Thursday 31 July 2014

Welsh Wildlife

Late July saw us returning to one of our favourite haunts, Porthmadog in West Wales, and unusually for this spot, the weather was superb.  Taking advantage of this, we hit the beach the first couple of days we were there, and ended up doing some shoots.
In recent years we've taken to using a simple piece of kit, an underwater photography bag (basically a sealable vinyl case with a hard plastic cylinder to clear the lens) with a compact camera, to get some underwater pics.  On a sunny day, you get some nice shots in the seas around the Llyn peninsular.
There were a few jellyfish about whilst we were there, so I had a go at getting some pictures.  They've ended up a bit abstract, partly because we were using the older of our two cases, partly because the exposure time of the camera struggles a bit with moving targets.
A better shot finally, from above.
Keeping with the wildlife theme, the last day of our short break saw us in another favourite spot, Beddgelert, with a very obliging heron posing in the waters of the Glaslyn.
Down the path to the bridges, and a new angle on the footbridge which crosses alongside the Welsh Highland Railway.
Walking up the other side, there were plenty of Peacock butterflies in evidence, again, chance for some nice shots.


Favourite of the day though, whilst we were walking back, we spotted a lizard sunning itself on the side of the path; before I could get a camera on it, it fled; happy to have seen it, but a bit annoyed I'd missed photographing something quite rare.  Discussing that they were so rare we wouldn't see another one, we were about five minutes up the path when we spotted another one, which was obliging enough to wait around for us to photograph it.

So all in all a nice couple of days; we'll be returning to Wales soon, so hopefully the chance for a few more shoots.  Just hope the weather is as nice.  Finally, a view of the upper part of the Glaslyn pass.







Monday 14 July 2014


Not a proper project or commissioned shoot, but it was nice to be able to sit in the garden recently, with a camera, and snap some pics of the wildlife in the garden.  The bees (of which we have a pleasingly large number in our garden, of various species) were the most co-operative...

Monday 7 July 2014

Worth Valley Railway, and a chance for a few train shots...

We haven't managed a lot of photography lately, but with a resumption of mid-week services on the Worth Valley Railway, I've managed the odd attempt at train photos.  The above shot was a rather nice chance shot, I was walking back from Keighley along a path which, frankly, I'd only feel safe walking along on weekday mornings (even then it has random drunks staggering along it, but its not as dodgy as it gets late afternoon onwards), and the railways relatively new class 101 DMU on the morning service.  Its surprising just how rural it looks here, given the proximity to the centre of the town.
I haven't had much chance for any more photography until the past weekend; a happy combination of some time off, a gap between doing the school runs, and an intensive service of trains for the visit of the Tour de France.  Another shot, above, of the 101 taken this time at one of my favoured locations, Ebor Lane between Oakworth and Haworth.  I have a particular fondness for this class of train, as my dads old Triang model of these units was my first 'serious' (non-Thomas) model train.
This was then followed, heading south, by the main target for this quick photoshoot, and the S160 'Big Jim'.  I really admire the sheer brute ugliness of this American-built war loco, and I hadn't had chance to get a nice shot of it in its proper grey livery (compared to the fictional black it was painted in earlier in the year).
The above shot shows why I love this location, nicely rural but the possibility of getting a nice, low-angle shot from the path which runs alongside the line...
Same day, and another 'lazy' shot this time, taken on the bridge at the bottom of my road.  This scene will be changing soon, as the redevelopment of the last remains of the mill gets underway this week.

Finally, the sunday of the tour, and with pretty much everything that could move under its own power dragging the heavily-loaded trains along the valley.  After the tour had passed, we took a little stroll down to Ingrow Station and got a couple of pictures.  Nice to be able to get a few train pictures anyway, and hopefully will be able to get more over the summer.

The Grand Depart

People who follow this blog, or our Facebook page, will have noticed we've been a bit quiet lately; entirely due to a massive, but happy, upheaval in our real-life situation.  Still, we've managed a bit of photography here and there, so time to update the blog.... 
People may have noticed, amongst all the national focus on football and tennis, that a little sporting event happened in Yorkshire at the weekend.  The largest (by audience) regular annual sporting fixture on the planet, in fact.  Yes, the Tour de France came to Yorkshire; and it was fantastic.  We've followed the Tour for years, Amy has seen it in France itself, I've been wanting to see it for years, and here it was, coming literally to our doorstep (well, along the main road by our house).
Saturday saw us on a jolly up to Skipton, where we were slightly taken-aback by the sizes of the crowds.  Largely thanks to a delayed breakfast at a cafĂ© and a lack of trains to get to the town (Northern prioritising getting more trains to Leeds for the start of the race when we were travelling), and with three kids in tow, the best we could manage was to stand a bit near the back, and basically see the heads of the cyclists after we'd seen the Caravan pass by.
Good old Yorkshire; an amazing job of promoting the county.
Biggest cheer of the day for the Yorkshire Tea float, amusingly.
We might not have managed to see much, but the atmosphere was brilliant, and we watched a lot of the rest of the race on the big screen in the main town car park.
Sunday saw us on the Halifax road, not far from the house, where the (still quite large) crowds were more spread out, allowing us to set up chairs on the pavements for a front-row view.
Playing about a bit with the camera settings, trying for some more experimental images whilst we waited for the caravan.
The slightly insane Caravan, with the floats from the various sponsors chucking freebies to the crowds...
...and this amusing mobile stereotype, which got nearly as big a cheer as the Team Sky support car, below.
With a good spot for taking pictures, it was natural that someone selfish would ruin it.  And, true to form, five minutes before the riders were coming, this person in red appeared.  Not content with standing right there, he actually strolled out into the very middle of the road to take a picture on his camera phone; nearly a very nasty accident, and amazing a steward or copper didn't sort him out.
The leading group hammered past, quickly followed by the main body of the race, starting the climb towards Haworth.

Given that the TV coverage cut to adverts whilst the tour went through the Worth Valley, its a shame the rest of the country didn't get to see our little patch of Yorkshire, but as fans of the tour we were very happy we got to take some pics as it went past.  And it was properly amazing just how many people turned out to cheer the tour on.

Finally, a shot of the yellow bike at work.  Hundreds of yellow bikes have appeared all over the area, and we even had one on our shed roof; the one at East Riddlesden though is much nicer, so here is a pic.