Dartmoor Never Disappoints

Wild pony on Great Staple Tor
Nikon D500, 70-200 2.8 @ 70mm 1/1000th f3.5

This week I took a wander over to Dartmoor to scout some locations and try and capture some images of the area around Dartmeet for Pat Parris, the winner of my 'My Special Place' competition that I ran during my Exhibition at Colonnade House earlier in the year.

I decided to wild camp on the moor meaning I was on location for both sunrise and sunset and in an attempt to get closer to landscape I was hoping to capture. Now wild camping isn't for everyone (ask my wife!), but once you come to terms with the isolation and need to be self sufficient it can be an inspiring and almost spiritual experience.

First stop was Great Staple Tor. One of the classic views and most photographed scenes on Dartmoor. Despite it's popularity (and the throngs of staycationers climbing to the summit) by sunset I found myself alone and ready to shoot the flaming sun. However the one thing you can guarantee with landscape photography is there are no guarantees. No guarantee of an amazing sunset and on that evening the clouds really didn't play ball. A little deflated I returned to my tent and bedded in for the night.

Great Staple Tor, Sunrise
Nikon D500, 10-24 f3.5-4.5 @ 14mm 1/8th f11

The following morning was a slightly different matter, low cloud, mist in the valley and the most spectacular light breaking out across the landscape.

Little Miss Tor from Great Staple Tor
Nikon D500 70-200mm f2.8 @ 140mm 1/20th f11

Having had my faith in the landscape restored I headed back down to scout Dartmeet, where the East Dart River and West Dart River meet. This was Pat's chosen location and despite the throngs of holiday makers I was able to capture some tranquil shots of the river and the iconic bridge at the location.

The River Dart at Dartmeet
Nikon D500 10-24 f3.5-4.5 @ 10mm 10 sec f11

Next stop on my whistle stop tour was Pew Tor. After setting up camp for my second night I made my way down to Windy Cross for sunset.

Nikon D500 10-24 f3.5-4.5 @ 24mm 1/4 sec f11

The site of an ancient stone cross placed there as a marker by monks to guide them across the moor.

All in all a good trip with some iconic locations ticked of my list. Plans are afoot to return in October for some autumnal colour and to return to a slightly less crowded Dartmoor.

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