The Valley of the Rocks

It was my final day in Exmoor and I woke yet again to more fog. There was no need to worry because I had already planned to spend the morning at the little zoo near Barnstaple. I arrived not long after opening and with the sun breaking through the mist, it was turning into a very pleasant day. I wandered round, but I was far too exhausted to take any photographs. It needed effort to spot anything interesting, but all I wanted to do was curl up somewhere quiet and sleep. This clearly wasn’t going to work, so I sat down with a drink and then tried again. This time I made friends with a dear little sand cat from the Sahara desert. Only the size of a domestic moggy, he was sprawled out on a rock in the sun. Considering this photograph was taken through glass, I was pleased with the clarity.

Sand Cat

Then I sat by the large pool and watched the antics of the penguins. I wasn’t able to view them underwater, so I turned my attention to the pelicans, also basking in the warmth of the sunshine. I later converted the image to black and white to better show the amazing detail in their feathers.

Pelicans

So, wandering complete, I had a quick lunch and drove on to the valley of the rocks. As I headed down towards the parking area, I felt gutted. Clearly the fog had lingered along the coast all day and I could barely see the water, let alone the stunning view. It was only mid-afternoon though, so I locked the car doors, turned on the radio and napped for an hour or so. I woke feeling slightly more refreshed, so I grabbed my rucksack and tripod and headed round the corner where I expected to find the best view. A gentleman spotted my gear and commented that it wasn’t a day for taking photographs. Yeah, right! This was my last sunset and I had no choice in the matter, so I parked myself up on a little bench and waited.

It was so peaceful there, with the only sounds being the muffled waves far below and the occasional bird singing from the gorse bushes. I very nearly fell asleep again, but I was fascinated by the fog over the sea in front of me. It may have been the only photograph I could take of this place, so I set up the tripod and took a couple of shots.

Later on, as the sun started to set, I could see the fog clearing a little to reveal the distant headlands. Things were looking up. So there I stayed, perched on the very edge of the cliff, just taking photographs at intervals until the sun disappeared for the final time behind a thicker bank of fog. At sunrise and sunset, you never really know how things are going to pan out, so those are the only times when I take a fair number of shots. The very best is shown as the featured image here. I think it looks as peaceful as I felt. The next day I had a long drive back home, but I can’t help thinking I may return at some point.

Sea mist

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