Author: Lee

Bottling at the Vineyard

Bottling at the Vineyard

As part of the year long project (or #LifeofaGrape) at Torview Wines Vineyard, I get to photograph all the activities that happen through the year at the vineyard. This time I was back there for bottling.

This was quite a challenge. Low light, distracting backgrounds and slow shutter speed. It meant I had to get creative.

I have to admit, shooting the bottles was a lot of fun…

It gave me the opportunity to try different ideas, show off patterns, but still keep the focus on what was being photographed.

These are the bottles waiting to be sterilized

The processing is this vineyard is very manual and on a smaller scale, but it adds to the interest.

I captured each stage of the bottling process, from cleaning & filling the bottles through to capping them.

And then the finished article!

These photos will be used to show the processes and working of this vineyard in their bottling barn as well as on their website.

Brentor Church

Brentor Church


Brentor Church was a ‘additional extra’ on my recent workshop. I had planned to include it, if it wasn’t too late in the day, if it wasn’t raining, and if people weren’t too tired.

As it happened, my workshop photographers were all keen to visit the church, one of them especially as he photographs churches. So, it was a good choice!

Brentor, as it’s name suggests, is a village, which has built up around a hill, in this case a Tor, Brent Tor. Brentor Church, actually sits on top of the tor!

It is approached from a nearby car park, which actually has toilets and you follow a well trodden path towards the church.

The church dates from about 1130 AD and sits at a height of 335m above sea level and approx 50m above the car park. So a little climb is required, but the views are worth it.

Towards the end of this day, the clouds were starting to catch up with us, but it made for some dramatic skies.

Unfortunately though, it did decide to rain this time, but I managed to get one fine photo before the downpour.

This is a nice short walk, but does have a bit of a climb, but you do get great views.

Dartmoor Workshop Weekend

Dartmoor Workshop Weekend

I’ve been promoting this for a while now and last weekend it took place, The Photography Retreat Weekend with Retreats for you. An evening meal and chat, a day out on Dartmoor and morning of editing.

The weather had been teasing me all week leaning up to it, with rain and brilliant sunshine, making the day on Dartmoor a bit tricky to plan for. In the end it gave me sunshine, with a brief downpour but only at the end.

All of this did end up making for some dramatic skies.

We were on Merrivale and Foggintor, with great views.

ideal, for some panoramas…

The night before we had discussed our location and what we going to be seeing, where we were walking to, where we were stopping and an extra location if we had time.

Merrivale teased us and gave us a mixture of conditions, with clear and cloudy skies.

And cloudy skies, with rain in the distance, giving us some very dramatic scenes.

The day had been enjoyable and with the weather still holding, everyone wanted to see the extra location, Brentor Church. After a short drive we parked up and headed towards the church.

More dramatic clouds were looming.

After a quick view of the inside of the church, I had one last chance to get a great panorama before the heavens finally opened, briefly, but heavily!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed there day and were looking forward to the editing session the next morning.

If you would like to learn about more about my Tutoring Workshop, please visit my tutoring website.

Snow on Dartmoor

Snow on Dartmoor

Where I live, I have the best of both worlds, halfway between the coast and the moors. This does mean though that when we got snow on the moors I have to make sure I can get there and get back!

So, when it snowed for the second time recently, I gave it a fews days until I knew the roads around Dartmoor were passable and with a few hours to spare I headed to one of my nearest Dartmoor walking areas, Belstone.

I only have to walk to the end of my road where I live to see Dartmoor in the distance, so I knew there was plenty of snow to still photograph. On the road into Belstone I could still see the big drifts along the edges. Parking up in the village car park and walking the 500m or so to get to the moors, builds the excitement of seeing the snow cap hills just beyond.

The pathway opens out and gives you a good view of the north end of Cosdon Hill.

Entering on Belstone Common, we were amongst the sheep again eating the grass between the patchy snow.

The path here is a bit of a gully and was non existent, as it had been filled with snow, upto 3ft in places!

You had a choice, follow the tops of the path, or on the path at the edge of the drift and hope you could easy cross it when that edge disappeared!

I wanted to get to the views of Steeperton Tor and Irishman’s wall, but was pushed for time and there were so many good views to photograph.

As you get closer, you a teased with the view of Steeperton Tor in the distance.

But, I made it in time. It’s always are great view!

And it deserves a panorama image!

Having reached my target with just enough time to spare I turned around to get one more panorama, Irishman’s Wall and Belstone Tor.

Backtracking along the path to the edge of the common I was met by more sheep!

The rest of the trip was a gently downhill walk back to the car.

This is quite a straight forward walk of about 3 miles from the car park to the wall and back without much incline change.
My walks are difficult to judge in time as I’m constantly stopping to take photos or have kids in tow. But this was 2 hours from start to finish.

Torview Vineyard in the Snow

Torview Vineyard in the Snow

I have been working on a project with a local vineyard, Torview. We are doing a year project to photograph the vineyard and follow a grape vine through the seasons. I’ve called it, ‘life of a grape’!

Recently, as we are all too aware, we had some snow! I took the opportunity to head to the vineyard, just a it had started, as I didn’t want to risk get stranded in the snow. As it happened, when I got there, there was a break in the snow showers.

Throughout the season, there is plenty to do a on vineyard and as you can see, there is still plenty of pruning to be getting on with.

It’s a tough job and you need some good gear to cope with the seasons. It was exceptionally cold with temperatures that we don’t normally have. I think on this day it was around 0 -1 (quite mild compared to what it got too!). I found that my gloves couldn’t cope with this, but for my new coat, it wasn’t a problem.

I think Tim was well equipped for it.

I want to capture the vineyard in all weather if possible and we were lucky to get snow to be able to show it like this.

This photo shows the vineyard from the bottom corner through the unpruned vines with the farmhouse in the background.

Capturing the Life of a Grape is going to be a nice project and show just what happens throughout the year at the vineyard. We’ll see the vine start to bud and grapes growing, and hopefully some sunshine too!

This was the second trip, I wrote a brief post on the first trip. If you want to follow the journey, I’ve been posting to Instragram (@LeoPhotographyUK) and Twitter (@LeoPhotography) with #LifeofaGrape. Torview wines can be found on Instagram @TorViewWines

Meldon Reservoir to Black Tor… & Back

Meldon Reservoir to Black Tor… & Back


I like to research potential walks for my Photography Day Trips to Dartmoor that I offer.

At the week, I headed of to Meldon Reservoir in search of a circular walk. I didn’t quite manage the circular part due to running out of time, but it still made for a great walk with lots in interesting things to see.

The walk in total was 5 miles long, and took about 4 hours. This is due to taking lots of photos, and having the kids in tow! Starting from Meldon Reservoir I headed up the up the path opposite the car park and up towards South Down.

It gives a great view of the reservoir and the dam from there.

You then walk through and area with lovely wind swept mossy trees.

Further along and after stopping for some food, I headed to the top of South Down and was met with an amazing view and some ponies!

I looked South West towards Sourton Tors and saw the sun just breaking through to light up the fields in the distance with the Tors behind.

Back down the hill and along the path again and headed towards the end of the reservior, there was a great view of Vellake Corner and where I was heading towards, Black Tor.

Looking left gave a lovely view of the reservoir with great reflections.

Heading down to Vellake Corner and I was aware it was going to be quite marshy, but due to recent rain it was also very muddy and the paths and by the time I’d got down there my walking shoes were covered in mud, then washed by the stream and finally mostly submerged in the marshy areas. I don’t think the kids were impressed, but they didn’t moan.

Walking over the weir gave a great view of were I had come from.

Over the weir and turning right, I enter a small wooded area with some amazing moss covered trees. A little like Wistman’s Woods, a very small Wistman’s Wood!

At the end of the wood, there a stone enclosure that you have to go around and navigate a load of rocks and marshy ground, but it created a great foreground for a photo of Black Tor in the distance.

At this point I realised that we wouldn’t have time to navigate the circular walk so I decided to head back along the way we came, but edge along the bottom of Homerton Hill and cut across to the bridge and up the steps.

Getting back on to South Down the sun was starting to get lower in the sky and warmer the clouds, giving this lovely view of Sourton Tors again.

If you fancy visiting Meldon Reservoir, here is the walk I took.
I parked in Meldon Reservoir, where there are toilets and walked across the road and up the side of the reservoir.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares B6 & C6.
More photos on my Dartmoor Gallery

My Dartmoor 365 Map

My Dartmoor 365 Map

 

Dartmoor Gallery

Dartmoor Gallery

 

In the Vineyard

In the Vineyard

Being a photographer means you get to photograph many different things, from people, to products and sometimes, products before they become the product!

Yesterday I was out in a Vineyard in north Devon photographing vines, no grapes or even leaves, just the bare vines as the grapes start a journey from vine to bottle.


It was a wet and drizzling day, with clouds and haze in the distance, but hey, it’s January!


Follow the trip of the grapes with me as the vines grow their grapes and grapes turn in to wine.

Night Sky Photography (Part 1)

Night Sky Photography (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d give some night sky photography another ago. It’s something I’ve done in the past, but with limited success. This item however I had a new editing process to try out.

Waiting for the right night is the first problem but I didn’t have to wait long, and these are my processed results

I’m am lucky enough to have a lot of dark skies around me and these were taken from the garden.

I was very please with the results. I must now try again to get more of the milky way and something interesting in the foreground

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Last week I had the chance to get back to Dartmoor, so I thought I’d head back to Belstone and go in search of the stone circle called, ‘The Nine Maidens’ then get up close to one of the Tors. This was going to be about a 3 mile circular walk, nearer 4 if I included the distance from the moor to the car, but I was prepared for it.

I was too prepared as it happened, the temperature went up and wind dropped so I found myself too wrappped up. I think I’d prepared for winter, or at least very cold Dartmoor winds!

I headed onto Belstone Common via a different entrance which ended up being a long steep hill! Not what I’d expected to start the walk, but there was no turning back! Once onto Dartmoor again I followed a ‘footpath’ which gave me a great view of the Tors and where I was eventually heading for.

I found the Nine Maidens next, these stones date back to the Bronze Age. I thought they were taller, but neither-the-less, it was still impressive to see this circle that dates back so far in time. The Bronze Age started about 2500BC until 800BC!

After the stones I followed the footpath further and found a stream. Taking this shot was straight towards the sun, so a little blown out in the sky, but I left it in the photo as I liked the aircraft contrail.

Next on my list was to try and get to the top of the hill next to the Tors. This would be a first for me. The route wasn’t straight forward, a rocky climb, but these rocks are so big they made a sort of climbing path around them.

A tough climb, but worth the view from the top at Higher Tor and a great place for a bit of lunch at the half way point!

As well as a great view, you also have up here, near Higher Tor, The Logan Stone and Irishman’s Wall. I realised these wall was what I was searching from at the bottom when I first visited, but I never got that far.

So, following the Irishman’s wall all the way down was my way back to complete my circular walk. At least is was a shallower walk down than the other side.

This route gives you are great view of the opposite hills and on the footpath below, a view of Yes Tor.

This was my last photo in this trip. It had taken 2.5 hours, well I did take lots of photos! In all I came back with nearly 50 panorama and vertorama photos which will be slowly working their way on to the site.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk cover squares B9, B10, C10

I’ve now setup a gallery just for my Dartmoor Photos

If you fancy visiting Belstone, here is the walk I took.
I parked in Belstone Car Park and walked through the town to the moor.

There is a pub, The Tors before you get to the moors and a Tearoom (only open Friday-Sunday), otherwise it is just moors and the walkers.