There are a few main routes across Dartmoor that almost everybody uses (Tavistock – Ashburton, Yelverton – Moretonhampstead, Bovey Tracey-Haytor-Widecombe) and we have largely stuck to them when going on to the moor ourselves. There is, however, a network of tiny roads criss-crossing large areas of the moor. There is good reason perhaps that many do not venture on them – they are narrow, lined with stone walls, and have very few passing places. I would certainly think twice about using some of them in the school holidays.
At the weekend I decided we would head off the beaten track and explore the roads between Widecombe and Postbridge. Close to the Postbridge end we came across the Forestry Commission owned Bellever Forest next to the East Dart river. These mature pines are very attractive, widely spaced and not laid out as a plantation in regimented rows. I fear that in the future they will be felled and turn this beautiful area into an eyesore for a twenty year period.
We walked a little beside the river, where there is an old clapper bridge (missing its middle span) before returning to the car park along the road, where I caught this lovely light coming through the trees. Lighting conditions were challenging and shooting into the sun the M.Zukio 12-40mm lens picked up this lens flare. “That makes me think of a woodland fairy” said my partner on seeing the image.
I have to say that the “fairy” is the most stunning example of lens flare I have ever seen from any lens I have owned. I will have to shoot into the sun more often with this lens. With most lenses I would remove it in post but in this image at least it is definitely a feature and not a flaw.
Bellever, Dartmoor, Devon, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 12-40 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 17mm
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
This image proved problematic because the two brightest images (with the longest exposures) in the five shot handheld HDR set had camera shake. I discarded the brightest but needed to use the other (1/6 second) so I had to correct the camera shake in FocusMagic (which turned out to be as best I could judge it, 4 pixels at 20 degrees). Only then could I run the HDR set in Photomatix and tone map it fairly conservatively with its Contrast Optimiser algorithm. All that was needed after that was a marginal contrast boost with Color Efex's Pro Contrast.