Tag Archive: photography

Exhibition Road

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

We knew it would be busy at the museum with it being half term but we were not expecting the crowds to be quite as big as they were. The queue was so long that they took us on a tour of the grounds including garden areas we did not even know existed let alone seen before. Most of the queues was for the dinosaur exhibition which we have visited a couple of times before but this time it was not on our itinerary.

Our destination was the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which features its winners and finalists. Naturally we were not permitted to take any photos so you will have to take our word for it when we tell you that some of the pictures were truly stunning. I can see why the overall winner got first prize but, for myself, I did not enjoy the sight of one fox carrying the bloodied corpse of another. True to life, “nature red in tooth and claw” and all that, but not pretty.

After lunch we wandered down Exhibition Road. This street made the news recently as an experiment in pedestrian/traffic management. There are no kerbs and all travellers are supposed to share the same space. Think of a pedestrianised street down which everyday traffic is allowed to travel: bicycles could and did go anywhere, for instance. It sort of worked in that it slowed everyone down. Meanwhile we came across this sculpture…

"When Soak Becomes Spill" by Subodh Gupta

“When Soak Becomes Spill” by Subodh Gupta

It is supposed to show a drink poured out and over flowing (think of a fizzy drink being poured into a glass, bubbling up and over). It was made from various steel buckets, pots and pans.

close up of "When Soak Becomes Spill"

close up of “When Soak Becomes Spill”

You can see it on the corner between the Victoria and Albert and Natural History museums. The sculpture was said to represent a comment on the wastefulness of consumer society. I thought that there was a resemblance of the ancient notion of a cornucopia: a horn of plenty. That represented good harvests, more than enough for everyone, a generous blessing. How did we get from generosity to wastefulness? Perhaps the difference is whether we use left overs on another day or simply throw them away; whether we use the generous blessings we receive for ourselves alone or to help others as well.

Another slice of Pembrokeshire

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We enjoyed our holiday to South West Wales again this year and have a few photos to show you. Hope you like them.

St David’s

Last year it poured with rain and for a while we thought we would be wet again this year. It did indeed turn out to be one of our wettest days but more like intermittent heavy drizzle. The Cathedral is quite spare in its shape and decoration – simple rather than bare. I like the fact that it is uncluttered and that there are plenty of spaces to stop and keep quiet (not silent but as a tourist I could hardly resent the presence of other visitors there).

The city is tiny – lot smaller than our own county town  both in area and in population. Still, it is not too touristy and the information centre cum art gallery is pleasant enough: scores well on the “decent cup of tea” scale.

Bosherton lily ponds

I am not sure I want to tell you about this place. It is owned by the National Trust and we saw a real, live, wild otter in broad daylight, in the middle of the afternoon: extraordinary! We decided that watching that otter fishing, swimming and eating was the highlight of the holiday. We have seen otters in zoos but this was something special.

Meanwhile in the village I had my mandatory cream tea – if we holiday in the UK, a cream tea is a must have – it was good. While it may not have had a perfect score it was certainly better than the High Tea I had at Fortnum and Mason’s last January!

Teifi Valley Railway

The biggest problem we had with this place was that we got lost driving there. Part of the problem is that the post town on the address is several miles away and we were relying on a small-scale road atlas as we had not brought the relevant OS Landranger map with us. We got there in the end. It is the sort of place that would suit families though I guess that older teenagers and young adults might want to do something else unless they are interested in steam trains / heritage railways. One good thing about the place is that it is run by enthusiasts and volunteers. I might say “amateur” but in the sense of loving what they do – not in the sense that we sometimes use to indicate that something is not done very well.

As well as the trains there was a miniature railway, a play area, garden centre, second-hand shop and crazy golf. The last on that list was amateur in the sense of “not done terribly well”. The challenges were not very well thought out and in places impossible to do. When I say “impossible” I mean the trigonometry meant a hole in one was impossible and that the layout did not give enough clues as to what one was supposed to aim for. Still, we did all the holes and made up our own rules as we went along.

Pendine Sands

We had some debate as to how pronounce “Pendine” and ended up rhyming with “fine” – but we did not check with local residents.

I wanted to go in order to visit the Museum of Speed (which turned out to be one of the smallest museums I have ever been to) and to see the world-famous Pendine Sands. Up until the 1950s, this was the place where land speed records were attempted, set and broken. When the tides are right you have a wide, flat beach some seven miles long, which suited those record makers. Much of it is under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence as the area makes a good testing ground. Good if you happen to live in London, no so good if you live in South Wales, I suppose!

When I finally got onto the sand I discovered that low tide took the sea at least a mile out – and it was receding even as I slogged along the soggy strand in my trainers. I also discovered that while the beach was very flat, the sand, in fact was not what you would call smooth: wavy ripples made a pattern pleasing to look at but awkward to walk over.

The photos include one of “Babs” a speed record-making vehicle. What took me by surprise was the bicycle chain technology involved.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Just a few photos to share. We saw at first hand MAF’s latest aircraft (and it was so small, less room inside than our family car – but then they fly to hard-to-reach places). A highlight for us was the flight simulator. Nothing overly complicated but modesty forbids me to elaborate my delight at not actually crashing the ‘plane on my turn trying to land at a remote airstrip.

I expect we’ll follow this up at church. In the meantime, a few photos:

I saw the moon last night

I should have been sleeping but at least I got to see the full moon at perigee. Evening and this morning it has been cloudy so it was by chance I happened to be up when there was a break in the clouds. It was bright and I managed to take this photo. I didn’t want to go outside so this is through a window at an angle to the glass – hence the picture is not as crisp as it might have been. You can still see some detail, though.

full moon 23rd-24th June 2013

full moon 23rd-24th June 2013

Looking at it now I notice that the right hand side (as we look at the picture) is bumpy. I should not be surprised: the moon is not a perfect sphere but instinctively one expects to see a circle. Must be all those childhood picture books…

I still haven’t got the hang of taking night-time photos but these two pleased me given that I’m using a bridge camera (not a DSLR). Jupiter is a bit blurred but that is because of the trail caused by a 1 second exposure without any kind of tracking. The Moon has some discernible detail – also a 1 second exposure. For the rest of the settings I chose “landscape” from the scene menu and hoped for the best for things like focus and aperture. So really it’s “well done” to the camera!

Jupiter and four moons

A gibbous moon

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