Mike Wright Photography

20th November

 

Another month goes by and still the dining room is not finished – although we are reaching a point where we are putting it back together rather than ripping it apart. I've got two coats of white on the walls, which has covered the red beautifully. I've also put two coats on the ceiling and Lesley has started putting the blue on the walls. After one coat, it looks really good and we are very pleased with it after two coats.

 

In between painting and decorating, I had a trip out onto the Moor. The weather forecast was for one of the first frosts of the year, so I parked at Norsworthy Bridge and followed the track which eventually leads to Crazywell Pool. I got some nice shots as the sun came up – the light was pretty much horizontal and caught an old gatepost and picked out some of the paths and ancient walls which wriggled across the landscape.

 

I didn't go out onto the open moor – I turned off left into some of the plantations and explored some of the paths which not many people walk. Almost the first think I came across was what looked like a stone toadstool. It stood at the edge of the trees and was about three feet high. I have no idea what it is for and would appreciate any thoughts if you know anything about it. Plunging into the plantation proper, the paths became quite rough, with lots of boggy bits and the silence that you get in a conifer wood – just the thin piping of marsh or willow tits high up in the trees and the occasionally the distant cackle of a green woodpecker.

 

I pressed on and followed the downhill path which I thought would lead towards the River Meavy and Leather Tor Bridge. On the way, I heard water and came to a stream which had cut its own mini-gorge through the trees. It was made more interesting by the fact that everything was covered in moss and was an overwhelming bright green. I scrambled down the bank and attempted to get a shot which conveyed the green-ness. I think the picture gives some idea.

 

Continuing, the path did eventually lead to Leather Tor Bridge, so I followed the track back to the car park. On the way home, the water was so still by Burrator Dam, that I stopped and set the camera up again to get some pleasing shots of the reflections around the dam.

 

As half term came along, we had our usual trip to see David, who has moved from Reading to London – living on the Olympic Park in Stratford. It was a long drive – seven hours in total – and interesting driving down almost the full length of the A10. We found the car park and hotel with only a couple of turn-arounds and David turned up at our room shortly after we arrived.

 

It was really nice seeing him again, and we had a good couple of days walking around the Olympic Park and then getting the train to go and have a look at the Cutty Sark, which Lesley had always wanted to do. David is sharing one of the apartments built for the athletes in the 2012 Olympics and has really landed on his feet – close to the Stratford International Station, he has short commute, with Central London within easy reach when he wants to go out and plenty of places to eat and shop near to his flat.

 

David came back with us to stay for a couple of days and as it was a Wednesday, the trip home saw much more traffic on the A10 than there had been when we arrived on the Sunday, so it was almost a relief to hit the M25 – which fortunately was quite clear and we weren't held up. It was very good to get home.

 

My next bit of photography was to Maristowe Quay after dropping David off at Plymouth Station. I just used the car as a hide to see what was about – which wasn't much. I got some nice shots of the autumn trees and then a kingfisher turned up. It was a bit far away, but looked good against the reflections.

 

On the following Sunday, I went out with Pete on our annual Autumn trip to try and catch the colours along the River Meavy near Norsworthy Bridge. The colours weren't as good this year as last – the leaves didn't seem to have lasted as long, but we were still pleased with the shots we got of the river and details of the woods surrounding it. As usual, Pete managed to get his boots filled with water through trying to get shots from a low angle by wading in the river.

 

More decorating followed – getting the radiator painted was my job and very good it looked, too. Lesley made a start on the paintwork and got that finished. During the week when the tide was right and there was a good forecast, I took the hide down to Maristowe and set up in my usual spot. The moon was still visible when I arrived and reflecting in the water.

 

There weren't any waders about, but I was very pleased with the shot I got of the little grebe – they are quite shy and tend to stick to the far side of the river when they see you. I also got more nice shots of a little egret fishing just in front of me, including the one where it has its beak open and is tossing a worm down its throat, plus a few shots of crows, a pheasant, and a tipper truck crossing the ford as the tide dropped. It was a lovely day and I stayed for about four hours, with a flask of soup and a flask of tea for lunch.

 

Camera Club was interesting – we had a guest from Callington Camera Club who brought light stick – it was a stick about a metre and a half long, with LEDs embedded in it. We set the cameras up for exposures of between ten and fifteen seconds and then he walked along the room with the LEDs flashing and we ended up with the pictures and patterns shown. He could program the stick with different things, so we ended up with a range of pictures – trying to figure out how it worked was quite mind-blowing. How somebody worked out how to build it in the first place is just amazing.

 

After a night of drizzle and mist, I took a few pictures in the garden. We have four hydrangeas, but on one of them, the flowers decompose during the autumn and leave a delicate tracery of veins. The trick with photographing these is to find a composition in the chaos. The raindrops helped with this.

 

Finally, this month, There was a frost predicted for the Monday, so I went down to Denham Woods. I did get some nice autumn shots through the pines on the way down to the old car park at the bottom of the track and from there decided to do the circular walk along the river, up a small valley back to the forestry track and then back down the hill to the old car park.

 

About twenty two years ago, Lesley and I did this walk with my Mum and David in a pushchair. We wouldn't have been able to do that today. Several trees have fallen across the pass and parts of the path have collapsed down the steep side of the valley, leaving quite a narrow bit next to quite a steep drop for a few yards. All in all, it is no longer for the faint hearted (or even those with arthritic knees)! I found the worst bit was walking down the forestry track down to the car park – downhills can be quite painful on the knee, and after the hard work of the earlier part of the walk, it was a relief to reach the uphill section back to the car.

 

So, that's it for this month. I currently have entries in the British Life Photography Awards, International Garden Photographer of the Year and Outdoor Photographer of the Year. Haven't heard from any of them yet, so not particularly optimistic.

 

Have a good month.

 

Mike. 

 

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