Listing Type: General

Sophie Belle – Fresh Lobster at the Quayside

I had the pleasure today to chat with Andy Ricks, skipper of a small fishing boat called Sophie Belle anchored in Paignton Harbour. Andy, like so many of our local fishermen has fallen foul of the EU’s ridiculous rules on our fishermen being able to sell our fish to EU markets. As with any bully, this doesn’t stop the EU raiding our waters and selling exactly the same fish to those same outlets. Same fish, same shellfish, same lobsters, same crabs and of course, exactly the same dirt and mud. For this reaon I was really glad to get the opportunity to speak with Andy and to let him know that I support all of our fisherman and for that matter, all of our amazing food producers. It is worth pointing out then that Andy is more than happy to sell his produce (aparently up to 30kg to any one person), to anyone interested in buying directly from him at the quayside. At the moment, Andy is catching lobster so a great opportunity to buy some gorgeous fresh lobster at wholesale prices. His mobile number is provided below so why not give him a jingle.

Club Franglais

Having absolutely nothing to do with photography but possibly one of my favourite haunts in Torbay, Club franglais, the brainchild of local entrepreneur Helen Brenton, is a community of francophiles with a strong interest, despite Brexit, in all things French including the language. Meeting at Bistro Pierre over breakfast each Wednesday morning (pandemic allowing of course) we all enjoyed copious amounts of coffee and chat while tucking into a warm croissant. Far from being clicky, this group is open, warm and welcoming of anyone with an interest in France or the French language. In fact, several of the group are native French speakers while many others are fluent or close to being fluent. That being said, there are also a large number of others who are either taking their first steps, enjoying the opportunity for improvement or just sneaking a virtually free breakfast. Hopefully the group will return later this year once lockdown restrictions are eased and the hospitality trade returns to some normality.

Parallax Photographic Coop

Since taking a few tentative steps back into the dark world of film processing, I had a need to buy some basic darkroom kit a few days back and after my usual searches on Ebay and Amazon, which came back with crazy pricing on the stuff I was looking for, I came across Parallax Photographic Coop based in London. Their pricing for lots of the darkroom products I was searching, basically Paterson graduates and some HDPE chemical storage containers for used processing chemicals, was way better than the majority I found on Ebay and Amazon, and even better than most I found just doing a normal google search so I thought I’d give them a try. Their website was easy to navigate, both on the PC and on my phone (which I was using to place the order) and their shopping cart system worked flawlessly. Within about 10 minutes I’d located all the stuff I needed (not wanted, loads more I could have bought) and I placed the order and paid using my PayPal account. A few minutes later the confirmation arrived. They told me that Monday would be the date of delievery but happily, it arrived early today (Saturday), a good working day early. Great service guys and well worth a shout out from The Creative Camera. Now I need to decide whether to push on today with my film developing or put my feet up. Decisions decisions!!

Nik & Trick Services Photographiques

Having found a bunch of old exposed films in a drawer, one, a 110 format, going back to about 1996, I was on the look out for a reasonably priced, experienced development service. Have reviewed a few on-line services I eventually landed on Nik & Trick Services Photographiques (Nik & Trick). They had a facebook page with some good information, their prices were reasonable and above all, their on-line ordering page was effortless, unlike some other devolopers I had looked at. To cut a long story short, I went crazy and ordered the full works for each film, development, scanned tiff’s and 6×4 prints. About 10 days later, the tiff files arrived byWetransfer, what a great free service that is BTW, and I eagerly reviewd the results. Amazingly, the 110 film actually produced some images, which was unexpected given it’s age, while the other films, which were much newer, gave the results I expected.  I mentioned to Nik & Trick that I no longer wanted the 6×4 prints and that they could keep the money I had paid for these as a bonus. Nope, they not only offered to let me cherry pick the prints I might want, they were happy to refund the difference or apply a credit to future work. TBH, that’s great customer service so well done to Nikki for that offer. What I decided to do BTW was to buy some Bellini chemicals and have a go at some of my own processing on some B&W film I happened to have lying around. I’ll be doing a piece on how that turned out soon!!

So, a big thumbs up to Nik & Trick, and Nikki for some great customer care.

English Riviera Photography Club

While the English Riviera Photography Club calls itself a club, it is in fact an active and very successful online group supported by a large number of photographers located in Torbay and the local surrounding areas. As such it has no affilliations with PAGB or WCPF. Nonetheless, founder member Roger Holmes has created a very inclusive group for photographers of all levels. In particular, the group run a number of themed shoots throughout the year, together with basic training in camera techniques and composition. Recent shoots have included a themed 1940’s shoot at Churston Railway Station, complete with models, train and carriages from that era, a holiday home shoot over in Dartmouth and more recently, a muscle car shoot for Prestige Supercars – located here in Torquay.

Sharrah Falls

The River Dart, where it passes through the Dart Gorge, is one of the most beautiful and wild places in Dartmoor National Park. The stretch between Dartmeet and New Bridge is particularly beautiful and rugged and in places it is only accessible by the most experienced walkers. At Sharrah, the river cascades and tumbles over polished granite rock and after heavy rain, the noise can be awesome. The falls here, called Sharrah Falls, or Surprise Surprise if you are into kayaking, are extremely photogenic particularly if there is a lot of activity on the river. In spate this is a glorious place to photograph sports canoeists as they tackle one of the River Darts most extreme locations.

In terms of access, Sharrah Falls is located about half way along the Dart Gorge between Dartmeet and New Bridge. For the greater majority of photographers, especially with gear, access will always be from the New Bridge side as there is a good track here with a path that run along the southern bank of the River Dart from New Bridge (Newbridge) which is by Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common).

The initial forestry track runs through the National Trust’s Holne Woods (National Trust) until it connects with a narrow, winding path. You cross a waterfall and descend to a flat area of woodland next to the river. There’s a fence, stile and post on which, presumably, was once a National Trust Holne Woods sign. The stretch of river next to the woodland here is Sharrah Pool. It’s lined with granite boulders and you’ll see mini sandy beaches that act as entry points.

Overall, it takes around an hour to get to Sharrah Falls / Pool, about a 4.5km walk. Of course, this is dependent on the speed at which you walk.

While there are other ways to walk to Sharrah Falls, we don’t recommend them unless you are a a confident and experienced walker and travelling light.

Sharrah Falls, River Dart, Datmoor
Sharrah Falls, River Dart, Datmoor

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor is a highly accessible Dartmoor tor and a great photo location. For photographers with physical disabilities, or for those who find it difficult to walk long distances, Combestone Tor is perhaps the best of all choices. The craggy outcrops are just metres from the car park and the surrounding scenery is breathtaking, particularly at sunrise as there are open aspects to the east with valley’s to either side. The image i have included does justice to Combestone Tor at dawn. 

Paignton Photographic Club

Paignton Photographic Club is a friendly and welcoming club located in central Paignton on Palace Avenue. We meet every Monday evening throughout October through to the end of May. The club is very active both in internal and external competitions as well as in international and salon competitions. You can learn more about PPC simply by visiting our website details of which you can find below.

Escape Artist Studios

Operated on the basis of mutual support and shared resource, Escape Artist Studios is a great place to meet others, try out new things, share resources, learn new techniques and expand on your photographic interests.