Photo101: Scale and Observation.

Hello everyone.
Today’s assignment nearly beat me. Not because I couldn’t find anything to shoot; no I couldn’t find an end result that I liked! Am I getting too picky?

I tried little model motorbikes perched on the fender of one of my Harleys. Ants climbing over pebbles. Golf balls, tennis balls, rugby balls. I couldn’t stand any of them.

Time to get out on two wheels and find some inspiration!

A gentle trundle around the Northern edge of Bodmin Moor took me to the old air-base at Davidstow. I’ve blogged about this place in the past, it’s one of my favourite locations to go for a bit of fresh air and thinking space.

Thinking space on a Harley.

Thinking space on a Harley.

I can palpably feel history in the air here, but apart from the ghosts of the past and the odd walker the only other inhabitants are the sheep. . . and that’s when I got an idea!

Looking West I could see there were some sheep enjoying the last of the evening sunshine and they were nicely silhouetted on a small hummock.

Spot the sheep!

Spot the sheep!


I hope that this shot gives some idea of the wide open space that is Davidstow and puts a form of scale to the view!

Catch you soon.

Dookes

Photo101: Moment & Motion.

It’s been a busy day in my world and I didn’t get as much time to chase the shots I wanted for this assignment.

My initial thoughts were based around water cascading over a coastal waterfall on the North Cornwall coast. Simple really; set up camera on tripod, take long exposure and bingo nice blurred water in motion shot. . . er well, not quite! Guess who not only forgot the tripod, but also only took a compact camera that wouldn’t go below 1/30th of a second shutter speed, Doh!

Actually, I got a couple of reasonable shots, but nowhere near what I had in mind.

Tumbling Water in Motion.

Tumbling Water in Motion.

Rushing by in Closeup

Rushing by in Closeup


On returning to Dookes H.Q. later in the day, I picked up a tripod, my trusty Nikon D80 and headed out to grab the fading evening light. I had an idea.

Cornwall is a pretty breezy part of the world, we get buffeted by the North Atlantic winds for most of the year and in recent times we have seen a sharp rise in the number of wind farms and turbines being built. These structures have the ability to sharply divide opinion amongst many people. For the record, I like them. I like the engineering, the look of them and can spend hours being almost hypnotised by their regal action.

So let’s have a play with the camera!
This is what I call a “normal” shot.

ISO160, 75mm lens, f11, 1/80th Sec. exposure.

ISO160, 75mm lens, f11, 1/80th Sec. exposure.


Now lets put some “motion” into the shot!
ISO160, 75mm lens, f34, 1/5th Sec. exposure.

ISO160, 75mm lens, f34, 1/5th Sec. exposure.


As the light began to slip away, I couldn’t resist a more ‘arty’ shot from a different angle, but still with movement in the moment.
ISO100, 18mm lens, f22, 1/8th Sec. exposure.

ISO100, 18mm lens, f22, 1/8th Sec. exposure.

I’ve got to say, I enjoyed grabbing these photographs and I hope you like them too.

Catch you soon.

Dookes

Just for the record, no photo-shopping here, it was all done with the camera!

Photo101: Architecture & Monochrome

I didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration for today’s assignment.

Sitting high up in a remote and wild corner of Bodmin Moor lies the World Heritage Site of Caradon Mining District; it’s only about fifteen miles away from Dookes H.Q..

The granite massif of Caradon Hill rises above the surrounding moorland and its slopes are strewn with the noble remains of a once mighty industry. In the 1840’s this area became of the greatest copper producing regions in the world, but within 50 years the boom time had passed and the mines fell into terminal decline.

Today the evidence of those golden years can still be found in the landscape, tips of waste rock and long disused tramways have now become as much part of the Cornish landscape as the ancient moors themselves. The industrial architecture and archeology is now treasured as part of a distinct Cornish identity.

I love walking amongst these ruins, interpreting their original purposes and just simply admiring their simple yet regal architecture; these were buildings built to do a serious job. They also make great subjects for photography, particularly in monochrome!

This is the engine house for the Houseman’s Shaft at South Wheal Phoenix Mine. In it’s day this mine produced nearly a quarter of a million tons of copper ore.

South Caradon Mine

South Wheal Phoenix Mine

Through the arch window, South Wheal Phoenix Mine.

Through the arch window, South Wheal Phoenix Mine.


About a quarter of a mile to the North East stands the ruins of Phoenix United mine. This mine had a charmed existence because by 1864 its copper reserves had all but run out, it had already produced about 200,000 tons, but then large tin deposits were discovered beneath the copper lode and the mine switched to tin production!
Phoenix United Mine

Phoenix United Mine


From 1865 to 1897 the mine was producing around 30,000 tones of tin per year. This engine house was one of the last constructed in Cornwall, in 1907. It was hoped that by sinking the shaft to a depth of 1200 feet that further reserves would be found, but sadly it proved fruitless and by the beginning of 1914 the mine had closed.

I hope you enjoy these photo’s as much as I did taking them.

If you ever visit the area please stick to the paths and don’t climb over fences, there are some very deep uncovered old mine-shafts out there!

Catch you soon,

Dookes

Photo101: Pop & Colour

I had a long think about how to approach today’s assignment and three things came to mind:

1. Follow my self-imposed rule of only taking fresh shots for Photo 101.
2. I really only wanted to use natural colours.
3. No doors!

Of I set into the great outdoors to see what I could find.

It’s an interesting thing with nature in this part of the Northern Hemisphere, just about all of the early spring flowers are yellow. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, in fact may of them are amongst my favourites, it’s just that it gets a tad predictable! So there I was wandering around with camera at the ready taking goodness knows how many shots of daffodils and primroses; the trouble was nothing had really grabbed my imagination.

Then, walking along one of the hedges at Dookes H.Q. something caught my eye, something vivid blue and beautiful in the dark under canopy of the hedge. It was a single flower of Blue Periwinkle, Vinca major, normally a native of the Western Mediterranean, but a plant that does well in Cornwall’s mild temperate climate. This little fellow had certainly stuck it’s head up a bit early, but I was very pleased to find a bit of variety in the dense hedge.

Ideally I would have set up my tripod to take macro shots, but running out of light and time I had to make do with hand-held and using a lens that was far from ideal; I think I just about got away with it! The little flower is only about ¾ of an inch, 18mm, across it’s diameter, the photo is a pretty cruel enlargement!

Vinca major, blue periwinkle.

Vinca major, blue periwinkle.


I hope that this pops enough colour, I like the way it stood out against the gloom of the hedge floor and it certainly made me feel happy finding it anyway!

Dookes

. . . and it’s not a door!

Photo101:Mystery & Lighting Effects

Very early this morning, whilst walking our dogs at Dookes H.Q. I was treated to the wonderful spectacle of sunrise.

I watched the golden fireball of the sun slowly rise above the horizon, casting it’s light across the frozen ground and creating a stunning light effect. It was definitely going to be a very nice day, even though at that hour the temperature was hovering around zero degrees celsius.

It struck me that we take a lot of things for granted in our modern age; we know why the sun rises and sets every day, we understand the phases of the moon, the tides of the sea and even our weather.

For the ancients, all these things were a Mystery and none more so than the Sun.

Our local star has been worshiped as a deity, feared as a demon, adored as the Earth’s Mother and even held in awe as the spirits of the ancestors, amongst many other beliefs.

It is as fundamental now to our own very existence, our past and our future as it was in those ancient times. In many ways, to most of us it still remains an untouchable enigma, a Mystery.IMG_0050

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“Turn you face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” – Maori proverb.

Dookes

PS I couldn’t choose which shot I like most, so I posted four!

Photo101: Warmth & the Quality of Light

Our delightful spell of early Spring weather is continuing here in lovely Cornwall. High pressure is dominating, the sky is largely clear and sunshine abounds. It is, however, still a bit cool with overnight frost and a distinct chill on the light North Easterly breeze.

The point of this rambling weather report is that today I got the quality of light, albeit a tad hazy, but not the warmth! Actually, one of the great things about Cornwall is the quality of the light; the famous Newlyn and St Ives art movements grew up in the 19th Century specifically taking advantage of the beautiful Cornish coastal light. Hmm, the coast.

On that basis, this afternoon I fired up Harley, had a gentle trundle around the byways and eventually ended up at Tintagel Haven on the North Cornwall coast just as the sun was beginning to dip lower in the sky. I wouldn’t say we hit the sweet spot of the “golden hour” as today has pretty much all been quite golden, but the light was rather nice.

I wandered around on the foreshore, grabbing shots here and there, but nothing really excited me until I wandered into the large cavern known as “Merlin’s Cave.” Lying on roughly an East – West axis the cave burrows right through Tintagel Island and is open to the sea at each end. As I walked in the tide was on the flood and beginning to surge through from the West. I grabbed a couple of shots looking into the setting sun, but wasn’t very convinced; then I turned around and got the photo I was looking for!

A Golden Spell Cast From Merlin's Cave.

A Golden Spell Cast From Merlin’s Cave.


I hope you like it.

Dookes

Photo101: Natural World & Leading Lines

Hello everyone.

The Photo101 course continues and so does the great weather here in Cornwall, which makes taking photographs a really pleasant pastime.

I took loads of pictures today, ranging from trees to salmon in our local fishmongers, honestly I did! Unfortunately I just couldn’t seem to get exactly what I was looking for. . . until I got back home, took a walk around our land at Dookes H.Q. and found exactly what I had in mind!

I couldn’t decide on landscape or portrait format, both have their plus points and I am open to comments and opinions. So please let me know what you think, here are the photographs.

Looking up in the reeds.

Looking up in the reeds.



Reeds pointing to the sky.

Reeds pointing to the sky.


Looking forward to your comments, talk to me!

Dookes

Photo101: Big

It’s been another wonderful day in paradise, or more correctly the byways and highways of Cornwall and South West England.

As I took in the air and let Mr Harley and Mr Davidson’s wonderful machinery do the hard work I got to think about today’s assignment. Well, I wasn’t thinking too much about it when I was riding, because letting the old mind wander is a sure-fire way of getting yourself hurt on a motorbike!

We took a trundle around Bodmin Moor before turning North West and along the Atlantic Highway for about 50 miles and hanging a sharp left near Clovelly. Then we headed to the beautiful Hartland Point on the most spectacular part of the North Devon Coast. The country lanes here become decidedly rural and after the long wet winter were in shocking condition, so bad that at times our progress was down to walking pace as we negotiated potholes, mud, loose gravel, stones and oh yes as this is early spring the farmers are out spreading manure. . . and dropping loads of it on the roads too! Joy!

Anyway, it was when we parked up at Hartland I reflected that nearly half a tonne of motorbike qualified as “Big” particularly when you are working hard to keep it the right way up on crappy roads! So here is my “Big” shot.

She's My Big Baby!

She’s My Big Baby!


Don’t look at the filthy state of that front tyre after those dirty roads; no ‘chicken strips’ here today!

Oh yes, Hartland Point is a 325 ft high rocky outcrop on the North-West tip of the Devon coast. The point marks the Western end of the Bristol Channel where it meets the Atlantic Ocean; if you like, it’s where the Atlantic begins! The Hartland Point Lighthouse was built in 1874. It’s tower is 59ft tall with the lamp being 121ft above mean sea level and today is listed as an historic structure. The light can be seen up to 25 miles away from the coast and was automated in 1984, prior to this the lighthouse was maintained by four keepers.

Heartland Point and Lighthouse.

Hartland Point and Lighthouse.


I supposed that’s all a bit “Big” as well!

“Did ya like that?”

Dookes

Photo 101: Connect

Hi there people!

It’s been a busy day here in sunny Cornwall and what with flying around enjoying myself on one of the bikes, Baby to be precise, I nearly forgot to take some photos for today’s assignment!

Fortunately the fine weather is set to continue for the week and the light was still good enough at six thirty this evening for me to grab the shot.

In the relatively remote spot where Dookes H.Q. is located on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, our connection to the outside world can sometimes be a bit fragile. We have no mains gas, no mains drainage and our electricity is supplied along these slender cables; a couple of times this winter they have fallen, cutting us off from the power grid.

It pays to keep an emergency generator ready!

Connect

Connect

Stay connected!

Dookes

Photo101: Solitude & The Rule of Thirds

Today dawned bright, crisp, slightly frosty and very sunny. Just the weather for getting out on two wheels in search of today’s assignment.

As I bowled along on Harls enjoying the lovely morning it did occur to me that this was the perfect embodiment of Solitude, at least for me! The trouble is that to capture that moment in a decent photograph would be I feel nearly impossible.

Now worries though, I was heading for one of my special little spots where solitude comes easily.

This is the young River Fowey high on Bodmin Moor and not very far from it’s source. I love sitting here on the river bank just taking in the total serenity of the place. Small trout and salmon dart in the quick clear water, Dippers busily search along the pebbles and if you are blessed, the bright turquoise flash of a Kingfisher may catch your eye. You have to sit still for hours though to spot an otter, but they are here!

My place of Solitude: River Fowey on Bodmin Moor

My place of Solitude: River Fowey on Bodmin Moor

Yes you can sit in solitude, but at the same time you have to share that place with the real local inhabitants.

Dookes

PS Fowey is pronounced “Foy.”