Are you someone who gets stuck in a bit of a rut and goes back to the same places time and time again? As a lifelong Devonian and landscape photographer, I would like to think I’m not and that I get out and about a lot. However, last weekend I was lucky enough to go to two family shoots in very different parts of the county and was blown away by how gorgeous each one was and how I really don’t explore enough.
On Saturday, Rachel and James introduced me to one of their favourite places, Blackbury Camp in east Devon. I had heard of it before but had never been. Wow! What a time to visit for the first time. It is an ancient hill fort maintained by English Heritage and in May it is covered (almost literally) in a blanket of bluebells. It was an extraordinary sight and the blue hue and vivid green of the new leaves provided a wonderful backdrop for a great shoot with a lovely little boy and his mum. It is also a lovely, enclosed area providing a wonderful, safe environment for little people to run around and explore whatever time of year and I’m sure James would tell you that the stick-searching potential is second to none!
The next day, as the clouds cleared, I headed off in totally the opposite direction, up past Winkleigh to north west Devon. I don’t know that area at all, as the closest we usually get is sailing past on the A30, Cornwall-bound. It is truly Devon at its best with almost empty roads, green fields and sweeping vistas south to Dartmoor and west to Cornwall. The shoot was in the grounds of a stunning house, part of which dates back to the Doomsday book. The family were as beautiful as the surroundings and I even got to meet a shetland pony! Andrea wanted some images to show Devon to her friends and family back home in California and it couldn’t have looked any more quintessentially Devonian if it had tried. The drive home on a perfect May evening left me wanting to stop round every corner to get a shot of a beautiful vista.
The conclusion I came to? We really must get out and about and explore new places more often. Maybe living here makes us a bit complacent? I know as a family we end up going to the same beaches weekend after weekend, and they are lovely. However, Devon is a really big county and we must be more adventurous. Maybe next time we should just stick a pin in a map and gamble?
If you are in east Devon, check out Blackbury Camp, and even if you aren’t, make a point of visiting in May, you won’t be disappointed!
If you have a favourite place you like to go as a family, I’d love to hear about it. Its always good to have new locations for shoots, but also because there could be a new favourite out there that we have yet to explore.