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…..:-)

Green men in Norwich cathedral, June 2013.

Whilst on a family visit to Norwich last weekend, I had the opportunity to photograph some of the many green man bosses in the cathedral cloisters and entrance archways.

green man 2The first green man I captured was in one of entrance gates to the cathedral, one of two finely carved faces in the stone roof. This example looks like he has oak leaves disgorging from his mouth.

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The example above was one of two that were similar in the Cloisters, this head looks almost classical.

anguished grren manThis example of an anguished looking human face disgorging foliage is particularly arresting, the carving seems to point to pain or anger.  Maybe these faces served as a warning to Christian followers to avoid the dark excesses of the natural world around them.

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The example to the right above, depicts two heads with one disgorging gold leaf foliage. Its is unlike the double headed Exeter green man, these two figures (on the boss above) seemed to be linked intrinsically somehow. That the imagination of these medieval craftsmen lives on in our modern age amazes me.

_MG_0089 The figure to the left seems to be a Puck in the green figure, hiding in the leaves rather than breathing out foliage.

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And then, above the famous gold leaf, green man face. His  features  seem calm, sublime and maybe even a portrait of a cathedral patron..These medieval art pieces, for that is what they are, lead my mind to a world of ancient wild woods, fear, potent imagery, and a link to primal nature. This, somehow forge links with human features, and hundreds of years ago found their way into roofs and rafters of holy places.

 

 

 

Spring sun, headstones, ponies flowers and country lanes

Inspired by the hazy sunshine I headed out with my camera on Monday to capture some of it’s ambience. At first I tried up on the Moor but the light really was too hazy so I drove back down the hill to Sampford Spiney and walked around the picturesque churchyard and lanes there.

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Sheep in the churchyard Crocuses

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This lovely place really did look lovely with livestock, sheep and ponies left to eat down the grass presumably to make way for the Spring flowers. The ponies did look odd amongst the headstones but they seemed to fit in well enough !

 

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I walked out of the churchyard to the back of the village and photographed the old cross behind the ex charity school building. The Sampford Spiney alpacas were grazing in the field another incongruous site but pretty all the same.

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In terms of photographic technique I hand held the camera all around and shot with a variety of f stops , 5.6 – f11 and an ISO of 200.  The soft light of the sun was more effective in executing closer work than sweeping landscapes out on the open Moor.

And sometimes a simple one track Devon lane can be the most effective composition ! Pony and Victorian headstone Sam

 

 

 

Bench ends, stones, water and ancient oaks at Meavy, Dartmoor

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 centreMeavy oak and church and is reputed to be older than the 12th century church itself.

I went inside the church and with the help of a tripod took most of the bench ends with natural light. The bench ends are Victorian in origin and were carved in 1892 with much skill.
Fox bench end Meavy Church

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The stained glass in the church is also very lovely and of the Victorian era, I took a couple of close up shots.
Stained glass in Meavy Church

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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.

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Snowdrop and headstones Meavy Church

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.