Where East meets West – Part 6

It’s Sunday – January 20th – it’s minus 4 outside – it’s frosty, and the light I know is going to be fabulous.  I drag my other half out of bed and announce that we’re going out.  “Where?” he says…. “To the Meridian of course”.

I’m retracing some of the route I took the other week, but taking in the village of Hagworthingham.  This historic village nestles on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The important and beautiful Snipe Dales Country Park is adjacent and Hagworthingham is situated approximately equidistant from the market towns of Horncastle, Alford and Spilsby.

Snipe Dales is right on the Meridian, and I’ll be visiting there another time.  We had to stop at the ford though just outside Hagworthingham, and the cold seeped into my hands and feet – out of the sun, and near water, the temperature plummeted and we got a move on quickly…

Next – was Stockwith Mill and Bridge.  The 17th Century Mill was run for over 30 years as a tea room, but recently it has closed, and the property has been sold.  I would have loved to have photographed the mill and included the overshot waterwheel (which was last used in the 1950’s).  As it is, I had to make do with images from the main road.


The mill used to have a small museum which included artifacts which belonged to Alfred Lord Tennyson.  I have seen some beautiful photographs of this house, but sadly it’s all marked as private now, and I could get no closer.

On the route back, I decided to stop again at Somersby – as I’d seen a lovely tree lined road, which I didn’t photograph last time, as the light was dull and flat – today was much better, and having got the trees – I looked around where I had parked the car.


I’d parked in what looked like a small quarry – though very overgrown – and I clambered up the rocks to see the view from the top – what I didn’t notice on the way up was all the carvings in the rock face – and because the sun was low still, it highlighted the names engraved there.  It didn’t seem to be random graffiti.  You would have had to have taken tools to inscribe your name so deeply in the rock.


It has obviously been going on for generations, and I wondered why, and how it came that people travelled to this really out of the way place to carve their names on the rocks.

Next time, a bit further South still, to  Bolingbroke and East Kirby.


You can follow the tour on Google by clicking this link

A Summer of Dragons

This week I was out walking with the dogs, and noticed a good number of Damsel and Dragonflies.  By Friday I had a bit of time, and decided to go hunting Dragons…. The majority I saw were Brown Hawkers…

Brown HawkerThe Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) is a large dragonfly about 73 millimetres (2.9 in) long. It is a distinctive species and is easily recognised, even in flight, by its brown body and bronze wings. At rest, blue spots on the second and third segments of the male’s abdomen can be noticed; these are absent in female.

It is widespread in England but commonest in the South East; local in Ireland and rare in Scotland. It is found on well-vegetated ponds, lakes and canals. It patrols a regular hunting territory around margins which is vigorously defended against intruders.

The flight time is mainly July to September. The nymph has stripes on the side of the thorax and distinct banding on the legs. (Text from Wikipedia)

Brown HawkerYou can get more information from the British Dragonfly Society
http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/

Shooting at the Speed of Light

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Speed of Light Salford: 21-23 March

NVA’s Speed of Light brought The Quays, Greater Manchester’s waterfront to life from Thu 21 – Sat 23 March 2013 from 8-9pm each night.

A centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged in the docklands of Yokohama in Japan , the night-time work used light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.

Hundreds of runners in specially commissioned LED light suits created beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the the watching audience, it was seen as a piece of abstract art on the quays.

I was able to photograph the dress rehearsal for this fantastic event from above the crowds – some of the patterns made by the runners were seen at their best from this vantage point.

Many thanks to the organisers NVA and to Peel Holdings for allowing the photography to take place.

To see the full set of images CLICK HERE

More Welsh Wetness…

Quite apart from the glorious trip to Skomer a few weeks ago, the other parts of the week away were just as good.  A trip to the red kite feeding station yielded some excellent images – with the birds picking up not only from the bank but from the water too.

They are fast, and it took considerable time to get the birds exactly as I wanted them.  The day being overcast, but without rain did actually help, as the light was good – very bright, but beautifully diffused with the overhead cloud.

Sometimes the rain and the damp of England can be a blessing.

Hopefully more to follow.

Wildlife – Birds at RSPB

On a very rare sunny day (and they are rare at the moment) – we made the most of it and headed out to the RSPB site at Southport – and were rewarded with some great images of Avocet, Redshank, Oystercatcher, and Godwit.  Not bad for a first visit.  Once the weather improves (if it ever does) we’ll be out there again.

We were exited to see the Avocet, on her nest, guarding four eggs… the couple swapped over every half hour or so, allowing the one  not on the nest to  stretch, preen and feed.

The Avocet is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species. Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating to see them mate, after a very short display from the female.

More images to follow once I’ve processed them……  thanks for looking, please take a moment to pass a comment…

Back to Basics – Ducks and Coots

It’s been great to have a few days to myself  – although we did cover the opening of ‘Avenue Q’ down at the Lowry theatre this week, it’s otherwise been fairly quiet.  And with the weather being somewhat excellent, I headed off to the local wildlife park to see what was on.

First off – it’s obviously bath time, and the warm sunshine has got all the ducks up and moving around.

I’m a sucker for a duck, (especially with orange sauce!) and it’s actually harder to take good duck shots than a lot of photographers think.  I love this one.  He’s obviously having so much fun.

Plus, the Coots were knocking seven bells out of each other, as the fight for territory and females escalates into serious fighting.  Three Coots were fighting for some time, but eventually just seemed to stop, give up, and swim off like nothing had happened.

The more I watch, the more I realise just how brutal nature really is.  The bird on the left in the shot below, was eventually pushed completely under the water, and was stood on.  Briefly I wondered if it was going to drown, but up it popped and peace fell once more upon the pond.

Yosemite Moonbows

Hunting around for something else, I stumbled upon this video on U-Tube about Moonbows.  They are like Rainbows, but only appear at night when there is a full moon shining.  There are few places where this can be seen, but Yosemite is one of them.  I spent some time there last year, but sadly didn’t know about Moonbows till I got back from the trip.

Steven Bumgardner is the video producer for Yosemite National Park and has spent the last two years Moonbow hunting and shot over 2000 images with his trusty Canon to catch the time lapse sequences you see here.

Watch the video and enjoy…

Kite Surfing

Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard). There are a number of different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle (most common and utilises standard kite and board) or wake-style (flatter water using board with bindings) and wave-riding which is focused on big waves using a board designed for wave riding.

A kitesurfer or kiteboarder uses a board with or without foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel the rider and the board across the water.

Although kitesurfing is an extreme sport, its safety record is improving due to advances in hybrid and bow kite designs and the ability to control the power that they provide, effective safety release systems, and wider availability of kiteboarding schools such as the IKO and BKSA and the resulting improving teaching standards as the sport matures. There are still a number of deaths every year and a much larger number of serious injuries and accidents.

What a joy to photograph though – thanks guys…..