Author: Lee

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 have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares B6 & B7

These photos and more will end up in my Dartmoor Photos Gallery

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

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.

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.

A Foggintor Visit

A Foggintor Visit

In my continuing exploring of Dartmoor I have recently found out that very close to where we visited in August was a quarry with a small lake or pond in the middle.

So, as it was half term and time to get a bit of fresh air, we headed in search of the quarry and other interesting things.

Dartmoor just doesn’t disappoint. Firstly you have the views…


You just can’t not take photos when given this as a view.

Secondly you have the interesting features and Foggintor definitely has them. Following the path, actually it’s old railway track, the regular flat stones with 4 holes are bit of a give away, but more path these days, you head towards an old settlement area. Then this disused ruin of a building from the time when the quarry was in use.

Opposite the building is an opening, through what was a big part of Foggin Tor mound, you see hight cliff edges. Stepping of the big chunks of granite strewn around the ground you pass through the opening into the quarry.

Although not a massive quarry, it was one three great quarries on Dartmoor and is big enough is still to impress. I know I was! During the 1840’s it supplied the granite that was used to build famous London landmarks, like Nelsons Column and London Bridge. Locally it was used in the construction of Dartmoor Prison.

It’s view on a day like today, was definitely worthy of a panorama photo.

I found it a bit tricky to get to the quarry floor beside the lake, so we gave that a miss. There are just views everywhere and so we explored the surrounding area for about another hour before heading back to the car.

Sadly we couldn’t stay till sunset, but I was still stopping and taking photos on the walk back, capturing this one with the sun starting to warm up the view.

This is a nice straight forward walk to this quarry with lots of photo opportunities on route.

I’ve taken more Panoramas and Vertoramas that can be viewed in their relevant galleries.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares M6, with the Quarry in N7

Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic?

So, this week Adobe have released the latest version of Lightroom. However it is not that straight forward.

If, like me you are a Lightroom user and have been using it for many years, you will either be using a stand alone version, like Lightroom 5 or 6, or you will have gone down the Creative Cloud route and be using Lightroom CC 2015.

Now, Adobe have released an update, but they have released 2 versions. Both are creative cloud versions. One is called Lightroom Classic and one is called Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC is the NEW version and Classic is the existing version. Well it is a classic after all!

Are you confused yet?

What Adobe have done is stopped Lightroom 6, the non subscription version and given us some great performance updates in its latest version. The update has also been renamed, now called Lightroom Classic. This is what we know and love and have used for many years as Lightroom Vx or Lightroom CC, but it is now Lightroom Classic, for local storing and editing of photos.

The NEW baby, Lightroom CC (version 1) is a new Lightroom with cloud storage and editing. So for people who like to edit and update their photos on the go from any device.

If you are running Lightroom 2015 CC, you will notice in your apps updates list it now says Lightroom CC Classic, you have to make a physical selection to install IF you wanted to try the new version.

For full details on functions of the new version and how it works, please take a look at Adobe’s website for more details.

I hope this information helps and please read Adobe’s site before making any decisions on updates or changes.

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Old photos are amazing memories. Most of us have an old box of photos that we occassionally get and out flick through. Sadly though over time these photos can fade, or have got damaged, either with a tear, scratch or worse.

Old photos are amazing memories. Most of us have an old box of photos that we occassionally get and out flick through. Sadly though over time these photos can fade, or have got damaged, either with a tear, scratch or worse.

The good news is, with computers, these days it doesn’t have to be the case. I can scan your old photos and digitally restore them to their former glory. Although not all can be recovered, that vast majority can be and you can then enjoy these memories again, this time on your computer or other device.

Your photos are scanned to a high resolution and then digitally edited to restore the missing detail, or correct the faded colour, or even remove strains or replace missing parts.

Once your original photo is scanned, it isn’t touched in anyway and you always have that as the original memory.

It’s is great when you have a wonderful photo of a family member from the past, capturing one instance in their life and even better if that photo is restored to its former glory

Please feel free to contact me for a non obligation quote

Backing up

Backing up

Most people these days have a computer and possibly more people own a phone.

We use our computers for a multiple of things, reading emails, browsing the web, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter etc…

If you run a business, or are a student, you might write letters, create spreadsheets, or create pieces of art in a graphics package like photoshop.

If you are an iPhone or iPad user and you take photos, then these may also be transferred to your computer too or you might backup your iPhone to your computer. This goes for other phones too, like Samsung or Nokia which might be backed up to your computer.

Now this is all great, everything works, you turn your computer on and off you go… or does it.

I’ve used computers for around 30 years and over that time everything has worked pretty much as it should, however, I’ve also had problems with computers not starting and hard drives failing. 3 hard drives in total. It doesn’t sound much, but when your data is stored on them, it’s EVERYTHING! Some of these drives have been a few years old, but my one failure was on a new computer just a couple of months old.

As a photographer, I have to think about ways of storing my photos and data, so I can access them, even if the worst happens. These days cloud solutions are very popular, but a lot of people like to keep their data local or don’t know about or trust the cloud.

So, an easy solution for backing up is to create a copy of everything you do. If you take photos, create an extra copy. When you’ve updated a spreadsheet, create a backup copy. Now the important part here, is the copy must be stored in a separate location to the original. So if your data is on your computer, create these copies on an external drive. External drives are cheap enough to buy and easy to use.

You should create a process for yourself. At the end of the working day, copy your new and updated data to your external (backup) drive. Get into the habit of doing this regularly or even better daily.

It might sound like a drag (no pun intended!), but it is better then losing your files.

Another option to manually backing up, is to get some backup software that can do it for you. If you use a iMac, then even better, that has it on built in software and recognises when you have your back up drive plugged in and it does it for you.

If you are a photographer and you use lightroom, that gives you an option to create a second copy when you import. Simple!

So find a method for you that works and backup on a regular basis.

Your backup drive needs to be big enough to store all your data, so look at your disk sizes and buy bigger. Backup software sometimes does incremental backups, so creates more than one copy on the drive to protect against bad sectors or you saving a ‘wrong’ version of your file.

Once you’ve got your backup process and drive in place, remember that hard drive might also fail, so maybe backup the backup? Another problem with this in house method, is your data is still in one location, i.e. in house or your office.

Backing up is a simple thing to do to help protect your data, but you do still need to think a little further than just your local backup. It is however a good start, as a backup is better than no backup, but maybe not as good as 2 or 3 backups stored in different places

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay

In early August, we had family visit, so we wanted to take them somewhere with walks and a beach. We chose Hartland Quay.

You approach Hartland Quay via a toll road, which also covers the parking, and you drive down a narrow winding road to the first of a couple of car parks. Down another twisting road and your at another, where the hotel is.

There is a great view point, just past the hotel and down across an outcrop. At the end, some railings and then a view!

Wow!

This was just asking for some panoramic photos,

It’s the only way to show of the amazing dramatic coastline.

Heading back up from the outcrop, you can then walk down towards the beach. Another amazing view, more jagged rocks, cliffs.

Getting closer I took a Vertorama (Vertical Panorama) to try and show the details a bit more.

Once on the beach, there was so much to see, rock pools, dramatic cliffs, although some looked very precarious
so avoided them and wave smoothed low level rock lines just waiting to be explored.

There where also many walks along the top of the cliff areas to more exciting places, but that required more time and more planning. This day was about the beach, scenery and the company!