Category: Landscape Photography

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.

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

 

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 fancy visiting Foggintor Quarry, here is the walk I took.
I parked in a small car park just off the B3357 past 2 other after Merrivale.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares M6, with the Quarry in N7, although the box doesn’t actually reference this quarry.
Grid Reference SX 5666 7358

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!