f/14, 1/24, ISO 400, 18mm

Hundatora is a ruined medieval village near Hound Tor on Dartmoor. It is likely it was abandoned either because of deteriorating climate conditions or the Black Death (bubonic plague). Somehow it seemed to me to suit a slightly brooding, black and white treatment.

Dartmoor at dusk

Devon, UK

Sunset over Dartmoor National Park

Yesterday, I shared an image I took on New Year’s Day at Dartmoor National Park.  Despite having lived in this country for most of my life, I am ashamed to say this was my first visit to the Park.  I will be back!

Devon, UK

Haytor, Dartmoor

We hiked to two of the many rocky outcrops, known as ‘tors’, Haytor and Hound Tor, the latter thought to be the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Devon, UK

Hound Tor, Dartmoor

I left my trusty Canon 5Diii at home and took instead the Sony NEX-7 I was testing.  A compact system camera packing a whopping 24 megapixel sensor, it is a fraction of the size and weight of my DSLR and made a far less demanding hiking companion.  But there are compromises, both in terms of ease of use and image quality.  Although you cannot see at this size, these images, all taken at ISO 400 are far noisier than my DSLR would have taken.  More tomorrow.

The tenth day of Christmas; oh, to heck with it!


Dartmoor on New Year’s Day

Well, I suppose I could come up with some tenuous link between today’s post and Christmas, if I tried really hard.  But, instead, I thought I’d share this shot taken in Dartmoor National Park on New Year’s Day.  This is for you, Gunta. 😉

While we were away, I rented a new camera, the Sony NEX-7 from the good folk at  I need a lightweight alternative to my big brick for hiking but I want to try before I buy.  Over the next few days I will be sharing some of the images I took and my impressions of this high-end compact system camera.

Holt’s Orchard


On this day in 2009 we were travelling through Utah, on our way from Moab to Bryce Canyon. On the way, we drove through Capitol Reef National Park. We only had time for one stop, but as we drove through the stunning scenery of burnt orange canyon walls and rippling yellow grasses, we resolved to return. We stopped in the rather prosaically named Fruita, where the principal industry used to be the growing of, you guessed it, fruit. The top picture is Holt’s Orchard, in Fruita. In 1878, a small group of Mormons settled this land by the Fremont River. They found the climate suitable for growing fruit and, now run by the National Parks Service, the orchards continue to flourish today, the Spring blossom making a striking contrast with the imposing red walls of the canyon. Life was hard for those early settlers. This orchard was planted by the Holt family and a little plaque tells their moving story, from the death of their daughter at 3 months from a scorpion sting to the loss of their farm a few years later in one of the many devastating flash floods to which the area was prone.
The Mormons were not, however, the first settlers of this area. Ancestral Puebloans farmed this land from 700 to 1300AD and, just over the road from the Holt Orchard, a boardwalk now runs along the canyon walls to make viewing possible of the many intriguing and beautiful petroglyphs that remain as evidence of their presence (see picture below).

If you are interested in this area of the United States or you are looking for an really rewarding new blog to read, can I recommend Travels with the Blonde Coyote

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