Caroline Shipsey

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mendip Abstracts

Abstract images are a real challenge for me so I'm going to start a new gallery and project entirely dedicated to abstract pictures I make from day to day objects found on my daily walks. Often I come across what I think could be images - knots in trees, twisted metal, fallen leaves, or maybe puddles, but there is more to creating a beautiful image from these than just pointing the camera and pressing the shutter. It might be something I can learn or tune into or maybe not, time will tell.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Let it Snow

9.45pm and the first wet flakes started to fall again, and now the footprints on our drive are filled and obliterated. Once more even in the strange light of the white, night landscape, there is a carpet of pristine clean snow. There is a driving wind but the temperature is only just below freezing so the snow feels wet. I have a plan for photography tomorrow morning so I really don't want to be snowed in again.

Mendip Road frost and Snow

I wonder what I was going to post here ........

I think I had a reason for making sure there would be an entry for today, but whatever it was I've forgotten it now. Picture required !!!!!

Drip, Drip ....... Thaw Snow

I woke to the sound of steady dripping, not at the monotonous tap dripping sound but the melodic tones of drips falling from different heights on a variety of surfaces.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Mendip Snow Continued

A quick recap on yesterday, Saturday's weather and events.
At last some sunshine and blue skies, if you only look at the sky it could have been a summer's day with beautiful cumulus clouds and the brightest of blue sky this morning. At last I was able to find the images I had been hoping for, beautiful formations of snow drifts.

The road from the Hunters down to Wells, the Old Bristol Road, was closed by the police in an effort to stop the joy riding that had been a problem late on Friday night. Apparently there were quite a few 4x4 vehicles trying to use the route for fun, causing problems for our neighbors on the brow of the hill, which is where they all got stuck or had to turn round. There were still a couple of prats who think they can do what they like without any consideration for anyone else - OK I'm grumpy, but when the quietness generally experienced is shattered by revving engines, spinning tyres and showers of slush its hardly suprising.

Walking in snow and on ice seems to use muscles that have been dormant for a while and after 3 good walks my legs feel pretty well exercised, shame it's not my tummy getting the workout.

 Ols Bristol Road towards Hunter's Lodge

Friday, 6 February 2009

Mendip Hills Extreme Weather

There has been snow and ice up here all week making life just a little tricky at times and it has been steadily getting worse. I've been awake since 5am this morning,there has been several inches of snow overnight and in the past hour (its now 6.45am) there has been thunder and lightning plus even more snow. The windows on both the front and back of the house are now almost completely covered with snow which has blown and frozen, and as I write more lightning. There was apparently 8 inches of snow according to the evening news.

It's compelling to take photographs at every opportunity, there hasn't been snow like this since 1991 and I want to make sure I have the best possible record of how we are affected here on the Mendips - just in case it doesn't happen again for another 18 years.

Sorting through photographs from my trip to Wales has been time consuming, especially as I managed to delete them completely somehow,(eventually recovered!!) added to this are the hundreds of recent snow and ice pics, many of which will be consigned to the trash though. So far I haven't managed to upload anything for over 2 weeks which is why there are no images with my recent blog entries.

Yesterday there was a bit of a thaw which resulted in deep slush on most roads up here, some motorists don't realize it can be just as dangerous as ice though. A stupid person managed to come off the road outside our house and plough straight through a wall into the field - and this on a completely straight road with clear visibility.

The sun managed to break through and give a spectacular light show as it finally sank below the hill, not something we see often up here.

Big drifts fool 4WD folks

Monday, 2 February 2009

The Silence of Snow

At last the snow which has affected much of the UK has arrived on the Mendips and brought with it an amazing quietness, even silence at times. The roads up here do not get gritted, so quickly present difficult driving conditions. Only those who don't know any better, or four wheel drives take the chance of taking the route past our home down into Wells, and so it is virtually empty of traffic. I love it, I can walk in the middle of the road and the dogs can scamper at will.

Amazing Weekend in North Wales

*****Gallery of images - work in progress*****

30th January, Friday morning 7.30am, raining as we set off for Menai Bridge, Anglesey in North Wales.
First stop was at Llanthony Priory, which probably would have been quite photogenic in any other weather but not today, then on to a tiny chapel, Capel-Y-Ffin with huge aged Yew trees, but still the rain came down.

Partly due to an error in my navigation we found ourselves at the Elan Valley, Penygarreg Dam which was spectacular due to the recent amount of rain, water roaring over the towering wall.

Next stop was Borth - At particular times of year the lowest tides reveal on Borth's beach - the stumps and trunks of old, old forests long hidden under the golden sands. We hadn't expected to see this but luck was with us and the receding tide revealed them, dark and twisted but there is no doubting that these are the remains of trees some of which have been carbon dated at 3500 BC. Read more here.

From Borth we headed to Menai Bridge and the comfort of the Anglesey Arms Hotel where Lee and Eifion from Welshot Imaging, our hosts, and Mari Sterling, our photographer tutor for the weekend, were already settled in the bar. After settling in and enjoying a good meal together we all headed for bed as an early start on Saturday morning was planned.

At 6.45am the intrepid Welshot Imaging Workshop attendees set off for Trefor Pier, the location for the day's workshop, hoping to catch a spectacular sunrise. Well, it did rise but not as spectacularly as we hoped, but then landscape photograpahers take what the day gives them. It was bitterly cold but this didn't dampen the enthusiasm of anyone and we all made the most of what the pier and beach had to offer.

Mari Sterling
was our tutor for the day and worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone received one to one assistance, ably assisted by Eifion on the photographic side, and Lee making sure everyone was OK generally and providing hot drinks. I decided to cut my day short as Bessie was unwell and in fact I felt I'd achieved some good images so was satisfied with the day.

The rest of the party returned to the hotel after sunset and we had a session of sharing images taken during the day and generally socializing. A room had been allocated at the hotel for us to do this which was excellent - big table, plenty of power points for laptops etc. Eventually it was time to eat - the food was excellent, interesting menu, reasonably priced and good service too.

Sunday was a very special day as we, myself and Duncan, met up with Lee, Eifion and Mari for more photography and friendship. The weather was even keener, really not conducive to much photography and the light wasn't good, except of course when brilliant patches of sunlight illuminated the hills and valleys.

Eventually we decided that lunch would be an impromptu buffet at Mari's beach house. What a joy and privilege to be invited into her home on the stunningly beautiful beach. It would have been so easy just to stay there, and stay, and stay, but the sun set over the mountains and it was time to head for home.

Welshot Imaging
is dedicated to offering value for money workshops, in beautiful locations, with their own unique format - this includes ensuring that everyone receives personal attention from the tutor on a subject which was determined in advance when completing the course application form. The packed lunches were also pre-ordered to individual requirements, truly scrummy and each in bag with our names on them, so there was no scrabbling through piles of rolls etc looking for what we had ordered.

What more can I say, a great weekend in good company in beautiful surroundings and plenty of good food - looking forward to the next one !

To be continued.......