Early Spring in Tavistock, Devon


Season of bridges and mellow moorland…..Postbridge teaching shoot 24th September

I met my students in Postbridge car park, now quieter after the madding crowds of summer have left. We managed to get a few photos of the old clapper bridge without people on it which is always a bonus.



Misty conditions at the start of the shoot left us with ISOs of 200- 400 and wider apertures. The colours of Autumn were coming through though and helped bring some strength to the muted palette of the Moor.

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We took the footpath accessible over the newer bridge in Postbridge which leads around an array of dry stone walls, roots and at this time of year. Lichen and berries.

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The sun emerged from behind the mist and allowed some stronger shots of berries against a blue sky.

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As we took our last shots kneeling in the willows by the Dart river dragonflies buzzed around the turning beech leaves. Summer moved into Autumn, with graceful abandon.

More information on my photographic workshops can be found at http://www.rachelburchphotography.com


Berries, fruits and heather – peace amongst the crowds of late summer

I haven’t written a blog for ages (again!) but I thought I would combine three or four recent shoots in this blog.

This time of year I am always relieved when September arrives and the traffic clears from the winding West Country lanes.

A couple of weeks ago I went up to the Moor above Horrabridge amidst showers and photographed rowan berries against the patchwork of fields and moor that makes that particular landscape.

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The rowan berries seem to signify a turn in the season away from summer and the slow descent into Autumn.


I walked to the old railway viaduct in Tavistock last week, on bank holiday and photographed the hazel nuts and berries in the sticky heat.

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This old railway path also leads to other urban in the small town. These lanes seem to crossover from urban to rural, often harbouring a wealth of animal and plant life.

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Yesterday I set my tent up near Pew Tor and walked around the area, I found a tiny bit of heather growing by the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat and some more rowan berries. Soon, the cooler evenings will take over, the trees will turn and the descent into the dark half of the year will begin.

I am not sure I am ready, but look forward to quieter times.



Summer rivers, rocks in woodland and sunken lanes.

Summer it would seem has come to Devon…we are forecast seven days of warm weather…..this is the time of year I most crave in winter. And yet, I am always waiting for the wheel to turn again, as it must.

A couple of weeks ago I went back to a drinking well, Middlemoor and a nearby sunken track. I dutifully took my tripod and captured the lane and well one overcast afternoon.

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I think maybe these are the best shots I have taken of this lane and well…proving that an overcast day can be fruitful..

I held a photographic teaching session at Shaugh Prior, on the edge of Dartmoor on Monday, the day was sunny and warm and the bracken was growing up in the mixed woodland.


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A patch of white stonecrop on a rock proved a good subject matter to teach depth of field and apertures and the river Plym proved useful for demonstrating longer shutter speeds.


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The old mine buildings and the outcrop of rocks are also interesting subject matter they remind me of sets from The Hobbit or other such Tolkeinesque films…..

I look forward to a long week of good weather (we hope) but at the same time I will be waiting for the wheel to turn, the storm to break the weather…..:-)

Tors and beech trees a weekend of teaching photography

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.


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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.


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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.

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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 waterfalls, woodlands and rain…..Devon in May.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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