A minor exercise in low light photography with basic pocket digital camera
Sometimes playing with one subject can be very interesting; changes in light and approach alter ones perceptions. This interesting gentleman caught my eye in the fading light.
Things ain’t what they might seem
Walking slowly through the city as dusk falls and after a splendid meal, we came across this sad and worried face. Who is this fraught individual memorialised in his distress? A great composer, architect, academic? What great works has he inspired and created? Does he not seem to cry?
The hard life of a planter cum jardiniere
Lion man with his burden of plants – it’s a lonely life out in the rain.
He shines with determination in the light
Late miniature daffodils
Was out the other day and a parcel had to be signed for so this now meant we had to go the 23 miles to the office in Alnwick to sign and receive it. As it was going to break up the day anyway we decided on a circuitous trip back, taking in food in Amble where we finished off our dining at Spurelli’s Boutique Ice-cream Parlour - an assortment of flavours that you don’t expect to find in a former small fishing port now a small marina. We ended up in St Lawrence’s Church, Warkworth down by the river, not having visited this church in all the years we’ve lived around here. (The link above gives a very detailed account of the history of the church on this site).
- English Heritage – Warkworth Castle, Northumberland - the photo in the slide show above is taken from the churchyard.
- A few of my favourite things (intotheorchard.com)
Clematis Montana ‘Crinkle’
I’m not a ‘pink’ kind of person either in clothing or flower preferences, in fact I can be pettily hostile to the idea. Sometimes exceptions slip through and I have found this particular clematis to be a very good plant for growing over and along the garden wall. It has smallish flowers and blooms from around the beginning of April through till August-September and with its bronze leaves, slightly greeny-yellow centre and lovely hanging flower buds it all gives a very pleasant contrast of colours, shapes and textures against the rugged country farm wall and all the greenery that grows in and there upon. Here you can see how the centre (looking sticky with dew) clashes nicely with the delicate powder pink of the veined petals all sitting proud of its bronze foliage.
- A Beautiful Clematis from Mongolia (nicolebrait.com)
Better late than never
Easter brings to mind the celebrations we saw in Madrid a few years ago. This will be one of the many postings that have been made on the subject, but it is definitely one of those things that leaves its mark on the mind of the observer and, every Easter since we were there I think about it, and the continuing social and religious traditions it represents.
We have some nighttime video but, as I’m too cheap skate to upgrade this site, I can’t upload video, or the soundtrack, for which I apologies. However, after filleting out some of the frames showing the carrying of the spectacular religious images through the streets, here are a few grainy, atmospheric images.
This particular group was going through just outside our hostel, as the procession made its way from the bottom of the road in the Puerta del Sol up to, around the outside of, and then into the Plaza Mayor, where people were sitting on high balconies and hanging out of windows, looking down on the huge crowds and dancing icons.
Much is written about these events but nothing compares with the feelings evoked from standing on the streets and seeing such devotion to an expression of religion and strength of feeling for their individual church associations and religious iconography. Some walk in bare feet and carry scourges, other carry crosses and many participants seem very young. Then there’s always whatever feelings rise in you, the outsider, on seeing the traditional costume as worn in above image.
Overall it is an amazing sight and sound and there seems to be little or no problems within the watching crowds, which are packed with families. Each religious figure is applauded by the knowing spectators as their teams of bearers carry out the difficult manoeuvres round the streets, doing swaying movements and making the figures dance and float along to the choreographed count of steps and reverses. All the pictures available cannot conjure up the atmosphere of keenness, or the sounds of the accompanying bands of drummers and trumpeters that each church association musters for their part of the parade.
There are daytime processions too – the one we attended in the rain had a team of young drummers accompanying the Virgin. Because of the downpour the very young looking team, dressed in the monk style habits, brought her out in her beautiful, gold bullion embroidered clothing to show her to the crowd and carefully took her back, closely observed by mantilla-ed ladies, sombre suited gentlemen and members of the Church. (Again this is a frame from a video.)
Later in the week we were strolling around in the evening and came across a team of men wearily stowing away all the paraphernalia of their church and association until next year, and wondered if many of them had been the ones with the honour of carrying their religious icon dancing and swaying through the crowded streets.
- Semana Santa
- Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain (vadoaspain.wordpress.com)
- Wandering the streets – April – Seville (theinfillclicks.wordpress.com)
PS: 2 evenings on the trot the system has eaten this posting – here’s hoping this one works – make that 3
Keep to the footpaths
We live in an area of many public footpaths: over hills and moorland, across and round the edges of farm land and along rivers. When natural disasters happen here, thankfully they are usually on a smaller scale than in other parts of the world. OK, I can think of quite a few terrible exceptions within my lifetime but such events have been few and far between.
So this is a photograph from a very local, small-scale quarrel between nature and mankind – though frustration levels were high .
A nightmare for those living nearest
In this particular valley, the river broke its banks about 6 years ago and decided to go walk-about. It had done it before 21 years ago or so, and its outcome had been horribly tragic higher up-stream, where a man was caught when using a ford he knew well. But it had at that time, more or less stayed within or near its bounds, flooding some of the fields further down stream and driving huge trees along its length end over end in its flow and damaging small footbridges as it passed. I think the worst before that had been the famous 1948 floods which happened all over the country.
On this current occasion all river banks, roads and footpaths in its way were up for grabs most of the way along the valley.
Waders to be recommended
Do you see the hills on the other side of the valley? That is where the river ran its channel until the heavy rains. So do let’s obey the walker’s rules and go on a footpath, erm hunt?
This is a salmon river and the flood was in September. When the salmon started their run they had to jump up newly created mini waterfalls where the water had gouged out the field surface and created new channels, into water full of grass, barely deep enough to make further progress.
To be fair to the river it probably used to run across the valley bottom and much more towards this side until, I think the Victorians confined it in land improvement and management measures.
The hills and promontories around are full of the archeology of habitation throughout the history of humans in the region, and the river is one of those reputedly used by Paulinus in baptising the leaders of the area. There is a particular promontory on this side of the valley (a quarter-mile to my right) that looks as though it was used for ceremonial purposes and it would have made more sense to build it there if it also overlooked a river running nearer its foot than it does now. And that is where it ended up 6 years ago.
The reinstatement of the river bank was destroyed the following season a couple of times, giving everyone living close stress upon stress, and now it has been designed for give/filtering through, to allow the water to spread so that it can get away and lose force: a new flood bank has been built close to the houses affected in our village and ditches have been upgraded to full drainage conduits. Not a full solution, but possibly a workable compromise with nature.
Here endeth the talk in local river and drainage management. So as you go walking in our National Parks and elsewhere on this wet and windy bank holiday, have a shuftyat the local rivers you pass. Do they look as though it’s totally natural that they flow just where they are now?
Easter Holy Week had just come to an end. We’d been in Madrid during the celebration. Seville was busy with white vans and pick-ups clearing things away. The celebrations had involved hundreds and hundreds of chairs and many sets of raised seating, so corners of streets were lined with piles of each, ready for storing till next year.
It gave the city squares and street corners a look of building work or street hordings being cleared. Restaurants, coffee houses and cafés abound: some work-a-day and some smart (as one above).
The streets were a mix of the familiar and the less well known, with lots of architectural interest in the older parts and plainer modern items slotted in, gradually becoming the blander faced, new build you find almost anywhere, as you move out from the centre.
The following are mostly from the streets around the Cathedral and central business and shopping areas, with the mix of the classical Mediterranean and the Moorish.
This run of shops, ending in the bathing suit dome, is immediately after the photo above and swivelling to the right, so it finishes off part of that street before it ends in a plaza.
On a walk down to the river we spotted this – the back view of Plaza de Armas buildings. I think it’s a mall now but was a station or may be still both, but am very uncertain, even though we went inside. I’ve included it for its shape but also for the aeroplane hanging inside.
Cut from the above, hear it is and I’ve still no idea why.
Rotating right and facing the river, there’s a more industrial view. The light was pretty hazy, at evening time by then and the colour version didn’t improve much so it’s been greyscaled and charcoaled to bring out the linear design. It is a totally different set of design parameters, harking back to the 30s – 50s which caught my eye as it stood proudly on the far bank.
Another personal view of a spectacular place. The Alcázar in Seville is still a royal palace and a set of buildings I warm to more than the Alhambra in Granada. The gardens of the Alhambra a magnificent and breathtaking but cold and a little forbidding. Whereas the Alcázar has all the magnificence and contrasts but on a more logical scale.
Everywhere there are internal gardens and at different floor levels, with occasional vistas into the larger garden outside. And water: life and paradise.
(I swear we went up a floor and still, when you looked out, there was a courtyard garden at the same level, though not this one, which I particularly like: an example of water and garden tucked in whenever there’s an opportunity.)
These are on the way to one of the exits, with La Giralda tower of the cathedral slicing the sky above.
Definitely one of those places that we have to revisit.
Grey Sunday morning, tired and crumply, crumbling and scaly.
Spotted in a local outhouse on disused farm building. Find fascination in the varied textures and shades of grey.