Archive for January, 2012

The cold snap arrives and I boil

As heralded, the winds from Russia have arrived. Apologies for the rant but here goes……..the news make a big thing of this and get everyone in a panic and it really gets on my wick. Public transport grinds to a halt due to “Health & Safety concerns” , people ring into work “I can’t come in, it’s snowing” when there’s a dusting on a hill 10 miles away or a slight frost. Northern Europe manages fine through their winter and they get feet of snow and ice! Ridiculous. Wear sensible shoes with grip, dress like you are going to stand outside instead of “to look good” and drive slowly, that’s all you need do…or if your car frightens you buy a Volvo XC or perhaps even question your ability. And winter tyres? Pah! I’ve never used winter tyres, seems like a cash-in to me especially seeing your insurance company wants you disclose even putting them on (for disclose, read charge). However, I am glad of a heated front screen on my car, just in case it freezes as I’m off on my way home so I’ll admit to that one.

Anyway, on to the pictures….sorry!

An ice pillar (I think) over Troopers Inn

Came home today and was hopeful of an ice pillar as it was still and clear. But that pesky cloud got in the way, so all I got was a yellowy smudge. However, I think the picture above is a fair image of a previous one. Can’t say I understand the mechanics, maybe someone can shed some light on it so I can look out for one properly, without freezing my fingers for no reason! In the absence of anything too exciting image wise, there’s a sunset below as well. My favourite kind, plenty of colour and a few types of cloud.

Sunset, Hill Mountain

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An advert for the Welsh Tourist Board

Having posted a picture of a recent holiday, I though I’d a do a few more but this time of the three trips my girlfriend and I have taken around Wales. Bear with me, you’ll have to scroll down!

First trip was to Barmouth, well, a small village outside on the edge of the Cambrian Mountians. Lovely place that used to be an old farm where our bed was a converted hay loft! We were very lucky as the weather was very warm. In fact, on a couple of days, we actually beat the Med, so who needs foreign holiday when you have scenery like this?

Descending from the peak of the Llanberis Pass towards the town

Second trip, we were a little closer to home in the Brecon Beacons, the weather wasn’t so good that time in fact it rained so heavily and so long on the last day, we left early! This time we stayed on a caravan park on Llangorse Lake, one of the oldest lakes in the British Isles. Lovely spot and very reasonable with loads to do, including Dan-y-Ogof Caves, walks galore as well as boating and activities on the lake, as well as all over the park.

Scwd yr Eira in the Brecon Beacons, tricky muddy path to this!

Lastly, we went back to the Snowdonia area and stayed on a farm in Dolgellau….in January. Not the best choice we made but it worked out quite well, all things considered. However, the access was nerve-wracking as I’d only had my car 2 months and was taking slippy steep single track gradients uphill, round corners with oncoming farm vehicles! Plus I bottomed out on the track to the house; but they had a huge 4WD so what did they care? Lovely position though, we walked out and there was Cadir Idris for a hike, which deserves 2 pictures because it was such a gorgeous day. Enjoy!

About halfway up Cadir Idris. I'm King of the World!


The point where I considered I'd probably need to call Prince William if I tripped over!

My other half isn’t the climbing type (as she has “short legs”) and it was getting very frosty, so I took this following picture of as far as I got by myself before I flet it was beyond my skill level. Looks gorgeous but people take stupid risks; the weather turned awful after we left but people still tried to climb it and one even died.

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A little European culture

A beautiful church altar, central Rome

Recently my girlfriend and I had a summer holiday in Rome. The amount of history there is just staggering, from the Forum containing amphitheatres and baths to the churches scattered liberally around the centre of the city. I filled an entire memory card quite easily, in fact I had to delete a few pictures in the end. Pictured is a typical (hard to believe, but it’s true) church altar from the centre of Rome. The colours can be done no justice here, but I hope you get the idea and that the chairs act as an idea of scale.

By the way, should anyone be thinking that it was just plain rude of me to march in snapping away, the autofocus beep was off, I always asked and always gave a donation. If only my fellow tourists were so polite, alas, this was not the case.

One thing is for sure; should you go to Rome for a holiday, you end up with a strained neck from looking up or a squint from composing all your pictures!

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Mamma Mia!

A partial "mamma" or "mammatus" cloud over Haverfordwest

A little play on words there, as I think from a touch of reading regards this cloud, it is the edge of a “mammatus” that has fallen apart. Saw this when I got into work one morning and was looking out of the window as the kettle was boiling. Luckily, I had my camera with me (not sure why) and caught a few shots. Again, I confess to noise removal in Photoshop, but the cloud you see is “as was” in shape and colour. Next to a good cirrus sunset, this is my favourite cloud type. Alas, it’s not seen here too often as the air isn’t unstable enough to cause them regularly, but this was attached to some hail showers, so I guess I was lucky.

Before I sign off for another couple of days, may I take the opportunity to thank fellow blogger, Jeffery Foltice of West Michigan, for signing up to “follow” my posts. Not sure if you think there is promise there, Jeffery, but thanks a lot for that, it cheered me up no end.

I promised I’d post a link too, so head on over to his blog, there’s some awesome pictures of birds and landscapes….

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Back to a weather picture…

A few more nice sunsets of late but I thought, seeing I still have loads of room on the card, that I would post another one of my old summer storms I saw last year. This actually turned out to be just a heavy shower but I love the multi-level clouds and rainbow. It makes for a very colourful and dynamic picture, I thought (see if you can find the shadow that almost looks green it’s so dark).

A nice summer storm with great "structure", so to speak

When I get sunsets similar to that, I can’t help but stop and stare. next time I’ll find one of them as I have seena few over the past years. Anyway, have a look at this monster. The longer you look, the more you will see, honest. I’ll confess that I have adjusted this image, but just a “digital camera noise removal”, that’s all….it helps to smooth things out.

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Oh Dam!

Approach to Rosebush Dam

A piece now mentioning the other dam (I haven’t posted the Llys-y-Fran dam as it’s not quite as spectacular as this) that I go to, just for a little time out really. It’s near Rosebush located in a valley (duh, of course) which was carpeted with pine forest on both sides. Half of that is gone now, seemingly “managed” by the Forestry Commission. Left an awful mess, though, if they want any feedback. With all this rushing water, I need to be sure I haven’t drunk too much tea. By the way, if anyone stumbles upon this post who is from Welsh Water, I’ll apologise now as yes, I do ignore the signs telling me not to go over the gate. However, I could be fishing or swimming which is what they think everyone wants to do near dams…I’m not, so the signs don’t apply in my mind. I’m not dim enough to think dams should be where I practice my front crawl for 2012 🙂

The nice little natural waterfall down from the sluice-gate

The water was very high and fast in the natural rock gully below on this occasion as you can see, so the photo above is a little too light. I tried my best, but I think I should have gone a more dull day to balance things out. A nice spot overall but you do have to “trespass” and don’t expect to converse with the person next to you if you take a friend, as it’s a bit loud! And don’t go swimming or fishing.

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Look at this strange effect in the clouds

Hello all. I considered that I should post a sunset now that things are starting to brighten up around here, although that cold snap I was expecting has now arrived. After an afternoon out trying to find a waterfall (I did, eventually…pictures to follow) the prospects for a nice sunset looked pretty good and when it did come it had this stippled effect in the very high clouds again.

Sunset over Newgale with nice Cirrus backdrop

This is an old picture from when I first got my camera; if I had the control of it then like I have now I would have been able to enhance it further. Anway, I am sure there is an explanation for it most likely boring and scientific…it’s probably ice or very high clouds, which are mainly ice, agitated by wind. Until I find out what it is, I think it’s just pretty funky, so I hope you do to.

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Noctilucent clouds over Pembrokeshire

Noctilucent clouds and a pretty good starscape too, I reckon

Not that anyone has been hanging on my every word, but here’s that post I spoke of regards noctilucent (“night shining” in Latin) clouds that I have seen. Below is a link to the all knowing Wikipedia regards them, if you wish to learn more, but there is actually very little known about these clouds, save for the fact they are created in the mesosphere, which is very high (over 50 miles up), very dry (apparently more so that the Sahara) and very cold (up to -130C)….and you thought that thermometer in the plane on your last holiday showed chilly temperatures! I’m afraid not. Some also link their creation to climate change or industrial pollution.

Learn more here –

The second and more photogenic occurence of these lovely electric blue clouds

Wikipedia refer to the constituents as mainly ice but I have read varying articles that refer to dust as well, so opinions differ. These pictures were taken in 2009 and the favourable conditions are clear Summer nights so, I’ll be keeping my eye out this year, I think. These were spotted about a week apart mid-summer and lasted around 30-45 minutes before fading behind the light pollution of Haverfordwest.

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The wonder of polarisation!

Back again. Thanks to all those who visited over the last few days and hopefully will continue to do so, even if it’s just every now and then.

I said I’d post a shot of the ford in the Preselis that my father and I visited of late and here it is, nestled in a steep valley on a single track road. A nerve wracking drive indeed and we even saw one driver back out of going through the ford whilst we were there!

Polarised ford, Craig Rhos-y-Felin

Interestingly, or not if you aren’t at all bothered about geology, as well as holding the stone which have been pretty much proven to have “made” Stonehenge, it’s also scattered with a fair amount of bright white quartz, some of which is decorating my room at the moment.

You can read about the “bluestone” and the study of these rocks by going to this link (right-click and select “open in new window”)……

If anyone is interested in the post title and why I chose it, it’s becasue I used my favourite tool, a circular polarising filter. A whole £5 from Argos but has the ability to reduce reflection and bring out features below water as well as a few other tricks. The water here was approximately 6-8 inches deep, for note. So, if you see pictures where it looks like the water is a layer of glass, it’s not Photoshop, it’s a snazzy layer of glass screwed onto the camera. The things you learn from the interweb…..

Next time, I think I’ll look out my pictures of noticlucent clouds and tell you a little about them…see you soon!

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A couple of primeval elements

Who's up for approaching to put some potatoes in?

A couple of images at opposite ends of the scale this time, element wise. The fire was a bonfire on Guy Fawkes night that I attended at Llys-y-Fran. The guys there took ages to light the fire and it got to the stage where there was much muttering about “how it should be done”…you know, like everyone knows how to cook on a barbecue. Only my beloved seems to have the gift of doing that, three barbecues and no food poisoning yet! The pictures I tried of the fireworks were terrible, mainly because I was so close, but hey, the fire looks nice with a bit of blur.

That waterfall again......

Secondly, my favourite waterfall again, on this occasion I think it was near enough in a flood as you may be able to see from the little overflows. This was one the better of the trip because the colours in the moss, rocks and autumn leaves came out really well, although the image was a little dark toward the centre. Pat on the back for me, I think.

I’ll be back in a couple of days to post a picture of the ford near the Stonehenge rocks I spoke of a while back.

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