Archive for November, 2013

Sun phenomena….and examination of hedgerow inhabitants

Hello World!

Be easy on me, I’m recovering from a cold. I’m still a little coughy and spluttery to be honest but better than this time last week. Whilst in a shop in Carmarthen with my girlfriend, I had the pleasure of those “full body coughs” where you feel it coming and have to literally drop what you are holding as you need every muscle going; talking of muscles, I actually pulled my shoulder-blade doing one of those! Thankfully that stage has passed and I’m left with just the occasional cough.

On a happier note, look out Americas Cup. The boat I help crew on a Sunday out of Neyland is winning, as we got our second first place (the previous one was void as the wind was so light all boats exceeded the time allowed). We were staggered as we made some mistakes but it seems we can put it all together again and gain our places back. Woop! I am happy to send autographs if you want them 🙂

Anyway, on to the pictures. A few of some interesting Summer skies and then some macro style shots from the hedges I ride past on my bike. First up is the old staple, a crepuscular ray, but this time all very lonely and resembling a spotlight…

Lonely crepuscular rays at sunset

Lonely crepuscular rays at sunset

Next is a very nice contrail shadow. Only seen these a couple of times and it is a rare occurrence as it is down to sheer timing. I shan’t bore you all by explaining the science as it’s pretty obvious to see. It’s basically a fortuitous placement of a contrail and the sun….

It's just good timing, this picture

It’s just good timing, this picture

I can see you all yawning so I best mix things up a little hadn’t I? I occasionally pop out on my bike and this little bridge is a place I stop to brace myself for the pedal up the hill the other side. A few cars passed me by and I thought I would try a teeny bit of time-lapse. Only tenths of a second, but enough to portray the speed of a passing vehicle….

Did the Discovery driver realise he was going to be famous today?

Did the Discovery driver realise he was going to be famous today?

Next is a little hedgerow rummaging. It’s amazing what you can see if you look a little closer and walk a bit slower to be honest. I’m aware that Poppy Day has been and gone but every Summer, there is clump of these big poppies on the road near me and I decided to get a close up. I can only think they were planted as I have never seen any as big anywhere else near here….

Some "wild" ornamental poppies by the road in Sardis

Some “wild” ornamental poppies by the road in Sardis

Considered as only ornamental plants in most gardens, this is the Foxglove. Has a weird life, this plant, as it is (or at least has been) used in heart control drugs to smooth the rates of failing hearts, believe it or not. However, it does have the double-edged sword of being entirely toxic so this has been discontinued. Bummer. Pretty though….

I love to look into the gloves to see if I can see a bumblebee collecting pollen...

I love to look into the gloves to see if I can see a bumblebee collecting pollen…

Lastly, meet my furry little friend. A big old fluffy caterpillar. Kind freaky huh? I will confess that I am entirely ignorant of these little critters and when they are colourful and hairy, I tend to stay away especially when the two colours in predominance are yellow and black!

Be afraid, be very afraid...furry caterpillars abound!

Be afraid, be very afraid…furry caterpillars abound!

There you are, another exciting instalment of the back roads and weather of Pembrokeshire. Talking of weather, it’s blooming freezing here now, so Winter is very much here and I’m hoping for some nice frosty pictures soon. There’s plenty to see even now and I would encourage visitors, just don’t expect a guided tour, that’s what the Tourist Information Office is for!

See you all soon, thanks for dropping in.

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Hedgerow pictures and looking skywards

Said I’d be back.

Thanks to the few people who visited the site after my post regards my prize. If that wasn’t you and you are looking at this new post wondering what I am talking about, go back one too…I won a prize!

One of the things I find as I wander the lanes with my camera, getting cynical glances from most people, if that it is always worthwhile looking closely at things now and again, as there are lovely things both on a large (my skyscapes) and a small scale (see my previous winning post). The same can be seen in my following pictures…who’d have thought rusty old barbed wire and rotten wood would make something aesthetically pleasing some day?

Cheeky use of aperture priority here to focus further back. Technical!

Cheeky use of aperture priority here to focus further back. Technical!

Some of you will realise that it was Spring/Summer when I took these latest pictures. Sorry to remind you of a warmer time gone by. It’ still very windy and wet here at the moment, so I haven’t got any new images at all in the last few weeks but I have plenty in my archive…the bluebells are a dim and distant memory.

There was more than one, I just thought I'd use macro mode

There was more than one, I just thought I’d use macro mode

I think that these flowers are called red campion, even they aren’t red at all..they are purple. Found along the hedgerows up and down the roads that I zoom along on my bike (just bought a new hybrid bike if anyone’s interested) and apparently pop up as the bluebells fade, so they’re often found in the same place. According to the font of all knowledge (Wikipedia), they were once used as a remedy for snake bites. Not entirely sure I’d opt for this over anti-venom, but chances of being bitten by a snake in Pembrokeshire are slim; I’d win the lottery first, then get struck by lightning just afterwards.

Some of the wonder drug...not-all-that-red-really-Campion

Some of the wonder drug…not-all-that-red-really-Campion

On to my comfort zone, weather and associated bits and bobs, in this case some lovely crepuscular rays from a very fortuitously placed strip of cloud when I was out walking. I know the quality may seem a bit pants when seen on the web, but click on it to get as bigger view or even email me if you fancy for the full resolution. You know you want to.

Nice rays, man

Nice rays, man

No onto something a little more unusual that was sent in to WeatherNet but to them it obviously wasn’t too striking; a circumzenithal arc or circumzenith arc. As you can see, it almost looks like a disjointed version of the more common rainbow but it arises from refraction of sunlight through ice, generally in cirrus cloud, rather than from raindrops after a storm. Never seen one? This is the partly the reason it is deemed rare, because it appears so far over people’s heads and fades quickly.

This is why people need to look up more. Gorgeous colours eh? All included with a free crick in your neck :)

This is why people need to look up more. Gorgeous colours eh? All included with a free crick in your neck 🙂

Lastly, onto some clouds. In this case a mackerel sky (so named from the fact that it looks similar to the markings of an adult king mackerel). Get ready for the science bit from my fave website! The usual occurrence of these clouds is an indicator of moisture and instability at intermediate levels, but the most common reason for the occurrence of a mackerel sky is an old, disintegrating frontal system which is probably what happened here. The cloud was probably originally altostratus and has been broken up into altocumulus as the front disintegrates.

A lovely mix of cloud "textures" here

A lovely mix of cloud “textures” here


There are some sayings that accompany this kind of sky; “Mackerel in the sky, three days dry” and “Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry”.

Well then, there is your daily dose of weather science and a touch of medical advice. Actually, if you get bitten by a snake, go to the hospital, don’t just pack it with red campion…that’d be silly.

Anyway, thanks for dropping in. See you all next time!

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Again with the WeatherNet prize


Just a short one this time, mainly to boast of my second year running winning of a prize from WeatherNet on t’interweb for one of my fab weather themed photos. Some of you may remember the grizzle I had not so long ago saying I can’t have won anything…yeah, kind of ignore that. There’s my impatient streak showing. It appears that the mad British weather of late (it’s been so windy my sailing was cancelled due to risk of watery accidents) has kept them occupied and I only got the email a week or so ago.

I’m beginning to get a theme from what wins moolah now too, as this new image is more of an effect of the weather, rather than the stuff I really like such as rainbows, storm clouds and all that shizzle. No matter, I shall be a whopping ÂŁ20 richer for it and I will be able to my some hi-viz gear so I can go riding at dusk without being run down. Seems I’m darker in my stuff than I thought, according to my Dad!

Talking of Dad, he was the one who suggested I send this picture, so special thanks to him and I may have enough change for a coffee left out of the prize fund. Anyway, enough rambling, this is the pic…..

I wasn't thinking of prizes when I took this image to be honest

I wasn’t thinking of prizes when I took this image to be honest

For anyone interested, this was the dry cracked floor of a disused slate quarry in Scleddau, near Fishguard. I’m guessing but this may very well appear around the Summer months on the calendar, so I’m quite chuffed. Wonder if I can make it three in a row? I’m sure I can get something from the archive.

If any of you good people fancy a copy of the calendar, just go to the website at and follow the instructions; I seem to recall you need to call a number to order one and I think the calendar is free, but you just pay a little more for the call.

Anyway, I shall now sign off to bask in the warmth of my photography talent….or something….but will be back in the near future with another post, where I shall be back to some weather phenomena.

See you soon I hope!

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