About Me

My photo
Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, United Kingdom
Bit of a long tooth IT Manager - been and had a few hobbies, as for the title, I make glass beads, its Called Lampwork, I brew my own Beer, its called fun and I take photos, thats the oldest hobby, since I was 16 or so. My first camera was a Zenith E - then a Pentax KR to go digital after a long stint with a Pentax Super A. Now a Nikon D5200 and a D7100 with a Sigma 150 f2.8 macro lens to play with amongst others. Please note all photos used are my own and I retain full copyright to all of them. Thank you for respecting digital ownership

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Pen y Fan, in the fog

Went up Pen y Fan, its good for the mind and soul, the shots were not great as the mist and low cloud refused to move off while we were up there.

It was harder to climb this time compared to last time, but the last time was 10 years ago so I can accept that  all things considered.

The top was deep in mist and showed no sign of clearing, so after a while we decided to go back down and see what we could see at the bottom,

One from the top to show we got there

This helps to show what the path and the top was really like - note the edge is not protected in any way and its a drop from 2960 ft to 2000ft in a very steep almost vertical slope, not a good idea to get down fast that way !

The way up and down - the main path is well worn and easy to follow, the route is interesting if there is no mist to cloud the view, in our case visibility up was about 40-50yds, on the way down it was far better

This river flows along the base of the hill and has some interesting small falls

By this time the weather had changed and the top was in sun with blue skies, not going to climb back up again though !

Along the route home, the A470, the reservoirs are of note, but only lightly as the sides are very plain and populated with fishermen, this shot was at the top end of Cantref reservoir looking towards Pen Y Fan along the Gwaun Nant-Ddu ridge - Pen y Fan etc out of sight behind the oak tree

The last three shots were for me a new experinece, I merged multiple exposures together to get the fuller dynamic range of the exposure - so they may look a bit 'bright', from my memory the day did end up sunny and bright but there is always the risk that merging and creating a HDR image that looks over contrasty and bright, I hope that these are controlled enough to be acceptable to the eye.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

if you go down to the waterfalls today ......

Had a good walk with a couple of like-minded friends from the photo club, 4 Waterfalls walk at Ystradfellte. All the usual suspects Dippers, Woodpeckers and assorted woodland birds. Getting to the falls I spotted a Kingfisher on the other side of the river, for once it landed on a branch in view, normally all I get is a flash of blue as it goes past at max miles an hr. So, it landed and was in view, my 70-300mm lens is in Cornwall, I am in Wales - enjoy the view and move on !

The day proved interesting with a fair turn out of the public and what seem to be a never ending stream of groups of river ‘nutters’ not exactly sure what it is called really but they find areas of the river with waterfalls and then, best I can describe, drop dive the plunge pools from the top of the fall.

They are led by what is obviously an experienced guide and are fully kitted to do it, as safely as it can be, but, it plays merry heck with trying to get photos! 

No sooner do you get Jo public out the frame and look to take the shot than all these helmeted nutters turn up in the frame, its then a case of waiting while they drop off the edge and haul out of the plunge pool. It has to be said they all seemed to enjoy themselves and seemed to have lots of fun. On a nice day why not !

Anyway, a few shots, not too many as when you have seen one waterfall shot, well they can get a bit repetitive cant they. Truth to tell we saw the first couple of falls but decided to not bother with the last one, all the photos here are the White Meadows falls, you get two / three for the price of one there.

Starting at the top fall, moving down and then a 'riverlet 'waterfall.

The top fall as you see it when you finally clamber to the top area, and it is a clamber !

The top line on the left is where the nutters appear then clamber down and go behind the fall, the instructor took a group shot - so I thought it worth capturing that moment 

This then cascades down a lower level before the narrow plunge over to the lower river cascades

After that it forms a normal river again and gets to a place where it takes a sharp left over the next  falls and immediately after the drop it takes a sharp right and flows on down the valley

The river was pretty low, this is the lower falls from under the overhanging rock - the rock platform I am standing on to take this is normally part of the falls 

Looking back upstream you can see the gullies the river has carved along the rock fault lines at this time all of them have their own little version of the big falls 

I will finish with a bug ( its me after all ) and a flower

There were a few  Hovers, but only a few, this one I managed to get a reasonable shot of - Melanostoma, probably scalare but difficult to be certain.

And finally a flower, Herb Robert, it was growing in moss on a boulder under the low Hazel grove in dappled shade, this one had a shaft of low sunlight on it - ignore camera settings and play, camera says 1/60th at f3 @100 iso. final take 1/1000th at f4.5 @100 iso - thats now looking like I 'saw' it.

In all a nice day topped off by a fab view of a Red Kite floating above the car park when we got back, cant ask for more.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The long lazy break

Holiday, well we all like that don’t we !

I won’t boor with lots of 'we went to' and 'we did' type of things, sufficient to say – Dorset, it did not rain and we went to a few nice places, Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Garden, Escote, Poole, Brownsea island. 

Enough of that, here are a few of my images, I took quite a few, as is my want, I processed some of them to show them here on my Blog, some will feature in Photographic Club competitions, some will simply be enjoyed by us to remind us of our holiday, I hope that you enjoy them and are tempted to look at the locations and maybe if in the area pay them a visit

The view from the deck where the Hot Tub was - and very nice it was of an evening with a glass of wine or two 

Has to be said the live in lodger was not liked by all our party 

Poole, there was a Thai festival so we had to go to that - lots of displays and food and beer, and did I mention the thai food - ooh, it was good, there was also a ladyboy show, that was interesting! 

Come rain or Shine

Enjoying the Display

Smile !

I could have been a contender !

The mermaid of Poole Harbour

Zen and the art of photography
Her nails were quite long !
 Escote has a captive Red Squirrel population and a few other displays, not keen on captive Birds of Prey, so no shots of them, the otters were cute but difficult to get good shots of really so not putting any up so its just the red Squirrel, but it is a nice place !

My Hazel nut

The insects were friendly, even the wasps waved and said hi !

Hi, welcome to Dorset, hope you enjoy your stay

Then Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Garden, if you get down to Dorset - I would recommnd this place it really is nice

Now you see me

Geranium backlit

In the jungle, a rope bridge acrose the gorge

its not wood - its a big grass !
A key place to go is Brownsea island for the indigenous Red Squirrel population, they also have a few other creatures and some seriously nice woodland and heathland

Common Darter on Bell Heather

A young Sika Deer Doe

Pheasant, wanted feeding and was not taking no for an answer !
 Red Squirrel, at their largest they are only as big as the smallest grey squirrel, on Brownsea there is a population of around 200 reds in isolation and they are wild, but with patience you can get pretty close to get nice shots of them
Wild Red Squirrel
 Hornets ! despite popular belief, Hornets are quite docile and less agressive than wasps - they are a wasp, the biggest we have here, this one landed on my daughters photo bag, I moved it onto my hand to take it off her as she is not comfortable with them, it was quite happy to wander around my hand and arm, this is as near as I get to a 'selfie' ! then I put it onto some heather - no problem, I did not feel concerned or threatend at any time by its behaviour.

 In all a good break, with some nice times and photo opportunities.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A few bits and bobs from August

Had a few trips arpund various places, Kenfig, Cwm Col-Huw, Lincoln, our garden, here are some of the photos that I liked.

This is from Cwm Col-Huw, farmers field behind the reserve, grain ready to harvest in the evening sunlight

A few hoverflys

 This is a Helophilus pendulus, a nice little fly - well marked and quite easy to ID

This is a 'common' one, a vagrant visitor, Sphaerophoria scripta, as you can see no common names for these.

On the other hand, the dragons have common names

 Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum, they are nice dragons and a lot around at the moment

This one is a Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta. It was taken in Lincoln in mother in laws garden, not uncommon but less seen than others.

 A Flower Beetle, he was not happy at me taking his picture - very much a 'My Flower, back off !' type of thing.
Butterflys,  common and a lot about this year - Speckled Wood, like them a lot, any woodland glade or ride, in fact anywhere there are a few trees !

To finish off a favourite flower - Autumn Ladies Tresses, the latin name says it all - Spiranthes spiralis, the flowers are on a spike around 6cm tall, rarely more, and spiral up the stem. They are lovely close up - ( why I like Macro ) they look to be made of spun sugar or frozen water

Thats enough for now, some more later when I get chance to take them

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Conundrum - well for the first couple anyway

When is a Hoverfly not a Hoverfly ?

When its a Soldier fly - took this one last year down in Dorset - thought it was a hoverfly but its actually a Soldier fly, Oxycera rara - nice though, and goes to prove the wasp mimic act does not always work !

In this case - its no longer a hoverfly, its a wasps dinner! and 10 seconds later so was the other one !

This one is a common Hover,  Marmalade Hoverfly - Episyrphus balteatus, one of the few with a 'common' name

One of my favourites Xanthogramma pedissequum, the range of Hoverflies is amazing, many are bee mimics and a lot are wasp mimics, the larval stage feed hevily on greenfly - whats not to like !

Just one more, Scaeva selenitica, thats enough for now - will put up a few more another day

Monday, 3 August 2015


Well clumsy carp here has had a bit of a disaster, I dropped my Speedlight flashgun, only a foot or so and it was in its case but it appears the SB600 has a nasty design flaw. Minor drops can crack a solder joint on one component on the controller board and the blasted thing will not power up - ho hum will try to solder it and see if that fixers it - failing that raids the piggy bank !

A few days later  .............

Well that did not work so I am now the owner of a Yongnuo Speedlight, seems to work fine and was the same price new as the Nikon 2nd hand.  Time will tell when I get chance to use it in the field

 But anyway prior to this a few plays with various locations - a few Hoverflies, they are fascinating and very diverse, and for those that are not sure - they are the 2nd most important pollinator after Bees ! - if you use the thrice cursed Farcebook, this site is interesting and useful to see the diversity of Hovers and get IDs from the people who wrote the book, the one I now have to aid my IDs, failing that I post them here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/609272232450940/

Also a few flowers and other assorted bugs, just for the heck of it, I had a day out at Lincoln Whisby Nature reserve a short time ago so some from there, some from local Parc Slip Reserve and also a few from Llanelli WWT as well as some from the back garden

Not in any specific order, a few images, a few too many are 'bird on a stick' shots. By that I mean they are subject shots for ID purposes rather than aesthetically pleasing images. Working on it !

 A Mining Bee - Andrena pilipes

 A Robber Fly with prey, it took the moth out of the air in front of me !

 A arty shot of a teasel 

Commonly known as a Hornet fly - Volucella zonaria, one of the biggest Hovers

 Eristalis tenax Hover on Marjoram

 A Japanese anemone, with a bit of creative flash and contrast work in elements

A Magpie moth, the git landed on the plastic greenhouse and would not shift, rather than lose the shot completely I limited the background to this at the cost of sharpness on the lh wing 

 Another Hover, Scaeva pyrastri, this one migrates in from Europe !

 A Comma butterfly, love them when they are so fresh 

 A Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum,  from the business end !

 This one is limited to the specie, Syrphus sp cant ID below that level

 This is known as the Marmalade Hover, Episyrphus balteatus, the most common of them all

A toad, one of many that was wandering around the grassland at Whisby

 Everybody loves our native Orchids, The Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera, always looks like a laughing jester with the cocked over hat

A close up, nicer background !

 A longhorn beetle Strangalia maculata (in old money) now known as Rutpela maculata 

Ahh, the flies, they all landed like this - then took off, buzzed about and then landed like this again - some say its north south alignment due to magnetic force, me,  I wonder about breeze and scenting pheremones for a female ?

Anyway, thats more than enough for now I think.