Monday, 30 September 2013


Season of fog and mouldy fruitfulness.

Stupid Apple tree: Some years it manages to make just two apples. Other years it makes so many they roll about in rotting heaps attracting wasps and turning strange exciting new colours.

Why can't it be sensible and make the right number of apples. How hard can that be?

Sunday, 29 September 2013


Yesterday I found myself in the Adult section of the breakfast cereals.

It was an accident. Obviously I wouldn't actually buy any of that stuff.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The End

"This is The End, my only friend, The End"

Dead, buried, gone. 

Gravestone overgrown and anonymous. 

Some photographer comes along and takes a picture. 

Doesn't read the inscription.

Friday, 27 September 2013


Here we have Wells Cathedral tower, pictured from the grounds of the Bishop's Palace one unsettled day last month.

The lowering clouds counterpoint the sunlit masonry to create a striking image.

Much of this is faked however. Contrast has been adjusted, colours enhanced, dynamic range has been compressed. You knew this already. Almost everything photographic has been faked these days. It isn't acceptable to present a less than perfect image any more.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

GRB: Nasty but nice

If you notice a Gamma Ray Burst, look the other way. If you happen to have a paper bag, put it over your head.

"The sources of most Gamma Ray Bursts are billions of light years away from Earth, implying that the explosions are extremely energetic. A typical burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime". (Wikipedia)

Here's one I snapped earlier

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Framed again

Golden sunlight, late in the day: A farmer's gate and hedge: Here we have a rustic image formed by framing the picture with a suitable surround, in this case a hedge in deep shadow.

Framing is one of the many skills the humble photographer needs to master. The frame adds context, sets the scale and concentrates the viewers attention. I hope you have indeed been concentrating.

Once again this image has been adjusted with a saturated film simulation to increase the impact.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Film Sim

What a strange idea. After freeing ourselves from the shackles of film with its expense, its grain and its general failings, we now take time to make software to re-create that film look from our digital images.

Surely I would never stoop so low as to do that kind of thing...

Yes I would: So here are a couple of digital Velvia film images.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Three triple two

Ah the old B3222. It goes wherever you want. 

It's a shame Bob Dylan didn't visit Exmoor. "Take everything down to the B three two two two..."

These old cast signs are great. there are very few left, though I note we saw lots of the old cast finger posts on Exmoor. Perhaps it is an intended part of the local charm.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Doing the difficult thing

It is wrong to kill people in the name of God, no matter what name you use. 

Vengeance is the easy way out, but it has always been wrong. 

You should love your neighbour. You should forgive your enemies. That is what we are required to do. This isn't easy. These are difficult things to do.

The Bible in the picture at Porlock church is open at Matthew chapter 12 verse 35

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Uncertain Future

What does the future hold? Why can't we tell? We know everything about now, and we can remember stuff about the past, but the future remains a mystery.

It's all about the arrow of time, and I imagine it is something else that falls out of Quantum Chromodynamics.

Take comfort from this: They are no better informed at the Tarr Farm restaurant, next to Tarr Steps on Exmoor.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Guilty, as charged

What's going on here then? What are these? Are they jars of pickled Beetroot? 

If so, why are they up there on that high shelf? Perhaps there's someone at Dunster Castle with a Beetroot addiction. They could be bottled Peaches, or Pears.

Well, in fact they are Leclanché cells, a kind of early crude battery, often used for those new fangled electric bells.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Missing the point

Plan ahead if you intend to photograph a sunrise or a sunset. It is my theory that the Sun accelerates when the horizon is involved.

I know from experience that the golden moments at sunrise are literally moments, not minutes. 

It is equally true that you need to be in the right place at the right time to capture a sunset. Setting out on foot a bit before sundown in a promising direction will ensure you are not in the right place, and by the time you find the right place you will be too late.

So, in the spirit of this small rant, here is a nice picture of a rural gateway just after sunset.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


In Tudor times they knew how to get the truth out of someone. Spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham kept a tight rein on the reign with his network of informants and agents..

Here we see an apprentice intelligence operative attempting to get the truth out of a cat by catching its tail in rotating machinery. Sometimes you have to improvise, you see.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fit for purpose

Just look at this bird. Is it not totally fit for purpose?

I finally got to see a flying display at the weekend. The Owl was smart, the Eagle was impressive, but the Falcon was just plain scary. It shot to and fro, past and through the crowd at forty miles an hour. To see that bird flying straight at you at head height is to suffer a genuine rabbit in the headlights moment...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Upstairs Downstairs

Here's a snapshot of life upstairs and downstairs at Dunster castle.

The servants were quite well treated by the standards of the 18th and 19th century. There was still a huge difference in the living quarters.

The owner in Victorian times was far sighted and installed central heating with giant Iron radiators. The servants did get heating but they shared one radiator in the corridor.

Their rooms in the attic were plain and small, and the ever present bells were hung on the walls up there to summon the Hall Boy or the Butler.

And the working areas in the basement were utilitarian.

Meanwhile all was elegance and style upstairs

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Annual Groat

Here's Jack, the Tudor gong shoveller, contemplating pay day. The lord of the manor will give him a single groat  at Lammastide for his year's work clearing the latrines.

"Here's your Groat: Don't spend it all at once my man"

"But my lord, it's the smallest coin in the realm"

"Well, just be careful"

I suppose he could use it to buy one hundred and twenty gallons of beer.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


It's hard to visit Lynmouth and Lynton without confronting the aftermath of the flood there back in 1952. I remember my folks discussing it years later when I was young.

Lynmouth was remodelled in the 1950s to prevent this happening again but it still looks nice.

There is a memorial in the church at Lynton

Thursday, 12 September 2013


When FT, a passing vandal, scratched a date on this tomb in Porlock church, the carved effigy had already been there for two hundred and fifty years.

So much history in this little land:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Rectilinear Woodland

In an attempt to organise the countryside, the EU are introducing Orthogonal Forests. Trees will be vertical, paths will be level, rivers will be flat and straight. As a result cartography will be much simpler and the country will save thousands of pounds. 

This will be gradually rolled out across the nation: The process has already started on the East Lyn river.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Who says that sheep are not intelligent?

This sheep, a long suffering Lundyphobiac, has learned to hide in the grass whenever the island is near. This depends on the well known tenet that - if you can't see the island, it can't see you.

I tell you: Sheep will take over the world one day. You have been warned.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Money Tree

Why do people do this?

It's a dead tree by the river walk at Tarr Steps on Exmoor, with hundreds of coins hammered into it. 

Now this one is full, some nearby trees have fallen prey to coin insertion.

I had thought it was a "work of art" or an isolated example of weirdness, but no: Apparently this happens all over the place.

Perhaps walkers are strange people.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

High or Low

Up on Exmoor, near Oare, you are faced with a choice: High or Low?

Drive over the narrowest bridge you've ever seen and risk scraping your car doors on granite, or risk the uneven axle breaking ford next to it.

BTW. When we finally crossed the stream we found the tea shop was closed. Stupid narrow bridges and nasty shallow fords are excusable, but a shut tea shop is not.