Posts Tagged summer

Some Summer colour in the hills

Whatto!

Well, well, hasn’t it been a busy last few weeks? I hope that you are all well and enjoying the warmer and drier weather. In sunny West Wales the office has been stifling most days but now it’s cooled after some well deserved rain and everything plant wise has received a turbo boost; my girlfriends mother remarked that there was a rogue patch of grass near her summer-house that seemed to grow almost visibly every time she steps over it!

It’s been busy, as I said, so the blog has been on the back burner of late; essentially work is the usual unresolved stress and strain (to remain unspecified) and there have been a few small disasters in the household that have needed me to prioritise. The most long-term of these is the fact that I, by mistake, pretty much destroyed my fish tank that has taken me a number of years to stock to a self-sustaining level.

Thinking I was being a good and responsible owner, I decided to medicate the tank due to seeing a few fish with finrot, a not-so-serious fungus that can be dealt with via a tonic directly into the water. So, in the spirit of “read the directions, even if you don’t follow them” I did all that was asked of me and expected happy fishies. Not so. After the removal of a portion of my filter to allow the tonic to circulate, I came back home and replaced it early, as I would be away for a few days. Said few days elapsed and I came back to an aquatic version of nuclear ground zero…after queries with local pet stores I found that in my haste I had neglected to rinse the parts of the filter I was replacing and, in sitting out of the tank, they had become toxic. In adding them, I basically pumped toxic goo all over the inside of the tank and killed all but one plant and a good 50% of my fish. For the last couple of weeks, I have been scrubbing (literally) and allowing what is left in the tank to rest and recuperate before reintroducing some plants hopefully in the very near future and fish in the medium term. So, onward and upwards there then…

On to the pictures, this is after all why you are here isn’t it? Continuing with the summer theme from last time, I shall start off the pictures with this little guy, supping away at the flowers…a rhodedendron, perhaps? I don’t have green fingers!

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Now, the main cut of the post, a walk along the forestry paths into one of my favourite places, the old Rosebush quarry. As a place, this village did not exist until the slate was quarried in the early nineteenth century and it is rumoured that this was one of the first places in rural south Wales to have piped water, which was sent to the quarry workers cottages. The cottages, although modernised, are still lived in today.

Now, although it looks it, this next picture was not staged, I found this rusty old bit of metal on a stump after the clearance of the trees for timber. I suspect, since researching the area, it may be a piece of something to do with the railway built in the 1870s that facilitated the movement of the slate out of the village to Clynderwen, then on to Narberth and towards Swansea and Cardiff. If you walk and look nearby, or even drive the roads going past, you’ll see parts of leftover bridges, as well as tracks and such making fence stays.

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Deeper in the quarry, you find “The Blue Pool”. Well, it looks blue in certain lights and is as clear as a bell. In this picture, it was a bit windy and cloudy, so it’s not at its best, but you get the idea. However, as a safety conscious bod, I must say that pools like this, although they look nice, are full of hidden dangers…that water is probably freezing and who knows what chemicals are waiting the dirt at the bottom? The only certainty is that you never see any aquatic life in there, bar the odd plant or bit of algae. There must be a reason for that…

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Also, as I saw on this day, the surrounding quarry isn’t all that safe either, as this recent rock slip testifies. That slate is sharp too, just pick a piece up and look. On other days, this Summer in fact, I have seen teens climbing up these cliffs to throw things in to the water. Quick route to a Darwin Award in my eyes…

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Additionally, there is what I refer to as “The Lost World” nearby. This is basically just a hole in the quarry, whether it was a fall or a hole sunk  on purpose, I am not sure but it’s scary feet deep. I wouldn’t even like to guess. I often look over the lip and think to myself what special species of plants and such lie in there, undisturbed, other than by the weather? Probably a few mobile phones too!

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Anyway, I’m a predictable soul, so I’m ending on skyscapes and clouds for your viewing pleasure. In my opinion, not enough people look at sunsets. Schools should teach children about them and the gorgeous colours and what weather you can see or even predict if you are lucky enough. For example, in this gorgeous pinky red (usually about 20-30 minutes after sunset time), you can see both a gravity wave effect on the clouds (the horizontal lines on the clouds mid left) and the remnants of a sun pillar, which is formed when ice crystals hover in the light above the sun in cold air…

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You’re welcome. This other picture, although I chose it predominantly for the colours and the slight pollen corona around the sun just below the horizon, also has gravity waves in it. They are quite common. Next time it’s a bit clearer and you have high, thin clouds above you, take a look, it doesn’t hurt.

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Now you are all scientists. Well done! Maybe next time there will be another lesson? Until then, keep safe and don’t go investigating that hole in Rosebush! It’s dangerous!

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More cheering up!

Hello All,

Thanks for dropping in again, much appreciated…seems I have a few regular fans (got some comments of late too) and for that I’m very thankful. It makes me want to come back and write more. I surpassed 100 posts the other day, so thanks for sticking with me.

Apologies for the gap again, I was away last week, but here I am back again. As the weather, it looked as though things were slowing up and settling down the other day but as I sit here, the house seems to rattle! I have never heard the wind whistle quite so much over a short period of time. This in mins, I decide to break out a nice cloudscape set with a lovely pink crepuscular ray finish. For those who don’t know what a crepuscular ray is a) where have you been, I’ve explained it before and b) you don’t know what you have been missing.

The pictures are all once again taken within a day, the first when I was out on my ex-bike (it’s been superceded by something a lot faster which means I have to wear lycra to increase the top speed…or something) last Summer.

A typical summer shot across the fields; it looks dark as I used a polarizer

A typical summer shot across the fields; it looks dark as I used a polarizer

Not a usual framing technique for this image but it was what was presented to me at the time and I think it worked quite well. May if I cropped out the tree branch it could have looked a little better, but you all know that I hate changing pictures for the sake of it looking good. Probably why this isn’t my job!

Windswept cirrus up high and some cumulus hiding the sun, nice picture!

Windswept cirrus up high and some cumulus hiding the sun, nice picture!

This is from one of my fave spots just down the road, a little later on in the day when things had started to cloud over properly and there was a rash of “popcorn” clouds (that is a term used in weather forecasting, if you don’t believe me, Google it!). You can see them creeping across in the middle of the image….

More very high cirrus here, a recurrent theme until later in the evening

More very high cirrus here, a recurrent theme until later in the evening

The popcorn is multiplying now! No matter, there are some lovely colours being cast by the shadows and such down by the treeline. I hear some people say a good sunset is a clear evening but to me that just boooooring. I much prefer these as there’s some substance, as well as often a myriad of colour and depth to what you see….

Pesky popcorn. But at this time of the day, it adds to the scene in my opinion

Pesky popcorn. But at this time of the day, it adds to the scene in my opinion

Another portrait image now, don’t do these too often as they are a pain to post. This concentrates on the popcorn clouds but also I got the exposure just right to ensure I had the colour in the clouds as well as the golden colours of the crops I was standing in. For those of the farming fraternity, I used the tractor tracks to get in, don’t worry, no trampling here!

Similar to the earlier image but rotated to get a bit more context in

Similar to the earlier image but rotated to get a bit more context in

And here we are, the best shot of the evening by far even though I took a good 20 or 30. This one is especially for one of my biggest fans who loves a good colourful sunset, she knows who she is and I hope it is enjoyed 🙂

This image is best seen BIG to enjoy it (left click). Or I can always send you the original if you fancy? Feel free to ask!

This image is best seen BIG to enjoy it (left click). Or I can always send you the original if you fancy? Feel free to ask!

One day the sun will return to this county, I’m sure of it! By this time of year, I’m usually out with the camera taking images of sunsets that interfere with dinner time. I know because I always used to be rushing around before or  after. This year, hardly a thing. There have been a few interesting clouds but I can only count the number of images this year in say the twenties or maybe thirties, which is probably what I’d take in one evening of a nice sunset.

Those of you who wish to grizzle about global warming, do so amongst yourselves, as I’m not a believer!

Well, on to the next subject for the next lot of pictures, I’m sure there will be something of interest for you as I remember I have a few optics and unusual clouds after the weather broke to show you, maybe even a towering cumulus or two if you are lucky. Keep stopping by, thanks again for the comments and suggestions, however I get them.

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Some sunny stuff to cheer us up!

Hello All,

I hope that everyone is well. Seems the rain is still continuing here in the UK; as I know that there are some people who visit from abroad, I shan’t presume that you know this. If you are and your country is quite dry, please feel free to have some of our rain, we have too much!! The thing is, though we expect it this time of year, this isn’t “normal” rain as such, this is driving horizontal stuff in great bucket-loads that soaks you in a split second. Well, let’s hope we have a decent Spring and Summer…although I doubt it.

Well, I hope that the pictures, simple as they are, cheer people up. I have quite a few coming from the garden when everything was a lot greener so I hope you look forward to those too. First, the Mischief was caught doing some “gardening”…..

If anyone is worried whether the pigeon was killed, don't worry, he's nowhere near that fast

If anyone is worried whether the pigeon was killed, don’t worry, he’s nowhere near that fast

Poor little beggar is really not getting on with this wet weather. Dad even thinks he is depressed in a feline way as he is off his food, refuses to go out unless it’s for important tasks and such. Can’t blame him, we get fed up getting wet and blown sideways and he can’t wear a waterproof and weighs much less!

Next up is a nice cloudscape from the back garden during Summer. Not just clouds though, look a little closer in the middle left……

Like I keep saying, it does you good to look up once in a while on days like this

Like I keep saying, it does you good to look up once in a while on days like this

On my travels on the new bike, although I have a feeling this far back, this was the old bike, I had a good few pictures of the local fields as they became nice and colourful too. In this image, some colour, some cirrus and, in the middle, the Moon….

Some ripening crops on the edge of a village called Rosebush. No, I haven't got pictures of any roses

Some ripening crops on the edge of a village called Rosebush. No, I haven’t got pictures of any roses

Those of you who worry about my safety will be pleased to hear that I have got a new, fancier bike and am currently zipping all over on it. Got some proper muscle building going on I reckon. I took a ride to Haverfordwest on the cycle path the last weekend to buy a helmet and a lock…nearly didn’t get there on a fast bit but it’s all good. Would have been ironic to crash on the way to buying safety gear really. Done a few long rides (20 miles or so) around the local area when it’s been decent conditions so maybe this Summer, I will discover more lovely landscapes.

Moving onto some good stock stuff now, a good load of high coloured cloud with the grassy bank acting as a foreground in the field not so far from the end of the garden…..

Ooooooh, very arty. I think I could frame this one once I sharpen it

Ooooooh, very arty. I think I could frame this one once I sharpen it

And lastly, yup, more colourful clouds. Judging by the fact that these have no border or foreground, I suspect it was as I rode or walked back after the previous picture and glanced up! Sorry about that….

Real colours as ever, hence the darkening in the corners as the lens struggles to cope with the light...nice, even though that happened

Real colours as ever, hence the darkening in the corners as the lens struggles to cope with the light…nice, even though that happened

Apologies for the lack of in depth subject matter this week, I promise to have some things with a little more interest attached to them next time. Looks like the rain is stopping here now, I might be able to get out on the bike again. Sweeeeeeet.

Well, until next time and with all hopes that I’m not run over on the road (even though I wear a bright orange jacket, this has nearly happened more than once) have a good week. Here’s hoping for dry weather!

Take care and thanks for dropping in!

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Happy New Year

Hello everyone

Happy New Year 2014 to you all. It’s all been a bit mad here so apologies for the delay and what will probably turn out to be quite a short post this time. As ever I am working through the cards I’ve downloaded, which aren’t in any particular order….so I’m still working on Summer 🙂 

To give you an idea of whats coming up, it would appear that I had a few runs out so there is a trip to Blackpool Mill, my favourite waterfall (which I really must visit again sometime with all this rain we have been having), some flowers, loooovely cirrus, a few storms and such. There will also be a star appearance by the only feline in my life, Mischief the cat, who decided to be very photogenic this Summer as he loves the sun.

Firstly, back to Summer and away from this blooming awful weather. It was a very good season for optics in the form of sundogs, arcs and some lovely high clouds. Don’t ask me why, as I am no expert apart from a little knowledge about refracted light in ice way up high; but they look pretty.

Some good strong colours of this arc mixed in with clouds here, very nice

Some good strong colours of this arc mixed in with clouds here, very nice

Next up is the rumble through the hedgerows I seem to do on occasions; in this instance, I found a very handsome bunch of thistle family flowers in the sun. Seems the bees have busy on these as you can see traces of pollen here and there over the flowers which I picked up pretty well I thought. Ironically growing in Wales, this is the national emblem for Scotland. I suppose I should have sought out some daffodils or leeks instead! Bit of a rotter this plant, grows all over and no particular use that I’m aware of apart from being quite well defended by umpteen prickles.

Looks nice, but squint and look at the stem covered in spikes!

Looks nice, but squint and look at the stem covered in spikes!

Thankfully the next subject stayed still long enough for me to get a good shot with it (mainly) in focus. A hoverfly. With a passing resemblance to a wasp or bee, this poor little thing gets batted away by many people at barbecues during the Summer, but is actually very useful and eats aphids and such by the shedload. Hooray! Ask anyone who likes roses, aphids = bad medicine. Shame the sun wasn’t directly on the flower for this picture but hey, that’s life.

Not sure of the flower, but just managed to snap this hoverfly resting before it nipped off. Busy bee!

Not sure of the flower, but just managed to snap this hoverfly resting before it nipped off. Busy bee!

Next I’m branching off to the local Summer animal inhabitants around me. Most Summers we get a small collection of cows in the fields behind us, although this Winter we currently have some very hardy (and extremely wet/windblown) Welsh ponies. There always seems to be a leader in the group of whatever is around and this black cow is one of those examples. As I took the pictures, it was striding up to me with no problems whatsoever, so he got a tickle on the nose and a handful of nice grass from the other side of the gate.

"Oi! Get out my blooming field, weird two-legged cow. Oh, you have grass, that's fine"

“Oi! Get out my blooming field, weird two-legged cow. Oh, you have grass, that’s fine”

Well, here he is. Mischief. So named because, frankly, he is just that. he causes no end of headaches with his demanding nature when it comes to meals and has an annoying habit of rushing off (running slightly sideways as he always does) and creating chaos in the living room when he doesn’t get his way. Mind you, I’m not sure the house could be without a cat as they do inject a certain something to the environment. More of him to come…..

One of the few moments of not running around like a nutcase that Mischief does, once the sun is out.

One of the few moments of not running around like a nutcase that Mischief does, once the sun is out.

At the moment, he is bored stiff. Even though he looks like  a bit of a moggy bruiser here, he hates wind and rain so most days of late he is having a good kip on a bed or the top of my fish tank. Well, why not, it beats working I suppose.

Well that’s that for the first post of the year. Hope you enjoy, thanks for dropping in and keep tuned for the next load in the future. Happy hangovers!

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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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