Monday, 30 April 2012

Drip drip drip

Another Wet Weekend.

Here is a picture of how I saw it. Too wet to work in the garden and nothing on TV.

This may seem like a typical point and click image. After all how difficult can it be to get a picture of rings in a puddle when it's raining? Well, it took sixty shots in bursts of what we used to call "motor drive" in the old film days. The light drizzle meant that most of the pictures had no drips at all. Yet another benefit of the brave new film free world.

A question for the statisticians: I shot these pictures at five frames per second and ended up will all those missed shots. Should I have set the camera to three frames per second? Would that result in  a better hit rate, drip wise? Answers, as always, on a postcard.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

1000 memories

It is a difficult thing, clearing a house when a close relative dies. It is difficult deciding what to keep and what to discard. You can't keep it all and you end up throwing away someone else's memories.

These are some of my Mum's pictures waiting to go to the tip.

In the future this will be easier. In the future our pictures won't be prints or slides like these above. The thousand memories will simply be files that can be dragged to the bin in a single click of the mouse.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Gear Change

Here's a low key picture of my twenty five year old bike. An old school road bike with no frills made from genuine Reynolds 531 tubing and "only" 12 gears. 

It has a fatigue detector built in to the design. 

When you get really tired you find you put your fingers in the spokes when changing gear. That usually wakes you up.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Change Gear

It's time to change camera gear again. In the past six months I sold two cameras and a lens and have bought two new cameras and a lens.

My gear is becoming smaller, cleverer and regrettably more expensive but it produces better results*

Here's one of the first pictures from the new 45mm m4/3 lens that arrived yesterday. This is yet another sharp Olympus lens that will be ideal for portraits and narrow depth of field shots like this one below.

The autofocus is lighting fast, which is always a bonus, however it does look rather like a toy compared to their pro lenses.

*If the photographer points it at a half decent subject.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sunshine and..

.. showers of course. 

Sunshine and showers has been the pattern down South for the past fortnight., We have had a succession of Atlantic Low systems passing over the UK*. Normally these track north of Scotland dusting us with light rain from their outer skirts but this latest batch seem to have taken a shine to Bristol.

The weekend visit to an open garden was marred by rain. So much so that this was the only worthwhile picture. 

On the other hand, the hastily modified refreshment tend sold an awful lot of Tea and Cakes...

*I am quite interested in Weather and I am getting quite good at retrospective forecasting. "Ah yes, it would have done that because...."

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Appealing View

They cut down the smaller trees in this hedge and piled them up untrimmed. I suppose this makes a microclimate or supports the macroenvironment or attracts a European grant.

Either way the bark has started to peel making for an appealing scene down at ground level.

Catching pictures like this can prove challenging to the older photographer surrounded by nettles, but we persevere in the face of adversity.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Another minimal picture today.

Obvious Ingredients: Limewashed golden stonework, shadow and sunlight

Hidden ingredients: Members of the public that stopped in the passage waiting for me to take the picture. How kind... (In fact it was a telephoto shot well over the heads of your average punter, but it was kind of them to indulge me)

Oh, and lots of Black. I do like black in pictures...

Monday, 23 April 2012


Let's be honest: I am not that interested in Politics. It seems to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Even so, I do find myself wondering if we are currently being governed by idiots.

For what it's worth, I believe government is the science of compromise dictated by expediency, fear and greed.

"We know we should do this, but it will make us unpopular, so we will do that instead. In the long run it will cause problems, but hopefully the other party will be in power then".

"We should start this Major Project because it will be good for the country. However, the last time we did something like this we had to put up taxes and were voted out of office as a result. The other party came in and stopped the expensive Major Project, paid millions in cancellation fees, and everyone was worse off. So instead we will waste your money in lots of small ways, if that is OK by you.."

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lo Fi

There is a current photographic fad for lo fi pictures. These are digital images processed to look like bad examples of film images.

Once upon a time all our pictures were lo fi. All we had was a box brownie or a Halina Paulette and the results were poor by today's standards. Enter the 21st Century and you find folks searching out Lomo cameras specifically for their bad results. 

Open that box full of nineteen eighties colour prints and I'm sure you will find something like this*. The dynamic range has gone and the picture has started the slow drift towards magenta.

Still, you can always scan the negatives and get the picture of Auntie Doris back in its original glory. You did keep the negatives didn't you?

*This is a digital shot from last year that I lo-fi converted with my own special brew of curves.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


There are some curious goings on going on here. The tar on the fence must have melted when we last had a nice hot day (and I wonder when that was).

Now the drip is frozen in time waiting the next scorcher....

Other contribution courtesy of local pigeons.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Breakfast Dinner and Tea

.. Or Breakfast, Luncheon and Dinner if you are posh.

There's not a lot of variety at this hotel. In the stables, the horses get water and a string bag of hay.

I guess these buckets are clipped to the wall because this horse, unlike the others, tends to kick them over if they are on the floor.

So: Your water is in the bucket, sir.

No wonder horses have long faces.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


I found this glowering Cumulus cloud towering over the village recently. The contrast between the sunny day and potential thunderstorm seemed well worthy of a photograph. 

The counterchange (a term and technique used by watercolour painters) of bright wet roof and dark cloud was a nice little bonus.

No photographers were dampened in taking this picture.

Monday, 16 April 2012


Perched on the wall, right next to the South door in the main church in Cirencester, you find this conscience pricking figure.

He looks down at you as you leave the building and has his Bible conveniently open at Psalm 41: "Remember the poor..."

Hmm: That should make you reach in your pocket. At least he doesn't accost you on your doorstep in the middle of dinner giving you a sales spiel trying to get you to sign a direct debit.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

21st Century pilgrim

Here we are in ancient Cirencester. 

This is the old street cross, next to medieval St John the Baptist church.

No doubt in years gone by this would have been the place for pilgrims to pause for something to eat and to hear the latest news. But here we have a 21st Century pilgrim with all the pilgrim's essentials. She has a backpack, a take out Costa coffee and the inevitable iPhone.

What did we all do with our lives before the smartphone was invented? What was it like before all products started with an i ?

Friday, 13 April 2012


Cold dry air that overlays warm damp air leads to unstable cloud behaviour. Cumulus clouds develop and rise into the colder air, and latent heat is released as water vapour condenses. The resulting updraught lifts more damp air and the characteristic white cauliflower shape bursts upwards until it can get no higher and an anvil shape starts to form.

So little light penetrates these huge clouds that it turns quite dark underneath, a sign that all is not well overhead.

These conditions create vast amounts of condensed water in the form of droplets or ice high in the cloud. This in turn gives rise to sudden downpours and even thunderstorms.

The uplift in these towering clouds is balanced by descending cold dry air, giving the patches of blue sky. This produced the characteristic "sunshine and showers" cold front forecast.

I hope your clothes and camera are showerproof...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Fair April

When April with his showers sweet with fruit 
The drought of March has pierced unto the root 
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power 
To generate therein and sire the flower;

Strange, Chaucer didn't mention the annual Yellow Plague... but the sweet April showers have certainly created plenty of newly sprung flowers in this giant field of Rape seed.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

It's a sign

Have you lost your direction in life? Do you have no idea where to go? Does the path ahead seem unclear?

Then what you need is the Pointy Finger Glove. 

This handy indicator saved my life recently when out on a ramble one lunchtime. Following its wet but wooly digit I was able to find the road and eventually made it back to the office. Without this welcome assistance I might still be tramping the blue remembered hills of North Hampshire*

Don't you just love those supermarket assistants with the pointy finger sign that indicates a free checkout. However, I would not suggest we extend the scheme and fill the high street with competing pointy fingers employed by the local stores. Then we would all be lost.

*Parts of this narrative have been expanded for dramatic effect. No gloves were harmed in taking this picture. Your house may be at risk if you do not keep up the payments. Serving suggestion only.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Natural World

Here are some fantastic natural patterns: This is the underside of a leaf in the Tropical Rainforest, and I find those repeated differences displayed very satisfying.

How does Nature do this stuff? How can something as small as DNA create order on such a large scale? Why does it rain on Bank Holidays?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Old Font

This is the tenth century Font in Avebury church. The carving is around a thousand years old

Sometimes I am amazed at the antiquity of ordinary things around us. It is nothing special to see a Tudor doorway, a Saxon arch or 14th century misericords in rural England.

Why is it then, that everything we build these days is torn down in a hundred years or less? What did they know then that we don't know now?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Old Wood

A quiet corner in Avebury church: You can find this 17th century bell support rescued during one of the church's many restorations.

Also worth seeing is the Saxon font (10th Century) carved in the 11th century by a rural stonemason in rustic style (they mean the carving isn't that good actually).

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Contrary to popular opinion, Easter is the most important season in the Christian calendar, not Christmas.

Furthermore, Easter's not about chocolate, cards or eggs but about dark stuff like Death and Resurrection.

If you wonder what Christians are doing celebrating such a dark subject, then find yourself a local church Alpha Course, join up and bend their ears with your doubts and questions. That's why we run them :-)

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Oh dear. Things are in a mess down in the barn. The lovely pile of rusty stacking chairs has been disordered. I wonder what the story is. 

Perhaps this is a metaphor for life in general. Maybe it is a condemnation of modern society. No, I think a tractor knocked them over by accident.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Thicket to Ryde

I admit I am not an Ornather or a Birdologist... you could probably best describe me as a simple wordbotcher. 

However, when I saw this Sea Sparrow on a Scarfing Pole with Ryde in the background I knew I wanted to get a shot of it.

I needed to shuffle around a bit to position the bird correctly as a counterpoint to the church but it was worth the effort. I had to wait until it had finished poking its fur with its nose and put its head up properly, revealing that characteristic profile.

It had gone when we came back ten minutes later. No doubt it had spotted a Rabbit somewhere.

Monday, 2 April 2012


You know what it's like. 

You come out of the Supermarket into the car park and say: "OK, think everyone. Can anyone remember where we parked the hovercraft?"

This is the magnificent Princess Margaret SRN4 Hovercraft, one of the largest of her type, parked at the Hovercraft Museum in Lee on Solent. 

The SRN4 dates from the late sixties, a period when Britain was spending money on high profile projects such as TSR2 and Concorde in an attempt to keep up with the big players at the top table. Most of these prestige endevours were cancelled or lost money, but they made us Brits feel good.

These days we don't embark on such foolishness, instead we sell our very infrastructure to other countries in order to pay the bills.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Two by two

Afternoon at Lee on the Solent and a couple on the shingle are echoed by two boats on the flat water between Lee and the Isle of Wight.

This was one of those happy coincidences that sometimes lift a grabbed shot above the ordinary