Blog - Blowing a Hoolie

30th December 2012
As I write this, its late December, and 2012 is drawing to a close. I hope the year has been good to you. I was pleased to get commended in the 'Take a View' competition again this year, for my shot taken at Staple Tor in Dartmoor. As a little celebration, here is the story behind the shot:

As I parked up below Staple Tor, I felt the wind rock the car and knew this was going to be hard work. It was, technically speaking, ‘blowing a hoolie’. But this is Dartmoor, and you don’t venture into Dartmoor in winter unprepared. Not if you want to venture back out again! So I wrapped myself up in thermals and wind proof outer layer, and then weighed myself down with the camera bag. I don’t like taking more kit with me then necessary, but sometimes ‘ballast’ is useful!

Great Staple Tor is the largest of three ‘Staple’ tors – the others called ‘Little' and ‘Middle' Staple Tor. Great Staple is of course the furthest from the road, but is certainly not the longest or most arduous climb in Dartmoor, even in a gale.

The tall stacks at Great Staple Tor make this one of the most recognisable Tors in Dartmoor. Its one I had struggled to photograph before, but this time, I found a good vantage point, which luckily was in the lee of rocks and gave me some respite from the wind. Still, I hung the camera bag from the tripod for extra stability

Initially, I was attracted to the small rocks littering the ground, with the tall tower of rocks behind. Then I saw the wispy cloud fanning out from the main tower. Compositionally, lines which lead the eye into the main subject are great, and these were literally sent from heaven! Now I just had to hope the sun put in an appearance. I’m not a big user of the Polariser, but on this occasion, it added contrast in the sky, helping the white cloud stand out from the blue sky.

After a long battle with the clouds, the light did eventually improve, and for a brief moment, it gave some nice warm light – still a touch defused by some thin cloud, but there was enough ‘bite’ to bring out the details in the rocks.

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