Sand Point, North Somerset

North Somerset is beautiful in the sunshine, as evidenced through these snaps taken on a visit to Sand Bay near Weston Super Mare.

I climbed up to the viewing point on Sand Point and took these shots.

You can variously see a distant Clevedon, the Mendip hills, the North Devon Coast, Flatholm with its lighthouse, Sand Bay, Birnbeck Pier and the Ordnance Survey marker.

 

 

New Zealand Mud – it has attitude!

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Travel broadens the mind they say. It also amazes and educates…

Disagree if you will, but I think that for those of us born in geologically stable places, rather than being properly terrifying or exciting, the idea of events such as earth-quakes and volcanoes is mostly simply unimaginable. We see film or read about natural events like these and although we are captivated we can’t really imagine what it is like to be in the presence of such power. So a trip to New Zealand is illuminating.

Around Rotarua there are geothermal wonders aplenty: sulphorus pools, clouds of steam, geysers and bubbling hot mud pools. You are left with no doubt that the Earth’s crust is thin right there, and you are protected from all that heat and energy by just a few metres of rock.

The mud pools are great to watch too, although there always seems to be something extraordinary happening out of the corner of your eye – just where you weren’t looking. I focused on one circle of activity and took a stream of photos with a fast shutter speed. Most just look like muddy ripples, but I came up lucky with the one I’ve included up above. By no means technically perfect, but it captures the moment.

(The photo is available to buy in a range of formats through my RedBubble shop)

 

High tides and roe deer

When you live near the sea and there is a high tide, it’s only natural to head to the coast and take a look. Where we live in Clevedon we are less than five minutes stroll from the sea-front, and although (or should that be ‘because’?) the coast is the Bristol Channel rather than the open ocean it feels very special.

1-img_0306There are so many strong currents in the channel that when you add a stiff breeze and the bouncing of waves off the sea-wall and rocks, you get very intricate movement. Waves travel from different directions to crash into each other, creating ridges, depressions and foams that are overall are quite mesmerising. I know the water is always brown, because of the amount of silt it contains, but I think this adds a textural quality to the water.

The sky was beautiful too: but then it usually is here!

1-img_0304This photo show just how high the water was, and the pier almost looks as though it is floating. This would have been a good time to get into the porthole room underneath the pier, but sadly we were out and about before opening time.

Walking home past Clevedon Hall, something in the trees caught my eye.

1-img_0327-001It’s not the best photo, but who would expect such a view of a roe deer near a busy road at 8:45 am. I snapped fast! Maybe I could have taken my time, as he watched me all the way down the road without moving from the spot.

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When you like nature, photography and writing, days like to day are gifts!

Strange day: calm beside the storm?

I’m just back from a breath of fresh air down by Clevedon Marine Lakes, and as always I took a few photos along the way.

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It’s a strange day out there today: quite grey as you can see, but brighter than you might expect. Cool but not cold, calm but a little breezy. Almost raining, but not quite! The latest seasonal storm  hit the North of the country yesterday, so maybe this is the calm behind or beside the storm.

The Marine Lakes are looking good now all the renovation work has finished, and it’s easy to see how well used they will be in the summer if we get some nice weather. Much more inviting to get in the water, with lots of ramps and steps, wider paths beside the lake and a wider walk walk between the two lakes. The blue thing you can see in the photo is the platfom for swimmers to climb onto in the middle of the water. There’s also a wide area at the far end for families with little children. All very nice indeed!

The soft light somehow picked out some of the old metal-work set into the stone wall: a drainage pipe capping contraption and metal rings which must have beem used for life rings, or maybe boats, although they seem very high up and far away from the water level.

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These are all features I haven’t noticed before… and the lovely colour to the rusted iron, the rust stain on the stone, the stone and lichen all provide nice contrasts and textures for some photography.

Many people still think that you need sunshine for good photos. Grey days can give great results – for the right subjects – so keep snapping through the winter!

 

 

I love walking in the rain… (well, I do!)

Quite often bad weather is a reason to stay inside if you can and keep warm and dry, but as I’ve often blogged about the pleasures of walking, and my intention to get out and about with my camera in all weathers, I decided not to let storm Clodagh keep me indoors today, and I headed out before breakfast for a walk.

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Not only is the walk more exhilarating and fun – there is something about the wind that works on almost everyone – but it feels as though it is doing you good. So a good brisk walk in the wind, with Poet’s walk to myself as most other walkers were giving it a miss.

Clevedon looked a little wild today. We never get storms like you do in Cornwall as we are in a relatively sheltered location, but it was still rough and choppy and the pier looked as though it was sitting low in the water.

I love the reflections in the puddles too. I know – little things please little minds but I do like this photograph of a tree.

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More ways to find fun and fitness with walking are in my kindle book!

We’re buying shares – in Clevedon Pier

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Aah yes. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and chip in to help the pier.

You can’t come to Clevedon without noticing the pier. There are plenty of other quiet delights in the town, but the pier will be the thing you notice first. It has a long history from its opening in 1869, collapse in 1970 and restoration and reopening in 1989 and work is underway on a fabulous new visitor centre, cafe and viewing gallery. My husband Alec and I have bought season tickets to the pier every year since we moved to Clevedon: that way we are showing our support while benefiting ourselves from being able to take a walk down the pier whenever we want (during opening hours of course). When the community share scheme was announced, we decided that we would have to be part of it and today we have put the cheque in the post.

Have a look online, and if you can afford some shares too – why not? The minimum spend isn’t huge (150 x £1 shares ) and you have bought your little slice of history. Read more here!

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Here’s the view of work today. Amazingly small space to work in, but the lower level viewing gallery now has a concrete roof above it – the floor for the cafe. Which we’ve heard in the news will be run by the people in charge of Tiffins – one of our lovely local cafes.

And a fairly recent plaque added at the end of the pier. (Apologies if it’s been there for years and I’ve only just noticed!!)

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It all adds to the interest. I’ve seen most of these ships myself, so it’s nice to know now what they are.

If you haven’t visited Clevedon before, or haven’t been for a while, there is lots to see. Work on the Marine Lakes approaching completion, the new Loungers cafe open at the historic Curzon cinema, the Theatre Orchard bringing live performance to Clevedon, several other new cafes and businesses and news that the traditional Christmas fair will return to Hill Road. It’s all happening in Clevedon!

Autumn in Clevedon

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It’s a strange season, Autumn. For those who particularly love the sun it is of course the beginning of the bad times – darker evenings, cold and damp weather. For those who relish a British Christmas, it’s the sign that frosty walks, welcoming pubs with roaring log fires, fairy lights and Christmas trees are all on the way.

But I like walking, wildlife and photography, and I just love the autumn! The light and colours in the landscape are beautiful, even early in the season before the trees properly turn to full gold and orange. An added bonus is that you don’t have to get up at 3 in the morning to catch an atmospheric morning shot. Here’s one of my photographs from Poet’s Walk in Clevedon on a morning when the mist was lying beneath the hills, and layers of cloud were adding colour to the sky. The sun was just getting some strength, so the grasses on the edge of the hill got some golden highlights too. Just lovely!

In towns you can take advantage of some dramatic scenes too. I liked the church and tree photographed without filters: I emphasised the bleached colours with a posterising effect.

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Some of my favourite photos, drawings and paintings are on sale in my RedBubble shop. There are some nice gift ideas!!

This year I’m planning on gettting out and about in all weathers to capture how the scenery changes through the year. There is talk of a cold winter coming for the UK. While I’m not a great fan of ice and snow, I will be on the look out for some great snowy shots: could be material for my next calendar.

And I suppose that’s the key thing about the changing seasons… to make the most of them where ever you live.