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.


Fragments.

In reply to blood oranges, posted on FB.

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

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

Afterwards...

Borders.

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.


Vines
Vines

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.


Fragments:

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.

Spring

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.”

Churchyard
Churchyard

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.


Brecon Snow.

Snow on the Brecons.
Snow on the Brecons.

Brecon Snow.

The weather forecast settled about 5 days out and just got better as Sunday drew closer. So there it was, a trip to the Brecon Beacons, Pen y Fan, Corn Du and Cribyn, clear skies and settled snow. The road was a little icy but easily passable with care. Someone had trouble on a slope but made it and cleared off the road in the end, I seemed to be the only one with a shovel despite the predicted -1 temperature. Heading in from the South is my favourite approach, glimpses of the hills through the trees of the Taf Fechan forest, exiting into the steep-sided valley near the Neuadd reservoir the white peaks are unmistakable.

What lies ahead
What lies ahead
The cut in the side of the hill.  An entry to the ridge.
The cut in the side of the hill. An entry to the ridge.

After the lead in walk, you turn conclusively uphill, with the edge of the cliffs hiding the main event, if you look across the valley, the Roman road is easily spotted heading back to the start.

Looking out across the valley.
Looking out across the valley.

The weather stayed cold all day, as predicted. Which with the breeze made for a chilly start to the walk along the ridge. But with warm clothes, a beautiful clear blue sky and the sun making everything bright you couldn’t ask for a better day in Wales. I’ve been here in much worse. And this end is the quieter route in. Although I was passing and being passed, by a friendly bunch all like me, enjoying the chance to see the and around repainted white. It is when you clamber out of the cold wet gully you get to see the hills ahead. Glorious, shapely peaks.

The head of the valley, hidden for the moment.
The head of the valley, hidden for the moment.
Me, in the snow.
Me, in the snow.
Doesn't look so bad from up here.
Doesn’t look so bad from up here.
Final push.
Final push.
Looking back to the forest.
Looking back to the forest.
Looking South along the edge of the ridge.
Looking South along the edge of the ridge.
Heading onwards.  Corn Du Pen y Fan and Cribyn
Heading onwards. Corn Du Pen y Fan and Cribyn
Snowy scenery.
Snowy scenery.
Closer now.
Closer now.

As you get approach the main summit area, the ants resolve into people, lots of people who come from the North, this is a popular and easily accessible area. Luckily they tend to stay in quite a small area, so are easy to escape.

A hint of cloud in the background.
A hint of cloud in the background.
Nice clear views from here, bit windy though.
Nice clear views from here, bit windy though.
Nice cloud.
Nice cloud.
Some not so good cloud arriving.
Some not so good cloud arriving.

Walking in the snow, in this cold weather, changes everything around you. The sound is different, the way you walk, wading through a flattened landscape full of hidden pits. Dropping thigh deep from time to time adds a bit to a normal stroll. Crunching through the harder patches, or scuffing across shallow windblown areas bare and dark in comparison. Unfortunately, as we approached Corn Du, the cloud fell over us and visibility was reduced to twenty or so metres. With intermittent breaks to show snatches of what you are missing. Such is the way of high places, some days the cloud gives you a big hug. This is nice in some ways, privacy, quiet, thoughtful walking, just no wide open panoramas of South Wales from one of the best viewpoints in the country. The Brecons are a fantastic range, with drama that far exceeds their 880m summit.

Cornice along the edges.
Cornice along the edges.
As the cloud descends, we climb Corn Du.
As the cloud descends, we climb Corn Du.
A quick peek at Cribyn.
A quick peek at Cribyn.

After lunch on Corn Du, we fought the crowds at Pen y Fan, to get the picture. With me is a lad called Tom. We met in the car park, walked mostly together, chatting and strolling along. Always good to bump into people and see the who, why and where of someone you meet. Made for a change not to be travelling alone today.

Rime formation.
Rime formation.
Small but perfectly formed.
Small but perfectly formed.
People dodging the climb up Corn Du.
People dodging the climb up Corn Du.
Corn Du, cloudy but decidedly calm.
Corn Du, cloudy but decidedly calm.
Pen y Fan.  Nothing to see here, keep walking.
Pen y Fan. Nothing to see here, keep walking.
Just to prove I was there.
Just to prove I was there.

The descent from Pen y Fan, proved interesting. Many people, not having any sort of grip on their trainers (yes) or wearing boots with shallow lugs, decided to slide down the tracks. This resulted in the snow compacting and getting icier. The good side to this was the chance to buckle on my crampons and stroll with ease down slopes others were precariously dancing down. Bum slides, all fun and games until someone finds a rock, or a cliff. But there you go, each to his own. There’s a drop between Pen y Fan and Cribyn, and the cloud was staying close to make sure we didn’t get lost. Makes for some drama as you hear things and people pass by heard and unseen.

Cribyn sliding through the clouds.
Cribyn sliding through the clouds.
Fan y Big playing peek-a-boo.
Fan y Big playing peek-a-boo.
Looking back up Cribyn.
Looking back up Cribyn.
Looking for the setting sun.
Looking for the setting sun.

It was a good day out. Well worth the trip from home. plenty to see along the way, and plenty of snow, everyone we met was happy and friendly and many stopped for a brief chat about the hills, places to visit in the future and where they had travelled from today. The car park was emptying quickly when we arrived back, people trying to head out before the road froze over as night fell in the valley.

Driving home, listening to music and letting the world flow past. I picked up a coffee and as the snow was left behind I crossed the bridge back to England ready for another day. Have fun with your day and keep going forward, it will be worth it in the end.