Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Exmoor Day 3 - Highland cattle & cream teas all round

We rose to another hearty breakfast that set us up for the day before driving to Winsford, with its beautiful old thatched pub, and which according to them, is one of the most photographed inns in England. I don’t doubt it at all, but unfortunately the weather, yet again, wasn’t with us, so we contented ourselves by looking at it through the rain splattered windscreen.

After that it was onto Dulverton where we bumped into a flock/pack/herd? of ducklings all huddled up against the miserable morning air, and Sarah met up with a local photographer with a view to possibly setting up some more workshops, both here in the UK and overseas. Meanwhile I had taken myself up onto the moors of Winsford Hill to see what I could see, and thankfully it was quite a lot. The sun had decided to get his hat on and it was warming up a treat.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Exmoor Day 2 - Getting wet & annoying the ponies

After a hearty breakfast and a game of one man and his dog 
with the hound at the farmhouse, in which I was think I was cast as the sheep and there was no man, we (Sarah and I, not me and the dog) revved up the car, turned on the wipers and headed across the moor towards Dulverton, under a leaden and generously leaking sky.

We took a drive to Simonsbath House Hotel to have a look around, and very nice it was too, we also had a chat with the owner and learnt about the varied and lengthy history of this 17th century building, some of which can still be seen in the wood panelling throughout.

Next up was Rockford, which is a tiny village deep in the heart of the National Park set along the banks of the East Lyn river, and is a great place to walk to Watersmeet from, which is where we headed to next, not by foot I hasten to add, we had too much to do. Stopping down by the river at Watersmeet we availed ourselves of a coffee and a piece of cake, as the sun splashed itself liberally about their beautiful tea garden.

As we were around that area we headed over to Lynton, which, with Lynmouth, is one of the most popular places on the Devon coastline, we wanted to see if the tide was in and get a few photos. As it happened it wasn’t, but the sea was looking an iridescent turquoise even though it was quite far out. We did get some photos, not many mind, as soon after setting up it began to spit with rain and within 5 minutes a downpour that could only be described a torrential was upon us, whilst the once turquoise ocean had disappeared in a haze of indistinct fog. 

I did get a few images looking out to sea as the mist and cloud began to roll in. There is something about a dramatic sky/sea image that I like a great deal. But before long my lens was getting wetter faster than I could dry it so I had to give it a rest. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Exmoor Day 1 - Packhorse bridges & National Trust villages

After setting off on a long weekend away in Exmoor, with a view to photographing some of the varied landscapes contained within its 267 square miles, our first stop was a motorway service station just outside Bristol, so we could take care of that most basic of human needs; coffee. 

So after refueling, we had a quick sprint along the M5 before taking the turn off to Bridgewater, where we fully immersed ourselves in that archetypal English summer pastime, being stuck for miles and miles behind a caravan. But soon we were on the fringes of Dunster, and our first photo of the trip presented itself via the impressive fa├žade of Dunster Castle as it emerges from the surrounding canopy of trees. 

There has been a settlement on this site since the 11th century, originally a motte and bailey construction, which gave way to a timber castle after the Norman conquest of England, it was not until the 19th century that it was converted into the sumptuous manor house that stands there today. So with the sun sparkling upon its fortifications we set up our tripods and took a few pictures. The sun was fairly bright by now as it was around midday so a polariser helped cut through some of the glare, as well as making the sky a richer blue. The foreground was barely of interest, being just a field of grass so I decided to use the 70-200 lens to get tighter to the castle and crop out anything that wasn’t essential to the picture.