In this occasional fotoVUE series, a photographer chooses ten of their most memorable images and explains why they are important to them. Then they ask another photographer who they know to do the same for the next instalment of this series.
Richard, 41, is a veterinary pathologist and for the last 11 years has lived on the edge of Dartmoor in the village of Bovey Tracey with his wife Janet. He first picked up a film camera in his early teens but academia took over; then he bought his first full-frame DSLR in 2012 and recently has become a Sony A7 mirrorless convert. After many years of cycling on Dartmoor he now regularly visits this wild moorland with his camera in hand. He also has a passion for travel, including storm chasing, and capturing foreign landscapes wherever he can.
Celestial Veil, Ilsington, Dartmoor
This was one of those mornings where I went out on a whim. I awoke early to find mizzle (*) and low cloud at home. I wanted to get a misty shot of some Dartmoor rivers but as I got to towards the river Dart the fog was lifting. I abandoned the idea but decided to drive back home over Dartmoor. The fog was clearing but it all looked a bit drab. I decided to start driving home but then stopped and thought about getting a shot of this church (I had been trying for a while). As I waited the cloud sunk into the Bovey basin and suddenly it turned into an inversion and then the sun broke through. It must be one of the most amazing misty mornings I have ever seen on Dartmoor.
Heaven Sent, Latrigg, Cumbria
A friend and I had spent a very wet week in Cumbria with only a few images to show for it. We decided to try for one last sunrise before we had to leave for the long trip south. We’d popped up to Latrigg viewpoint a couple of days before but without much luck. The morning started off overcast but as the sun rose the fast-moving clouds started to break and we were presented with an hours worth of fabulous light and rotating crepuscular rays, bathing the valley floor beneath. A great end to a week of bad weather.
Haytor Moonrise, Haytor, Dartmoor
This image was the result of an unexpectedly good summer’s evening when I met up with Alex Nail. It was the evening of a super moon, but we didn’t have high expectations of capturing it as there was a lot of cloud on the horizon. As we stood, about mile away, the sun was beginning to set behind us. Whilst hiding behind a dry-stone wall, to keep out of the wind, the cloud above the tor started to glow and within a few minutes we were frantically shooting away as the moon popped into sight through a gap in the clouds.
A Coat of Many Colours, Denbury, Devon
It was one of those mornings where you venture out with one location in mind but then change your mind. I spotted some mist rolling out about five miles away and changed direction. I drove along windy country lanes, having to stop for commuters, sweating as the sun started to get near to the horizon and the sky brightening. I tried to track down the thickest pocket of mist and fog but I realised I was going to have to run for half-a-mile up a steep hill to get the first light. I got to the top and frantically set up my camera coughing, shaking and hyperventilating. The sheep were standing there perfectly as the sun popped out, giving some spectacular rays over the mist in the distance, I pressed the shutter and then I could relax… This epitomises chasing mist for me.
On the Brink, Denti Di Terra, Dolomites, Italy
After about 40 miles of hiking in the Dolomites our last refugio was atop one of the peaks. We arrived in good time, got washed – needed after a few days of sweaty hiking – and then dashed out for the setting sun. The clarity was poor but it allowed for some stunning conditions as the cloud broke up. The crepuscular rays being carved out by the peaks of the Denti di Terra were breath taking.
Bell Flambé, Bell Tor, Dartmoor
I had been off work with bad ‘man-flu’ for two days. I was going stir crazy, moping around at home. In the evening of the second day I felt I had to get out. I drove to a local spot on Dartmoor with the plan to set the camera up next to it. I decided however to walk up to Bell Tor slowly and then have a sit on the rock. I was out of breath and the long-range visibility was poor. As I was sitting resting, the sun emerged from a gap between bands of high-level cloud and the light emitted as the sun reached the horizon was unreal. The golden light hit the landscape before me. Some low-level cloud rolled in, lit-up scarlet and the scene just unravelled before me.
Divine Mist, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor
For once this was a planned shot. I’d seen a few images from other photographers of mist in Widecombe Vale. I wanted to get a shot of the church during the autumn transition with first light hitting the hillside behind. Trying to get a shot with the right amount of mist however alluded me for nearly two years. I had so many failed attempts despite driving past many inversions in Devon. This vale either has too much or too little mist unlike many other lowland areas on Dartmoor or the mist dissipates as the sun rises. After about the sixth attempt that autumn I arrived to this scene and the mist hung around long enough for the very late sun to hit the moorland behind. It was one of those moments in photography I will never forgot given how many repeated efforts it took to get it.
Old Man’s Shroud, Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
A small group of us visited Skye a few years ago for a week’s landscape photography, staying at a cottage near Sligachan. We’d already done the 45-minute walk up to the iconic viewpoint a few days before, but were not treated to very good light. As we woke, the cottage was in fog and the south part of the island was under a temperature inversion. It was so thick we were going to shoot the mirrored surface of Loch Leathan below, but as we approached there was a hole above us and we could see the pinnacles. I immediately thought we had to get up there, but there was only 35-minutes to go to the sunrise. We all marched up the path, running where we could catch our breath. We made it to the top, shaking, coughing and sweating with five minutes to set up before the sun rose…
Wild Fire, Wild Tor, Dartmoor
One Saturday evening I decided to walk an hour and a half to Wild Tor, one of Dartmoor’s remotest tors, to camp overnight. I’d been there a few times before on walks but I’d never tried to capture it as a sunset or sunrise. I didn’t have the lightest camping kit and with 7kg of camera equipment it was hard going with bog underfoot. The sunset was a bit uneventful as the skies were clear, but shooting into the night, the Perseid meteor shower was beautiful. After a quick Doom Bar beer I got some kip, after shooing the cows away from my camp. I awoke to a small gap in a distant cloud break – lovely blue undulatus clouds too – about 70 miles away towards Bristol. As the sun rose into the gap the light was scarlet, just as the hill fog from the west moor drifted over. I’ll never forget that night as long as I live.
Duracell, Simla, Colorada, USA
My wife and I had been planning a storm chasing trip to the US for a year for my 40th birthday. After a lot of travelling along most of the mid-west highways, and after some fantastic supercells and thunderstorms, we found ourselves chasing a cluster of storms. We had already seen three small tornados drop, one pelting enough rain and hail to flood one of my DSLRs with water. With tornado number three to our south, another three tornadoes dropped in the next fifteen minutes, two of them coming from one supercell. These were rare anticyclonic forms too (normally cyclonic in the northern hemisphere). We parked next to a Colorado State Trooper and shot this amazing structure as we were pelted with golf ball sized hail. I emailed him this photo when we got back and I got a reply – “Thanks for submitting your photo to my organization and thanks for moving your car. LOL! Safe travels, take care! – Mike Schutte”
(*) mizzle: light rain; drizzle.”the stillness that comes with a Cornish mizzle”
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