Well, on the build up to the workshop weekend I prayed for the right conditions and watched the weather closely for developments. As it turned out Mother Nature may have well been on speed dial as we had every Dartmoor weather system possible!
Our first locational idea was a sunrise at Saddle Tor and the infamous tree. Usually shot at sunset the challenge was to use the early light to illuminate the scene from behind. Careful positioning to avoid shadow casts and varying light was thrown in once the guys had become used to the location, its orientation and features.
The conditions were kind and early light cloud made for a great back drop in the skies behind the location. After a refreshment stop it was to our second stop, Blackslade down near Rippon tor. The twisted, warped trees with interesting lines and shadow play provided compositional challenges and with the weather systems building we soon had the first installment of weather drama. Not far from Blackslade down is Buckland Beacon, where the ten commandments stones lie. With very stormy skies lurking above and wind building to near gale force Mother Nature unleashed her morning episode. a series of storms with thunder, lightning and baked bean sized hail hammered down! Not before the workshoppers captured some of the dramatic light and approaching weather...
We shot until it started looking dangerous with lightning clearly working its way towards us from Princetown and this we read as a sign to break for lunch...
The late afternoon light was infrequent as system after system rolled in and the shooting became a case of capturing between squally downpours. The day was wrapped up at Combestone tor with the guys using the last location as a recci more than anything else!
Back to base camp and good pub food was the order and well and truly earned.
Sundays shooting was not short of its drama either...
I awoke to find that Torbay had been caught in the crossfire of a freak weather event that was neither forecasted or remotely expected. Snow! And a fair few inches too!
The news that snow had fallen on the moor was greeted with disbelief and very a cheshire style grin by the guys. To the moor, and fast.
With some very good varying light as the fog lifted the compositional challenges were many and often which was another weather blessing. As you know, snow transforms a scene and brings many more factors into consideration regarding comps, white balances, focal selection etc.
Chris was very keen to capture our locations from all angles and his outdoor experience and clothing served him well all weekend. He did spend alot of time at ground level with very creative perspectives and depth of field selections.
Gordon, a very experienced underwater photographer, was keen to perfect compositional "topside" techniques. The landscape and shifting light certainly provided plenty of opportunities.
The freak weather system past as quickly as it arrived and by lunch we were bathing in sunshine and the snow was melting before our eyes. Off to Princetown for brunch and onward to the next location...
The farmhouse is an old favourite of mine and several south west photographers. I have shot it at dawn, by moonlight and in the snow and every time I head home smiling.
After a few hours exploring compositions and waiting for the right clouds to form behind the scene we headed off to our final location.
The sunset perspectives varied in viewpoints to the tiny church atop the 100ft tall rocky outcrop. Some diffused golden light did cast but not the burnt firery tones that were expected.
That said the guys had full memory cards and near flat batteries. We had bagged some of Dartmoor`s key locations in quite unique conditions and everyone, and their kit, had survived. All that was left was to visit a pub to relax, sip fine ales and reflect on what had been a great weekend of shooting in fantastic company. Well done chaps. Same again soon...?
Chris` flickr photostream
Gordon`s flickr photostream