Landscape photography in the heart of Dartmoor
Dartmoor’s ancient woodlands, rivers and rugged moors
For this moorland and woodland photography course would you like to:
- Explore and photograph one of Dartmoor’s ancient, moss-covered woodlands?
- Follow and photograph clear and boulder-strewn streams as they tumble downhill, carving a path among the trees?
- Photograph the wild and open spaces of Dartmoor’s rugged moors?
- Find the right photogenic angles on wind-gnarled hawthorns and weather-sculpted granite tors?
If so, this day out might be just for you.
What the locations and photography consist of
We have several options for photo locations, the choice of which will depend on the time of year, your choice of a half-day or full-day trip, and your own personal preferences.
Possible options for a full-day trip include the following:
- Meeting at Dartmeet, from where we’ll explore the ancient woodlands of the Dart Valley, cut by the fast-flowing waters of the River Dart. This will be followed by a trip to nearby Bench Tor, a little-visited tor with magnificent views across the Dart Valley.
- Photography along the banks of the River Teign near Fingle Bridge, taking in not just the river itself but also the ancient woodland along this deep valley. This will be followed by a trip out onto open moorland near Chagford to photograph the wild ruggedness of one of Dartmoor’s remotest places.
- Photography in beautiful Hembury Wood, near Buckfastleigh, and along the banks of the River Dart, close to the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park. This will be followed by to trip to nearby Bench Tor to photograph its Dart Valley views, wind-gnarled hawthorns and its beautiful granite boulders.
What you will learn about
The course will aim to teach the following skills:
● How to spot potential image compositions among the trees, along the river banks and on the rocks of the tors, composing and shooting both wider views and details;
● Controlling and making use of the balance between shutter speed and lens aperture to gain the best exposure, and to control depth of field (ie the amount of the image that is sharply in focus);
● Use some of the camera’s most important features, such as semi-manual modes, in particular shutter-priority and aperture-priority, in order to help you to get away from ‘auto-everything’, as well as the ISO settings, image histogram and exposure compensation;
● Executing the image, using positioning, perspective, focus control, use of light, and lens focal length to create simple, strong compositions.
Full-day or half-day?
Naturally, it is not possible to cover as much material in a half-day as can be achieved with a full-day. The itineraries described above are for full-day trips. For a half-day trip it will be possible to visit only one of the locations described in each itinerary. You will be able to decide which location to visit.
A half-day course will give you roughly a four-hour trip, most of which will consist of photography, though there will be some tuition time and time travelling between sites.
A full-day provides a seven-hour trip, again consisting mostly of photography time, but interspersed with some tuition and time travelling between sites.
See the prices below as part of making your choice.
Half-day (up to four hours): £280 for 1-4 people, and an additional £70 for each additional person;
Full-day (seven hours): £380 for 1-4 people, and an additional £100 for each additional person.
What you will need
The camera equipment you’ll need to bring is simply what is useful for general landscape photography. If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with several lenses then a focal length range of about 17-300mm will be fine. If you have just the one zoom lens, or a compact camera, these are fine too – you’ll still be able to take great photos without having to worry about changing lens!
If you have any close-up equipment bring this, though it is not essential. Similarly, if you have any filters bring these too, though again they are not essential.
Please bring a tripod – it will be needed for photography in the woods and along the rivers. If you don’t have one please let me know as I may be able to lend you one.
Please make sure your camera battery/ies is/are fully charged, and that there is lots of space on your memory card(s).
Be sure to wear good walking shoes – most of the paths we’ll be walking on are in good condition, but this is Dartmoor nonetheless, so the ground is not always smooth. Also bring plenty of weather-proofing for both yourself and your camera gear.
You will need to bring your own food and drink, as there will be few places on our route where it will be possible to buy much.
There is a large pay-and-display car park at Dartmeet, and free parking at all the other locations.
Public toilets can be found at Dartmeet, Venford Reservoir (the car park for Bench Tor) and Fingle Bridge.
You should bring all your own food and drink as there are few places to buy much anywhere along any of our routes. However, there is a small shop in the Dartmeet car park and a pub at Fingle Bridge, and there are a few shops in Buckfastleigh (near Hembury Wood).
A weather note
The entire length of this trip, whether half-day or full-day, will be spent out in the open, so please be prepared for rain showers.
Some flexibility regarding the scheduling may be needed. If in the final few days before the event we have a severe weather forecast for the planned day then it may be necessary to reschedule the event, hopefully for just one or perhaps two days later. Please try to include this flexibility when making your travel plans.
The course location
The map shown here shows the meeting location for the Dartmeet and Bench Tor trip. Dartmeet lies on the B3357, which cuts across the central southern part of Dartmoor, between Ashburton and Tavistock.