Light Fantastic!

On my first visit to Dartmoor I recall thinking it was boring open moorland with nothing to make a good photograph apart from the odd rocky Tor!  Well, that was quite some time ago and since then I’ve grown to really appreciate its shapes, subtle colours and rugged looks.  Dartmoor is, I guess, one of those places that grows on you. 🙂  Nowadays its one of my favourite places in England.  Its like a wild animal – for days it will be warm, friendly and accepting then for no apparent reason it’ll have your arm off if you’re not careful. 🙂  Its wild, its rugged, its just the sort of place I like. 🙂

Hayne Down rocks, Dartmoor at sunset

Early last week, the weather forecast looked promising for a visit but from afar you can never be sure.  Dartmoor weather does what it will and pays little heed to the pronouncements of weather forecasters.  My plan was to be on the very Western side of the moor for evening and spend an hour investigating opportunities somewhere I’d not been before – Hayne Down.  But I arrived later than planned, just after midday and four hours before sunset so there wasn’t really sufficient time to investigate the area and to head further West so I chose to stay.

The weather was lovely; better than forecast and I could see high and thin cloud which I thought would catch the evening light, there was no wind, it was sunny – but not overly so – and warm.  One of the first photographs of the afternoon was North past a pinnacle of rocks known as the Bowerman’s Nose.  

Boweman's Nose by Andy Gawthrope Photography

The light was still strong and perhaps not in the best position for the above photograph but the low angle of sunlight nicely emphasised the trees and hedges on the distant landscape.

In my rush to park and commence photography I’d somehow missed the obvious parking near the top of the hill and parked at its base.  Not good.  The hill was much bigger than I had thought and the approach I chose, following sheep tracks, led through some horrible bracken and grass covered rocks that just wanted to twist or break your ankles.  It was an uphill slog with the sun in my eyes.  Note to self – think about your approach more…  Realising the light was harsh I returned to the truck and moved it nearer to the top of the hill so as to make a dark descent through hidden rocks unnecessary and thus a lot safer.

On returning to the rocks an hour or so later the light was starting to turn and paint the landscape in a wonderful golden light.  Compare the colours in the photographs above and below.  The foreground is different but the distant hills are the same.  The harshness of the light had gone and things were now getting beautifully soft. 🙂

Hayne Down Rocks by Andy Gawthrope Photography

That light continued to improve for another hour before the sun finally dipped below the Western horizon at which point all those thin high-level clouds that I thought might catch the light, did so and turned wonderfully pink to the East and yellow and orange to the West.  Even after sunset I was shooting for a further hour. 

Fantastic photographs of Hayne Down, Dartmoor by Andy Gawthrope Photography. See: Click To Tweet

Days like that are what makes landscape photography so rewarding.  Forgotten are thoughts of the lacklustre days when the weather just didn’t cooperate.  It was one of those days when there was no wrong.  It was magic. 🙂  

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