Magnificent Horse (With Flys !!)

1/320 f5.6 ISO 100

Beautiful big horse in the fields near my home on a very hot day. I wish I could have helped get rid of the flies..

Flower

1/800 f4.5 ISO 100

I have no idea what this flower is but its the second time its appeared in these posts. If anyone can advise of the correct name in the comments I would much appreciate it.

Pines and Ruins, St Pere De Rodes

1/200 f10 ISO 100

Ruins and trees at the top of the climb up to St Pere De Rodes

Tree And St Pere De Rodes Monastery

1/250 f10 ISO 100

High up in the hills overlooking Porte De Selva in Catalonia. I had cycled up there…

Exotic Flower Pot

1/320 f6.3 ISO 100

Cadaques, Spain

Colourful Colonnade

1/200 f7.1 ISO 100

Colourful Colonnade in Catalonia, Spain. I didnt spot the man unlocking his door until I got home and edited the photo.

Tree In A Boat

1/250 f5.6 ISO 100

Port Lligat near to Cadaques in Spain, Salvador Dali’s residence of choice. There is somebody in a red coat ‘hiding’ behind the tree…

Anybody Seen My Bike ?

1/40 f8 ISO 160

This in the village of Port Lligat near Cadaques in Spain.Home of Salvador Dali.

Floating Flowerpot !

1/640 f5.6 ISO 100

Somewhere in Spain …

Poppy

1/200 f8 ISO 100

Wild Rose

1/50 f5.6 ISO 100

Fallow Deer

1/40 f5.6 ISO 100

This was taken at Charlecote Park, National Trust location in Warwickshire.. they have all three colours of Fallow Deer in the herd.

Red Admiral Butterfly

1/400 f5.6 ISO400

Nikon Coolpix L11

I recently saw an advert for a small, pocket Canon camera, my brand of choice for photo equipment, and I thought it might be a useful addition to my armoury. On reflection I vaguely remembered having a small camera quite a few years ago so I started a hunt for it. I have a habit of not knowing quite where I put things, although I am fairly sure at the time it seemed a logical place to put whatever it was wherever it turns out to be..

My search was successful and I rediscovered this little gem of a camera. I am able to search my Lightroom catalogue files by various parameters among which is camera type. It seems I took about a thousand pictures with it over a couple of years about ten years ago and pretty good quality they were too.

Quite a handy size...

It’s a useful size to pop in my trouser pocket whenever I go out on my dog walks, which I did over the last couple of mornings. It might also come in handy for some street photography too, as it’s so unobtrusive, an area which I think I also might like to explore in the future. I think it performed quite well with landscape photography for its size.

I took a few photos over the weekend and I was quite happy with the results so here are a few samples….

End Of The Road

Not quite as sinister as it may sound, we just decided a few weeks ago that we would finish our caravanning life.

We only used our caravan three times last year and the prospects for this year were not looking too good. We decided to take our caravan supplier up on an offer to buy our caravan as they are crying out for used caravans to satisfy a recent demand. This demand was caused by the COVID epidemic. People are deciding against flying off somewhere and opting for UK holidays. However dealers cannot get hold of enough, if any, new caravans.

To our way of thinking this had two effects. A very high price for used caravans and also that when sites do re-open it will be very difficult to find a vacancy on a site, also I am sure the rise in pitch fees will continue.

I had another birthday last month and I think my caravanning years would have been limited in the next couple of years. I think all kinds of driving restrictions and insurance availability kicks in when you get to eighty, apart from the physical aspect.

So we decided to sell, the deal was done on Friday the 5th. We took two cars to our storage place and emptied the caravan on Monday, chucked everything in the garage and then parted with it on Tuesday the 9th, my birthday. There then followed a period of sorting out where to put all the equipment prior to selling it as we have duplicates of everything from bedding to dining equipment and cooking utensils. I have been a good customer of eBay since then gradually selling off redundant equipment.

Salvador Dali

Back in 2015 we were on a caravan trip to Spain and one of our stops was near a town called Cadaques on the Costa Brava. It quickly became one of our favourites and also it appears, was a favourite of Salvador Dali who was born very nearby in Figueres, just inland from Cadaques.

He is obviously well remembered there because he has two statues on the beach within a hundred metres of each other and we even found a meter cupboard! with his portrait on.

Salvador Dali

I would imagine this was a favourite watering hole of his. You can see the base of his other statue in the top left of this picture

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Meter Cupboard Man

Here is an ‘arty’ shot of his favourite place, Cadaques from the other side of the bay

I had a lot of problems with this picture because it doesn’t look level to me. If I set the beach level then the ‘frame’ looks terribly out of line and vice versa. I think also the frame is not square either so I compromised and made them both wrong. The statues are on the beach that you see through the frame.

Mudeford Quay

Canon 600D 1/400 f8 ISO100

This is Mudeford Quay near Christchurch in Dorset. When I was a little boy I used to holiday here with my parents and younger brother. At that time Mudeford was in Hampshire. Mudeford didn’t move but they changed the county boundaries.

We used to walk to the quay in the evenings and my brother and I would fish for crabs over the edge. At that time there were no railings there. We would get some limpets off the rocks on the way there to use as bait. We used to catch some crabs but they were only small, not edible. We would put them in water in a plastic bucket with the bait then throw them back in before we left.

Perhaps in retrospect we might have caught the same crabs every evening. They may have thought they were on to a good thing. Being hauled out of the water might not have been so much of a price to pay if they got a free feed?

Widecombe In The Moor Churchyard

Canon 600D 1/800 f5.6 ISO100

This is the churchyard in the Devonshire village of Widecombe-In-The-Moor, the moor in question being Dartmoor.

Tricky Ploughing Job

Canon 600D 1/640 f5 ISO100

Tricky ploughing job at a place called Albarca inland from the Costa Brava, Spain

And Finally..

Anybody who has been checking this site out daily must be quite giddy by now!

The themes, categories and menus have been changing day by day on a daily basis, almost hourly sometimes as I try to settle on the right set up. I think I am finally happy with the arrangement and I hope I will be able to leave it alone now, but never say never.

It’s been quite time consuming really but it’s not like there is much else that I could do at the moment, well there is but the government say I must not.

Roses

Poppy

Canon 80D 1/320 f5.6 ISO100

Swan

Canon 80D 1/1000 f5.6 ISO100 On the way up..
Canon 80D 1/800 f5.6 ISO100 Hurry up, I can’t hold this pose for long..

Surf Board Rack, Lyme Regis

Canon 80D 1/640 f6.3 ISO100

Surf Board Rack, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Canon 80D 1/320 f16 ISO100

Fountains Abbey National Trust Property, Yorkshire..

London, South Bank

Canon 80D 1/250 f6.3 ISO320

A living statue giving a passer by something to smile about

Brancaster Beach, Norfolk

Canon 80D 1/80 f16 ISO100

Another picture from Brancaster on a very bright and windy day between lockdowns…

Off The Beaten Track

Yardley Chase in the distance 70mm 1/60 f13 ISO100

I took my camera for a bike ride today.

To save having to keep walking the same routes and trying to find an interesting photo composition I decided to spread my wings a bit and found an uninteresting photo composition…

I pumped up the tyres on my mountain bike, loaded my camera bag and tripod on my back and set off for an off-road route. It wasn’t the most auspicious of routes or location but it was exercise and somewhere a bit different. After about a mile I turned off the road onto a bridleway and up through a farm and towards some woods near Yardley Hastings. It is Forestry Enterprise woodland but the bridleway goes through it. In my travels I wandered off onto a different track, still semi made up track but I pressed on until I came across a fellow just returning to his pick up truck who had some advice for me. He said that I shouldn’t be there as that part was private. I apologised and said sorry but I didn’t see any signs. He said there was a sign that I must have come past, I said, not to my knowledge. I was informed that it was on a gate that was open that I must have cycled past. Anyway, he said that there were men in that part of the woods with guns and that they were shooting. I can only assume they were using guns with an excellent brand of silencer as I had heard nothing. I didn’t get into an argument though. However it was all very amicable and indeed there was a sign on the ‘gate’ but it was open and the sign not that big. The ‘gate’ was a horizontal piece of wood and an angular supporting piece making the structure, just like an upside down right angled triangle. It was more of a barrier than a gate I would say. Also easily missed when riding a mountain bike off road with your eyes on the next puddle or pothole.

I assumed they were hunting and shooting game, as there are spotting platforms and markers in the woods, but maybe not ? I know that in the last war and subsequently there are some big ‘bunkers’ in the wood that were ammunition stores, including bombs. At one time there were railway tracks in the woods that linked up with the old Bedford to Northampton railway line to service these bunkers. There is more I could say in the way of evidence but maybe I should not because it could be classified information. I know those bunkers still exist because a few years I came across them and actually they do show up on Ordnance Survey maps, so maybe not that much of a secret.

Having written all that, I found some evidence on Wikipedia. Rather than rewrite my post I will leave you to read it if you wish. This is the link. Its quite interesting.

Maybe when the weather is better and warmer later in the year I will explore some more. Watch this space. It certainly seems like it might be worth a surreptitious poke around one day/evening.

I did get four pictures but more as landscape test shots than anything serious. I am still getting to learn the foibles of my latest camera, a Canon 5D mk3 DSLR. Its not the latest version which is the mk4, but it always receives good reviews as a highly recommended and well reviewed camera. These days as they are ‘old’ they are available at a very good price on eBay. I use the same criteria buying cameras as I used to use on bike purchases and that is to quote an often used saying, “I hope after I’m gone my wife doesn’t sell my cameras for what I told her they cost”

Canon 5D Mark III

Dartmouth Cafe

Cafe, Dartmouth, Devon

I thought this was a very attractive cafe and on a sunny day it looked a bit ‘continental’ and I also liked the interesting signs.

Amazing Grace

This is the tomb of John Newton in a quiet corner of the churchyard here in my home town of Olney in Buckinghamshire.

In his early life he had been involved in the slave trade. He later saw evil in his ways and became a staunch abolitionist and took to the church, eventually finding his way to here in Olney, where he became a preacher. Whilst here he wrote the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ the tune of which was allegedly based on a spiritual song he had heard in his previous life.

His wife’s remains were re-interred here from London to join him here at St Peter & St Paul church.

St Peter & St Paul Church, Olney

Castellane Cafe

Canon 80D 1/40 f6.3 ISO150

This cafe was in the back alleys of Castellane, on the ‘Route Napoleon, as it makes its way north from the south of France to Lake Geneva. Once again somewhere on our travels on a stroll from one of our stopovers.

Rural Peace

Canon 80D 1/200 f8.0 ISO100

This was on the walk from the site we stayed at near Fontvieille, seen in the previous posting. I would love to have hopped over the fence and lay on the barrow/sun-bed and listen to the bees in the sunshine busying themselves around the hive..

Shop or House? – Fontvieille France

Canon 80D 1/100 f8.0 ISO100

I found this place in the backstreets Fontvieille, a small town a few miles away from Arles in the south of France. We had the motorhome at the time and we stayed at a lovely secluded site in the forest a short walk away from here.

Autumn at Derwentwater And Keswick

Canon 5Diii 1/250 f5.6 ISO100

This is the view from Catbells. A moderate climb for all ages and about an hours walk at a steady pace, with stops for views, from Keswick. Keswick is the town in the distance at the foot of Skiddaw.

Willie Lotts Cottage, Flatford Mill

Canon 5Diii 1/160 f8.0 ISO100

An updated version of John Constables classic painting ‘The Haywain”. The horses and carts are missing in this version. They used to take the carts into the water so that the wooden wheels would expanded in the water and become a tight fit on the steel hoop that enclosed it

We drove to Flatford National Trust estate and had a good day, in lovely weather, to wander around taking photographs. I had to hang around quite a while to get this picture with nobody in it. I would just think it was a good time when all of a sudden somebody would appear from one side or another. Patience is a virtue in photography.

Old Water Mill nr Great Doddington, Northants

Canon 5Diii 1/640 f5.6 ISO200

This is just a few miles from home. Very near to a the Wildlife Trust location ‘Summer Leys’ which we visit fairly frequently for a walk. I think its probably about two miles all the way round. There are numerous ‘hides’ to observe the birds.

Brancaster Beach, Norfolk

Canon 5Diii 1/160/ f10 ISO100

We had never been to this part of Norfolk until last year. There miles of beach in either direction from here taking in many little old villages and hamlets along the way. I remember it was a very bright, but gusty, windy day as you can probably see from the grasses.

Sunrise

A couple of photos of this mornings glorious sunrise on my morning dog walk, sometimes its worth getting up and out early..

Meet Max

I thought I should introduce you to the ‘Max’ that I refer to in the site tagline above in the heading.

He is a Border Terrier and we have had him since he was a puppy just over two years ago. He is a very independent minded young chap. He will do exactly what you require but only if he is ready and has nothing better to do. I took him to a trainer for a consultation and advice when he was younger. To quote her, “Hmmmm he’s a Border, they can be very wilful“. I have a had a few dogs in my lifetime but they have been Labradors and Border Collies, who are a piece of cake to train so I don’t think its me. Having said that we wouldn’t be without him. He has saved us a fortune in doorbell batteries too because every time anybody opens the front gate he starts barking and charging about the room, leaping on the back of the sofa by the window to see who it is and then back and forth to the hall door to see if they are coming in.

He has definitely been good for me though. I spent years and years cycling and never really lost any weight, I was always hoping to get my weight down to what it always was when I was a much younger man. Within six months of acquiring Max and by doing a couple of walks a day between forty five minutes to an hour and the occasional long walk my weight went down by about 12kg! and has stayed there.

I have to say though, since lockdown we haven’t been able to get away for any really long walks and our caravan has been in hibernation for almost a year now. I think we have walked nearly every available walk from Olney many times. It does get a bit boring and landscape photography is not really on the agenda. This is a very flat part of the country. I cannot imagine how it must be to be stuck in the middle of a big town or city in a flat.

(I was just about to start on a diatribe then on my thoughts about lockdowns and tiers but that would only detract from Max’s moment of glory so I will save that for another day !)

River In Flood Again

Life Belt Station, iPhone

I normally edit out this lifebelt station when I am taking pictures down by the river because the bright red stands out like a sore thumb among the willow trees. However, today its useful to make a point about the depth of the flooding. The base is usually about a metre above the river level. I took the picture on my iPhone while on my early morning sunrise dog walk. Not that early actually, sunrise was about 8a.m.

Fortunately the weather forecast is good for the next few days. No rain but sunshine and frosts so maybe the levels will drop.

Level Five !!!

Hi, apologies for absence, my photo of the day petered out somewhat, sorry about that.

I had a problem with Lightroom, which led to more problems. It was not Lightroom’s fault, it was mine. As a result of which I decided to rebuild and reorganise all my photos in Lightroom, around 13,000 pictures. I did have a bit of time on my hands !

Everything is back in place now and all I need is the ability to sneak out and take some photos. I do have a project for the next couple of months that will not involve a lot of travelling, except on foot. I do intend to get out a bit further afield when the weather is better though despite level five COVID regulations, I think I can keep within the rules…

This was the recreation ground at sunrise one morning last week. the actual river runs along by the trees in the background

We have had a lot of water fall from the sky recently, thats at level five too! It all ended up flooding the meadows by the river. This restricted the dog walking routes and concentrated all the dog walkers along one or two dry’ish paths along the top, away from the river, which had become a lake and so it all got very muddy.

Keep well, keep fit and keep on keeping on.

Pitstone Windmill NT

mg_3928
Canon 5Diii 1/160 f11 ISO100

This is a picture I took on the way to Coombe Hill, see my previous post. Its Pitstone Windmill but its actually closer to Ivinghoe, I am not sure if its in Hertfordshire or Buckinghamshire but I think its Buckinghamshire, the border is very near anyway. Its about 20 miles from me, halfway between where I was born and raised in Rickmansworth, to where I live now. In my younger days a lot of my cycle road racing was done in this area. Chiltern Hills being the attraction ! I remember one of the race HQ’s was in the Youth Hostel at Ivinghoe.

My older UK readers might just remember the comedian and actor Bernard Miles. His character of the country farm worker was based in Pitstone as its where he lived. He used to do long humorous monologues. I found this one on YouTube, click here for a bit of good old fashioned humour. 

Coombe Hill. NT

I’m not getting out much at the moment, along with the rest of the country !! However I found these pictures from a recent visit to Coombe Hill, National Trust ancient woodland. A few autumnal leaves still remained. It is in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire. Its situated on top of a hill overlooking the Prime Ministers country residence, Chequers. Just as well I was only shooting pictures and not bullets !!

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