I taught two very different photographic lessons this past weekend, one out on the open plains of Dartmoor at Sharpitor and one at Cadsonbury woods near Callington in Cornwall.
On Saturday afternoon on a bright and breezy late afternoon I met my pupils at the car park off the main road from Princetown to Yelverton and we climbed the hill to the first tor of the afternoon, Sharpitor.
We circled around the tor getting some shots towards Burrator reservoir, it was so clear one could see Plymouth Sound from the Moor.
The light changed in the last hour of the session (5-6pm) to a softer light and we managed to capture a hawthorn in it’s green glory.
On Sunday a cloudier day I met my student in the car park at Cadsonbury woods near Callingnton. This is a nice location as the woods lie next to the river Lynher and the iron hill fort towers above them both.
I stitched this panorama together above in Photoshop elements, the result of three pictures….the bluebells were the first I had seen this year because of their late flowering on Dartmoor.
We worked mainly on tripods in the thick of the woodland floor it was my students first experience of using a tripod out on location. The diffused light of the sky worked on these shots and later on I shot some hand held pictures of the trees overhanging the river.
It seems Spring has finally Sprung here in Devon and Cornwall late but better late than never!
A reminder that my new book of images and poetry is now available to buy from blurb and from myself in ebook, pocket and paperback form, please see the links below
Spring has come late to Devon it seems, the bluebells have yet to spread the woods with their blue carpets, although yesterday I saw some unfurl in the woodlands near Meavy.
Last week in a rare moment of warm weather I made the hike up the hill from the village of Peter Tavy to Peter Tavy Coombe, a wooded area of hazels and blackthorns which is home to a fabulous waterfall and stream.
I was suprised how many of the thorn bushes are actually blackthorns (above) I presumed they were hawthorns. The hawthorns are in leaf here but not in flower yet. The path to the Coombe (above again), looked lovely with it’s unfurling undergrowth and scents of Spring.
I walked up to the waterfall which looked lovely in the sun and set up the tripod to get some slower shutter speeds. I love this place, it reminds me somehow of the western woodlands of Ireland, it has that feel of wildness to it. I got a few nice shots that day …..
Last weekend my colleague and I ran a group workshop http://www.devonphotographyworkshops.co.uk/Devon_Photography_Workshops/Welcome.html
at Burator reservoir, despite the rain we donned our waterproofs and explored the misty Dartmoor woodlands.
The rain ceased and left a mist that made for some nice shots of the Spring foliage (see above).
This piece of woodland was carpeted with bluebell leaves so I plan to go back in a few days and capture them.
Finally I paid a quick visit to a lovely spot near Meavy, where the Meavy Brook has stepping stones over it in a pretty clearing. I managed to capture the lovely green of the beech leaves as they unfurled in a nearby woodland.
I love this time of year.
I decided to walk out my forthcoming Tavistock Photography walk this morning in the cold temperatures. The light was challenging shall we say but I did manage to get a few shot of interest.
I walked from the Weir to St Johns well, an ancient well tucked away in a corner of the meadows, the main park in Tavistock.
I also found the first Spring leaves, wild garlic and a Hawthorn coming into bud. So lovely to see the green again.
I converted this image of St Johns well into black and white and it seemed to work. I walked over the bridge that crossed the Tavy and walked into the main bit of the park where I found a cherry tree flowering in the cold and ducks and pigeons vying for food!
I decided to walk back up the Plymouth road towards St Eustatice church, the large C of E church in the centre of town, it has the remains of the 13th century abbey in its churchyard and some great, unusual headstones.
Having taken the headstones I was ready for my lunch and surprisingly managed to get some decent shots !
The light at this time of the year can be great and the turned bracken and mid distance made a wonderful combination.
The colour shots of the trees also convert well into black and white and the moody subject matter works well.
I climbed to the top of the tor and got a couple of shots looking down and across to Cornwall.
Yesterday was the first time in a long while that I have managed to do a shoot involving more than one location, the winter sunshine tempted me out with my camera bag and tripod. It was very windy but I was weighed down by my photographic equipment. I drove to the village of Sheepstor on the south west slopes of Dartmoor I had originally planned just to explore the church more and the holy well but there was no parking in the village so I drove up to the massive tor itself and decided to walk up to it and get some images.
The huge tor shielded me from the excesses of the wind, as I headed back to the car. I managed to park at the side of the narrow lane and jumped out to photograph the beautiful well and church in the village.
I then drove back past where I knew there was a lovely waterfall that the river Meavy makes when it tumbles down a steep slope in the Burrator reservoir woods. So I headed into the woods with my tripod and back pack.
This waterfall is always difficult to capture but I scrambled over the mossy rocks dutifully. As always the best shots were the unexpected ones I captured of the tors or rocks in the woods on the way back.
When I got home and looked at the images I was pleased to see that I has indeed got a few that were usable !
I had remembered that there were bench ends at Meavy church a couple of years ago and had meant to go back to capture them on a winters day such as the one we had last Sunday here in Devon. The village of Meavy is dominated by the ancient oak that stands in centre and is reputed to be older than the 12th century church itself.
Having warmed up a little I was freezing as I got out of the car, I drove the short distance to Meavy brook and set the tripod up to capture the stepping stones and water.
All in all I felt as though i got some nice images and it was good to get out with the camera in the midst of winter.