Landscape photography trip to Dartmoor National Park & Golitha Falls National Nature Reserve
As a little tune-up for my imminent trip to Norway I recently took the opportunity to spend a couple of days in some of the most scenic parts of the south-west UK to get my head into landscape photography mode. First stop, Dartmoor National Park in Devon.
April can be a very changeable weather month across England and especially up on the moors. I arrived in glorious spring sunshine, but just a week before over on Exmoor my friends Ruben Vicente and João Almeida had encountered snow!
I was lucky to be able to capture some wide images of Haytor Rocks and the surrounding moorland with perfect skies and clouds. Definitely a day for the polariser! A few miles on at Dartmeet the main east and west tributaries of the River Dart combine (hence the name) at a popular spot for vistors to the region (below).
Moving on from Dartmoor I next travelled down to Liskeard just across the county boundary into Cornwall. This was to be my base for a day at Golitha Falls National Nature Reserve.
My plan for Golitha Falls was simple; get my 10-stop B&W neutral density filter out and have some fun capturing long exposures of the rushing water.
After the blue skies of the day before I was praying for overcast conditions which are ideal for this kind of photography. Bright sun-lit areas of the frame are not what you need to pull these kind of shots off successfully. As you can see from this shot the river valley is densely wooded and early spring is one of the best times to visit before the trees have full foliage. It’s very difficult to visually describe the valley during the summer months as there always something in the way of any wide shot.
Incidentally if you are looking for a guide to improve at this type of photography check out Justin Reznick’s “The Advanced Guide to Photographing Waterfalls and Streams” ebook it’s full of essential info that will help you master the whole process of planning, shooting and processing these kind of shots.
Anyway back to Golitha!
Here’s the photo I had in my mind’s eye before I even left home. I’m calling it “Golitha Flow”. To have got in the bag and executed it pretty well made me very happy! A 10 second exposure has reduced the rushing white water around the rocks to sinuous curved lines. The age of the rocks is enhanced and for me it really captures the effects the last 10,000 years have wrought on this landscape.
I spent the next few hours exploring different compositions while trying not to send either myself or my camera and tripod headlong into the river (slippery rocks are always challenging).
All too soon it was time to pack up and make my way back up out of the valley and start the long drive back along the south coast to my home in Hampshire.
It was worth it for a great weekend. Now bring on the fjords!!