Crawley Hill

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Early on a Thursday morning I met with another photographer friend near Stroud for an early morning sunrise shoot on Crawley Hill. This is his neck of the woods so he chose the locations and led me round the places to see. I think it was a success, but that’s down to you the viewers really to decide, let me know what you think.

Low Horizon.

Low Horizon.

The Valley Gets Some Sun.

The Valley Gets Some Sun.

The hill itself is an old hill fort, and walking around the summit you can see why it was chosen, with great views all around, I can imagine in its day, with the trees cleared and possibly a wooden palisade surrounding it, it would be very imposing.

My kit, as the sun strikes the top of the hill.

My kit, as the sun strikes the top of the hill.

Morning Dew.

Morning Dew.

Sleepy Village.

Sleepy Village.

Sleepy Village, the long view.

Sleepy Village, the long view.

Mist Rising.

Mist Rising.

Nestled in the Trees.

Nestled in the Trees.

Misty Valley Village.

Misty Valley Village.

From the high view here we dropped down to the canalside, the quintessential English view as we strolled along after breakfast, thanks Keith :-). That’s where we’ll go next on our trip, so keep watching. And remember to enjoy the sights as the season turns to Autumn and the days shorten towards winter, my favourite time of year.

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Weekend in the Cambrian Mountains

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Low visibility on Saturday.

Low visibility on Saturday.

Finally got out for a weekend walk so I teamed up with my old friend Pete to head into the Cambrian Mountains. This is the first time in this area and it was pleasantly quiet, wild with overused paths hard to find. The weather forecast was for two clear days, but true to form Saturday didn’t turn out quite as expected. We started out as the morning showers condensed into a 3 hour steady rain. That’s hills for you, once it cleared it was fine, and we were already on our way so things would have needed to get much worse to turn us back.

Dipping below the clouds.

Dipping below the clouds.

Things Looking Up.

Things Looking Up.

Old Farm.

Old Farm.

Walking into the valley to find this lonely remnant, people for years farmed this land. Families grew and faded as life changed for everyone, and these small outposts lost their viability in the modern world.

Views from the cottage.

Views from the cottage.

My evening accommodation.

My evening accommodation.

I like to sleep out like this, listening to the sounds of the land around. The river running by and the wind in the trees, There was still a bit of cloud about, but we had some good views of the Milky Way and a single meteor crossing the sky. We set up camp, ate food and chatted till the sun went down, then settled in for the night. Another day in the mountains to follow.

Morning mist in the valley.

Morning mist in the valley.

The Old Farm.

The Old Farm.

Afon Hengwm.

Afon Hengwm.

Sun in the Grass.

Sun in the Grass.

After crossing the river (always fun) we headed up the slope, getting the benefit of opening views and the rising sun.

Our sleeping quarters.

Our sleeping quarters.

Sunrise.

Sunrise.

Leaving the valley.

Leaving the valley.

Views.

Views.

The views from here.

The views from here.

Given the views, North, South, East to the sea and West to England, it is a pleasant surprise to find it so quiet out there. A place we shall return to soon, to see if we can keep this wild space quiet. Until next time, get out and enjoy yourself.

A Trip to London.

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I always have a strong affinity for London, I grew up South of the city in Eltham, going to school at Crown Woods Comprehensive. We did lots of trips in and around all parts, visiting markets and museums, travelling on the Red Buses, a great place to grow up. So now, although I don’t want to live there, I do enjoy going back. I feel very comfortable around its streets and still manage to find my way around. This trip was to meet up with friends from Belgium, to take time, walking, chatting drinking coffee and seeing a bit of the city. So here are a few shots taken over two days around Kings Cross, Covent Garden, Camden, and places in between.

The Places you can find if you look.

The Places you can find if you look.

London Streets.

London Streets.

Always remember to look up.

Always remember to look up.

Drury Lane towards Covent Garden.

Drury Lane towards Covent Garden.

Watching the watchers.

Watching the watchers.

Covent Garden.

Covent Garden.

Chinatown

ChinaTown

Back of the Station.

Back of the Station.

From North to South, East to West.

From North to South, East to West.

St Pancras Station.

St Pancras Station.

Statue Detail.

Statue Detail.

Statue Detail.

Statue Detail.

Statue Detail.

Statue Detail.

Betjeman Statue Detail.

Betjeman Statue Detail.

British Library.

British Library.

Yes.

Yes.

Building Detail.

Building Detail.

The Camden Eye.

The Camden Eye.

Camden High Street.

Camden High Street.

Camden People.

Camden People.

I apologise for an image heavy post, but London is a big city. I love getting out and about in places, seeing some of the quieter corners. We visited the British Library this time, where they always have some sort of open show going on. Walking around and seeing manuscripts from Mozart, notes and drawings by Da Vinci. Maps, the Magna Carter, all priceless and free to go and see, nearby the statue and frieze in St Pancras is amazing. Go visit, it’s a great place.


It occurred to me while doing the tourist, and of course taking pictures of things that interest me, that we sometimes lose sight of why we came. Have friends with us, talking, strolling and stopping for food and drink took us on a slow stroll around some of the quieter places, and some of the busy places. But looking with fresh eyes at things we may not normally see. And to all the people, faces stuck to phone screens without peering around the corner, this is for you. But don’t feel too guilty because we all get lost in it sometimes.

Taking Pictures.

There is no pause when you point and shoot,
and instead of looking, seeing,
imbibing a place, drinking in the soul
of the people as a photograph in a box,
on glass or celluloid once did,
now it is stretched so thin as to be seen through.

Click and shift, click and shift – Gone.
So many possible eyes, maybe millions, maybe none.

Still reaching, still stretching, every second
draws out the soul of the picture, colour fading,
names, places, tags and Instagram come and go.
Statistically placing a value to each view
to create a top ten list of pictures you must take
when you visit this city at this time, with this person.

So much lost space, paths no longer explored
untrodden corners to tarnished gems and silent seats.

Places to wait and let the sun cross the sky,
unpictured perhaps except in a dream,
a silent waking memory of a dream,
with a smile on a face seen through glass.

Streets of Home.

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Looking around my home town. Watching the life, trying to see everything. I have a feeling I’m missing so much. So much to see and so many things to do.

The Steps Down to the Sea.

The Steps Down to the Sea.

In his book The Art of Travel, Alain De Botton tries to explain why we feel restless, and then when we get to the place that will solve all our troubles there is no difference. The essence of course is us ourselves, we are still there, here, carrying it all with us. It is a good book to read by the way, I would recommend it. So one thing he wants people to do is to walk around your local space, and see it with a strangers eyes. I have been trying to do that ever since I read the book.

Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

The Old Bandstand.

The Old Bandstand.

Spotted.

Spotted.

I’m trying to keep up with my writing, at the moment it is a slow process, there only seems to be so much room for thinking. Work, and the mental capacity I use up crowds out the words. But I am fighting back, I have started meeting with two local writers, to look over and offer proofreading, comments about form, content, and how we feel about their work. I enjoy the feedback, and the way it is freely given, sometimes it’s hard to look at your own writing with sufficient separation.

Street Singer.

Street Singer.

I’m still taking pictures as you can see and have been featured on the website of our local paper, The Weston Mercury so that is good.


So here I am, looking and re-writing, this is the after.

Old Stone Words

The Grey Wethers, Dartmoor

The Grey Wethers, Dartmoor

Going back to old words, older than any I have spoken,
old enough to have never been written.
Lines and circles, knowledge stones
marking the landscape that has become
empty of the trees that made it what it was.

Bridges across water, across the ideas of places,
leading to other words left behind,
of such weight we no longer carry them
with us in our pocket as we do now.
Words of such heft we set them in stone.


Thanks to Jim and Melanie for their help. These are the stones Melanie 🙂

Dartmoor Walking

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A visit to Dartmoor and a chance to take my time, revisiting some past spaces in better weather. Dartmoor is a place I love to visit. Quiet open places, rivers, old places that have no context except the meanings we read into them ourselves, the ideas they strike in our own minds.

The East Dart River

The East Dart River

Postbridge Clapper Bridge

Postbridge Clapper Bridge

The Grey Wethers Stone Circles

The Grey Wethers Stone Circles

The Grey Wethers Detail

The Grey Wethers Detail

Fernworthy Clapper Bridge

Fernworthy Clapper Bridge

Fernworthy Clapper Bridge

Fernworthy Clapper Bridge


Fragments

Work from my trip to Dartmoor.

Going back to old words, older than any I have spoken,
old enough to have never been written.
Lines and circles, single statements
marking the landscape that has become
devoid of the trees that made it what it was.

Bridges, across water, across ideas of places
and leading to other words left behind
of such density we can’t carry them
with us in our pocket as we do now.
Words so important we set them in stone.