Archive for category night

A few photographic effects for your perusal..and Storm Angus

Well, hello from Storm Angus ravaged Wales!

Kind of storm ravaged. Okay…not at all, just the tail end. We didn’t get this all half as bad as the south of England, if you wish to, you can read about the main bits in the Daily Telegraph.

Cue the normal film (courtesy of YouTube on this occasion) on the evening news of people who should know an awful lot better canoeing in the street, standing perilously close to waves crashing onto beaches, generally being a teeny bit dull or driving into water that is far too deep.

Honestly, if I knew that Newhaven and Brighton and similar areas were going to get this much coverage in the years after I moved to Wales, I wouldn’t have bothered coming! Only kidding. Still, at least I stayed relatively dry. The wind was perishing cold though, that was what bothered me the most as I don’t have an awful lot of meat on me. This is due to get less after Christmas too as I will be embarking on a proper 12 week training regime to do a further sportive bike ride of 100 km (60 miles) in aid of charity. I was looking at the handy downloadable training timetable and I am struggling to think of routes that fulfil the length of time or distance needed and also go in a loop to assist me in not transporting the bike around the county in a car that is too small for it. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

However, let us not be bothered by my good deeds. You read this for my wit and pictures don’t you? I like to think so, but I could be having a one-way conversation with the vast internet. So let us begin.

Iridescence. Difficult to spell, even more difficult to spot. More difficult to photograph than both of those things. I think I have posted images on here with some “mother of pearl” effects in some winter clouds but these are not to be confused with the proper nacreous or polar stratospheric clouds.

In this instance, you have to look very carefully at the tips of the dead clematis flowerhead I took a picture of a while back…

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I never noticed the fact there was some iridescence in this image when I took it to be honest but looking at Mr Wikipedia…thanks be to Wikipedia…it says that the effect is generally created by microstructures that interfere with light, which figures as these flowers are very intricate and the flash fired in this image.

On to a more familiar subject, the sky, but a more unusual effect in the clouds than usual. You may remember a while back that I pointed out some oh-so-catchy Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in clouds at sunset that caused what look like cresting waves? In a nutshell, it’s the interaction of two fluids of varying density such as the wind creating a wave on water (yes, air can indeed be construed as a fluid in science). It seems that the effect can go full circle (pun intended) and create what essentially looks like a corkscrew.

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Pretty cool, huh? I have only seen this the once and I can only find a few images on the internet that are similar, so you never know, I may have stumbled on a new cloud type! I will name it “the screw-mulus”. Or I could be over-thinking things….yes, the latter.

Now, moving away from science but to return to it in a little while, some sunset pictures I took just because and in the order of this post heading towards the end of the day in subject matter. Not that many sunset images at all this year, seems we have way too much low cloud now, so there will be fewer and fewer of these images of feathery loveliness…

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This next one is an unusual one as there are quite a few “straight” lines in the cloud. I say straight with a little bit of a nudge as they aren’t ruler straight, but in nature, you very rarely find anything too straight, so when you see it, it’s usually due to interaction with something unexpected…in this instance, I suspect the contrail on the right at a similar angle has something to do with it.

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Back to science! Rays. In particular, crepuscular rays. I have posted many images on here of these rays but now I present to you a rarer image of….anti-crepuscular rays. It is pretty much the same thing but you see these opposite the sun, not around it, behind a cloud or such like. The rays are caused by the interaction of the light with an object out of your line of sight due to the curvature of the Earth, so as the sun dipped just below the horizon here, a little cloud got in the way, casting this shadow…

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Apologies for the dark image, I had to fiddle the contrast to enhance the rays somewhat. However, talking of dark brings me nicely to my last image for this post, a nightscape. I don’t often do these, as it’s not an area I have a great deal of skill in, but I try. I took this of the refinery and fuel storage areas around Pembroke (on the left) and Milford Haven (on the right) from Pembroke Dock.

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I even managed to catch a little starlight in the image which was not my intention, but it adds a little depth to the inky black bits. I might try this further in the future, but I find them a little boring being so dark and having a not so well suited camera for this kind of stuff. We shall see.

Well, there you have it for another post. Before I go, just a couple of things…I need one more follower to reach 50 so if you have a friend or relative who can stand my infrequent babble, tell them to pop to my site on a PC and click the “Follow Me” link at the bottom right. Thanks!

Also, I have changed a few bits on the site such as the background banner and post text. Hard to read, too small, too large? Constructive criticism is very much welcomed!

Cheers in advance and see you soon.

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Never underestimate the power of the sea…and a lot of rain

Hello Readers!

I hope that you are all well. December already eh? I hope that we have all been making in-roads to our Christmas present buying? I have asked a few of the guys at work and the consensus seems to be that it is best to go out on Christmas Eve. Whilst, I’m usually quite organised, I am loathed to do any before the month begins with a “D” but I got some last weekend, so there goes that precedent….

Anyway, I arrive to yet another update on WordPress so I am hoping that all the buttons are in roughly the same place and this doesn’t get complicated. Seems straight forward so far.

Before I forget, I must pass on some sad news. The Temposcope didn’t make it 😦 Seems that although quite a few thousand people believed in the gadget, they weren’t rich enough to pull it off and the fund fell short by around $100,000, which is no small margin I will admit. I was quite disappointed as I was promised some feedback by Weathernet as to their involvement but never got any….which reminds me, it’s been awfully quiet regards my winnings. Hmmm.

Anyway, less of my finances and more of the pictures. This week, I find my search landing at a trip I took to Newgale beach at low tide following the storms I wrote about a few post back, hence the title. The first picture tells quite a story showing what angry wave can do to a walkway on a beach…

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Er…might need a few more planks now

Actually, the reeeeal reason of my visit to this beach after the storm was due to the fact that the erosion and backwash (is it called backwash when referred to in a geological manner?) by the waves had revealed a rarely seen treat. A submerged forest. Sweet. I shall try to explain in my very no geological manner as much as possible, starting with this picture, which shows a preserved peat bed..

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The exposed peat layer on Newgale beach….look closely

If you look closer, you can see traces of roots and ferns. Quite a jumble, so I expect that the plants that used to live on top would have been thick and lush. I used Google to look into the type of plants that were here and when and it seems that Newgale peat and the fragments scattered around contain remains of preserved stumps of willow, hazel, oak, pine and birch. The site I found refers to such wood remains as ‘Noah’s Trees’ from an earlier belief, before their true nature was understood, that they were believed to be the result of the biblical flood which gave birth to numerous myths and legends of cities and countries swept away by the sea.

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In the foreground is a fair chunk of wood, exposed to the air after thousands of years

It goes on to explain that as well as wood, the remains of animals have been excavated from the deposits around the tree stumps, including red deer and brown bear from Whitesands and pig from Lydstep, both in Pembrokeshire. How fascinating! The tree stumps are rooted in peat levels lying below the marine sand (see the pictures earlier where they were exposed) and have been preserved by the continuous waterlogged conditions…in fact the council in some instances attended to cover large logs with pebbles to preserve and prevent them drying too much. The sites around the Welsh coast do not represent a single flood, apparently fancy technical dating techniques give dates showing that most sites have trees that died around 3 to 5,000 years ago….

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Some debris was more obviously wood than other bits

Isn’t it mad to that that the stick poking from the sand above could be that old? If you think about it hard enough, it gives you a headache. To reiterate, this is how wet it was. I went into a small cave at the high tide mark and the water was running down the rocks where it is usually dry…

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Could this be described as a weeping rock?!

Once I had got home and it was dark, as we hadn’t had enough, there were more showers appearing over the Preseli Hills in the distance. Apologies for the blue tinge, no sun to give this image any warmth, such is the danger of pictures at night!

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An evening of showers as the sun sets over the Preseli Hills

Well, there we have it once more. Now you can impress your friends and/or co-worker about the effect of an erosive wave action on a submerged forest. Say, “marine sand” or “underlying peat layer” on occasion, you are golden. Instant IQ increase. Have a beard? You’re a scientist. Thank me later.

Thanks for dropping in..come back soon for more of my fave local landmarks and holiday snaps with scintillating explanations or artistic insight. Coming soon is a petrolhead experience to Germany with a long detour via the Eifel National Park.

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The canals of Bruges and the City Gate

Hello

Yes. It is I. If anyone was wondering where I was, I just had my second holiday of the year. Two holidays in a year…we thought this guy worked in the public sector?! Well, that is a whole other blog, but less talk on here about work the better.

I went to Germany, in particular the south west of Germany, to a teeny little town called Adenau just on the Nurburgring, to fulfill an ambition to drive around it. I was also visiting towns and cities in the vicinity, as I’m not a 100% petrolhead, you know. More about that once I get the photos on here (quite a while by the looks of it so far) but, suffice to say, it was the hardest driving I have ever done and this includes the 10 hours there and 10 hours back when I was being harassed by aggressive Belgian truck drivers!

Anyway, back to this holiday for the time being. I have picked a selection of photos over a couple of days that cover me wandering the quieter areas of Bruges, up the less frequented canal paths and up to the massive windmills and city gates. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the culture contained in Bruges…I really would recommend it for a short holiday. Honestly.

Firstly, a nice wide (as wide as i can get anyway) shot of the canals along from the Markt that I featured in my last load of night shots. Quite a variety of younger more brightly coloured buildings here…

A wide shot of the canals leading to the Markt

A wide shot of the canals leading to the Markt

Next, I sauntered the canals looking for buildings of interest, I thought that this picture showed a nice mix of the old and the new. Maybe just me but I thought the mixture of the old buttresses and such on the water and the fairly modern glazed building in the background was quite attractive….

Old meets new, Bruges UNESCO style!

Old meets new, Bruges UNESCO style!

Further on, I caught a tourist ride passing the fantastic church in the centre of the city. The lady at the front doesn’t look too impressed does she? Maybe it’s because she realised after a few minutes that she was being used as a windbreak by all those behind her!

Touring the canals in the centre of Bruges....windy and cold is the name of the game

Touring the canals in the centre of Bruges….windy and cold is the name of the game

Now, this facade was really striking, the majority of it being timber. I am sure that this is not original but the age must be quite high as you can clearly see the weathering from the good old European winters on this. I bet there are carpenters who make an absolute fortune restoring facades like this, seeing the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, if I lived there, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind too much. Until I got the bill….

Ooooooh, think there's a touch of dry rot there, guv'nor

Ooooooh, think there’s a touch of dry rot there, guv’nor

Now, this was just added in for the amusement factor to be honest. Apparently, according to a guide I overheard, this is the smallest medieval window in Bruges. Alas, I had to zoom in so far there is not much in the way of context but it had to be less that a foot wide and about 15 to 20 feet up a wall. Quite what it gave light to I have no clue, it was almost worse than useless!!

Why? Why would you put the smallest window in a city there?

Why? Why would you put the smallest window in a city there?

Onwards to the windmills. There are a number of these scattered by the city gates; I can only presume they were placed here in the old times to ensure that there was a fast transport route nearby, i.e the canal. Nowadays, although they are maintained very well, as you can see, they aren’t used to grind seed or produce anything, which is a great shame in my opinion. The tourists would lap up stuff from here…just think of a cafe selling cakes and pastries made using the flour of the mill you are sitting under. I’d pay for that and sure others would.

Kruispoort Windmill. Impressive

Kruispoort Windmill. Impressive

And so, onto the more modern city gates before the older ones…quite a beast isn’t it. I was quite amazed at the patience shown by the oodles of cyclists, drivers and pedestrians when a yacht pootled through this gate. Obviously there is a traffic light system for both sets of traffic (yes, even the boats) but still, it was just so normal to them but alien and amusing to me. I saw all sorts go through here whilst I watched, some cruisers, the river barges hauling I don’t know what and private boats of all shapes and sizes.

The more modern gate and bridge to Kruispoort

The more modern gate and bridge to Kruispoort

However, here we have it, the City Gate, or at least one of them. There are a number of preserved old city gateways: the Kruispoort, Gentpoort, Smedenpoort and Ezelpoort; alas, through early development and dilapidation the Dampoort, Katelijnepoort and Boeveriepoort have disappeared. I can see from my fancy map of Bruges that this is the Kruispoort; apologies for the blooming Fiat 500 that nipped into the frame. Those who know me will know I despise those cars…to vent properly regards them would take another post but I shan’t expose you to that :).

Kruispoort...and an unwelcome visitor in the frame

Kruispoort…and an unwelcome visitor in the frame

Finally, an image of Bruges that I am properly proud of, one that I took at night early on in my break and one of the most photographed corners of the city and canal basin. I thought it worked out very well and gave a good view of the building and The Belfry in the background. Hope you enjoy it, as I endured many furrowed brows taking this at about 10 at night! No creativity some people….

A night view of the canal basin towards the city centre and The Belfry

A night view of the canal basin towards the city centre and The Belfry

Well, that is Bruges for the moment, I note from my quick look through upcoming images that Brussels is next, political heartland of the EU. That statement either fills you with horror or excitement. However, those who hold politics in the same regards as I (yaaaaaawn) will be glad to know that Brussels is a very photogenic city, so there was plenty to see!

Until next time, toodle-pip, thanks for stopping by…shan’t keep you waiting so long next time!

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Ruins and Refinery

What a genius, just thought of that one. Just a couple more shots from the archives, this time. The first picture is none too old and I have since revisited the site with the new camera and when it was sunny. Being Wales you can never quite guarantee the weather so I’m afraid you’ll have to bear with the cloudy shots.

This is Llawhaden Castle, near Narberth. If any is wondering how you pronounce the name, the best way would be to insert a “C” where the first “L” is and pronounce it as you would pronounce the word “clown” to make Clow-haden. First Welsh word complete, well done! Lovely set of ruins here, bizarrely situated next to…I mean right next to…a residential home for the elderly called Castle View. Well, they would call it that as honestly you can’t see a hell of a lot else!

Ooooh, pretty lights.

This is my favourite (easiest) night shot around here, the refinery across the water from Neyland. At this time, the weather had been rubbish and there was a constant scud of low cloud over the site. I wondered what it would look like exposed for a length of time and this is the result. Pretty cool huh? If you look top middle, you might even spot a few stars poking through the cloud as it thinned. Orion maybe? Enjoy, see you soon.

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Now that I’ve calmed down….

Apologies for my overlong rant about “that lady” earlier this week, I have calmed down now, although I see at least 3 people agree with me. Thanks.

Now that I’ve been expelled from areas like that :), I turned my attention of late to a planetary phenomena, namely the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Not too many clear skies recently, but I did catch one as you can see below. For a few more pictures, please visit http://spaceweather.com/ too, the gallery should still be up for a while.

Planetary conjunction of Venus and Jupiter over Milford Haven refinery

This was taken along from my girlfriend’s flat, just on the waterfront and you can also clearly see the “Belt of Venus” I have previously referred to with traces of a past pink sunset. If some of you click on it to see the full size picture (actually, you’ll probably have to as the thumbnail is larger than I planned) you’ll see that it’s not perfect due to mist, but I’m quite proud of it really and only wanted to remove the camera noise as opposed to enhance it beyond what I actually saw. So, I hope you appreciate it.

I’m around but not near the PC until 27th March now, so there will be a period of inactivity for a bit, sorry about that. Best wishes until then and be safe in the knowledge that there are some nice pictures in store for you from my recently downloaded card.

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Warning! Common sense is going to the dogs!

I was going to be posting some images here of some critters that I had found in hedges recently as discussed with my Dad, but events have overtaken me and I really want a good rant. This is long and scathing, but there is nice picture at the end as a reward 🙂

All I can do here is post this as a darn good warning to all hobby photographers who fancy differing their portfolio once in a while; if you do want to do this, don’t go to a fair. All it takes is one grumpy old woman (I really hope she is reading this) to get you a talking to by the local police.

There’s me, bored of TV and thought, seeing the fair is in, I’ll go do some light trails on the rides. After all, I know what rides are there as, now this is very important to remember…I DID THIS EXACT SAME PROJECT LAST YEAR TO A NUMBER OF POSITIVE COMMENTS. Off I trot, couple of snaps, no real results so I move around the side of ride, but still nothing to speak of. Before long, as I sit on the wall, some old grump pipes up asking me what I’m up to, to which I replied I was  here last year, so it’s okay to snap timelapse as far as I was aware and no signs to say I couldn’t. I continued to sit to then be greeted by the fair manager saying he’d had a complaint (from the lady’s husband, which figures) and I should leave. In his defence, he was very apologetic saying he “didn’t want to come over, he just wanted a quiet life” and “some people have sad lives to bring this kind of thing up” so we parted on good terms, shaking hands. I grudgingly got up to go, although my kit was out in the open, not in a bag and who turns up, the local police in a (very nice) marked Land Rover Discovery. Super. Over I walk…

Anyway, it all boiled down to one thing. Children. I knew what she was inferring and I’m not saying it, lest WordPress block me. The police were also very patient as I tried to get a point over and glad I showed them the LCD screen, although I felt guilty for diverting their attention away from real crime that occurs every minute of every day right under our noses. If only that lady realised some of the issues locally, she’d never leave her house, let alone go to a fair.

So, I shan’t often aim posts at specific people, but this one’s for you, grumpy presumptive old woman. Did you stick around? Nope. Did you ask to look at the camera or even ask for me to delete a file? No, that would have taken manners or guts in facing up to me. I’m surprised you didn’t also say I didn’t understand as I don’t have children. It doesn’t take a parent to understand child protection, please remember that. I have nephews, friends with children, neighbours with children, children visit my work, I shop around children, children have ridden in my car on occasion. They’re all over! Don’t patronise me.

Anyway, here’s the kicker. The image below shows what I was trying to perfect amongst other light shows. However, this is last years image as I didn’t get any decent ones due to this debacle. So, now I’ll stick to other places, not because I feel as I have been told off but because I know now for sure there is at least one person sad enough to presume a man with a camera always has an ulterior motive, wherever he may be. So if you see me taking time-lapse at the side of a road soon (which I do), be very afraid…..according to this lady I could be cloning your number plate next!

If anyone can spot a person, please post a comment and I'll gladly fuzz them out

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A bit of a mix for St Valentines

Belt of Venus and incoming tide, Broadhaven

Hello all. First picture here is a sunset off Broadhaven which benefits from lovely weather in the summer and massive surf during the winter, which makes it popular all year round. When I say massive, this isn’t Hawaii and what do I know, when I tried surfing I ended up breaking a toe…

There were some surfers around when I took this but they were all heading in as the tide was coming in. Mind you, I didn’t mind as the blur of the turning tide was pretty effective. You can also see the Belt of Venus in this shot. The Belt of What I hear you say? Well, you’ve all seen it and may interpret it differently; it’s the area just above the horizon that darkens or goes a pinky hue when the sky above is blue. The blue area above you is reflecting normal sunlight, however, the sky in the Belt reflects light from the setting sun appearing more pink. It takes a while to fade out, so next time there’s a clear sunset, take a peek out of a window and there it will be.

The lesson on atmospherics for today ends! Finally, as a nod to St Valentines day, I also post a picture of a very forlorn rose I saw in Rome on my last holiday, at least it had been put in a cup though, poor thing. Hope you have a good time and receive at least one card each!

So close to the tap, yet so far away

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Industrial beauty

Sunset over the refinery, sporting its own cloud as the air cools

Now I’m sure that opinions differ greatly on this subject, but there is a kind of strange (per chance surreal) beauty about an evening falling over an industrial landscape. In this instance, the place is Milford Haven (viewed through my telephoto in the second shot) from the corner just down from my girlfriends flat.

Milford Haven at night. Come on, it is pretty!

Yes, it belches smoke at times. Yes, it creates its own clouds on occasion, but there is something that makes it look not bad at all and, twinkling away at night, it looks really pretty. You may all disagree, but I will still see it that way. I’ll let you decide by viewing the images.

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A touch more night photography

Now I was sure, following the post of the ice pillar, that I had a pictre of an ice halo around the sun too. Do you think that I can find it? I ended up asking myself why I don’t label these pictures when I put them on, but it’d take ages, seeing there are a good 1000 pictures every time I clear a card off.

At the mouth of Neyland Marina on a misty night

So, in lieu of this, a quick picture of a misty night in Neyland with some lovely smoothed lines due to the long exposure. This view is across the Cleddau Estuary towards Pembroke Dock. The lonely fishing boat gives a clue as to the history of the area, but alas, this is one of the very few left which seems mainly to fish for shellfish (crabs, lobsters and such) on a small scale for local restaurants….pardon the slight pun. Also, the area was made famous due to some industrial works that were instigated by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. There are information boards around the marina now and track left on the quayside that was used by little haulage trains but now its all pleasurecraft, although none of them ever seem to move very far.

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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 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctilucent_cloud

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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