Bags, boxes and cameras

It has been a busy few days, my move is complete and a semblance of order is taking shape in my new abode, thankfully the final box is unpacked and consigned to the queue awaiting a journey to the recycling centre.

With my belongings pretty much in place, there will be a little fine tuning as I become more settled but with my photography gear now out of its brief cardboard incarceration, it is time to head out for my weekly jaunt along the riverside and into town.

It has become a familiar habit to reach for my G11 and LX5 cameras of late, it appears that my enjoyment of retro compacts is not about to fade any time soon, such is the enjoyment I am getting from using them.

Today’s jaunt would be brief, believe it or not, I am packing my bags again, or at least one, in preparation for a few days away, a welcome break from a busy summer at work and the tribulations of moving.

The hardest decision I will have to make here, is whether the bigger gear gets packed or if I prefer to travel light, suggestions are welcome!

Black and white with the ‘5’

I am due to be moving house at the end of the month so I should really be getting my head around packing more boxes to make my life a little easier and what better way to start, by deciding to go out for another local camera walk!

In my defence, it was just after six thirty AM, my customary first brew of the day was already history and I am sure my neighbours would not be happy with too much disturbance at that hour on a Sunday morning anyway.

As I was so pleased with the new (but old) LX5’s images from yesterday’s outing, I decided to take just this camera and a spare battery, this diminutive little camera easily fits into a pocket, so for the first time in a very long time I, I did not even take a camera bag with me.

A few of the reviews on the LX5 had suggested that the in camera dynamic black and white picture profile was very good, so I have set one of the camera’s custom presets to shoot with this profile in JPEG only, I decided also, to make full use of the ‘5’s ability to shoot in the square format at the flick of a switch.

An additional post will be made in the coming days of the colour images from today’s sneaky outing but I was keen to share the images from the black and white perspective, before I begin the onerous task of sorting and packing for my impending move.



A tale of two canons

I had not intended to begin a new project so soon after my last one but typically my enthusiasm got the better of me and here I am, jumping feet first into my next, where I shoot with older cameras bought at bargain prices.

The last week or so has been like Christmas come early, where two packages awaited my return from work on consecutive days, my canon G11 and Canon S95.
Spare batteries for both were to follow but I had to wait until Saturday morning before their first proper shoot, a walk around Exeter city centre and quayside.

With the S95 having such a small form factor, it’s potential for street photography is evident, nobody worries about a small point and shoot looking camera, the S95 is however very capable with manual controls easily to hand.

The G11 is bulkier but not hugely so, the longer zoom of 28-140mm will be something different after being so used to just 50mm.

The colours from both are very pleasing, canon’s colour science is legendary and with some beautiful light already present, getting some decent images was not difficult.

To say that I am happy with what these aging cameras turned out is an understatement, my previous shunning of small sensor cameras left in tatters as I have three candidates for my favourite photos of 2022 among this set of images.






With a Lumix GF2 and 20mm F1.7 lens waiting in the wings and a potentially successful bid on a Lumix LX5, both may have to wait a while for their turn on my weekend outings, needless to say I shall be looking forward to this Saturday and Sunday.

Foggintor with the Canon G11

It’s the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, the last throes of the summer holidays for many, for me, a time to secretly look forward to those cheeky Friday’s off and three day weekends as the food industry gets a little quieter.

Normally on a bank holiday, I would stay closer to home, allowing the madding crowds to descend upon their chosen destinations but an invitation to visit Dartmoor will rarely be turned down, especially as it will be one of my favourite parts of Dartmoor – Foggintor.

I decide today to bring the Canon G11, it will be the perfect way to get more used to this latest of my ‘old gear’ purchases but a camera I am finding a joy to use.

The last time I travelled this light with camera gear was when I shot an entire year with a Fuji X100F, even then, I would sometimes bring a tripod and filters, not so this time.
Of course with the G11, I have the luxury of a zoom lens, something that is taking a little used to after using fixed primes for so long.

Just a couple of brief trips with the G11, has brought a real sense of fun to my photography, with a bigger full fame camera, there is a subconscious demand on myself to produce the best images I can, where the G11 just makes me want to walk further, see more and take more images.

While I say that the G11 is for fun, it takes some seriously good photos, in fact it is this very camera that has produced one of my favourite images of the year so far…



The G11 captured this, the beautiful light and shadow on the landscape, a favourite image of 2022

Of course, this is just one of many images on today’s walk and while I am praising the image quality of the G11, it does have a couple of small annoyances, one being that it is easy to alter settings by pressing buttons accidentally when carrying the camera in hand but all in all a small gripe in the grand scheme.

Enough about the camera’s faults, and more from its strengths, taking images:


Given the number of images in the gallery, it is fair to say that I really enjoy using this 12 year old camera, needless to say it will be heading out with me on a few more walks in the coming weeks.

What next?

After eight months of shooting with a 50mm lens, this was the first weekend where I could select whatever gear I wanted from my photographic armoury, whatever I did select, would be in keeping with my other theme of 2022, shooting with older gear.

Alongside my Canon 5d Mk II, I also have a Canon 50d and a charity shop bargain in a Panasonoc LX3 digital compact camera.

It was the LX3 that found its way into my bag this Saturday and Sunday and I could not believe how much I enjoyed using this great little camera.

Now I have a confession to make, in that my previous obsession with uber sharp images and keeping up with the latest tech within my budget had made me a ‘sensor snob’, I followed the well trodden path to the holy grail of photography ‘full frame’ having fallen for all those articles online and watching those you tubers who would only review the latest offerings with the most expensive lenses.

My eureka moment, or epiphany was watching my all time favourite landscape photographer, Charlie Waite on a shoot with a digital compact camera, the Lumix LX5, the younger sibling to my LX3, if this type of camera is good enough for a photographer of Charlie Waite’s standing, it is more than good enough for me!

With such a small camera in hand, the freedom from a bulky DSLR is evident and with a decent macro mode, I was in my element.

The true revelation of this camera was seeing the images on a bigger screen, the lens on the LX3 is superb, the in camera dynamic black and white is very good!

Naturally noise is an issue with these tiny sensors, evident from iso 800, yet the grain is not unpleasant, for me, it adds more character to the black and white Jpeg’s, and dare I mention the ‘filmic’ look with the older CCD sensor.

While I am no longer in the market for the latest and best, I will be on the look out for more of these older cameras for sure.

50 days of 50mm #41

I am not entirely sure where my love of early mornings came from but perhaps the seeds were sown by the occasions that I would stay with my grandfather over the school holidays, even though he lived just around the corner, it still felt like an adventure.

He would knock on my bedroom door at just after 5am, where more often than not he would tell me that breakfast was waiting, two boiled eggs and perfectly browned doorsteps of toasted white bread and good old fashioned butter.

After helping with the washing up, we would often be headed out for a walk somewhere blackberrying in the summer, mushroom foraging in the autumn and still be back before 11am.

My early forays these days follow a similar pattern, the early train to a local venue in the early spring and summer to capture the new day, camera of course at the ready.

With trains not starting to run until after nine am on a Sunday, I will more often than not be found walking along the local quay and riverside paths here in Exeter, day 41 being one such day.

Sunday mornings always feel more laid back, the one day of the week where the world seems to slow down a little and take a bit of a breather.

I enjoy the peace and solitude of these brief few hours before the city comes to life, the way the light changes as the sun makes its ascent into the skies above, the random chats with fellow early risers going about their own Sunday, that flask of tea I always carry with me to enjoy somewhere along the way.








50 days of 50mm #40

As I edge ever closer to completion of my current project, there is no doubt that I will contue to take just the 50mm lens on the regular outings, to keep the creativity it encourages honed.

However, the project has not just been about the lens, it has also been about my desire to quit from the upgrade race and enjoy camera gear that I would have liked a decade ago but simply could not justify the expense.

Just a few months ago, I had never entertained the idea of ever using a DSLR again, mirrorless cameras were king and of course they may well remain so for some time to come but I am one of those people that like using old gear, enter my Canon 5d MKII.

This camera body , along with the Canon 50mm F1.8 and my vintage 50mm pentacon 1.8 have been on some fabulous outings over the last few months, proving that I do not need to keep make huge dents in my finances to enjoy my trips.

So on day 40, it was a trip locally to Dawlish Warren, for some sea air and some shutter therapy, where my walk would start well before nine and finish before the Sunday day trippers arrived to enjoy their time at the beach.

Sunday was a day of threatening rain clouds alternating with sunny spells, perfect conditions for some good light with mood in the sky above.

With the tide just about on the ebb, my path was on the upper part of the beach where the softer sand slows the pace a little, giving the calf muscles a good work out over the course of the route.

I really enjoy these mornings on the beach, especially watching the ebbing tide reveal pristine sand as it recedes, it’s like natures etch a sketch, wiping the evidence of seabird or human footprints from its memory.

Anyway, enough words, here are the images from a stroll along the shore.



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 #30

My last few Saturdays have been early starts, as I have been keen to catch those late spring sunrises around the local coastline of Dawlish and Teignmouth respectively.

Day 30 starts with grey, overcast skies with brighter sunny spells later in the day, so decide that a trip to a local woodland just a few miles away may be an idea, after all, I have not visited this one for a couple of years.

Ashclyst forest is owned and maintained by the National trust, just on the outskirts of the village of Broadclyst in East Devon and a stones throw away from Killerton House.

As with any location on one’s doorstep, I Have not visited Ashclyst as many times as perhaps I should but I am certainly looking forward to exploring the myriad of trails and footpaths that make any woodland and forest so enjoyable.

Even if I were not involved in my current 50mm project, a 50mm lens would be my choice for today’s venue, the wider aperture of a 50mm prime lens is perfect for those out of focus backgrounds in woodland, as well as plenty of scope for those close up shots that have become a part of my photographic repertoire over the years.

There is something very calming about ambling around these forest trails, the pure joy of hearing the birds singing, their melodies undiluted from traffic noise and other man made interruptions.

I take a little time to experiment with some ‘intentional camera movement’ (ICM) shots, as I stand in a clearing, facing a copse of fir trees, a three stop ND filter attached to my lens gives me an exposure time of around two seconds, enough to create some abstract images of the scene before me.

After a number of attempts., I have a couple that I am happy with, it is this type of experimenting that keeps me wanting to get out and trying new (to me) techniques.






With patches of concealed bluebells just waiting to be found, the paths are a riot of late spring colour, with buttercups and celandine offering a vivid contrast to the campion that sways gently in the pleasant May breeze.

Dandelions lie in various states of undress, some with their full Afro of pappus, others semi bald, their party crowns long since stolen away by the breeze.

Even among this spring time palette, traces of the ochres and browns of winter can be found, oases of fallen ferns and fir cones, lying forgotten as last years Christmas toys, yet still beautiful, even in decay.



50 days of 50mm #28

It’s just after 04:15 as I head out this Saturday morning to capture another seaside sunrise, this time at Dawlish Warren.

As I make my way to the railway station, the dawn chorus has begun already, a male blackbird stands proudly atop a concrete pillar, preaching his avian chorus to anyone who listens, I do, his melodic overture is a pleasure to hear as a new day begins.

My walk to the station is rarely interrupted but for the occasional takeaway car making their last calls to hungry party goers, or taxi cabs ferrying the night club weary back home for a welcome slumber.

In just a few weeks, even the five AM train will not be early enough for those summer seaside sunrises but that is a concern for then, not now.

The train glides out of Exeter St. David’s station on time, I will be at my destination in twenty minutes and with darkness already lifting, I can see a little colour beginning to form in the sky above.

Mine is just the third stop of the train’s journey to Paignton, Dawlish Warren station is just a stone’s throw from here, the local arcades, cafe’s and fairground rides lie dormant for now, in just a few hours, it will be a thriving mini town, as day trippers and tourists from the local camp sites look to entertain family members, young and old.

The beauty of the new day has begun already, bright orange and dark blue skies are all I need to get the camera out for the first shot of the day, a simple composition of nearby benches in silhouette.

First image of the day


It is a fabulous start but I am keen to find a few more shots before the sun begins its rapid ascent, with the tide making its way in, I look to find some reflections in the calm water as a contrast to the rippled patterns in the exposed sand and a couple images from the path above the beach, using the picket fence as foreground interest.


Once the sun appears above the horizon, these beautiful shades will be lost all too soon, all the more reason to just sit and enjoy the rest of this brief show with a well earned cuppa from my generously sized thermos flask.

With mission sunrise achieved, I will make my way along the footpath to Starcross and Cockwood, joining the estuary trail as far as Topsham, where I will catch a ferry and enjoy a well deserved refreshment.

The next set of images are just a handful of those I took along one of my favourite hikes, a good ten miles allowing for my numerous ‘off piste’ ambles along the way in the search for more photos.