Discovering Dartmoor II - Saddle Tor
Discovering Dartmoor II
Up and out before the rest of the house stirred, even with the late dawn on this early January morning, I went to try and catch the sunrise on The Hoe. A delicate dawn developed but nothing spectacular. However the weather was moving swiftly along the coast and some threatening clouds came in to help set up the long exposure shot of Smeaton's Tower I'd been trying for all week. Keep coming back and you'll get it eventually! The clouds were so dramatic though that a shot with a fast shutter speed was also called for and it gives you an idea of the rapidly changing conditions that the Southwest of England has been experiencing these last few weeks.
After going back and having a hearty breakfast with the others at Number One I needed to consider my photographic options carefully - considering the weather thrashing the coast it was a choice between chancing my luck with the fearsome waves of the English Channel or heading back up to the relative safety of Dartmoor. I chose the safe option and was not disappointed (and also didn't have the problem of all my gear being soaked with salt water!). The undulating landscape of Devon passing by as I drove to my chosen Tor on Dartmoor started to get my creative juices flowing. Winding lanes, brooks, woods, hills, moor and countless Tors to choose from a photographer could get years worth of inspiration here. Saddle Tor was my chosen destination, smaller than the more imposing Haytor nearby but that also means less people climbing all over it as I exposed! Unsurprisingly, despite being dry, the wind was howling a gale so my biggest challenge was to protect the tripod and camera from the gusts that might cause camera shake. As always I was very grateful for my Paramo jacket and trousers to keep me cosy. I had a good scout around the Tor and settled for a view looking northwest over Widdicombe-in-the-Moor. I could see the weather changing all around me with banks of cloud and rain moving swiftly in front and behind me but amazingly my spot stayed dry. With the sun behind me and rain in front I caught the wonderful sight of a rainbow over Saddle Tor - it was just unfortunate that the sunlight was not hitting the rocks at the same time. The fast movement of the clouds was ideal for my Lee Big Stopper to do it's thing - it's certainly earnt it's keep this trip. The granite outcrop on top of the hill has on this side an appearance of three grumpy men looking out over the moors... what do you think?
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