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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Falcons owls, the Tamar Valley and eagle owls

I decided to take my camera along to my Falconry lesson on Wednesday, (http://www.westcountryfalconry.com/index.htm)

a good idea as it turned out as I managed to get some lovely shots of the birds and the landscape on the walk we took.

The falcons the handler had were two Harrier Hawks one youngster and one aged, 26!

DSC_3421 The harrier hawk overlooks the Tamar Valley

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We set off walking and I go some quick shots of the lovely Tamar Valley on the way. It was a nice day so an ISO of 200 was used for the landscape shots, in the open. I increased the ISO to 400 for some of the woodland shots later in the walk.

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I was handed the gauntlet , as it were and the hawk flew down to get the piece of meat I held in my hand.

The bird seemed light and I enjoyed seeing such a lovely animal so close up.

 

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We walked through the new Tamar trails and came across some interesting mine working including this bridge. (Above)

I enjoyed photographing the birds in the trees, it was lovely to see them flying loose around and about.

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At the end of  the session  another of the group kindly took a shot of me with this European Eagle Owl much to my delight!

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The Walkham valley on a chilly Sunday morning

I decided to go and out with my camera and photograph the Walkham Valley yesterday, not far from my home.
This valley is home to the Walkham river and was the site of mining for copper in the nineteenth century.
Its a haven for wildlife, livestock, and dog walkers now.
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The light was so nice through the mature beech and hazels and I got a few shots of the backlit woodland.
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The beeches overhanging the river can make for interesting shots so I set the tripod to get a low shot of the river in the early Spring sun. The sun was going in and out a bit by this point. So in the end the best shots I got I feel were some slower shutter speed shots, that I was able to get with a more overcast sky.
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I varied the ISO speed between 100 for the water shots and 400 for the wider hand held tree shots. It’s amazing when the sun goes in how different the settings that you need can be.

I walked back to the car at 11am before the Sunday walkers through some moorland sheep that had gathered in the trees, a surreal site ins some ways I have seen moorland ponies here too the open moor is a short walk away.

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Boxing day river and moss at Shaugh Prior Dartmoor

I fancied a stretch of the tripod legs despite downpours so I went to one of my favourite locations Shaugh Prior and got a few shots of the swollen river.

Winter waterRiver Plym at Shaugh Prior Black and white river Plym Shaugh Prior

Merrivale bronze age stone row in December on Dartmoor

I met my student on a bitter morning at the Fourwinds car park near to the stone row on the Western side of Dartmoor.

We set off photographing the lovely dry stone wall near the stone row DSC_2560 bs

 

The beeches in it are always lovely and the winter light set them off a treat.

We walked along to the Boundary marker and got some shots across to Vixen Tor

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Approaching the mine workings a few ponies were posing for us and I coverted my shot into a black and white image

Pony near Merrrivale

 

We walked to the large Menhir and the stone circle and got some shots of the tiny stones

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Then finally we walked to the row and caught the full shadow of the well known triangle stone against the tawny grass.

Dartmoor is so much more interesting in the winter!

Leaves, berries, river, roots and photographing the start of the Autumn.

I realise it has been a while since I last wrote a blog and I have been out and about taking what the season has to offer in and around Dartmoor.

I visited Bere Ferres last week and got some nice shots of the hawthorn berries by the estuary:

I love time of year when the light shifts and so many plants are backlit and are turning wonderful colours 🙂
I wandered across to the field near to my flat on Sunday to take soem of the newly turning leaves in the Devon hedgerow.

I also captured a couple of small snails curled up on a bramble leaf :

On Sunday I also went to Magpie Bridge, near Horrabridge where the Walkham river runs through this lovely valley.
It was a dark cloudy day so I thought I would capture some moving water with the help of my tripod under the canopy of trees.

The chestnut leaves turning above caught my eye and I stopped quickly to take them.
I found a nice viewpoint by the Walkham river by an old beech that had a lovely root system. I kept the tripod at ground level and moved around the scene a bit before I framed a nice shot at f11 with an exposure time of four seconds.

I will also include the colour version of this shot below, although I think the texture in the subject matter lends itself to a black and white conversion.

Roundhouses and interesting skies, Grimspound and Merrivale, Dartmoor

I went out on the Moor twice this week by myself with my camera, we had some nice bright early Autumn days. I know Merrivale bronze age stone row quite well but I hadn’t, bizarrely ever discovered the roundhouses just next to the row before. On Tuesday I ventured out on the Moor and was met with bright skies, shadows on the hills and fast moving shadows, perfect light for Photography.

Merrivale is one the most important Archeological Bronze age sites in Europe it’s combination of stone rows, dwellings and a Menhir all in close proximity denote a settlement of some importance. The site is well know because of it’s closeness to the main road from Tavistock to Princetown.

I came away that day feeling better than when I arrived the open Moor has that effect on me I find and it helps also to get some good shots.

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I visited Grimspound, a simliar bronze age village with an outer wall and hut circles the next day. This site is not as charged with energy as Merrivale and the roundhouse remains are smaller but the place has a lovely atmosphere all the same.

I had to wait for a while for the sun to appear and a herd of schoolchildren bounced around the stones, I realised as their shouts echoed off the tors that this place would have been full of people’s voices when it was used as a settlement 3000 years ago.
The children ran off down the hill and the big cloud lifted and I was gifted with light.

I walked back down the hill and stopped to photograph a willow tree by a lovely brook tumbling down the hill. The last of the heather was out and I felt the seasons change under my feet.