Snow on the hills around Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
Take a View - Landscape Photographer of the Year at London Waterloo
A couple of dozen landscape photos in nice prints on display at The Balcony at London Waterloo railway station. I particularly liked the Urban View category; recognition of how much urban landscapes figure in our day-to-day visual experience.
The exhibition is dominated by views but I noted a number of techniques: long exposure, subtle HDR, monochrome, colour and geometry. A couple of images featuring people in the landscape, which I find refreshing as it both gives scale and changes a “view” to a “moment”. Some very successful images in square format as well as the expected horizontal rectangle “landscape” format; extreme panoramics appear to be out of fashion. I don’t recall any entirely abstract images and not much metaphor in evidence although a couple of photographers pulled the “Your View” category in this direction.
The Brighton Philharmonic gave us much sparkle and snap this New Years Eve afternoon in the Brighton Dome Concert Hall, a full house despite fog and train difficulties outside. The Brighton Dome predates the popularity of the Strauss dynasty in Vienna and most of the music in this programme, its Regency curves were converted to a fashionable concert hall which opened in 1866 and was refitted in Art Deco style in 1935 and refitted most recently in 1999-2002.
Stephen Bell’s acrobatic conducting style brought us a fizzing Entrance March from Johann Strauss’s operetta of 1885, The Gypsy Baron. Much precision and enthusiasm from the back row, the brass, percussion and tympani, which was matched from the front desk with fine string ensemble led by principal violinist and leader, John Bradbury.
A preserved fragment of the South Downs. Parts of Castle Hill nature reserve have never been ploughed, so maintain something like the original character of this Sussex downland before modern farming took over. The bank on the right is Hawthorne scrub with a wide mixture of grasses and flowering plants. Now, under the protection of the National Park, the grassland is grazed to promote a variety of wildlife including birds and butterflies. A quiet place to enjoy my picnic lunch in the winter sunshine, open to the skies but secluded from roads.
Just three chimneys left in the row of terraced houses at Birling Gap, Sussex. Sea erosion has claimed a lot more of the white chalk cliffs between Brighton, Beachy Head and Eastbourne in the past few years. Once there were a dozen dwellings in this terrace row, houses for the coastguards; the first was demolished in 1972; erosion has been continuing since to claim about a metre of cliff per year. The chalk washes away but the flints remain on the beach, rounded by the wave action.
The apparently off-the-cliff viewpoint of my photo, ten metres up from the beach and ten metres out from the cliff, is not because I have received a drone for Christmas but simply the view from the handy steel staircase accessing down to the beach; the latest in a number of such conveniences installed by the National Trust, the previous ones having been washed away by storms.
Our flight back from Funchal, Madeira, was cancelled due to fog at Gatwick so (after rebooking) we have enjoyed an excursion to Ponta do Pargo; we hiked from the viewpoint, past the lighthouse, the optical navigation aid, to see the radio tower that performs the same function for aeronautical navigation. It’s the westernmost point of the island of Madeira but not quite the most westerly point that counts as Europe, that’s in the Azores. Nonetheless there’s a lot of the Atlantic between here and Charleston, South Carolina, roughly the same latitude on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The BSGS field trip group in the volcanic landscape near Caniço, at the extreme east of the island of Madeira. The superficial resemblance to the familiar granite cliffs of Lands End or maybe parts of the limestone cliffs of the Dorset Jurassic coast is because all are shaped primarily by water erosion: these spectacular cliffs in mid-Atlantic are the results of relatively recent volcanism.
Moment of realisation when Duncan realises too late that wave is going to drench him. The real force of wave erosion is suddenly going to hit him, just as it shaped the rocks behind. All part of the fun on this BSGS Geology field trip at Serrado on the north coast of Madeira.
Just offshore from Ribeira da Janela, Porto Moniz, on the north shore of Madeira and away from the usual tourist hotels, there are dramatic volcanic rock formations swathed by the Atlantic Ocean surf. “Ilheus da Rib” seems the accepted translation to English. The waves here are direct from the ocean, the reef having disappeared during one of Madeira island’s several volcanic episodes - unlike the Hawaiian islands, the volcanism at Madeira is recurrent.
Lots of happy bikers at the GBMCC London Christmas lunch 2016. It's been a great year for GBMCC, including hosting the GLME 2016 Ascension bike camp in Salisbury in May . A record of 99 bookings for the Christmas lunch, with 50 going on to the RVT where Charlie Hides was the entertainer, others went on to the Leather Social at Comptons.
Hires version of my montage available on the GBMCC site shortly.