Friday, 30 September 2011

Heavy metal

Today's picture is the third in my short series of texture images where I have been looking at shapes and contours. This interesting interaction of concrete and steel used to be a patented farm hand roller sold under the name of Samson. The toughness comes from the steel cladding and the weight from the concrete interior.

Time and tide have conspired against the steel and left us with this crunchy view of the interface

Coming soon: We relax with a nice cup of tea.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Brick Works

This striking brickwork comes from a restored corner of the thirteenth century Greyfriars Priory on the hill at Dunwich. Most of the town has been lost to the sea (along with many on the East Anglian coast) and Dunwich was a large and prosperous port at one time. 

Very little remains now, the ruins of the Priory comprise an odd mixture of brick, stone and flint.

I rather like the texture of these curiously flat bricks in the Autumn sun.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Farm Chain

This is the first of a short series of texture pictures.

This old, hard worked farm chain hides in a pile in the corner of the barn. Chains are only used on farms when baling twine or wire doesn't work: 

True, chains are strong, but they are also heavy and no-one wants to drag a chain across the yard to save a situation* when a load of string might work instead.

This image comes courtesy of soft available light and my excellent old Olympus E-1 camera and it's Zuiko 14-54 lens.

*You would be surprised how many situations can develop on a working farm...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


While wandering around Southwold recently, we came across the Casino. This is not a Gambling den but a small round lookout style building. Last time we were there it was empty but this time we find it hosting Blyth 105, a local micro radio station.

Bill (The Midweek Country Show with Bill) invited us into the studio and we chatted while the records played and were quiet during the spoken links. It's quite a novelty, being in a radio studio live on air.

"All the news that is news from Walberswick to Reydon"

Monday, 26 September 2011

Bad Neutrino

Scientists are currently wrestling with apparent evidence that neutrinos can travel faster than light and therefore they arrive sooner than expected.

This should be no great surprise to them. Lots of things arrive sooner than expected: Mondays for example, and the end of your holidays.

No, the scientists clearly need to investigate this further. Maybe it will allow me to perfect my Macrochronossiter, a device that takes you back in time just ten minutes so you can correct a recent but disastrous e-bay decision.

Meanwhile, to help this particular field of scientific research, here is a stone I left unturned.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Shingle Shot

It's that old boat and shingle cliche again. 

OK, let's get it over with then. Take a nice colourful fishing boat, add a shingle beach then place Aldeburgh in the background to add context.

There you go: A standard seaside image.

Oh dear, its the old rusty machinery and shingle cliche this time. 

What is this thing doing? Is it keeping the tides back, like Canute? Anyway, I thought it deserved a picture. I adopted a low angle to have it intersect the skyline, but an acceptable alternative would have been an overhead shot with an ultrawide angle lens. However (hint) taking a step ladder onto a shingle beach can only end in tears.

Finally here is the sea fishing rods and shingle cliche to complete the set. The fishermen are optional in this particular cliche, and in this case I left them out.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Arts and crafts

The Southwold School of Industrial Art dates from 1894 and was the brainchild of local man Arthur Flowers. Fishermen were trained in new crafts to give them much needed income during the winter months.

It is a splendid building, now converted to a private house, and quite a surprise when you stumble across it.

Southwold has been a favourite with artists for a long time. There is another link with the Arts and Crafts movement, as Charles Rennie Mackintosh stayed at nearby Walberswick for a short while.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Contre Jour

Point your lens at the sunset. Add some choppy waves, include an inexplicable element in the form of a seagull and let the lighting work its magic.

Contre Jour or Carpe Diem?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

All at Sea

Well, out on the river Blyth actually. This is Ferrywoman Dani Church plying her historic Walberswick ferry this summer. We used the service to cross over to Walberswick for a walk and a cup of tea yesterday.

A hand rowed ferry: No motor to disturb the peace, and a chance to talk to the ferryman/woman instead. This is typical of the quirky, odd and edge of empire feel to these towns at the Eastern edge of Britain. The pace of life is slower, especially out of season. Their relative isolation at the end of the A12 and the ever present threat of flooding or invasion from the North Sea lends these places a temporary but determined feel.

Excellent. Long may it continue...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The End

We visited Covehithe in Suffolk. This is one of many villages lost to the North Sea in recent centuries. I was rather hoping to find the point where the tarmac road plunges over the cliff edge... (Historical note: We were here two years ago, and I photographed the strange co-axial church. A picture appears in this blog from last year. We didn't dare walk the last quarter mile of road on that occasion)

Clearly the locals are sick and tired of visitors like me, as there are more No Parking and Go Away signs than a community of twenty folks normally deserve. However, we pursued the remains of the road past the locked iron gate on foot.

Walking along the remains of the road is a strange experience. This three foot path is in fact a full tarmac lane that is being invaded by the hedges at the side.

At the end you meet yet more Danger and Keep Out signs, together with another reminder that there is no public access to the cliffs or the beach at this point. The line of the road carries on straight out to sea.

This is the end, beautiful friend, The End...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


This splendid Martello Tower, just south of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, is available to rent if you don't mind eight feet thick walls with rather more brick than windows.

It must make for an interesting and different holiday, and the list of domestic conveniences is quite short. Still you wouldn't have to worry about a nuclear war during your week's stay.

These were of course constructed as a defence against Napoleon and his threatened invasion. I can't tell you if they have left a gun on the top deck so you can take pot shots at passing Frenchies..

Monday, 19 September 2011

Summer Break

Hmm. Southwold in September. As you see, it's full of character... and thunderstorms.

This is part of the British Way: Making the best of things. OK, it's been a wet summer, and September is chilly rather than warm, but - it's a break eh?

Despite all, I do recommend Southwold. Small and perfectly formed. Go and visit, and take the ferry to Walberswick, also very pleasing...

Friday, 16 September 2011


Today's little walk took me along a short section of the Wayfarer's Way in North Hampshire when I spotted this green Acorn on the ground.

I rather like the contrast in colours and textures, though I fail to understand what the Oak tree thinks it's doing, throwing away a perfectly good but green Acorn.

Maybe it was just in a bad mood.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Close to the edge

Do Poppies do this on purpose? Is it part of their grand design? I think they look at a large and featureless field of wheat and say to themselves: "What this needs is a splash of colour right here"

Whatever the reason, I was pleased to find this one patch of red on a quarter mile spread of crop alongside the footpath yesterday.

BTW. This view is what remains of this field after the harvest monster has been.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Dinner plate

While out for my perambulation yesterday lunchtime I had to do some mild photographic trespassing. There in a private field were a couple of mushrooms the size of dinner plates. 

No, really: 

They were about eight inches diameter and were part of a thirty foot fairy ring in the grass. I spent a couple of minutes trying to get a nice wide shot but came away with mushroom and dull sky. So I cheated.

Here is the mushroom and field with a much better sky I shot last year. That's more like it. I should sell this picture to the Mushroom Marketing Council.

Now, where's that frying pan?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mellow Fruitfulness

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.
Nice one Keats, I couldn't have put it better myself. 
On that theme and distinctly garden related we have some of this year's tomato crop.

Our Apple tree has gone mad this year, producing at my estimate about a ton of apples. 
Most of these have rotted away. Aaah, Nature's fecundity!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Gate Maintenance

I believe you can judge a farm by its gates and fences. Well maintained gates and reasonably good fences show that the farmer has stock such as cattle or sheep. These are both expensive and mobile, so you need to keep them in your field and not on the road or in someone else's lorry in the dead of night.

Poor fences and gates show that the farm has shifted to arable crops: Wheat, Oats or Malting Barley. This tends to stay where it's put, so you can let the gates rust away. Don't let your boundaries decay too much though. You may find the next crop in your field might be an encampment of travellers.

Really excellent fences and brand new gates indicate a hobby farm funded by a banker or alternatively a rather successful racing stud.

If you have something valuable in the field such as horses, cattle, farm machinery, land rovers or piles of metal, then you had better chain and padlock the gate at both ends.

So there you go. Snaarman's guide to gate maintenance. Aah. The simple country life, eh?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New Tricks

One new trick that my old school camera won't do is "Live View". This feature allows you to use the rear screen on your DSLR to compose, focus and take the picture. This is a trick that has become standard practice on compact cameras and when Olympus introduced it on the E330 some years ago it was panned as a solution looking for a problem.

Well, here is a problem that Live View solved for me: I wanted a close up of this ornate moulding in Halifax Town Hall, one of a series on a balcony railing. Fortunately I had my newer E620 camera with me, so I unhooked it from the strap and using the live view, I was able to frame and take the shot while leaning over the handrail.

Problem sorted with a new trick..

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Old Money

If you visit the Town Hall in Halifax (that's Yorkshire, UK..) and you ask nicely, you can see a really amazing Victorian grand civic interior. This was opened in the late 19th century at a cost of over fifty thousand pounds. That was a fortune in those days, and it still looks wonderful today.

There are lovely mouldings, etched glass, tiled floors and an early 20th century elevator for the stouter council members ..

This is the view from the balcony, a panorama assembled from 3 shots using Photoshop CS3. Click on it to see to full size version..

By 'eck. They don't spend money like that these days....

Thursday, 8 September 2011


So. NASA have published images from the LRO orbiter that they claim show footprints and equipment from the supposed Apollo landing sites.

Well these pictures could be of anything. They could have been faked in Photoshop. We all know that America didn't actually go to the moon in the sixties, and all this is a giant cover up intended to conceal what is really up there.

Obviously they don't want us to know that they found a Gravity Projector on the Moon's surface and the CIA has been using it to manipulate the tides for over forty years.  

Laa laa laa. I'm not listening.

Talk to the Tea Cosy

P.S. I wear this Tea Cosy on a daily basis to protect me from gravity waves. I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wood frame

I took the wrong road to work recently. The right road is shorter but uglier, while the wrong road leads over the downs and through rural fields. I sometimes do this on glorious sunny mornings (remember them?..) when I expect it to rain for the rest of the day. It's a kind of mental recharge before the day's work begins.

I stopped with the camera for five minutes R+R and this backlit crop framed by a hedge caught my eye. Lovely!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


We often use the term Agricultural as a pejorative term to describe something lacking in finesse or style. Well, there's certainly nothing delicate about this Category One top link pictured below. 

We do, however, see a determined ruggedness evident in the design.

The guiding principles of Agricultural design are these: If it's less than an inch thick, it will bend eventually. If it's less then half an inch thick it will break off and get lost. 

Agricultural design is not always bad though, well designed farm implements will go on working for fifty years or more, so who's laughing now.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Predicting the Past

They tell us that time is the fourth dimension, so we experience X, Y, Z and Time. That's quite comforting, however time isn't like the other three from my point of view.

I can move in both directions in any of the other three dimensions: I can go right, and I can also go left, down as well as up. If time is merely an extension of spatial dimensions, then why does is only go in one direction?

We have full knowledge of the moment as it happens. We have a dim memory of that which has already been, but we have no idea of that which awaits us.

Here is a picture of a Dog.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Sometimes I see something that catches my eye and I try to capture an image of it to share. 

In this case we seem to have something inexplicable going on.

Actually we are late at a churchyard fair which is packing up for the day, so whatever this was will remain a mystery...

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lines and boxes

These are the weeks when the cleared fields turn into geometric shapes, showing the wheat stalks arranged in the lines made by the seed drill way back last Autumn. Towering over them are box shapes made by giant straw bales. 

In days gone by you could pick up a bale by the two lengths of twine, and with a push from your knee you could get it up on to a trailer or a wall.

Not any more. 

No, you have to get out the old Matbro loader to move these babies...

Friday, 2 September 2011

Too Soon

One of the trees in the village had started turning colour in late August, which is too soon for my tastes. We don't seem to have had a decent summer, and the trees are already thinking of Autumn.

Still these fabulous colours are worth looking at, captured with the venerable Olympus E-1.

Perhaps that is the E-1's strong point: It does colours and textures well, but its five megapixels can't match the excellent E620 for detail. Equally that has average build quality and a poor viewfinder compared with the E-1.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Now here's a rant for you. I wish to complain about the tide of company "tag phrases" or "mission statements" that decorate lorries and posters these days. 

The key word must end in "-ing" and it seems to me that everyone is Delivering, Supporting or Providing these days and I've had enough of it.

My attention was drawn to this last year when our local bus service had a makeover and a new livery bus appeared on the streets with the phrase "Delivering Transport Excellence" on its sides.  

Delivering Transport Excellence?  It's only a bus for goodness sake, how excellent can it be?

Once you start looking you will see there are other critical words that must appear in your mission statement. Thus in the spirit of this brave new world, I give you..

Snaar Photography: Providing Sustainable Connectivity for All