Caroline Shipsey

Monday, 31 May 2010

Priddy Friendly Society Club Day

This annual event starts with Roll Call at the New Inn at 11am then those assembled march behind the banner holders to the church, via the traditional 'old route' which follows a footpath across the fields to the churchyard.

Priddy Friendly Society

After a short church service, everyone marches to the village hall, returning by the same route, rather than just walking a few yards down the church path. I'm not sure why they do this, so will need to investigate?

A small group of ladies had been working really hard to produce a magnificent buffet lunch for around 100 people. Wonderful cooked meats from the Priddy Farm Shop, delicious fresh salads and lots of yummy local strawberries to finish off. There was masses to go round and everyone tucked in with great enthusiasm - Hats off to the ladies of the kitchen!!

The afternoon sports for children commenced at 3pm on the village green. There were other attractions, vintage lorries, bouncy castle, tea and cakes, tombola, the ever popular 'Whack the Rat' and a favourite with some (but not me!) worm charming!

All in all it was a lovely day, something special, a tradition that has survived over 100 years and I feel really privileged to have been able to make my record of it today.

Shoot and Share

"Shoot and Share" - that's a great philosophy for any photographer isn't it? It's going to be my mantra for the month of June, I'll try and follow the Picture of the Day approach and see what happens.

Anyway I like this so much I'm going to start today .......

Rhododendron in Nether Wood

Saturday, 29 May 2010

My Favorite Photography Companion

Bessie has been my photo buddy for the past 2 years since Fly died in February 2008. She seems to like being an 'only' dog on these occasions, rather than one of a pack. She's very patient when I get engrossed in something and sometimes falls asleep while waiting for me.

I love having her with me but our walk to the Fairy Glen, in Snowdonia, a couple of weeks ago, which involved a long flight of big steps, was too much for her in hindsight. Her back legs and hips really suffered for several days after and its taken a lot out of her generally. Hopefully she's getting back to normal now with some extra TLC. It's easy to forget Bessie is now 15 years old - good old dog:-)

Bessie - collie dog

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Scorching Spring

Actually not so scorching again now, thank heavens!

So far this year the weather has been on the cool side, that is until last weekend and the early part of this week when the temperatures skyrocketed into the 80's F.
The coolness of spring has meant that nature has been very slow in following it's course and the bluebell season has been a very long one with the first coming into flower about 6 weeks ago and those on Mendip top only just beginning.

Wild Garlic in Masbury Wood

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A Weekend in Wales 13th-16th May 2010

Its a week since I set off to Snowdonia for a photography packed weekend - the first workshop of 4 with Steve Lewis, and a sunrise walk with Duncan and Esen, and as much exploring as I could manage on my own.

I didn't make it to Rynys Farm campsite on Thursday evening, the beautiful, afternoon light drew me back to Tintern Abbey - The sense of peace and calm is very special. I'm fascinated by the symmetry of the building, its a challenge to photograph as I've never been into architecture.

Anyway after a pleasant hour or so we (Bessie and me) moved on to Queenswood nr Hereford where we stopped for supper. With the warmth of the sun and a full tummy I was feeling very mellow and the next 50 miles or so were hard going. The Travelodge at Mile End Oswestry were amenable to me spending the night in their car park so that was were we stopped.

As things turned out this was a good move as it gave me the opportunity to visit the canal at Llangollen and the Valle Crucis Abbey. Unfortunately the abbey wasn't open so I could only enjoy it from outside, there'll be other opportunities later this year. What I really can't get my head round is that this beautiful building is slap in the middle of a huge caravan and camping site, right up to the very edge of it!!

I've always wanted to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal which are designated a World Heritage site, more specifically I wanted to walk across it.

From Waterscape:- It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument; a Grade I Listed structure – and in June 2009 became a World Heritage site, putting it on an equal footing with the Great Barrier Reef and Statue of Liberty.

The aqueduct, taking the Llangollen Canal over the beautiful River Dee valley, is 1000 feet long and 125 feet high. Such distances had never before been conquered, until Telford's audacious decision to build it by laying an iron water-carrying trough on stone piers. To this day, the joints are effectively sealed using a mixture of flannel and lead dipped in liquid sugar.

For those crossing in a narrowboat, the effect is that of being suspended in mid-air. The iron trough sits about a foot above the water level and is unprotected on one side - so on one side of the boat there is nothing but 128 feet of air to the valley floor below.

Eventually I managed to pluck up courage to walk across, though I couldn't let go of the railings that I gripped with one hand, Bessie's lead was in the other and my camera swung precariously making me feel totally unbalanced. I DID IT - take a look at my pics, OK not stunning images but the best I could manage in the circumstances, and I'm pretty proud of myself:-))

The afternoon was a mix of weak sun and showers but around 4pm the light imporoved and I was able to take some pics of the stunningly beautiful Machno valley from the camp site.

The highlight of the weekend was the sunrise walk from Pen Y Pas, up the Miner's Path to Llyn Llydaw. We left the camp site at 3.45am and drove to Pen Y Pas giving us about an hour to walk to Llyn Llydaw in readiness for the sunrise at 5.18am. We were treated to a wonderful display by nature for about an hour before we decided the light was past it's most dramatic.

I breakfasted in the Royal Oak where we were all meeting up for the introductions with Steve Lewis - a huge and excellent breakfast! The group was slightly larger than last year, diverse backgrounds but a desire to improve photography being common in all of us.

Our first photographic excursion was to Fairy Glen - you have to pay to walk down the path, watched closely by an elderly man checking that everyone had put the right money in his collecting tin! It wasn't quite as spectacular as I had expected, pleasant enough but rather overcrowded with 10 of us, plus other visitors. I wasn't particularly inspired as 'water, rocks, trees' have figured rather a lot lately. Photographic opportunities were restricted by tripods balanced precariously on the rocks and lack of space.

Location number 2 was the waterfalls at Llyn Ogwen, visited last in October 2009 in pouring rain. There was considerably less water flowing due to the dry spell, this also meant the moss on the rocks was rather dried up which was a shame. Once again the number of people and their chosen viewpoint was a bit of a problem, restricting the choice of which part of these magnificent falls to photograph. Nevertheless it was pleasantly warm and sunny so it was good just to take in the atmosphere.

By the time we met up to move to the final location of Cwm Idwal the sky was almost clear of cloud and the light quite harsh. I was feeling pretty weary from the early start and opted not to go with the rest of the group but head for home and food!

Its funny how I respond to these workshops, I'm not motivated to take pics at all, but I do think a lot about what I am looking for in an image, the kind of light I respond to and things that are a complete turnoff.

Sunday was a leisurely morning exploring the back roads between Betws y Coed and Llanwrst. We were treated to some tantalizing light that only very briefly obliged by falling in exactly the right place for just a couple of seconds at a time.

All in all a great trip with some new places explored, good company with Duncan and Esen, and also fellow workshop participants.

Sunrise at Llyn Lydaw

Monday, 10 May 2010

Looking Backwards and Looking Forwards

Just a few days to go before I'm off to North Wales for the another workshop led by Steve Lewis. I'm really looking forward to it and the weather forecast is reasonable. At the moment I'm not sure where we are going, other than spending the morning session in Betws-y-Coed getting to know something about the other participants, and discussing what we hope to get out of the workshops.

It occurred to me that I hadn't got round to making a special gallery on my website devoted to last year's workshops, so I've spent the last couple of days reviewing my pics and come up with a small selection here.

Looking back I can see that despite being very enjoyable socially, and receiving the benefit of Steve Lewis's extensive knowledge about photography and Snowdonia, it was quite a challenge to achieve my aim of just one 'good' shot per workshop.

Looking forward, I'm well aware of the distractions of being part of a group and will try not to lose concentration thinking about my empty tummy, cold hands, wet feet, heavy tripod, how far it is back to the car, when will the sun shine, is it going to rain, which lens shall I use, filters or no filter..............

Evening light breaking through the rain clouds - Machno Valley

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Re-discovering the Somerset Levels and Moors

I was browsing through the websites of some well known and highly regarded photographers when I had one of those "I've got one like that" moments. I was looking at a beautiful early morning shot of the Dorset countryside by David Noton. Hmmm, I thought, let's see how mine compares. The image in question was one of a series that I was kind of fond of, taken not of Dorset, but near my home and overlooking the Levels.

Eventually I found it, and its companions, lost amongst the morris dancers of Upton-on Severn, so now they are sitting happily in my Somerset Levels and Moors gallery on my website. Personally I think David's image is a little on the pink side, but we all place our own interpretation on an image when we edit it don't we?

Day Break from Lodge Hill

David Noton's website - 2 pic, on the RH side.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Wells May Fair 2010

Though the day had the appearance of spring there is still a sharp nip in the air, not enough to cool the spirits of the Wells Lions Club who were busy in the Market Place running events of the May Fair.

An event like this makes me realize how fortunate we are to live in this beautiful and culturally rich area, and what a great community we have. Lots of local people giving their time or skills to make it an enjoyable day and raise money for charities too. A relaxed happy atmosphere.

Having some Mendip Moments!

Maypole Dancing by local school children.