These are my favourite photos of 2017. It wasn’t a prolific year for me but I am quite pleased with several of the photos I managed to get. There are possibly a number of reasons why it wasn’t a prolific year, but one must be the weather. I remember during late winter and early spring having a frustrating time of it at weekends, with few opportunities to get out due to rain. Another frustration was autumn – I normally love getting out into autumnal woodlands, but somehow this year it passed me by. Or maybe I let it?
Despite the infrequent nature of my outings, I am pleased with a number of the resulting photos. They may not all be technically perfect but they are personal favourites. One common theme is that many were
obtained by pure luck with little planning having gone in to them. Sometimes these were images rescued from otherwise fruitless outings – “Plan B”. Sometimes they were from speculative trips to see what I could get.
Anyway, starting top right and moving row by row to bottom left, here are my comments on my selection:
I’d always been fascinated by Crow Tor, sitting prominently on the edge of its hill in mid Dartmoor. To me it’s always reminded me of a tank or other military vehicle, which might be appropriate given the extensive use of Dartmoor by the army. Anyway, in early January, with the cobwebs in need of blowing away I headed for the moor. My destination was Walkhampton Common to the west of Princetown but, as I got there, there was extensive cloud cover and “Plan B” was invoked. Plan B was to prove a recurring theme in 2017.
I drove slightly northeast, back through Princetown, with a view to visiting Beardown Tors. Parking at Holming Beam and heading up the hill the other side of the Cowsic river, I had an urge to bear left and visit Crow Tor. I’m glad I did as, when I got there, the light came good. I spent a while pottering about and making compositions using the extensive clitter as foreground, before yomping back to the car and home.
Fogbow, Woodbury Common
On a weekend morning in September I thought I’d wander up to the local Woodbury Common to see what was going on. It was foggy and I spent a while taking shots of distant mist and peaks. Once the fog had lifted a little I went for a wander. On the way back to the car I glanced to my right and thought “Wow, fogbow!”. There followed a period of scurrying about like a mad thing to get a composition with a focal point. I am happy with the result. But I got very soggy feet trying.
Dartmoor Pony, Haytor Down
Not “Plan B” as such, but just good luck. I’d visited Haytor Down with the intention of photographing Smallacombe rocks and / or Leighon Tor. Rapidly evaporating cloud led to dull skies and it was only good luck that this pony wandered into shot, backlit against the setting sun to rescue the afternoon.
On a morning where a letterbox on the horizon looked possible I headed off to Teignmouth Pier. I have many shots from here and I thought twice about revisiting, but the resulting sunrise was a cracker. I’ve chosen a short telephoto shot for this collection as opposed to a more standard wide angle shot.
Dartmoor from North Hessary Tor
Plan B to the rescue here. I’d visited Crockern Tor for sunrise to see how that worked in the snow. It was OK. No disaster but no crackers either. So I headed through Princetown to see what the snow was doing on slightly higher ground. A short walk to North Hesary Tor revealed this landscape of zigzags – the snow highlighting the natural pattern of the trees and field boundaries.
More luck invovled here, although this was also a planned shot. In March, Sidmouth is brightened up by thousands upon thousands of daffodils that were left to the town in a will. I’d visited several times to try to get a good sunrise shot and this one saved the day. If it weren’t for the cloud encroaching from the west, it wouldn’t have worked though.
Probably the most planned of the lot. But you can’t plan for a random point of interest entering the frame. This row of trees near Otterton had intrigued me for a while. I tried a spring shot, with the sun setting at the end of the row, but it needed foliage. Therefore autumn it had to be. Persistence paid off with this one as I visited 3 or 4 times in a week. On the only day with good lighting a cyclist came through my shot, giving me the chance to elevate it to something that I really like.
View from Peek Hill, Dartmoor
Plan B strikes again. I’d visited west Dartmoor to get the view from Peek hill over Burrator Reservoir. Clear skies put paid to anything special and I glanced longingly towards Leather Tor where fog was in the valley beneath it, and there was some cloud above. I thought I’d wander over to see what I could get and, half way there, I stopped and put on a long lens to capture the soft light and remaining mist in the valley. This is the view up towards Combeshead Tor
Green Bridge of Wales
This is a famous coastal arch – the Durdle Door of Pembroekshire if you will. This was a long exposure taken on a family holiday in August. What I like about it is that it’s one of the last shots with the arch still “intact” (or, at least, as intact as it had become known) as a few weeks after this shot a large chunk fell off the right hand edge into the sea.
So, that’s that. Onwards to see what 2018 will bring. Hopefully more to choose from than in 2017. If not I hope that I’ve had the chance to get a few more like I got this, sorry – last, year.