Category: Landscape Photography

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.

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!

Panoramas

Panoramas

Since moving to Devon, I’ve been inspired by the landscapes and the beaches and this has reignited my landscape photography. I’ve now started to take this one step further. The landscape is so amazing it needs more than just a 6×4 ratio photo.

When I visited a part of Dartmoor back in February I took my first panorama photo for years.

The result was just, WOW, so this panorama was quickly followed by another from a trip to Brentor

Then another in Brixham, of the harbour, which I think worked really well,

As you can see, there is a difference between the top 2 panoramas and the one above. This is purely the orientation of the camera when the photos are taken, IE, landscape, or as in the latter, portrait.

Even a photo of a local cornfield in a panoramic format give it a lot more impact.

A recent trip to Stourhead I knew would produce a great opportunity for a panorama photo. This image is made up from 12 landscape format photos stitched together to great this amazing view of the lake.

Museums are also good places for panoramas as you can’t really get everything into 1 shot. Although lighting can pose a problem, especially if you are not using a tripod.

This is one from the Fleet Air Arm Museum, made from 5 images.

Finally beaches, and what better way to show off their magnificent views!

Now viewing these in this blog post is all well and good, but the size is a bit limiting, so why not view the panoramas page and view them full size.

The Granite Way

The Granite Way

Since moving to Devon, we are finding we are starting to visit lots of places. That was part of the reason for moving, so this is good!

It means that my outdoor photography is rekindled, meaning this blog has sprung back in to life again.

I have started to create texture files, which will be available to buy and I will occasionally put up a free texture for people to use.

To find these textures though, I have to go in search of them.

This time, to The Granite Way. This is a track walk, mostly tarmac, which starts at Okehamption station, where you can also park at the youth hostel. It follows the Old Railway running along side the A30, then heads towards Meldon Quarry and over the viaduct. It is ideal for prams, bicycles and easy walking.

Where the track initial joins the railway there is an old bridge with the track running under it. I’ve again given these photos a bit of an old look to fit in with the style of the old line.

Although the track is fenced off, as it is still in use, you can get a view down the line, showing the track heading off into the distance.

After about 2 miles walking along The Granite Way, going under the A30 and passing lots of fields with sheep in them, you arrive at Meldon Quarry.

This was a bit of surprise to me, as next to the quarry was what looks like an old shunting year with old trains in it. Well, I say old, not steam train, but oldish rail carriages, the type with the Slam Door that were classed as dangerous and so phased out.

They looked great, and ideal photo opportunity!

And a bonus, some great graffiti on a rusty train!

Just past the trains was the visitor centre, which was unfortunately closed, as was the buffet carriage, which had been one reason for doing the walk! We bumped into the people running it on the way back, apparently it opens at weekends in April. Now we know.

Just next to the buffet carriage is the viaduct.

Not being too keen on heights, I didn’t fancy going across it, plus short on time, we just admired the view which a bit of lunch and started the 2.5 mile walk back!

Exploring Belstone

Exploring Belstone

Wanting to explore more and get to see our new surroundings we headed out to Dartmoor. This time to a place called Belstone to get on to Dartmoor. This area like many, has a few Tors on it. One called Belstone Tor.

So, I had the intention of trying to find it. We did however have the weather against us, with just an hour or 2 between the rain. Approaching Okehampton we get the amazing views of Dartmoor in front of us and we noticed it has snow! Ok, it was patchy and higher than we were probably going to get, but it was still snow!

Now, I obviously don’t know this area at all at the moment, so starting out with one idea of going to the Tor and actually getting to it, or indeed finding it is really by luck, but it didn’t really matter. As sooner as you step on the moor, it is instantly amazing!


So we just followed the first ‘path’ we found an headed off in that direction.


Quite quickly the views open up and you can see for miles into the distance. We headed in the general direction of what looks like a mountain range and what was one of the highpoints in southern england.


Wanting really to find the Tor, we passed a couple walking. Infact the only other couple walking that day that we passed. They said head straight along this path until you find something that looks like a wall, a fallen wall, more like a pile of rocks and go right following it.

Hmm, we either didn’t walk far enough to find the ‘wall’, or couldn’t work out what was rocks and what was wall…


So we admired the views and I took a couple of Vertorama shots. This is like a Panorama photo, but vertical instead of horizontal.


Now snowing a bit and fighting with the water on the lens we turned around and headed back to the car admitting defeat and decided we needed a slightly better day to find this Tor. As usual though, stormy days make for a really great photos. They can be a bit of an exposure nightmare with blown skies and dark foregrounds, but you can try and get a medium and then edit later, thank to the power of shooting Raw.


The snow also added to the impact of the shots and it not something I normally get to photograph much. But living this close to 3 moors really gives me a better chance to see it and photograph it!


Next time I’ll give it another try to find the Tor and maybe do a little more research as to where it is, but the main thing was to get out, get a walk and hopefully get some great photos.

First Month in Devon

First Month in Devon

Well, we have now been living in Devon for about a month. Have we enjoyed it? Oh yes! Is it different? Very!

You have to plan ahead more. This is mainly because we are now a bit remote and don’t have shops on our dropstep any more.

What we do have on our doorstep though, makes up for it!

We have lots of open space.

which has made for some great sunsets, which are either just outside my front door, or a little walk around the village.

The dark night skies have enabled me to experiment a bit more with my night photography. I can take them from the back garden and although there is a street light in the distance I can turn a little to remove any light from the photo. I’ve included a little light in this one as I think it adds to the photo.

One of the main reasons we chose where we now are, was its location. We are quite close to all sorts of places, the Moors and the coasts. So we have been out exploring.

The rough sea and rocks of Bude are very dramatic

And next to Bude, Widemouth Bay, which is also very impressive, (I’ve added more Widemouth Bay photos to the Landscapes Galleries)

and Westward Ho! which took us totally by surprise.

Finally, one of the Moors, which I have to admit I have been most excited about visiting. We went to Dartmoor, or should I say the very edge of it.

It was still impressive and I think the first time I have seen close up or crossed a dam.

So, exploring our new area is definitely fun and is going to be a great adventure!

First Visit to Dartmoor

First Visit to Dartmoor

One of the places that I really looked forward to visiting when we moved to Devon was Dartmoor.

But where…

Dartmoor is massive! I asked a few people on the #DartmoorHour Twitter feed and got some suggestions.

At the moment we are a bit restricted by a pram but we gave it a go.

So, we choose Meldon Reservoir for our first visit. Initially it was easy going on a stone path, then the dam itself. It then got a bit more tricky down the edge of the reservoir.

After our initial attempt, and our little one deciding she wanted out of the pram, we started afresh carrying her.

The views over the reservoir were pretty amazing as were the surrounding views and the dam too!

There were of course also sheep wandering around?

You can’t walk all around the reservoir these days, do we decided we should head up and see the views. It’s quite steep and can be a bit of a slog if you head directly up it like I did (I wanted to get to the top).

However, ‘the top’ wasn’t quite the top and the kids were running out of steam, so we headed back down and left the ascent for another day.

Windswept and a bit tired we headed back to the car.