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Lazy summer afternoon on the way to Exmoor

Today's picture is one I took in the summer. It's a road from South Molton up on to Exmoor and I took it in the midday glare of summer. Normally that's a no no in landscape photography but I'm convinced there's something to be said for it as it evokes something completely different from the traditional late or early shot. It's more languid, more sweltry, it's the light of picnics.

Spring evening at Croyde

Croyde is a difficult beach to photograph in its entirety. Bordered by Saunton Down and Baggy Point, it's a square and has no curves and, at low tide, is a large expanse of wet sand. What it does often feature, however, are these lovely sand pools which look especially good in the evening when the sunlight and shadows show uo all the sand detail and reflect the sky. In summer the beach would be heavily populated at this time of day and covered in footprints but a quiet weekday evening in March allowed me to capture this peaceful scene.

To have a look at these, and all my images of Croyde, have a look here.

Watersmeet in all seasons

Watersmeet, as the name suggests, is the confluence of two rivers, the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water, in a deep wooded valley a few miles inland from Lynmouth on the North Devon Exmoor coast. It's owned by the National Trust and is one of the highlights of this part of the world, popular with thousands of people every year. Because all the water is forced down into such tight rocky spaces it's always rushing and tumbling over boulders and waterfalls and it's these which are the main attraction. There's also Watersmeet House with its tearoom and lawns which is a lovely location to sit and relax in the summer when the sunlight shines right down into the bottom of the valley.

Photographically, only parts of Watersmeet are sunlit at any particular time so any visit there has to be planned with the time of day in mind and the angle of the sun.

I've finally got round to processing all my Watersmeet pictures so do have a look at them here.

Wild about wild flowers

In a perfect world, my job would be to travel the world and take pictures of flowers in their natural environments. The flowering deserts of the south west USA, spring in South Africa or the Italian Dolomites maybe. In any event, wherever I go, if there are wild flowers I photograph them. The perfect condition though, is no wind at all but that hardly ever happens close to the ground but I do the best I can so here are all my wild flower pictures so far. Have a look here.

One stop lighter - St Ives

I've just uploaded hundreds of pictures of St Ives but it's still only half of what I have. I can't help it, every time I go there I just end up getting through entire sets of batteries and memory cards. It's such a beautiful light and because parts of it face in every direction you can keep photographing from dawn until dusk. I wondered about the light because I'm obviously not the first person to remark on it. That's why hundreds of artists have gone there over the last 150 years. I eventually worked out that because St Ives is a peninsula it's surrounded by sea on three sides (obviously) but that sea is shallow, clear and has very pale sand on its bottom and it's all this that creates so much light - in fact a whole stop extra compared to other places.

Have a look at all my images of St Ives here.

Autumn leaves

This Pippacott Woods near Tawstock in North Devon. There are other Pippacott Woods locally and to make it even more confusing this one is managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust and the other one is managed by the Woodland Trust.

This picture represents the last couple of weeks of trying to photograph autumn leaves in North Devon. There are two problems with this: one, there's a real lack of publicly accessible woods and two, the woods that there are, are on northern facing slopes or in deep valleys. Added to this is the fact that North Devon and Exmoor are comprised mainly of hills and valleys that run East-West and hence cast morning and evening shadows over each other at this time of year as the sun is always in the South.

I've also discovered that unmanaged woods or woods managed for wildlife are too dense and there's no space within them to stand back and compose a picture. Anyway, judge for yourself, here.

No girls allowed

Clevedon Pier has become quite iconic in the world of landscape photography. Its clean and uncommercialised silhouette always looks good against the sunset so it's not surprising that any sunset and high tide attracts the photographers - including me of course. I was looking for a different angle when I spotted this scene and I call it "No girls allowed" as it does illustrate a thing or two about landscape photography. Firstly, boys do like their toys and photography is certainly something you can spend a fortune on so all the boys here have their "stuff" and the girl has just her small camera and no tripod. Secondly, it does illustrate the mainly male natutre of landscape photography. Why is this? Possibly it's because landscape photography has very little to do with people, traditionally a female sphere, but also because landscape photography often involves being outdoors in lonely places early and late and this is something most women are simply not prepared to risk. It's a shame.

I also entered this pic for The Landscape Photographer of the Year in the hope that the judges would spot the inferences in this picture as there's no space on the entry form to "explain" your image. At the time of writing I've no idea if any of my entries this year have succeeded.

Have a look at more of my pictures of Clevedon here.

Will this get in to The Landscape Photographer of the Year?

This is a cave at Crackington Haven on the North Cornwall coast. I thought I'd test the limits of Photoshop's ability to panorama-cise a scene and also RAW's  ability to handle the extremes of contrast. So this represents the view from right above my head to right below my feet and obviously a similar angle from side to side. The only trouble is, the shape of the resulting image. I did think of trying to crop it but then I thought I'd enter it as it was into the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. I've entered every year and got nowhere at all so I thought I'd try something unusual.

We're out in force at Clevedon!

Sunsets are one thing (and quite honestly I've hardly ever sold a picture of a sunset) but sunsets over the sea are much better and then sunsets over the sea with something silhouetted against them are better again. But a named thing, something famous, against the setting sun over the sea is irresistible so here we all were at Clevedon Pier enjoying a brief respite from the so-called summer. Actually, I couldn't see the appeal of the view from where they were all standing  because, from there, the sun was even further away from the pier and it was behind the pier too so there was no golden light shining on it. Maybe I should've investigated, seen what all the fuss was about... Anyway, if you'd like to see what I took that evening, have a look here.

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