Clouds, Cameras, and Poetry.

Cloudy Skyline.
Cloudy Skyline.

There’s been lots happening over the last few weeks, the usual work stuff keeping us busy. There has though, still been a chance to get some pictures with my new camera. Shots taken in the back garden of clouds bubbling over the coastline and bunching in the valley. It has also meant I am trying out Lightroom CS4, to see how far things can be pushed in editing. The Pentax K50 saves images as both JPEG and Raw, and I can view images quickly as JPEG to decide which ones I want to import to edit. Sometime soon I will start a new file system for my pictures, to separate out my own images and walking group or family shots. For the moment I am learning the quirks of the camera, how it works and what it sees, button combinations and positions, all the things that make taking pictures fast when you know where everything is; nothing worse than fumbling for a button when you are in a hurry and don’t want to miss something.

Storm Cloud II
Storm Cloud II

To be able to edit save and not make irretrievable changes is a new thing, no more save as or damaged files from random button presses. I was good at saving copies but sometimes things went awry and using raw will help stop that.

Changing tack, last week was World Book Night, and a group of poets gathered in Weston-super-Mare library to read as part of the celebration. Free books were available and the event went really well, good reading by everyone who took part, some really interesting work.

Poetry Fragments.

This weeks fragments are from an older notebook, things to bring back memories, trips and images.

Paris Promenade.

People, coffee and tourists,
street hawkers, beggars and fashionistas
running wild.

and from London,

Stop go streetflow
at the junctions of the city.
Morning smokers
taking some time to die.

The days are getting longer, sunrise earlier and sunset later, that means you can get out more. I’d recommend a high place to watch the sun rise, to see the colour spill across the land, to feel the first warmth as the light hits you. Watch the world wake up as you sit and watch. Wonderful, can’t beat it and you will smile all day.

New Camera. New Lines.

Orion over Brent Knoll
Orion over Brent Knoll

After many years I have finally gone back to an SLR, digital this time so I am learning a new way of working. I’ve saved and with the help of Ebay got a nearly new Pentax K50, I have been searching for one at the right price and this came through at the right time. It’s had good reviews and is weather sealed, a must for when I am out in the mountains, I only have the standard lens at the moment, maybe later I’ll get a wide-angle one to use in landscape pictures.

Hopefully, once I know what I’m doing I’ll get better shots to use on my blog. I’m going to be using RAW a lot more, something which is pretty new to me, I have not done much with this format in terms of storing, adjusting etc, another part of the DSLR learning curve for me. I’m pleased so far with what I have got, like the night shot above, but I need to get better at focusing in the dark, lot of fuzzy edges in this batch, not good enough.

Sunset from Crook Peak
Sunset from Crook Peak

I’ve been here many times, but sunset, and a clear dark sky was too much to resist. The air was warm, the sky clear with a few stray clouds. The Mendips were deserted as is usual at this time, everyone at home watching tv or some such. I love being out as the sun falls away, the birds settling. Quiet and peaceful, except for all the bank holiday traffic heading Northwards and home. Such a mass of people all lost on the journey, I hope they had a good Easter Break, the traffic was slow and probably didn’t get better all night.

Traffic and stars over Brent Knoll
Traffic and stars over Brent Knoll

This month is NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month. Something I have done for the last two years so this time I’m taking a break and letting others pound out the verse. I’m still writing, our monthly poetry Café is next week and we have an interesting topic. Blood Oranges and Other Bus Trips. Maybe you think you can come up with something, post it in the reply box. My ideas, some parts of them are below, for your consideration.


In reply to blood oranges, posted on FB.

You offered me your Oranges,
blood-red, scented and ripe.

    after taking the flesh,
the honeyed juice running 
across the palm of my hands
down fingers to mark
    the tablecloth.



We looked over at the four uniformed officers
of two bordering countries. We waited.
Looking , as only the British can, expectant.

They looked at us, confused, looked back
at each other and shrugged in pure European.
Before returning to us with questioning eyes.

Easter is gone, The blossom has left the cherry tree and the leaves are turning green, watch the world turn and enjoy it every day. There is always something new to see, no matter how many times you go back to the same places. Travel as a tourist through your own back yard.

Fragments of a Journey Through Space.

How to watch the eclipse.
How to watch the eclipse.

Just over a week ago, we were treated to a partial eclipse here in the UK. I took the chance to drag out the telescope and watch as it passed us. I never cease to be wonderstruck by these events, the darkening skies, the eerie light and birds preparing to roost. This time we even had perfect clear blue skies, just a bit of high level haze that didn’t really stop us watching.

The Sun's Image.
The Sun’s Image.

I have no sun filters for my telescope, or my camera so I used this set-up to watch, joined by a couple of neighbours and some workmen. Everyone enjoying the spectacle. Seeing these events, solar system happenings, always makes me think in two directions. About the earliest people, looking up, not knowing if the sun was coming back, learning to predict the coming and going of the solar system. Yet also about the future, about how we will I am sure, spread out further into the universe. Who will we find, and how will those epic journeys happen. I grew up on pulp sci-fi books, adventure in space. I still want to go up there, have a look back at the Earth from above. Maybe one day I’ll get my wish.

Back here on the ground, I have a new camera, a Pentax K-50. I’m still getting to grips with the widgets and buttons but will do a post about it soon as I can. in the meantime I’ve been out on Crook Peak again, ambling about and enjoying the fresh spring air.

Crook Peak View
Crook Peak View

No matter where I go, there is nothing like walking out of your front door and being quickly into the countryside, enjoying the high views, the wildlife and woodlands near by. This time of year, everything is coming alive, the birds are frantic, the green is returning, and all is proceeding as it should.

This weeks fragments are from ideas used in the Poetry Cafe last Thursday, a great evening of reading poetry on the theme of Pan, God or Gods.

The God of the Little Things.

It doesn't matter who you think he is,
God, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus.
So long as you believe,
because belief isolates
each from the other.

The Wind in the Cherry Tree.

The wind is in the West and salt is in the air,
He's set the ball rolling and now,
it's as if he was never there.

Who knows how far they could get if left alone.


I’m navigating through, but following a single strand is not an option, ever. Life is about many tracks and many turns, we need to embrace them all.

Tidal Flow.

Beach Mist
Beach Mist

Some days you go to the sea and there is nothing there, mist hangs along the promenade and covers everything with a cold sweat. The sun doesn’t even bother to try, just drips light slowly into the grey.

Other days, the cold wind sweeps everyone along yet the wide horizon can stop you in its tracks as the sun dips below the horizon, clouds bubble across to add depth while the colours range far and wide through the spectrum of visibility. Despite the cold there are many of us who stand and watch, trying to catch the changing image in our mind.

Sunset, gone but dragging the colour slowly behind.
Sunset, gone but dragging the colour slowly behind.
Bird Watching, go for a walk at anytime, and see what's out there.
Bird Watching, go for a walk at anytime, and see what’s out there.

When the tide goes out here, the sea leaves the country, Weston-super-Mare has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. The open expanse draws you out towards the edge, not really the sea perhaps, who knows where the Severn river ends and Atlantic begins. You could almost walk to sunset, get pulled over the horizon like the colours and the light. But be wary, the mud is deep and unforgiving.


Who You Are.

It’s about your eyes,
the smile that lingers long after the moment,
I carry each one with me.

The Seaside.

You could walk all the way out from here,
let the tide take you,
but don’t chase the sunset, always one step away.

This morning the Cherry tree broke out in white blossom, we’ve been watching it, waiting for the buds to break, yet they still catch us out and arrive en mass, snow blossom in the rain this morning. In the hills and valleys, covering damp verges, the Snowdrops are out. Soon other flowers will follow the blossom and the Snowdrops, go out and look for them, lift your spirits with the return of long days and wild flowers.


Flowering Cherry
Flowering Cherry

It was a weather spread bet this morning. Rain, chunky hail, wind and sunshine, the only disappointment was the lack of snow. We’re starting work on a major revamp of our kitchen this week, never underestimate how much soil a hole can set free. I think two bags appear for every one we fill.

I’m working on spring, hence the fist view of the flowering cherry in our garden. I noticed the fist blossom high in the tree a few days ago, and these have joined the party. I’m trying to catch the sunrise gold over this tree, glorious as we sit with morning coffee and look out of the window, it always raises the spirits to see it lit up with amazing colour.

I am dipping into some old work and starting re-writing, I bumped into this and like the opening though it obviously needs a lot of work, things like this remind me how far I have come, this first saw the light of day sometime in 2001 –

Untouched blue sky, white cloud on the horizon,
cherry blossom makes an impromptu showing.
Testing the air for spring and the flowers that
will soon follow.

I had the first reminder for NaPoWriMo today, but I think this year I’ll relax and take the month off, watch other people bashing out the poems and enjoy myself with all the reading I can do that month. Have fun as winter turns into spring this month, I will mark its passing somehow, a little snow item to remind us of the journey we are all taking, every day of our lives.

Woods, Line Drawing.

In The Woods
In The Woods

Picture taken last year on the Mendips, played with in Lightroom and using Luminance HDR. I like the way this has turned out.

Green-wood Diffraction

I see you at this the critical angle,
that slight bending of the light
as it passes around you.

I watch the light embrace your shape,
at the boundary layer light shatters
as it passes through the gap

created by our proximity,
this is where wavelength is a factor.
Interference patterns of light

and dark emerge, spreading
into the space between us.
Highs and lows multiply in the air,

the angles merge, refraction bigger
than the angle of incidence and light
travels on unable to change medium.

All we are left with are circles of light and dark,
rainbow shadows and light pooling in the air.

Spring is on the way, the days are getting longer, green shoots and new life.

Hotel Terminus

Hotel Terminus
Hotel Terminus

Images to think on, work to be done. A life to be lived.

Hotel Terminus.

Coffee at the end of the line, by the woods where the buses stop.
Where the angels weep for the death of a man long forgotten.
The history of a place in fading curtains and chipped cups.

We’ll always be here, the watching few, watching the visitors
walking past. Not caring who comes or goes. Le Patron knows
when we want another, money is tight and we have all day.

Time changes the world even if we don’t see it changing,
the patois, the hair and the skin, the colour of the sky.
I know the history, from this place to a bed for the night,

but I lost it all one year a while before and now I wait,
I talk to them all of course, Tout le client, pourquoi pas,
why wouldn’t I? I am after all this time, one of them.

I just got left behind that’s all, something happened one day
and I got a little out of time. I’m dislocated and can’t catch up.

Weekend Wondering. Shakespeare and Love.

It’s the weekend, 6 Nations rugby, Valentines and a visit to Bristol to find some ideas for our forthcoming kitchen renewal. It’s nice to be nice to your partner, to be romantic. A shame so many people see this as the only time for romance, and the commercialism runs away with it because we spread ourselves so thin. Lets take some time and smile a bit more, say something nice to someone close. I love Shakespeare’s use of words, his ability to make it extraordinary.

The Man Himself
The Man Himself
Loves Labours Won
Loves Labours Won

Here are a couple of snippets to enjoy.

“All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.” Sonnet 43

“in black ink my love may still shine bright.” Sonnet 65

He has the words that still have impact. As we discovered when we went to Stratford and the RSC recently to watch Loves Labour Lost and Loves Labours Won. His Love poetry and verse is timeless.

The poetry cafe is this week at the Royal Hotel, Weston-super-Mare. I am writing sonnets, as the subject for this month, it’s slow going with work commitments but I am writing at least. Here is a fragment of my own I’m working on.

A Love Song.

A Love song is always
the sound of life with you.

Have a heart this week, be kind and remember, it’s nicer to smile at people.

Is It Enough?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enough Is Enough.”


Elders with memory hang heavy heads,
young, unknowing will beat their chests.
The words run dry and silence runs free,
it will fit any space.

The word that was required was unspoken,
silent space fills hearts with fear for what follows.
Death will walk for want of a word.

Lovers parted, wars started and the world turned.
Silence is uncaring and cries are lost in a generation.