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Salcombe, South Devon by Justin Foulkes

1 August 2017

Previously an art director working predominantly in the travel sector, Justin Foulkes decided he could no longer keep a lid on his passion for photography and in 2007 embarked on a life as a freelance travel photographer.

It’s now three years since I moved from London back to my home county of Devon. I’ve always loved the diverse landscape here, from the rolling farmland and windswept moors, to the seaside towns and hidden coves. I travel abroad regularly but it always feels a little wrong to experience far flung places whilst there’s so much on my doorstep that I haven’t seen. I’m not sure what I love the most; the exploring or the photography. In many ways, the photography is my way of exploring places I’d never normally get to see.

And, like most photographers, I’ll always take pictures even without a specific purpose in mind. Originally I photographed solely with the intention of building my stock library but it’s becoming increasingly difficult, from a financial standpoint, to justify the effort that involves. I’m now planning to create a photo book and/or calendar of the region. Of course, the images are still available to license as stock, as well as being available as inkjet prints. When I’m shooting, I’ll bear in mind as many potential uses as possible.

It seems so many editorial publications illustrate their pieces with imagery that’s only “good enough”, so I wanted to build a collection of images that went a little further; to create images that really stand out and grab attention. When I’m on assignment, I have no control over the conditions; I might just spend a short time at a location so have to make the best of what’s on offer at that time. Whereas the best thing about being based here in South Devon is that I can wait for the perfect time of year and the best light, often visiting the same location several times. Of course, there’s always a huge amount of luck involved.

This is a photograph of Salcombe, in the South Hams region of South Devon, one of the photographs I made last year, for personal use in the calendar and book, but also for stock. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a busy (in summer) and very expensive coastal resort. Its stunning location close to the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary is one of the principal reasons for its popularity. The waters are a brilliant blue and at low tide several sandy beaches can be easily reached. I wanted to photograph the view of the town from East Portlemouth, on the opposite side of the river. Early summer is a lovely time to photograph; at this time of year, the vegetation is especially vibrant and there are wildflowers in abundance. On this particular excursion I was also rewarded with a glorious sunset. I shot this image at the widest setting on my 16-35mm Nikkor lens at f16, to ensure sharp focus throughout. It’s also a multiple exposure blend, manually created in Photoshop, to hold detail in both the shadow areas and the brightest parts of the sky.

See more work by Justin Foulkes

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