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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
After Saturday morning’s sunny start to the Mayday bank holiday, Sunday reverted to the more traditional British bank holiday fare of grey skies and intermittent rain.
Unperturbed, a hastily planned trip to the East Devon coast was to be my destination for today’s outing, more precisely, Budleigh Salterton.
After the recent Easter holidays, the tourist season has begun, the beach huts that line various locations along the beach are now out of winter storage, most are still padlocked shut but the odd one or two are cosy wooden havens from which to watch the waves, for those that have brought a bite to eat and hot drinks.
This Mayday bank holiday is probably the least busy of the spring bank holidays, closely sandwiched as it is, between Easter and Whitsun, there is no half term holiday to extend the week.
There is rain in the air, as I embark on another seaside foray, the sky above just a few shades of grey with little character, perfect for those monochrome edits I like.
For today’s outing, I am using the native Canon lens (50mm F1.8), a lens I am coming to know inside out, one of the side benefits of using a particular lens for a length of time, many of today’s images will be shot between f1.8 & F2 and rarely above F5.6, just because that slight softness will suit today’s conditions.
My meander from one end of the beach to the other will take just over an hour, as I thread my way between the small fishing boats along the shore, snapping the array of lobster and crab pots that await their next use.
It may not have been the brightest day but any seaside exploration is a more than pleasant way to enjoy a Sunday.
As my working week edge closer to Fridays, plans begin to take shape for my weekend photo walks, as I perused the weather forecast, Saturday was looking good for another sunrise.
It’s 4am on Saturday when the alarm sounds, an hour later than my normal work day alarm but I am already awake, supping the first brew of the day and getting ready to head out for my 5am train.
As usual, I arrive at the station with more than enough time to spare, I could never be one of those people that leave appointments or meetings until the very last moment,I have never enjoyed trying to make up time, preferring to ease myself more sedately into my day!
My train will take around 25 minutes to get to today’s destination, Teignmouth, sunrise will be just 15 minutes after my arrival, enough time to pick my spot to watch the new day dawn.
Finding my place on the shoreline, the dawn light show has begun already, skies of blue and orange, reflected into the sea, a truly beautiful start to my morning.
It is not long before the sun appears from below the horizon, its vibrant orange orb adding more fiery hues to the sky.
I make my way further along the sea front, I would like to capture a scene of the pier as the sun rises above, I am not prepared for the scene that unfolds as apparently out of nowhere, a flock of herring gulls are above the pier and appear to surround the sun…..
As much as I enjoy capturing these scenes, I feel that sometimes I miss opportunities to just observe, caught up in the moment as I am with my photography, today I make the time to just sit and watch while enjoying my second cuppa of the day from my flask… and then a third.
From here, I walk towards Teignmouth’s ‘back beach’, admiring the golden glow cast on the scene before me, where I meet Claire, a Teignmouth local who takes time every day to clear the beach of litter, in rain, wind or shine.
I admire the work and dedication of people such as Claire and others, who strive on a daily basis to clear up the debris of the idle, when did some lose the notion that we should leave a place how we would wish to find it?
By the time I have finished my beach side amble, it is just after 8am, I head back to the station for the next train and begin to look forward to the full English I promised myself a few hours before.
With Easter just over the horizon, this may well be the last of my three day weekends until late September, so I will be spending this weekend in Salcombe , first and foremost visiting family and hopefully a sunrise photo shoot on Saturday morning.
It’s 5am and day 22 of my 50mm challenge, sunrise is at just after six thirty, so I have a good hour to walk to a favourite place in Salcombe, the National trust footpath at Snape’s point, where I hope to catch the early light as it reflects on the town I once called home.
Too early for a full breakfast, I drink my first brew of the day and eat a slice of toast before heading into the last few minutes of night time, as I walk briskly towards my destination.
As the darkness fades, I have clear skies above, with just a hint of orange on the horizon, a promising portent for the day to come.
The early chill has been negated by my brisk pace but I will feel it more once I stop to wait for sunrise, as my favoured spot for today is at the top of a hill overlooking the estuary and various creeks.
It would appear that I have times my arrival to perfection, barely ten minutes later and there is a beautiful orange glow painting the sky, this is why I get out early on my days off, the sheer pleasure of watching a new day dawn will never fail to leave me inspired.
It comes to mind that this is the first time that I have come to this location for a sunrise shoot, this has always been a walk I have done later in the day, it is safe to say that I will definitely make the effort to return for another early start later in the year.
After a slow mooch back for a welcome bacon butty and the mandatory cuppa, I make my way back into town for a few more photos, this time capturing the town with a few more people around, especially on the estuary where I watch the local sailing yachts lining up for their next race, while taking a few photos of course.
What better way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning than to wander around the seaside town of Exmouth, taking in the spring sunshine and capturing a few images, at 50mm of course.
Seaside towns such as Exmouth are once more coming to life after the winter months, kiosks, cafes and restaurants offering the day tripper welcome refreshments and temporary havens of warmth in a still quite chilly breeze.
The aroma of fish and chips floats briefly in the air, then I spot the well wrapped white parcels sat upon the laps of a couple who have found a suitable bench on which to enjoy their early lunch, I am sure the sea air helps increase one’s appetite!
At the first opportunity, I stray from the concrete sea front path to the beach, the ebbing tide revealing pristine sand for footprints to be made, while herring gulls patrol the shoreline edge for newly uncovered shellfish and other such piscatorial treats.
Dogs race up and down the beach at full pelt, some fetching a favourite ball, others fetching the favourite ball of a new canine friend they have just met, dogs just know how to have a great time at the seaside.
A couple of intrepid families, intending to make a day of it at the seaside, huddle around windbreak fortifications, sipping from thermos flasks, while the kids armed with buckets and spades are busy making sandcastles or looking for buried treasure.
For me, one of the many attractions of these seaside walks, is that there is always a picture to be taken, a spontaneous moment captured perhaps, or that one abandoned boat with its increasingly weathered textures and muted colours, a particular view perhaps?
More than anything it is becoming an ever increasing appreciation of the places I am fortunate to be so close to, what better reason to get out and share it with others.
As the weekend storms offer a little respite for a few hours at least, a walk along the beach at Budleigh Salterton is a welcome chance to get out with the camera for a few hours.
With the rows of beach huts in winter storage, the sea front is empty of the colour and character they add to the typical British seaside .
The wintry skies still have a little post storm moodiness, the occasional flurry of rain disappearing as quickly as they come as I amble my way along the pebbled beach.
Waves pound and churn the shoreline, a mixture of pure white form with the dark brown shingle making for a cold and uninviting sea, yet I have always loved the sound waves as they crash clumsily to shore, followed by that ‘swoosh’ as the smaller pebbles are dragged back into the watery maelstrom.
One or two of the beach side cafes are open, offering welcome havens of hot refreshments and temporary shelter for my fellow walkers, I exchange pleasantries with those who choose to sit outside and watch the world go by, how typically British that we revert to type and discuss the weather!
My favourite part of Budleigh beach is where the local fishermen have their lobster posts and other piscatorial paraphernalia, rich pickings of texture, shape and colour for the photographer’s eye.
February is a strange month, a month with Jekyll and Hyde mood swings, one day we have bitterly cold winds, another day of rain, then suddenly placated. the weather gods bless us with a bright sunny day with no wind and even a little warmth in the sun.
Day eleven is one such day, perfect for a stroll along one of my local beaches, Dawlish Warren. Once again, I have chosen to use my vintage Pentacon 50mm, for no better reason than the enjoyment I get using it.
I would normally bring a tripod and a few filters on a seaside shoot, for a few long exposure shots of the waves but today I have a minimalist mindset, I have found that doing so every now and again teaches me to look for other ideas instead of the standard seaside images.
So, with just the camera,lens and a spare battery, I go in search of new images from a familiar venue.
Just after 10:30 am on a Friday morning and the beach has just a handful of people making the most of an almost spring like day, one of my first shots is taken at a wide aperture of F2, I want to use the edge softness to my advantage, creating a more subtle look to the scene.
My initial idea for editing this image was to give it a saturated ‘postcard’ look but I found the over saturation of colour did not appeal, instead I chose to mute the colours slightly, giving a more ‘filmic’ vibe.
In recent shoots I have taken advantage of the ability to take multiple shots of a scene and stitch them together in post edit, my ‘no gimmicks’ theme for the day makes me look more closely at the shoreline, where I find some interesting patterns in the sand for some close up shots, perfect for the 1:1 aspect ratio images I have come to enjoy creating.
The beautiful light adds a shadow in certain areas, the grains of sand given a lovely warm hue, I love the simplicity of this kind of shot.
If the small details are appealing, so too are the textures of the well weathered wooden fences and groynes that are as much a part of the seaside landscape as wind turbines and electricity pylons are the countryside.
Photography has taught me that there is beauty in everything, this is just one of the many reasons I look forward to every weekend outing.