Sunday morning has rolled around far too quickly, my brief visit to Salcombe is almost over as I make my way back to Exeter to commence another working week.
In my usual manner, it will be a meandering trip back, stopping off to add a few more photos to my collection and to complete day 45.
Totnes will be the first stop, a bustling market town just about 20 miles from Salcombe, where I will follow a footpath along the river to the local steam railway station but only after I have made my usual vist to ‘the island’ a very pleasant and popular public space by the River Dart.
Today, I have decided to use my Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 lens and my Pentacon 50mm F1.8, same focal length but so different in their rendition of colour and sharpness.
Day 35 and I have travelled a little further afield from my usual haunts for a few days, staying in the breathtaking scenery of Wales.
With a ‘base’ at Bala lake, there will be a few early morning forays here for sure but today’s post centres on a brief foray to Porthmadog.
This is my second visit to this harbour town, with views of both the sea and the mountains, Moel-y-Gest the prominent hill standing majestically in the distance.
Even among this wonderful scenery, I was still keen to grab a few shots at the nearby steam Railway station, first opened in 1877, the station building is now a grade II listed building.
It is barely 10am and the platform is already bustling with activity, soon to be passengers looking admiringly at their transport for the next few hours, staff preparing said transport and people like me, there just to capture the scene in either still images or video.
I love the hustle and bustle of these charming stations, kept alive by an army of volunteers and employees alike, always immaculately kept, always friendly.
The vibrant colours of the trains and station are emphasized by the warm sun and blue skies, I spend a few minutes chatting to a fellow photographer comparing pictures and naturally talking about ‘gear’.
Perhaps next year I may stop here long enough to take one of these train journeys myself, what better excuse to return again some time soon.
It has been a rather busy week one way and another, so I am later than usual in posting the second of last weeks camera outings, some may say better late than never.
Having spent Friday and Saturday visiting family, Sunday was my day to travel back to Exeter, taking in a photo walk somewhere on the way back.
That somewhere would be a visit to Staverton Steam railway and a walk along the woodland path, sandwiched between the Railway and River.
With bluebells gradually taking their turn on the botanical stage, it may be a little early to capture that carpet of blue in the woodland but I did find one or two images, a preview of the weeks to come.
Sadly, the full route of this footpath is no longer open at weekends but I understand the need to conserve these areas of natural beauty from the damage of erosion from so much footfall over the years.
I head back to the steam railway station where the first of the new season’s trips have commenced, these stations are kept so immaculately by the team of volunteers, the retro signage and paraphernalia are always an attraction, the photographer’s holy trinity of texture, colour and patina well represented with old sack trucks, travel cases and the mandatory vintage bicycle or two.
There is always a warm friendly feeling to these old stations, perhaps even,a yearning for the days when we were in less of a rush to do everything by yesterday.
After a couple of very pleasant hours, it’s time for a welcome brew before heading back home, where I look forward to seeing my weekend’s efforts and the new memories I have created over the last few days.
Day 18 may prove to be one of my favourite photo walks of the entire 50mm project, simply because of the variety of shots I was able to take today.
An opportunity to mooch around the market town of Totnes for a couple of hours will rarely be refused, especially on a market day, when the town will be busier than normal.
The market square is where my shoot begins, where a myriad of marketeers ply their trade, from bric a brac to fruit and veg, antiques to Panama hats but the busiest stalls appear to be the street food stalls, where the subtle aroma of spices tantalize the taste buds.
As the queue at the Ethiopian food stall dissipates temporarily, I ask for an Impromptu photo of the owner Hanna, as she works, she generously obliges, asking only that I share the photos with her, of course I am more than happy to do so.
I had planned to spend around 15 minutes at the market, I spend the best part of 40 minutes just trying to capture the essence of the scene and the street close to the market.
As I move from here, I head through the main street to the riverside, then take the footpath to the local steam railway station at Totnes, which had I checked their website, I would have known it was yet to open for the new season, never mind, the walk is still a very pleasant one.
If I was slightly disappointed at missing out from the Totnes steam railway, a visit to Buckfastleigh on the way back home, more than makes up for it, this will be the third ‘chapter’ for todays outing.
While Totnes station was yet to open, Buckfastleigh was hosting an event for railway enthusiasts, plenty going on here then! It would appear that most of these enthusiasts are also keen photographers, where the mix of Canon and Nikon is evenly split, with the odd Sony user, they all have one thing in common, the long zoom lens, I feel kind of under dressed here, with just my faithful fifty.
That said, I rarely if ever feel that I have missed a shot using just one focal length, learning to adapt is what helps to keep my love of photography alive.
As life tiptoes cautiously back to a semblance of normality, today is a day I have been looking forward to for a long time, a visit to one of Devon’s steam railways at Buckfastleigh.
For as long as I have carried a camera, this has been a favourite destination and after an eighteen month absence, it is fair to say I am looking forward to it!
This small station always extends a warm welcome to its visitors, it is like being welcomed back into a long lost family, regardless of whether this is your first or umpteenth visit.
Regardless of how many times I have been to any steam railway station, the sight and sound of the steam locomotive arriving at the station never fails to bring out the excitement of the child within, grown adults with cameras around necks, almost running to get a good spot to take a picture.
The platform of course is the main stage but I take as much pleasure in exploring the sidings and workshop areas, watching the army of restoration experts and engineers bringing new life into forgotten heritage.
I am mainly using my Fuji X100V for this trip today, I have been experimenting with some film simulations recipes I am keen to try, two work really well while two more need a little tweaking but this for me is the joy of photography, more so that I am able to try in camera, rather than at a computer screen later.
With the second of my post lockdown trips ticked off the list, all that remains for me to do is post my pick of yesterday’s outing.
This is the sort of blog I would normally write during those dark winter days, a reminiscence of previous outings, a looking forward to the seasons to come, this however, could be the first of many ‘staying home’ entries during the unwelcome presence of the Covid – 19 virus.
I am using this time to catch up on those jobs that have been left for too long on the bottom rung of the task ladder, to read that book I bought last year and to have another attempt at sorting through terabytes of images taken over the last 5 years.
It was while I going through this process, a trip to Buckfastleigh steam railway, jumped out as being one of my best days out in the last 2 years.
It was not the most inspiring of days in terms of weather, a grey misty day with drizzle hanging in the air, but a trip to a steam railway could offer something out of seemingly nothing, in the back of my mind, I had the thoughts of some ‘film noir’ style images to create some interest.
Steam railways are places I could spend hours exploring, with platforms often furnished with vintage luggage trucks, old suitcases and coloured signs of the products of the time.
Old rolling stock often lies abandoned on sidings, not always accessible to the public but Buckfastleigh has little that is not accessible.
I enjoy the chats I have with the many volunteers that help keep these railways open, their love of keeping the steam heritage alive is evident, one of the reasons for my frequent visits here.
For those that are interested, these were taken with a Lumix G80 m43 camera with 25mm 1.4 lens (50mm in full frame terms)
When time allows, there will be many places to revisit, in the meantime, I had better crack on with the sorting ….