“ I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” Steven Spielberg.

How To Photograph Your Devon Walks

Have you ever spent your day walking on Dartmoor, casually taking photos of the scenery around you, only to get home and realise they don’t really capture the magic of your day?

Your photos are nice but for some reason they just feel a bit flat.

Learning how to use your camera properly to capture amazing images would help you enjoy your walks more.

With a few simple changes to the way you use your camera you will soon be taking exciting and picturesque images, ones you’ll be proud of.

How To Use The Equipment You Already Have

The good news is you don’t even have to buy an expensive camera. Your phone may be all you need.

Yes, it’s true.

The humble smartphone is now capable of capturing some fantastic images. So you don’t have to invest in an expensive camera with all the professional lenses.

How To Start Taking Great Landscape Photos

Most amateur photographers spend too much time worrying about their camera settings and this can put them off taking photos all together. So, what camera settings do you need to adjust?

It really is very simple.

If I were to say to you, “leave the settings alone”, you’d be amazed wouldn’t you? But that really is all you need to do to get started. Start simply and leave your camera on its Auto mode.

Improve By Changing Your Outlook

Just changing the way you look at a subject is the start of your new photography skills.

Stop, look and study your landscape.

Decide what is the key element you want to feature in your image.

Do you like the look of a specific tree or do you want to get the whole Dartmoor vista in your image? Deciding what matters most in your finished photos is a great way to focus the mind before you even pick up the camera.

What Do You Think Looks Amazing When Out Walking?

Ask yourself, what made you stop and think “Wow that looks fabulous”?

To be honest there are quite a few things that look fabulous when you are walking in Devon! You just need to decide what needs to be in the photo to help you capture the magic of your walk before you even pick up the camera.

It doesn’t matter if you are walking a coastal route or on a Dartmoor countryside ramble, there are different points of focus that will help you create more memorable images.

How To Photograph The Beach And Seaside

For example, let’s start with a simple coastal scene.

Whilst walking along you see the beach and think the sea is beautifully lit or you like the way the waves are crashing over the pebbles and want to capture that moment.

How do you do it?

Most people just pick up the camera and start clicking away.

But if you try to get down low – worry about getting back up later! – and position your camera close to the ground you will be miles ahead of everyone else already. Focusing on the pebbles in the foreground will make the beach larger, the waves more dramatic and the sea will disappear into the horizon.

Another way is to feature more sea than beach.

Visualise splitting your viewfinder into thirds and put the horizon on the upper third. This will help you make the sea more of a feature. Alternatively, make the dramatic sky the feature by simply placing the horizon on the lower third of your viewfinder.

As you can see, by changing your viewpoint you can make several images from one subject.

How To Photograph Dartmoor

When you visit Dartmoor, concentrating on a tree or tor in the foreground will give you a different photo than if you focused on the entire landscape. Place the object on one of the imaginary thirds in your screen and let it frame your overall landscape.


Some people will be drawn to the sky. Others will be excited by the shadows created by the dramatic rocks and wind swept thorny trees.

Once you have decided what needs to be the main focal point of your picture, place it on one of the thirds and then start clicking creatively.

Same place, same outlook, but two completely different images.

Dramatic Cropping Creates Dramatic Images

Dartmoor is famous for its wild animals. Most of the time you will see them grazing and rambling casually alongside you whilst you’re on your hike.

But how do you photograph them in an interesting way?

Again most people would just snap away, hoping to get in as much as possible.

However, to make a really interesting photograph, try cropping in close to the animal. That doesn’t mean getting up close to them, but zoom in and fill your frame with just the face.

Place their eyes on one of the thirds to make a more appealing and impactful image.

Remember the horses and cattle on Dartmoor are very accommodating but try not to disturb their natural environment just because you want to take a photo of them.

Be creative.

Get down low or up high and zoom in on their eyes.

Thinking like this will help you create stunning images that will be different to everyone else’s.

How To Enjoy Your Walks

Next time you are out on a hike, slip your camera or phone in your rucksack, keep your eyes open for opportunities and start thinking creatively. This will help you develop your countryside photography skills and you’ll enjoy your rambles more.

For more information on enjoying the great outdoors visit https://walkingninja.com