A spectacular winter sunrise greeted =PastyGuy and me after camping on the snow on Dartmoor. We got up about 40 minutes before sunrise. I peaked my head out the tent and proclaimed "There is a 100% change of a sunrise". 10 minutes later we were engulfed in a hail storm with terrible visibility. Fortunately things picked up after that and the light we actually got couldn't have been much better.
Using a polariser can help to bring contrast in skies like this but when shooting wideangle you have to be careful that the effect doesn't become uneven. In this case I darkened the polarised part of the sky and brightened the polarised part in order to reduce the effect.
This was shot handheld at ISO400 because I knew for this shot image quality wasn't an issue and I had to get a shot before the sun entered a hazier part of the sky!
These clouds preceded a front coming in from the west. It is often the case that just before and just after weather fronts you get high altitude clouds and if the timing is right you get amazing sunset skies.
These remarkable rock formations at the top of Sgurr Tuath formed a perfect foreground for the view of Stac Pollaidh. The gentle sunlight lasted less than a minute so it was good that I was already set up and actually managed to take a portait oriented image before the light diappeared for good. For me this was the peak of the whole trip, incredibly dramatic cloud and the kind of soft warm light photographers dream of, thrown together with and amazing view and a great foreground. I really could hope for more. The trip to Sgurr Tuath will stay with me for a long time, made all the better by the driving rain, severe gusts and hailstorm we had that afternoon!
FYI because I know this question will crop up...The moon isnt 'big' in fact it's at apogee, I have effectively 'zoomed in' on it with a 560mm lens (400mm + 1.4x).
Staple Tor cuts one of the most striking silhouettes on Dartmoor. There are many viewpoints of Staple Tor but my favourite is also the most accessible! From the south-west one of Staple Tors stacks of granite is exposed to reveal what seems an almost impossible structure of massive plates of granite somehow balancing on one another. It has been an ambition of mine to photograph this particular stack and long ago realised the potential of Staple Tor as a silhouette against a full moon. The best chance would be a moonrise, shot from my favourite southwest viewpoint. 18 months ago I bought a 400mm lens and tele-extender purely to photography the moonrise or moonset against Staple Tor. A £1000 investment on a lens setup that you only really want for one image is not an easy decision to make. So began 18 months of waiting. This is actually a relatively rare occurrence. In order to maintain colour in the sky the image must be taken shortly after sunset. The moon must also be high enough at this point that it rises above the tor itself. This basically gives you one evening every 3rd full moon that is suitable for the shot. I had been looking forward to Friday the 9th of December for almost 6 months! Of course of these relatively few opportunities cloud is likely to ruin some of them. Furthermore tripod vibrations due to wind will inevitably make some evenings hopeless. When the evening finally came I was well prepared. I had worked out exactly where I needed to be. I had my camera set on a custom mode of exposure settings that I had calculated. I hung 10kg of dumbbells off the tripod to stabilise it in the breeze and an umbrella was used as a windbreak. I was so well drilled by the point the moon peak its head over the hill that I knew that finally, after 18 months I was going to get my shot. This image might look simple, but it\'s anything but!
From a week of some great sunsets, im trying to photograph more of the western side of Dartmoor at the moment which is a bi8t more of a trak for me. This shot is from closer to home, bowerman nose looks out on the eastern side of Dartmoor National park not far from hound tor, it is one fo the most well known and photographed landmarks on Dartmoor.. Bowerman, legend has it was turned to stone by three witches, if you'd like to read the full story its here [link]
This image began as an idea to capture a unique and spectacular view of Inverpolly and Assynt. 'Spectacular' is probably the best word to describe the region so there was no problem there. Finding a unique viewpoint is difficult though, most of the peaks in the area are heavily climbed. Sgurr Tuath stands alone in this regard. Its completely unpathed ascent over streams boggy ground and up steep gradients, doesnt make it as walker (or photographer) friendly as some of the other peaks. With this in mind I set out with fellow photographer Stephen Sellman *sassaputzin in search of something new. This was the view I personally made the trip for and we piked the perfect weather window for it. Even so, the weather we got on the way up Sgurr Tuath wasnt exactly ideal and the wind at the top made taking vibration free images extremely challenging!
Sgurr Tuath is a magical peak with plenty to shoot, but its relative inaccessibility means I will probably end up going up some other peaks before returning here!
This was one of the last images I took before heading home. The dramatic sky and landscape summed up the trip perfectly. As we headed down the mountain we were hit by a blizzard of horizontal snow caught by the gale force wind; an exciting way to end the trip!