Caroline Shipsey

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

142nd Mendip Ploughing Match at Deer Leap

Today has been Mendip at it's very best. Not a cloud in the sky all day, a gentle breeze and temperatures in the low 70's. It's not often the Weather God's smile on us but they certainly did today for the ploughing match. If this was my last day on the Mendips it couldn't have been better!

I've missed the past 2 or 3 years ploughing matches and have been looking forward to taking photos again this year, and of course the superb lunch prepared by team of 'super women'!

There was a fantastic turnout for all classes including the horse ploughing, hedging, and walling. The location as usual was superb, just above Deer Leap - it it's held in a different place every year. However, a cloudless sky with the sun high overhead doesn't make for great photography despite the location or event, and today was challenging to say the least.

There were many people I'd met in previous years, friends and neighbours, photographers and new acquaintances made. My photos give a flavour of this special day in the Mendip calendar. If you love the traditions of country life and would enjoy a day surrounded by tractors and ploughs, where dogs are accepted as part of life, in a totally un-commercialized environment then there's no better way to spend a day.

Horse Ploughing at Deer Leap - Mendip Ploughing match  28th September 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Somerset Arts Work - Venue 60 Stoberry Park

Suddenly summer returned this afternoon and I was drawn to Stoberry Park in Wells where five artists are exhibiting their work in the beautiful gardens.

My particular interest was the stainless steel sculptures by Ian Marlow which I'd previously seen on many occasions in the Bishop's Palace gardens in Wells. Photographing stainless steel on a bright sunny afternoon isn't easy - burnt out highlights and deep shadows can be a problem but here are a couple of examples.

I don't have the words to describe Ian's work, so taking the words straight from his website, they are:-
"sculptures in stainless steel which explore natural movement."

ian marlow sculpture

ian marlow sculpture

It was real pleasure to meet Ian Marlow, and also Sonja Klinger who is a hot glass artist. Do take a look at their sites to see more of their beautiful work, and then take a visit to Stoberry Park.

stoberry park

Sunday, 25 September 2011

SAW - Somerset Art Works

SAW was born in 1994, at that time it was Somerset Arts Week and a fairly small affair. I participated in the very first event and continued until 2005. Times have changed and it's now a two week affair with many more artists showing their work across the whole county. The following quote defines it's present form.....

Somerset Art Works (SAW) is a non-profit making organisation promoting the Visual Arts and creating opportunities for Visual Artists in Somerset through advocacy, promotion and development.

Now I've got that out of the way and if you've always wondered what the yellow arrows with numbers written are that appear around the county every September - they are the venue numbers in the catalogue! Put these 2 weeks in your diary next year if you enjoy driving around our lovely county looking at what our local artists are doing.

I had one artist singled out for a visit today - photographer Stephen Spraggon. I already knew his work would be first class, but isn't it great when you get to meet someone and they're first class too? It really adds to the enjoyment of the images when they've been created by such a thoroughly nice guy. Everything about his images and their presentation reflects this.

Anyway enough of this, check out Stephen Spraggon Photography - spend a while exploring the beautiful landscapes of the South West of England through the eyes of Stephen Spraggon.

At the same venue the work of artist Jennie Thomas was on show - another delight! Her beautiful evocative landscapes and coastal scenes are very yummy! I'm so pleased to have met Jenny too, a lovely lady whose love of the countryside shines through her images. Do take a look at her work Jennie Thomas - Art.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

You might have noticed over on the right of the page this....

It's called a 'badge', not sure why, and doesn't quite fit the space allowed but you get the idea I expect. is a great site with some stunning images showcased every day and the spirit of it is that people only upload their best work. So I'm picking out some of my favourite and hopefully best images that don't fit on my website or just get lost.

Experimenting with abstract images and photographing flowers, have been bubbling under for a long time but I want to develop my vision and style in both these areas - will be the new home for these images in future.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cycling - Tour of Britain Stage 6 - KOM Old Bristol Hill

As one who hasn't ridden a bike since I was about 10 years old, it's strange that I should get caught up in the enthusiasm surrounding the Tour of Britain cycle race with the finish of Stage 6 in Wells yesterday, 16th September.

The Somerset stage started in Taunton and eventually came up through Cheddar Gorge, and then after going through Wells came up the Old Bristol Hill and right past our house. It was a beautiful sunny day but not too hot and the wind had dropped at last. The atmosphere was amazing, crowds lined the route with picnic chairs to ease the wait for the racers come past, and hundreds of cyclists too. When they did come for most it was all over in a flash - literally!

I chose to watch them coming up to the top of Old Bristol Hill, just half a mile from home, where they would be going much more slowly and so have a better chance at getting some decent photos. Hundreds of others gathered along the road too but it was a great vantage point for everyone and so exciting to see them coming up the hill!

It was amazing that so many people turned out to watch and support the riders - the ordinary people of all ages, and the huge numbers of cyclists, of all ages too!
Apparently Somerset County Council had sponsorship deal of £775,000 for the event over 5 years but aren't going to renew it. What a shame, with cycling gathering more followers every year, and being a fantastic way for the whole family to get out get exercise, surely hosting such a prestigious event can bring nothing but good to the area.

King of the Mountains climb of Old Bristol Hill, Johnathan Tiernan-Locke leading