I ventured out this morning almost reluctantly. Even with a late, post 8 a.m, sunrise I was tired and didn’t want to get out of bed. Combine that with indications of cloud cover being all (Dartmoor) or nothing (East Devon coast) and I was even less enthusiastic to rise from my slumbers. However, I had some new toys to play with in the shape of some Kase filters, including a 10 stop, which had turned up on Thursday and I wanted to see how they performed.
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
For several years now I’ve had a pre-conceived image in my mind of this scene. It’s taken down a tree-lined lane in East Devon and I’ve always imagined a photo into the setting sun. It is a photo that will only work in late September or early October. In March the trees are bare and, in my mind at least, will not work as well as a photo.
So, with the sun setting in the right place and a promising sunset in the offing, I set off for my destination – about 15 minutes drive away. My first problem was parking up. This is a single track lane and hogging a nearby passing place wouldn’t go down well. I eventually found a place in the entrance to a nearby field and set up shop. My next problem was that Read more
For the last two years I have tried, and failed, to get a photograph of the daffodils at Peak Hill Road in Sidmouth. My vision has been to photograph them against the rising sun in the early morning. Now, I have a self-imposed rule to avoid shooting into the sun, but sometimes I have to break it. Not least because later in the day, when the sun is out of this particular shot, Read more
Due to my job I only really get out and about for sunrise photography at the weekends. Following one particular washed out weekend I was looking forward to the next to “scratch that itch” and had, therefore, been studying the weather forecast for the upcoming Saturday since Tuesday. The weekend looked wet and my only hope seemed to be Saturday morning. Fine, you might think, but I was taking Friday afternoon off work for a Christmas “do”. The last thing I wanted was to overindulge and spend the best hours of the next day in bed with a sore head.
Come Friday I made my excuses and left the party late afternoon to get the train home. The forecast still looked touch and go, with a clear slot in between a couple of banks of cloud promising just a chance of something good around dawn. I was still unsure where to go — Dawlish Warren for some groyne shots [insert smutty joke here] or Budleigh Salterton for a go at my “default” location of the Otter estuary. It was high tide 90 minutes before dawn so I thought I’d take a crack at the latter with the trees of Otterton ledge reflecting in the high tidal waters (another fave location for high tide is the Cobb in Lyme Regis, but I knew that there was a photographic workshop on that day so gave that a wide berth).
When I woke up it was raining outside and Honiton was under a blanket of cloud. A quick check of various weather-related apps on my smartphone and the chances of a good sunrise looked decidedly slim, so I decided to go back to sleep.
Except I couldn’t.
Half an hour later I gave in, got up, threw on some clothes and headed for the coast, still under a blanket of cloud and with a bit of drizzle continuing to fall. Am I addicted to this hobby of mine?
Half an hour after that I was on location. As well as being a fantastically photogenic location, there is also a bloody great car park about two minutes’ walk from my “tripod holes”. Even though it was 7 a.m. I paid for a parking ticket as this car park is notorious for being checked up on and, as expected, a mere two minutes later I was set up and ready to go. It was an still hour until sunrise and the estuary was totally silent. A bank of cloud overhead was, inch by inch, heading East and threatening the clear sky over the trees. Another bank of cloud on the horizon meant that it would be a few minutes after sunrise until any light show were to start.
I waited and waited. Grey skies — no great photos today I thought. Bored of waiting I wandered up and down the river looking for alternative locations and eventually headed back to the camera, still waiting patiently on its tripod. 10 minutes to sunrise. No light show; 5 minutes to sunrise. Still no light show; Sunrise. Still no light show. I decided to stick it out and, then, 5 minutes or so later, a few pinky red edges to the cloud-bank. Before I knew it the sky was red, the water was red, and I was thinking “bloody hell!”. Strangely the few dog walkers who had congregated in the area for their morning ritual seemed oblivious. I resisted the urge to go “snap happy” and concentrated on trying to get just a few “good-uns” and I have posted them, below:
I then ran up the estuary path to an alternative viewpoint, hoping to get a shot of the first rays hitting the reeds as the sun crested the ledge. Unfortunately the ebbing tide had receded by just a few inches too much and my photo included the mudflats rather than another reflection shot. Still – thats splitting hairs as I still like it and, come the next dawn high tide, I may just be back for more …
(As I got into my car to drive home, the car park ticket inspector turned up, true to form. Glad I got that ticket ….)
With pantomime season still a little way off, I didn’t think I’d be hearing the words “Its behind you!” for a little while. However, going down to Sidmouth the other week, I ended up virtually shouting them at myself.
For some time I’d wanted to get a shot of the Esplanade and cliffs at Sidmouth at low tide just after sunrise. My theory being that the light would reflect off the sandstone cliffs giving a bright yellow/orange backdrop to the town. Trouble is that low tides at sunrise aren’t that low, so I knew I probably couldn’t get out to the breakwaters for some interesting rocky foreground. However, with a low tide and sunrise co-incident I ventured out to see what I could get.
The clouds were broken giving an interesting sky but a bank of cloud on the horizon would block the first light. I sat on the beach and waited for sunrise, spooking a woman in a nearby house who wandered out onto her patio in her dressing gown, obviously expecting to have her presumably hard-earned view to herself but finding that she was sharing it with a geeky bloke with camera and tripod (the view, that is, not the patio).
Sunrise eventually came and I waited and waited for the cliffs to light up. They didn’t. Feeling more and more hacked off, for whatever reason, I turned around and saw that all of the action was happening behind me and the cliffs towards Ladram Bay were aglow! Sprinting back across the beach, tripod in hand, I quickly composed a few shots to capture the moment and then calmed down. I spent the next 20 minutes enjoying some fantastic light and getting wet feet.
Ever the self-critic, I feel that I would’ve done better if I’d have turned up with the shots I got in mind and not a preconceived shot looking the other way. However, they ain’t bad, and I’ll save the view the other way for sunset at low tide.
Its been some time since my last blog posting. Mainly because I’ve not done much photography of late. Time to redress the balance …
A lot of my photography in Devon has been either at the coast or up on the moors. One place which I don’t photograph enough is the scenery within the 10 mile radius or so of where I live – The gentle rolling East Devon countryside. I don’t know why that is; possibly that I’ve not really explored the tiny lanes and footpaths enough since we moved here 8 years ago – certainly it is very tempting to go straight for the many “obvious” places around here when on a day out, perhaps ignoring some very promising photographic viewpoints.
With that in mind, a few Sundays ago I decided Read more
At this time of year, after a winter and spring of trying to capture seascapes and landscapes of Devon, my mind, like many other photographers I guess, turns towards trying to capture the glory of the local bluebell woods. With that in mind one cool April morning, I set the alarm for dawn and, when it rudely woke me from my slumbers, headed for Blackbury Camp in East Devon, just north of Seaton.
Its quite a remarkable thing, parking the car, and walking through a gap in the fortified wall of this old Iron Age settlement to see what must be millions of flowers strewn as far as the eye can see. I had them all to myself as well, with just the sounds of Read more