Saturday, 30 June 2012


While in the Ladies department of our local store I came across one of these fluttery things that women wear in their hair these days.

I couldn't take my eyes off it. I felt absorbed, allured, beguiled, charmed, enchanted. I was enraptured, enthralled, enticed, intrigued, mesmerised, piqued, seduced and tantalised.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Music 3

Here is another instalment in my useful but intermittent guide to Music. 

Today I deal with keyboards.

I recently repaired the pedal that goes with a Korg synthesiser keyboard. Hopefully when they plug it in they will be able to play as fast as they wish, because where there is just one pedal it is an accelerator, it makes the music go faster.

If you look at the average piano, there are two pedals because pianos also need a brake to slow the music down. Particularly lively pianos need two brakes and in this case the piano will have three pedals.

This piano, for example, has gone completely mad during the excitement of the Christmas service and fused all the lights. It has taken the combined pressure of the entire choir to corner it and bring it under control.

Now we move to the keys: These are really quite simple. You push the white keys to make the music come out. 

The black keys should never be pushed: They are only there for playing Jazz which should not be attempted as it leads to madness.

Some pianos (like the one above) have knobs you can pull. These are called stops, and you may need to pull several of them to bring the thing to a complete halt. Very large pianos (called Organs) can have hundreds of these knobs, which shows just how difficult they are to control.

In fact, Pianos come in lots of sizes. At Morris Dancing demonstrations you may see a man with a small piano around his neck. This does not concern you and can safely be ignored.

Thursday, 28 June 2012


Is it really true that Entropy is a measure of the amout of disorder in a system? Is it also true that in a closed system, like the Universe, Entropy always increases?

In that case the Universe must be waiting eagerly for this barn to fall down. See: The process has already started, but it does look like it will take quite some time.

That's OK, I figure the Universe is happy to wait.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Here's a strange thing I noticed down the farm yesterday. It seems to be the Greek letter Mu made in steel and parked by the farm track. 

What an intriguing combination: A Blacksmith with a Classical Education

I wonder which letters he will tackle next? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Prehistoric Barrow

All over southern England, and the South West in particular, you will find prehistoric barrows.  

They form a major part of the open landscapes of Wiltshire and Berkshire.

It is a less well known fact the you can also see prehistoric barrows in North Hampshire, and here is one I photographed recently. Personally I don't understand why they exercise the minds of archeologists quite so much, but each to their own I say.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A message

There must be a message here:

Here's a little corner near the barn with the basic elements of farming: Rusting Steel, Barbed wire and weeds

Some say life's a bit like that....

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Darkness

About as far removed from Justin Hawkins interesting band as you can get, here is Anna and the Odd Socks playing folk songs at the Farnham Maltings. The Olympus E-M5 handled this darkness with ease. I used ISO800, spot metering and image stabilisation to ensure that every shot came out sharp and clean. How technology moves on...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Blustery Day

Well it certainly was blustery yesterday, here are the Big Trees with their leaves all bent back.

This is just the sort of weather that brought down Owl's House and meant that Eeyore had to go in search of a replacement house for him, if you recall*

*Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. In the original book by A.A.Milne, not that wretched Disney film.

Friday, 22 June 2012


Crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside...

Here's a gritty contrast for you. There's nothing quite like peeling paint to attract a photographer. In this case it is one of the horse jumps down on the farm.

It reminds me of my film and darkroom days when hard black and white prints on the wall were the thing to have. Arty.. Mmmm.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Longest Day

Summer Solstice: The Longest Day, or very near to it. 

This is the time of year I force myself to get up at 4am and head off to the top of a hill to photograph the sunrise. What a magical experience it always is. How does the sun know it should be exactly there at exactly this time.


This is the smallest of several unprintable panoramas  I made this morning. I don't seem to learn from my mistakes.

BTW. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Lakeland sheep are a hardy breed. Dangerous too and not to be sniffed at. Being masters of disguise, they can blend into the landscape waiting for unwary visitors. 

Here is a nice view of the Buttermere valley. Can you see the sheep hidden in this picture?

And there are seven sheep in this picture..

When they have selected their prey they suddenly jump out and overcharge them for the car park.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Old Notes

Here we find a hundred year old Harmonium. This foot powered wheezer* produced haunting sounds that you can't make with software. That is how it earns it's place in the corner of the recording studio.

Musicians! What can you do with them eh?  ....

Fear not, the technology starts on the other side of the glass...

*Aaah. Ivor Cutler...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Picture impossible

There are some common phenomena that are very difficult to photograph. 

Remember those pictures you took during a heatwave in the Mediterranean? Do they look hot? Probably not...

You stand a better chance on a cold day. Snow and frost give a better impression of temperature than a blue sky and beach scene.

Likewise it is very difficult to capture a windy day. What you need is a big hint to show the viewer, something they can't miss that says Windy..

So: Here's my attempt from yesterday.... The bunting it trying to leave the Village Green behind. Some of it has already escaped.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Grey and Wet

Grey and wet seems to sum up most of the Summer so far. Apparently this is due to the mysterious jet stream high in the stratosphere and its malign influence on our weather at ground level. The effect down on the farm is that the crops continue to grow but refuse to turn golden until they see the sun.

More and more of the soil washes off the fields which are in turn too soft to take machinery.

Meanwhile the crop of flowers in the wheelbarrow is coming on nicely.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bridge of Sights

Well here's an old one. This is a slide I took of the Kennet and Avon canal back in 1997, scanned with my DSLR and a macro lens. I am always surprised how poor my results were from film, compared to the modern super clean digital cameras with their comuter optimised lenses.

Furthermore, the old 3x2 format of slide film seems strangely long and narrow after a few years with 4x3 format.

This is part of the canal that leads to the Newbury marina: A place to tie up your boat and pop into town.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Cheer up

Cheer up my little friend. The electronic weather prognosticator on my desk tells me it is going to be sunny today.

But then again (rather like the TV weather forecast) the electronic weather prognosticator on my desk tells me all sorts of rubbish on a daily basis. 

Look, it's simple: Will It Rain?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Form and Function

The form of some things is dictated by their function. The Garden spade and the wood saw spring to mind as examples.

Musical instruments seem to have some logic to their design, but music in general does not bow to logic, so there always remain inexplicable details that are included just for the sake of tradition.

What about the f holes that grace the violin, or the wooden scroll placed near the tuning pegs? Do they have to be that shape?

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Here is a picture I took from my earliest photographic days. This was taken on Kodachrome in 1972, and I probably used a Praktica L camera judging by the date. I scanned it a few years ago with a DSLR and macro lens.

I can generally remember the circumstances behind almost all the fifteen thousand pictures I've taken and kept over the years. Some memory is jogged by the image when I see it. In this case I have no idea where this country church would be**. I would guess it was near Abingdon or Oxford, or perhaps Canterbury. I must have been impressed enough by the sunlight on the double sided wooden lectern to devote a valuable slide picture to it.

Ah well, to quote the Latin: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. 

**Update. This is Little Wittenham church south of Abingdon. Incredibly, the Google image search facility found someone else's image in the same church and matched it to mine. The wonders of modern technology.

If only film cameras recorded EXIF data like digital ones do. How did we ever manage?

Saturday, 9 June 2012


I don't know: You go searching in vain all over town for a postbox, and suddenly you find two together.

I am puzzled by these two in Keswick. They have identical collection times and destinations. 

They are indeed just the same postbox but twice.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Glorious June

Ah, now here we have proper weather. Traditional Summer in the Lake District.

The cloud is so low the cows lie down so they can see each other...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Party's over

So: The long Jubilee Weekend is gone and the party is over. We are back to work in the cold damp reality that is the new British summer.

The Bank of England may decide to embark on a new round of Quantitative Easing this week. It is supposed to ease the symptoms of recession. This is a process whereby the bank prints more money with the intention that it should be injected into the economy to stimulate growth. In fact they seem to go about this in a complicated manner involving Government Bonds and behind the scenes dealing.

So here is my hint to the Bank of England. 

Don't bother with the Government Bonds thing. Just give us the money directly, we promise we will spend it....

.. on all the usual things: German cars, Italian suits, Japanese cameras, French wine, Chinese union jacks and paperclips from South Korea: In fact anything that isn't British.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012


It's an actual "C". Placed on a shelf:  Like you do. Well, where do you keep your spare alphabet letters then?

An oddity spotted in a tea shop.. Spotting oddities is the only reason I visit tea shops you understand.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Unfolding Story

Ah, the giant poppy. Which photographer can resist these lovely and arresting explosions of colour?

Normally the green pod splits at the top and the flower emerges top first. However this example managed to split the bottom of the pod so the crumpled top section remained dishevelled when the pod was removed. I took the opprtunity to grab this picture before the moment was lost.

How does it form itself like that inside the pod? Life is full of wonders, innit.

It doesn't take long for the flower to unfold itself to the world in general.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Modern Times

Occasionally I have problems keeping up with stuff. The world changes so quickly these days.

This weekend I did some event photography, our church was hosting a performance of "Rock" and I generally get some pictures for the cast and for the musical director to use for future publicity. I took my new Olympus E-M5 along with it's imposing battery grip and two lenses. Clearly I have to shoot this without flash, so I turn the "film speed" up to ISO 3200, and unimaginable sensitivity as far as I am concerned.

The results are not just acceptable, they turn out to be spectacular. 

ISO3200. Who would have thought it?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Leader or follower

Are you a Leader or a Follower? 

Do you prefer to follow the flock, where there is safety in numbers and you can depend on someone else making all the decisions.

Or perhaps you are a Leader. Perhaps you have an independent spirit and yearn for the open road because you can think for yourself.

Be careful then: You could end up like our example above. All alone, separated from the flock and looking ever so slightly worried.

Me? Oh, I'm a follower.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Words worth

We popped in to the Wordsworth house in Cockermouth yesterday. This National Trust property is where the young wordsmith grew up and comes highly recommended.

Like many NT properties, they have a better attitude to photos these days, just as long as you don't use flash.

There are lots of nice little details to see, and no modern lighting to spoil the illusion.

The staff in costume seemed happy to pose for me, which was nice...