main parade in the arena, each family member seems to have a designated part to clean, all seemingly done without the usual teenage angst.

In past years, I have always been very concentrated on taking photos of the exhibits, without really taking in the atmosphere of the rest of the event arena, this year, I found myself wanting to capture more of the wider picture, perhaps in part because up to a  couple of years ago, I did not like taking ‘people’ shots but with a small mirrorless camera, I feel less obtrusive than when I had the mandatory DSLR and its howitzer of a lens!

By the end of my multitude of laps of the display area, I had taken a good number of photos, the selected ones above are a few of my favourites, the rest will revisited later in the year when I need a reminder of another super day out.