Archive for category timelapse

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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Looking a bit closer at my regular haunts…

Hello Readers,

Not entirely sure where you have all gone, as my dashboard on here says that I haven’t been all that popular of late..strange, as I had some people say that they had visited, unless it was all lies?! At this rate, if I had my funeral soon, I’d be the only attendee!! Please continue to drop in, if only to poke fun at my limited portfolio, however, I enjoy taking the pictures, so I guess that’s the main thing. However, feel free to challenge me, I dare you 🙂

In this “episode”, I visit a number of my usual haunts but find, if I look a little closer, I see a few interesting things, which I hope you will also find interesting in turn. Up at the top of the Aberfforest waterfall, it did me good to lengthen the shutter speed taking this image, as I found a slow little whirlpool off to one side that made a nice effect on the finished image….

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Yes, I was standing in the middle of the river….

Now, this following image doesn’t exactly give the appearance of looking closely, but I thought I’d include it for the fact that it was a nicely framed Spring picture; you will note the wild garlic on the right and up beside the waterfall (yes, you can eat it…but I’d let you go first, however it smells lovely even just stood around it) and catkins on the trees above the water….

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Spring at Aberfforest, the sound of tumbling water and the smell of….garlic

It was when I was buzzed by a little brown bird on getting closer to the falls that I saw it. A nest. Well, a hole of sorts built out of mud tucked in the rocks right next to the rushing water. Brave little thing…it must be pretty deaf as well!

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You can see here how close the Dipper lives to water that would drown it. Very brave

On returning home, I found that this brave little birdy was a Dipper of the european variety, of course. First time I have seen one and it must be so proud of the spot it has, as it’s a doozy. I’ve always considered the water here a bit dirty, but I think that this is proof that this is not the case as birds like this surely wouldn’t be able to feed. Amazing little things too; mostly, they perch on rocks and feed at the edge of the water, but they often also grip the rocks firmly and “walk” down them until submerged. They then search underwater for yummy dipper food; they can also “swim” with their wings like little penguins! Impressive. Oh, just to clarify, I wasn’t able to get a picture of it…waaaaay too fast. I did see the nest is still there this year though, so there’s time.

Along the way on the mossy stumps and debris I found some interesting fungus as well. The waterfall creates a microcosm of sorts, because there is moss, wild garlic and stuff here like you wouldn’t believe and you don’t see elsewhere…

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Feel free to name the fungus….

Closer to home, I was outside checking out the sunset in the evening when I saw some bird muck on the door, which isn’t unusual being near the coast and with seagulls passing overhead regularly…so, I go to wipe it off when I realised with some controlled horror that there is a baby spider disco happening on the door frame!

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Eeeek! Spiders massing against us. Luckily, I scattered this group in time….you’re welcome

Now, I don’t mind spiders, as long as they aren’t big enough to wink at me or anything, but the sight of these little things running off in all directions gave me the heeby jeebies!

My nerves under control, I concentrated on the sunset and have a couple to share with you on the end of this post which I thought were pretty good. The first I included because of my love of contrails and cirrus clouds. Difficult to tell but I think that this is a few contrails (common over us, as we get trans-atlanic planes over us daily) pulled apart by high winds way up above. Whatever, it’s pretty sweet…

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Contrail sunset. I loves it

Lastly, I do like a mixed cloudscape but a mixed cloudscape at sunset when it’s all at the stage it turns red, even better. The clouds lower down look just like mist arriving from the hills, maybe it was, but I can’t remember the weather on this evening. Enjoy.

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My favourite spot for dusks in Summer…because of pictures like this

Well, there we have it for another post. Sorry for the delay, due to unforeseen circumstances, but I hope you all still take the time to visit again soon, look through the archive, let people who love sunsets and nature know of my work even.

Until next time, all the best.

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Further Winter wetness (Part 1)

Hello All

Firstly, had an email a few days back from a lady in Germany asking for a high resolution copy of one of my pictures. Pretty cool…I have gone international. It was an image of Newgale I had taken some months ago and, so it seems, she had stayed in a house that you could see in the picture and wanted to get it printed up in a poster and hang it on her wall as a souvenir. Pretty cool huh? I have asked her to take a snap of the picture “in situ” when it’s printed so I can be satisfied it’s in a good home! See, it’s that easy. Is there a piccy you like on here? Ask for a copy, don’t be shy!

Anyway, on to this post. I’m sat here with a banging headache after another busy day at work (75% sickness) and it’s pouring with rain outside. So, this is Summer. Hmm. Seems, according to the Met Office that this will continue for the next few days, but who knows, we may have a bit of helpful wind that pushes it over London or something. They have been complaining it’s too hot lately…

On the damp theme, seems I took quite a few trips out during the wet winter I spoke of and this post covers my favourite waterfall and a trip to another waterfall that was turned into….well, not a waterfall. You’ll see. Anyhow, off I trotted up to Newport after these windy days, not really taking into account the previous conditions, bar wearing my wellies. Good thing too, I put a foot wrong on the first stile and went into liquid mud, just below the top of one boot! However, along from there on the main path, things got a little…tricky

The forest near Aberfforest after a battering

The forest near Aberfforest after a battering

As you can see, fresh snapped trees. Looks like someone had done some rudimentary clearing with a chainsaw too, thank goodness, but I was still having to steps over broken branches and dodge fallen ivy. As I got to the main part of the falls, I even had to climb over a fallen tree and then limbo under another…not amusing carrying a camera bag and tripod. Mind you, the water shooting along the river bed made for a lovely smooth slow shutter picture….

The air was so still, it made for a lovely smooth picture

The air was so still, it made for a lovely smooth picture

The waterfall itself was a lovely one as well. I have seen the falls in various states over the years, from a trickle in the Summer to a raging Amazonian torrent full of mud in the Winter. On a scale of 1 to 10 for size on this occasion, I’d give this an 8. Mind you, notice the mini falls off the the left? Never seen that before, there must have been LOADS of water for a period and that was the point of least resistance…

Water, water, everywhere!

Water, water, everywhere!

Further down, much the same story. Once again, the stepping stones had been washed out, apart from 2 that looked a bit iffy, so I crossed further up where it was more shallow. As you can see from the foreground and off to the right, more fallen ivy and branches freshly cut.

If they weren't inanimate, I'd feel sorry for those stepping stones!

If they weren’t inanimate, I’d feel sorry for those stepping stones!

Onto a completely new place now, Cenarth. I have been here and posted the odd blog from there as it’s a very picturesque wide falls. The village is also home to the Welsh Coracle Centre; a coracle is a round raft that was used as a form of transport by fisherman in Wales some time ago. Well, suffice to say, the centre wasn’t getting the coracle out today! If you bear in mind that the flat area to the left is a car park usual 10 or so feet higher that the water, you may have an idea how much wet stuff was flying about…

I'm sure I parked my car here.....

I’m sure I parked my car here…..

To try to give an impression of the amount of water, I took just a simple automatic image across to the Coracle Centre. This is usually low and calm enough to set a raft made from wood and leather on…hmmmm

Coracle ride anyone? No?

Coracle ride anyone? No?

This image is pointing up stream. Just a fast river? Well, yes, but that area on the left is actually the main footpath! I considered that ropes and waders would be ideal for this route for the time I was there…

I was on a platform above the water taking this, don't worry...

I was on a platform above the water taking this, don’t worry…

A teeny bit downstream now, this image was taken from the very wet car park. I must admit to have a wry smile on my face though, as this area is own privately by a local gent who charges (way too much) for a space there and you could see him, very boot faced, watching all of his gravel being washed away! I dare say he hasn’t replaced or repaired any of it but charges the same. Anyway, this is of the picnic area…the rocks aren’t usually surrounded by water and it’s possible to sit on them and have a sarnie. Not today!

The power of water can be quite sobering...

The power of water can be quite sobering…

The amount of water coming downstream into the village even made some local residents get their spades out to protect their property, here you can see a rudimentary dam..

“Dam” that river, it’s a real pain.

Well, there’s part 1. Yes, there will be a part 2. If I can find the relevant news story on the BBC, I will post a link to it on the next blog, as I will be posting the flooding of Newgale, where the sea wall was breached and a bus was washed off the road! Great excitement. Stay tuned…

Thanks for dropping in and remember, like a picture? Post a comment, I reply to every one and it doesn’t cost you a penny! Bargain. See you soon.

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Returning…with past Winter wetness

Hello!

Firstly, a very big thanks to those who have stuck with this site and have returned on occasion to drop in and view my pages. I very much appreciate. Essentially, I find myself here again after being brow beaten by a certain girlfriend who says I should try to advertise my talent. No, not really but she did persuade me to come back on here after seeing some pictures I took recently in Manchester on a weekend away.

I kind of agree and the blogs I haven’t posted have put me a little behind my usual 12 months behind, so you will excuse the Christmas themed image nearer the end! But it does have a cute animal in it…

Anyway, I shan’t pitter patter on but lunge straight into the meat of the blog. This update and those after it for a few weeks (yes, I plan to continue) consists of some images that I took during the winter of 2013/14 when we had pretty much 6 straight weeks of rain in this area of the world. If you had a leaky shoes, by the time the rain was done, you were wishing you had stilts as it was thoroughly miserable for all…driving, walking, riding, working…everything was a bind.

This first blog is based around some time at the very beginning of this period and has me taking pictures of a couple of my fave things. In this first instance, a lovely jumbly storm coming towards the house….

A forming storm hits its upper limit and starts to spread out, with a touch of mammatus

A forming storm hits its upper limit and starts to spread out, with a touch of mammatus

What do storms make? Rain! Yes, indeed…little did I know there was going to be a ton of it in the next few weeks. But, close to me is the little hamlet of Port Lion (I say hamlet, there are 2 houses…yes, 2) and there’s that lovely stream on there I have featured here before. A quick shower and this gets a significant amount of run off from the local fields so off I trotted…

That oak leaf was there by chance, honest!

That oak leaf was there by chance, honest!

The rain and the time of year had conspired to make things a bit messy but I think that the leaves, sticks and like add to the images quite well. I went for a walk down there recently to show Sarah the local haunts and I shocked to see that over last Winter the high winds here had not treated the wood well and absent minded locals, who didn’t want to take the broken trees away for disposal, had blocked the stream and scattered the who areas with dead foliage. I suspect this site might come off the lists for taking pictures for a bit.

The slow shutter speed and bubbles made a nice white "road" of water here

The slow shutter speed and bubbles made a nice white “road” of water here

The storms kept coming, small ones though. Always they were well highlighted with blue sky or sun and you could see the structures of occasional mammatus clouds or virga in them….

Another squall heads in.....

Another squall heads in…..

This one is a doozy…look at it! If you were even a commercial airliner pilot, one look at this brute is a bit alarming. Never underestimate Mother Nature is the rule. On occasion, these storms chucked a bit of hail at us as well. Nothing anywhere near US standards but it sounded bad enough! In fact one image I took of similar hail was included in the recent Weathernet calendar….

Yikes! Where's that bus shelter again?

Yikes! Where’s that bus shelter again?

Now on to more cute and furry things…Mischief! Yes, he is still mischievous. Here he is guarding the Christmas presents the other year. For some reason, he has a thing about the Christmas tree box (it’s an artificial tree which is partially decorated). This thing involves him spending an inordinate amount of time staking it out as he is too portly to climb it, as well as always climbing on the box to ride up and down the stairs to the cupboard where it is stored. This happens without fail. If he is nearby all you need to is tap the box and he’s there, riding along. Strange animal…

"You shall not pass..."

“You shall not pass…”

Whilst sheltering inside from these sharp showers we were getting that would eventually just become long expanses of persistent rain, there was the occasional glimmer of sunshine that created a lovely natural wonder….

Everyone loves a rainbow

Everyone loves a rainbow

However, around the corner there was always more! Some nice anvils and virga in the distance in this shot I thought. Judging by the position of the sun, this was before I went to work one morning…

A dramatic morning of squalls again, it seems. Where are my boots?

A dramatic morning of squalls again, it seems. Where are my boots?

Well, there we are. My return to the blog writing arena. Maybe as well as my ramblings about the pictures, there might be ramblings in general about politics and current affairs? Probably not…some things are best left in my head!

Thanks for dropping in…keep this frequency clear, more to come.

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Oh, the cobbles!

Hello All,

Welcome to my second post of wandering the streets of Bruges. For those who are wondering just how many pictures of a mild architectural theme I am going to post, I will be posting a further wander out by the city gates, then onward to Brussels and the splendid city sights there. In the next few weeks, I will also be posting some very historically relevant images as, when I was in this area, I thought it only right to visit the First World War battlefields of this area; that might be a big post to be honest, the scale of some of the places we went in our little minibus is truly staggering.

However, in the meantime, I continue to explore Bruges. I was thinking back and essentially, I think I approached my daily jaunt in a grid fashion. I recall that the map of the old city area was quite rectangular, so these images are from the top of there, but just short of the old city gates, which will feature soon with their gorgeous windmills and canals.

It’s interesting to look up when you walk around a new place isn’t it? This is especially valid in a modern city, but there is the odd surprise when you walk around medieval cities too! Just glancing up as I walked towards the large park at the end of the map, I saw this chimney. It also gave me a rest from looking at cobbles. I sure I get a nervous twitch when I see them now….

Is the rod pushing it out or pulling it in?

Is the rod pushing it out or pulling it in?

Just along from here, there was a highlighted street on the map referring to the poor houses of Bruges. These were scattered around the city but there was a concentration of them here. I think what the map meant was what in the UK we would refer to as “almshouses” (building donated by churches to the poor, elderly and distressed in the medieval period) as they certainly didn’t look like work houses or anything like that. In fact, they were extremely handsome buildings I wouldn’t have an issue with having to live in myself.

As far as I could gather, these were still occupied, well looked after and I dare say the residents were sick to the back teeth of tourists like me walking into their front garden!

Almshouses in Bruges; very small, very white, not very private

Almshouses in Bruges; very small, very white, not very private

Moving not so far away from here, this charming bridge lead to a monastery which is still in use today also. it was quite strange to see monks driving around in modern cars to be honest but they wouldn’t let people take pictures so I can’t share the joke with you I’m afraid. However, the fact that this sign was in about a dozen languages and had a very obvious image on it requesting no pictures didn’t stop some people. How very rude. Gets my goat that does. As you can see, the canal is getting wider, mainly as this seemed to be a turning area for the boat rides.

A view along the end of the canal to a working monastery

A view along the end of the canal to a working monastery

Close to the gates was this building. If anyone can tell me what it is, please do. I am 100% sure that it was used for storage and the hooded doors halfway up on the right hand side suggest this is the case, as there would be a rope on a pulley to lift the products up to the main body of the building. If there is an explanatory plaque somewhere I usually take a picture but on this occasion I obviously forgot. It may have been because the shot took me an age to take as I had to wait for tens people to move through the frame! I seem to recall that it may have been connected to the windmills but apologies for the woolly explanation!

However, even though I can’t remember what it was, this was quickly one of my fave places to come and eat a baguette or bring a coffee. The building, the bridge and the tree were easy on the eye and on occasion the ducks and swans from down the way popped in for crumbs. Yes, I am that easily pleased.

A very impressive cylindrical corn store (I think)

A very impressive cylindrical corn store (I think)

Back to the city, I decided to do a little more looking up and, not so far from the square and the canal junction, I found this gorgeous facade of an old chapel. Now, I am not a religious man, but that it pretty awesome isn’t it? I stood and wondered if that was real gold leaf. Due to wind rain and all that, I suspect not now but in the flesh it was very impressive, less so by the medium of digital photograph, but still. Wow.

On entering the door below, I was disappointed to find that it was no longer chapel with an atmosphere full of reverence and silence. It was a beer and chocolate shop. Sigh.

This rates as the most impressive shop front I have ever seen.....

This rates as the most impressive shop front I have ever seen…..

I promised night pictures didn’t I? I seem to remember I did so here we are. Only a couple on this occasion as, on this walk I forgot my tripod and then it started to rain so I didn’t spend too much time out before going to my favourite restaurant (that, coincidentally sold 400 different type of beer). I took some better, more stable images later on, so I shall include those as well when I get to them.

These images are just in the main square (Markt) not so far from the hotel and the building in this, is the town hall that housed the large museum showing the history of the city.

The Markt at night

The Markt at night

Now this one I am quite proud of. Why? As I managed to take a time exposure of a car passing by….by hand. Indeed. Yes, well, I was leaning on a bench but it came out pretty well, so I shall congratulate myself, as it’s very painful tensing muscles to hold still for this long. Mental note to self and those who wish to embark on night photography, remember to take your tripod with you!

Wobble wobble, a handheld light trail in the Markt just as the rain came

Wobble wobble, a handheld light trail in the Markt just as the rain came

Well, that is the lot for this trip around Bruges. I am finding it quite hard to condense all the gorgeous building and sights into 5 or 6 images and a few posts, so apologies for that but bear with me. as I say, a few more of my (more stable) night shots, Brussels and the trip out to the Flanders war graves to come, so keep tuned and thanks to the recent new followers. Much appreciated.

See you all soon.

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A mysterious red rock

Hello All,

Well, well, well. I do some of my viewers who came along last week keep coming back. It seems a few days back I got a massive 54 in one day. I suspect it’s my Dad and a good friend in Plymouth using different computers and visiting to boost my ego, but thanks!

I did recently go out in the inclement weather to take a few pictures, but I’m not posting them as yet as the tinterweb is saturated with them and it would be in bad taste following the injuries sustained by people doing it in a foolhardy manner.

You may have seen my favourite beach on the national BBC news, Newgale, as the shingle (well, large pebble) breakwater to the beach which is directly next to the road to St Davids was washed wholesale inland and covered the road to a depth of a few feet. This subsequently let all the water from the stupendous high tides through and flooded one of my favourite coffee shops, dagnammit. If anyone wants these posted, let me know and I’m happy to do so, just pop me a comment. I also have images from Cenarth where the river was a record level flooding the car-park which is usually a good 6 to 10 foot above the water!

But, on to this weeks images and the first one, which inspired the weird title which you see below….

Red? This is not a sandstone red either...it was BRIGHT red

Red? This is not a sandstone red either…it was BRIGHT red

If anyone can account for a moss-covered rock which is this red, I’d love to hear it. I say moss-covered as I have removed from the equation that this may be due to chemical in the water from the fields in the Preseli Hills as some may think as surely moss would not settle. I did this by the time-honoured prodding and scraping of the surface and nowt came off. If anyone reckons it’s expensive, I shall return…..with a hammer.

I am quite proud of a few of the pictures in this entry as I manage to have nailed the use of the shutter and polarizer very well with some of the water shots, not least this one….

Makes for a relaxing wallpaper doesn't it? Don't nick it though, I can send you the higher res version if you want!

Makes for a relaxing wallpaper doesn’t it? Don’t nick it though, I can send you the higher res version if you want!

Bear in mind the water at the extreme right of the image is at least 6 inches deep and you can still see the rocks on the bottom, there’s some skills there I think (I have one two awards you know). A nice scattering of foliage adds to the hues as well.

Now this isn’t a macro, just a zoomed shot but I think it should be entitled “The Silver Curtain” as it looks just like that to me. Again, using a polarizer to cut down reflections and such, you can see the water behind the water and the reflection from the rock isn’t too bad…..

This a little mini waterfall; you can just see the main body in the upper left

This a little mini waterfall; you can just see the main body in the upper left

I was spoilt for choice of which of the two I had taken in a similar place to post but I decided on this one. Pretty good eh? The sun shone through the trees just at the right time to put rays right into the water which were exaggerated by the longer exposure time I had set; makes for a quite ethereal image…..

Sunrays and water, what a nice combo. Alas, I haven't seen many of the form lately

Sunrays and water, what a nice combo. Alas, I haven’t seen many of the form lately

As ever, if anyone wants the originals of these pictures, please feel free to ask and I am happy to send them however you want them.

Now the last image, which isn’t as nice as all the others I admit, but is here as a reference point for some more recent pictures I shot after the storm. Basically all the stepping stones you see here have either been washed downstream or toppled over!

All those block probably add up to the weight of a small car and they don't look like that anymore. Amazing

All those block probably add up to the weight of a small car and they don’t look like that anymore. Amazing

Never underestimate the power of water. All I will say is that I am glad I don’t live nearby or was anywhere near when the water was that powerful, as those blocks look damn heavy.

Well, that’s your lot for this week as I am back in work tomorrow. Not that I’m complaining, as it’s warmer and drier there than it is outside. Both Dad and I were lamenting earlier of the state of our cars! It will dry out some day.

Cheerio! Thanks for stopping by.

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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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Spring flooding in Pembrokeshire

Hello All,

I shan’t go into why I haven’t been here but I return. The weather’s lovely here, the sun is shining (although not correctly forecast) for the umpteenth time. I’m on a long weekend so I thought I would post a few pictures of one of my more interesting forays before I go out for a spin in the car.

I say interesting, as there is a scientific twang to some of the pictures, although I did manage to get my usual arty spin on even those! First, I shall start off with the nicer pictures…unusually by the way, this post covers a few areas I went to over the space of a week or so so excuse the skipping around.

One of my favourite haunts again. I know….booooring. However, as it had been very wet over the Winter/Spring, the showing of wild garlic was pretty massive. In fact, as you can see, where there wasn’t a path, there was wild garlic. All you have to do was brush against and you had wafts of garlic. It was very nice. I can only presume the smell was stronger as the flowers had died off and the bulbs were storing more energy to over winter. Or something.

Wild Garlic! Breathe deeply enough and you will suddenly speak with a ridiculous French accent

Wild Garlic! Breathe deeply enough and you will suddenly speak with a ridiculous French accent

As it had been so damp of late and this area is quite densely covered with a tree canopy, the logs that are around had quite considerable fungi growth on them, like this little chap. Funny, as I saw it and the colour, I thought if you picked it off and ate it, it would taste nutty. Weird….some subconcious link between brown and nuts?

By the way, with wild garlic and this kind of fungi, please don’t pick or eat. I’m sure you can if you know what you are doing but I’d personally steer clear!

Mmmm...nutty. Or the causes of much illness...not sure which

Mmmm…nutty. Or the causes of much illness…not sure which

Now on to the arty stuff. There’s my favourite waterfall, I had my circular polarizer in my pocket and a full battery so it seemed rude not to take a slow shutter shot. Actually, this gave me quite a headache. The sun kept coming out and going in, so most of the images I took were a bit screwed up as the settings were all wrong, so this is the best of a bad bunch. I was glad the stones showed up under the water though.

The waterfall that is a constant draw for me and a bit more wild garlic in the lower right

The waterfall that is a constant draw for me and a bit more wild garlic in the lower right

Now to the science kind of bit. As I mentioned before, there had been some considerable rain the few weeks before, pretty heavy too, the kind that creates a mist 6 inches above anything it hits. I think some areas of soil and such had pretty much waved a white flag! Upstream from the main waterfall, some trees had fallen and partly blocked the watercourse….

A natural dam just upstream from where I take all my pictures. Some pretty big logs there

A natural dam just upstream from where I take all my pictures. Some pretty big logs there

A little downstream, the stepping-stones had been undermined and were now all hickledy-pickledy. Luckily for me, I came prepared and had my wellies 🙂

If someone was going to walk across, I would have videoed them to post it on Youtube labelled FAIL!

If someone was going to walk across, I would have videoed them to post it on Youtube labelled FAIL!

Even further down, the beach that joins up with the Coastal Path had a fair portion of bank that had become exposed and was showing off its underwear for all to see. How rude! Nice slate, though.

The bank looks very soft, so hardly surprising that it had given up

The bank looks very soft, so hardly surprising that it had given up

In another place I often frequent, just along from Wolfscastle, there had been a very impressive bursting the banks of the little river there. You can see the normal course and the almost doubling of the width during the height of the flood. Impressive.

Looks horrible here but I went there the other week and no harm done. The nettles are as tall as me and a small nomadic tribe have taken up residence (the last bit's a lie by the way)

Looks horrible here but I went there the other week and no harm done. The nettles are as tall as me and a small nomadic tribe have taken up residence (the last bit’s a lie by the way)

Why, I ask myself, wasn’t I here to take some pictures when it was flooding? Oh well…maybe I don’t like getting wet. The way things are going with our Summers, it won’t be long until I get another chance! I shan’t go preaching about global warming or all that rubbish; my personal opinion is that we are such an insignificant spot on the planet that most of these things would happen in some form or other anyway, it’s just nobody would be recording them. Ooooh…political.

I shall leave you on that note, please feel free to put me “right ” (i.e give your opinion too) in the comments if you feel you want to. See you soon!

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Some beach shots whilst the weather warms up..

Hello all,

Sorry for the gap of late and the lazy posting of videos instead, but it’s been blooming horrible here of late and, to be honest, I haven’t felt 100%. However, it’s a grey day and I can’t take any snaps at all, so here I am with a few more pictures from my current card (which is taking FOREVER to fill up).

First image is from a beach which is not my usual trip; this is Broadhaven. I went here thinking the weather would clear up and I could experiment like I did in Newport with a few images of the tide coming in. There is one as the next image but, as you can see, the sun stayed stubbornly behind clouds making things look almost monochrome! That and wind, I didn’t want to stay around too long.

Broadhaven..so far away from habitation that it truly appears black and white no matter what!

Broadhaven..so far away from habitation that it truly appears black and white no matter what!

Here is that image with the incoming tide. Amazing what you can try when you have a pair of wellies on. Mind you, you still need to be aware of the tides as you can concentrate in one direction whilst your “escape route” rapidly disappears under a good few inches of water. It’s not happened….yet.

Oooh, letter-box landscapes. How fashionable of me

Oooh, letter-box landscapes. How fashionable of me

Next is me going back to what I know. Newgale! Well, what do you expect? I’ve hardly seen the sun to take any nice landscapes at all this year. In fact for the next post, I may have to put on some historical images as there have been so few new opportunities of late. Either that or go on a long trip to undertake a specific project. we shall see.

Some nice pastel colours and the tide creeping in under the sand made for a nice capture I thought

Some nice pastel colours and the tide creeping in under the sand made for a nice capture I thought

Still at Newgale this was a few days later. It was quite a funny occurrence actually as I was there by chance but it would appear that local photographers had been keeping a beady eye on the weather and decided, out of sight, to converge on pretty much the same place I was standing. So, as I shuffled about to change angles and so on, I looked around to see a handful of other people watching exactly the same scene as me…seems that people really do stop to watch the sunset! Hope you like the result.

One of the very few recent winter sunsets over Newgale and the Islands

One of the very few recent winter sunsets over Newgale and the Islands

That’s all for now. I have a fun weekend planned as I’m having to deep clean the fishtank after a bloom of algae that killed a good few of the inhabitants. Wish me luck. See you all soon.

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Carew Castle and Tide Mill

Hello,

Firstly, sorry for the delay. I had a friend down from Scotland last weekend, so this went on the back burner, but all is back to normal now, so I thought I’d continue through my card and post a few pictures of my wanders. This time, it shows Carew Castle and Tide Mill.

Tide Mill? What’s that? The clue is in the name, it was a mill that ground flour using the power of the tides and stored tidal water. Now long since closed, it is a seasonal museum and a walk for locals that wish to brave the weather the rest of the time. On the occasion I visited, the tide was quite high or at least coming in fairly quickly as you will see. To get to the mill, you need to first go past the Castle.

Carew Castle; it is even imposing now as a ruin

Carew Castle; it is even imposing now as a ruin

According to Mr Wikipedia, a site of military use has existed here for at least 2000 years but the castle we see in the pictures dates from around 1100 AD and was occupied until the late 1600s when it was abandoned and taken on for restoration in the late 1980s; it’s now run as a visitor attraction by the Park Authority.

I'd like to say I was thinking of adding some winter foliage, but it was just a knackered old tree with some red berries on!

I’d like to say I was thinking of adding some winter foliage, but it was just a knackered old tree with some red berries on!

The mill is quite unique, one of only four intact in the UK and the only intact one in Wales. As I said, the day I was here, the tide was quite high and apparently when full, the 22 acres of the tidal pond provide a significant amount of power; this all just drains away now and under some pressure judging by my images!

Such a shame that all this power in the water goes to waste. Funny how things come full circle though isn't it, this kind of power is very fashionable now

Such a shame that all this power in the water goes to waste. Funny how things come full circle though isn’t it, this kind of power is very fashionable now

Once at the mill, the path follows up to a small bridge which now carries a single track road, although I couldn’t get there and take a different aspect of the castle, as it had been flooded and I was wearing trainers! Never mind.

From the flood gate and draining away into the Cleddau Estuary...think of the bread all that water could have made

From the flood gate and draining away into the Cleddau Estuary…think of the bread all that water could have made

As an aside, some of you may be interested in a ghost story about this place;

In the 17th century the castle’s lord, Sir Roland Rees, a former pirate captain, is alleged to have kept a Barbary Ape, most likely a mandrill, inside the castle. Rees had acquired the creature on one of his many voyages. Rees was a very ill-tempered and mannered individual, and would host banquets at the castle just to shout insults and laugh at his guests. The ape, whom he named Satan, would mimic him and laugh at the guests too.

One stormy night, when there was strong wind and rain, the ape grew restless while Rees drank heavily in the dining hall. There was a knock at the door and a tradesman appeared to deliver his rent, but had only half the money needed. Rees was already upset at the man because he did not approve of his son’s relationship with the man’s daughter. In a drunken rage, Rees loosened the ape’s chains and goaded it to maul the tradesman close to death. The tradesman escaped but, weak through loss of blood and struggling to make his way out, collapsed in semi-consciousness.

The tradesman was rescued by a benevolent servant who tended to his wounds and hid him away in his quarters, intending to let him go when the violent storm passed. As the two men talked a violent cry and mad laughter was heard coming from the dining hall. They rushed to the scene to find Sir Rees dead on the floor, his throat gashed open, and the ape burning in the fireplace. The ghosts of the ape and its master are said to haunt the castle to this day. Footsteps are reported regularly, objects throw themselves, and the mad cackling laughter of an ape echoes through the halls.

Oooooh, spooky! Just to say that I have visited inside and I haven’t heard any mad apes, so don’t let this put you off if you fancy dropping in! Next post in a week or so as per normal.

Thanks for stopping by.

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