Mike Wright Photography

20th May 2018


Last month I was putting up pictures of snowy landscapes and frozen waterfalls. This month, we're basking in temperatures in the mid twenties and the lanes are lined with bluebells, campion and stitchwort. What can you say about our weather?


Taking advantage of the progress through spring, I started with a trip to Maristowe, parking at the quay, walking round the river and then back down the lane to the quay. There was a beautifully painted stone sitting on the post of the stile leading to the footpath – presumably part of the painted rocks craze sweeping Devon and Cornwall. Apparently I should have looked on the back for some instructions and then hidden it again for someone else to find. Instead, I just took the shot and left it there for someone else to find.


Clambering over the stile, I saw a potential problem ahead of me on the path – a very large, male swan was preening itself right in the middle. I did wonder whether I was going to have a fight on my hands to get past it, but fortunately, as I got nearer, it took itself back into the water. There was a posse of ducklings with their mother in the pools on the inside of the pheasant fence. As I was looking for some shots of plants for a competition, it was growing things which took up most of my attention as I walked round.


After a cup of tea in the cafe at Lopwell, I headed back down the lane. Didn't get as many pictures on this section – one was a sign that the first part of spring was over, with all the early catkins floating on the surface of a ditch, the second of what was to come, with a horde of flies mating on a sun baked mud surface, and one of a dog violet growing on the bank by the side of the road, then it was back home.


The next few shots are from the garden – again, looking for entries into a competition – a head of bluebell buds, an open grape hyacinth, some other flowers and some moss growing around the garden.


My next outing was in some less clement weather and up to Leeden Tor, which is across the Princetown road from Sharpitor. The forecast was for showers working their way east from Cornwall, so I thought there might be some good light between the showers – and I was right, although I did have to take shelter in a dip in the ground when one of them caught me. It wasn't a perfect shelter, so while my back stayed dry, my legs were pretty wet by the time it had passed. They did dry fairly quickly in the wind.


There was some good light over the moor and there were expansive views as I climbed higher. The moor was still pretty much in its winter colours, but looking down towards Horrabridge, Spring was definitely spreading across the lower lands. After a couple of hours of walking and taking pictures, I got back to the car, pretty windswept and quite tired. The legs held up quite well, but walking downhill is hard on the knee, so I was quite glad to get to the car – which was the only one in the car park, giving some idea of how bad the weather was.


Next couple of pictures were back in the garden, looking for shots which could be entered for the Macro Art section of the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) competition, followed by an early morning trip to Maristowe again.


It was totally peaceful. I arrived early enough to catch the last of the mist on the river, and there was a swan preening and moving through the early morning light and reflections, emphasising the tranquility of the moment. As I walked along the path, I saw the same ducklings that I had seen previously, but this time they didn't seem to have their mother with them. I had the feeling that she had been taken by something, so the ducklings were going to have a bit of a struggle if they are to survive.


I was pleased with shots I took as I walked round – lots of signs of spring, opening bracken, newly opened leaves. With the sun still quite low in the sky, I worked on shots with the sun picking out leaves and trees and I was especially pleased with the shot of Whittacliffe Wood with the sun lighting the new leaves beautifully. No cafe this time, as it was too early for it to be open, so it was back home for a cup of tea and breakfast.


The next few shots were around the garden and then I spent Thursday helping Jen put up her lighthouse which was her exhibit for an art installation around the grounds of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park as part of her course. I had to be there for 9am, so I set off really early, with a couple of bags of stones and all the parts and tools needed to assemble her lighthouse. Shouldn't take long, I thought – about an hour to set it up and then I could have a walk around and take some pictures. Foolish. I didn't get home until four in the afternoon, totally exhausted.


First, none of the college staff arrived until half past nine. Then there was some confusion about where to set up her work and then we had to carry the pieces from the car to Barn Pool, which took two trips for me. We got it assembled and tried to fix it in place by driving stakes into the ground. Unfortunately, there is about a foot of topsoil and under that is the Second World War concrete standing built by the Americans to allow the loading of tanks and other armour for sending off to Omaha Beach during D-Day.


So we needed the stones. Fortunately, I managed to get a lift from one of the Mount Edgcumbe staff, but even with two bags of stones, it wasn't sufficiently stable to keep health and safety happy, so we had to add several boulders from on the beach and there it stands, proudly – until I have to go back and help her take it down again. Fortunately the weather was beautiful. It would have been pretty awful had been cold and rainy.


Lesley, Jen and I went on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend to have a look at all the exhibits and it is well worth a visit, if you have time. I took photos of most of the exhibits, but haven't got permission to post them, so there is only Jen's lighthouse to look at.


It was back to the garden for the next set of shots and then, following a trip to the dentist, I went up to Windy Post, off the Tavistock-Princetown road. The light was very flat, so I didn't get many shots, but it was a nice walk.


So that's it for this month. Hope you're month has gone well, and you have been able to take advantage of the good weather we have been experiencing.