Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Breathtaking Sunset

This was a moment that I really had to capture on camera, and so fortunately on an October weekend taking my mum to visit my sister and her family I had my camera with me in the car. We were driving from Maidenhead to Alvescot and once we got past Oxford we were treated to a breathtaking sunset. I was able to pull my car into a parking area on the A40 and climb up a small grass slope to take this photo.Actually I took 4 photos together using my camera's panoramic setting and merged them together as I really wanted to capture as much of the scene as I could. 

I have always been enthralled and captivated by sunsets and some days they can pass me by, whilst ones like today they grab me. I think the sun setting in the west against a backdrop of gathering rain clouds produced a pretty spectacular array of colours.

My recent interest in photography most recently captured in the fundraising book I produced to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer (details here) has had to take a back seat in recent months so this photographic opportunity will hopefully see the start of a renewed period of photographic activity.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Harvest Time

The long cold winter seems a long time ago as we have endured a vintage summer with plenty of sunshine and high temperatures. As summer begins its decent into autumn so begins the harvesting of the wheat fields at work. Having worked at Medmenham for 13 years I more and more appreciate such things and it reminds me of childhood adventures at Littlewick Shown on the August bank holiday weekend when the straw bales were used as benches and it was always a great adventure for us children whilst the parents were busily involved in the horse show section. Mum being a keen horse woman ran the horse show section for many years with dad helping out with the gymkhana section. Every year the weekend before the show we would go up and help set up things which was probably more fun than the show itself for us children as we were able to ride in the back of trucks and even have a go at driving them as we got a little older. Bales of straw will always remind me of those days.

In many ways when I look for a shot that represents an English summer this gets pretty close with the bale in the foreground in nice contrast to the bales in the distance. This post harvest period will not last too long as pretty soon the fields will be ploughed and being prepared for next year's crop.

It's always interesting to get a different view on things and by literally having my camera on the ground I was able to get right up close to the stalks left after harvesting. I didn't even spot the fine webbing until I transferred the photos to my computer.

What a summer it has been if you are a Brit... It started off with the British Lions winning in Australia and nicely finished off with England retaining the Ashes at cricket. Let's not forget Justin Rose winning the US Open and Mo Farah a double world champion. Pretty soon these achievements will all be nestling into history and we will no doubt be enduring harsh and extreme winter conditions and counting down the days until next summer.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Henley Royal Regatta 2013

The Wednesday at Henley Regatta 2013 was rather overcast, but at least the rain stayed away. Unfortunately for me the luck of the weather draw meant that the sunny days at the end of week would bless others, but for me just having a rare opportunity to have an afternoon off work was wonderful.

This year the panama hat made an appearance, keeping my growing curly hair under wraps, and having lost three quarters of a stone recently on my diet meant rather than worrying about if my shirt would be too tight around my neck it was in the fact the complete opposite and I might have to go shopping for a smaller neck size if I can keep the weight off!

All the wonderful traditions have been maintained in the Stewards Enclosure, although it's difficult to stop smart phones being used when they are being used as cameras. I am as guilty as anyone having a sneaky peak at my emails etc. Ladies use all their ingenuity to get around the rule of skirts below the knees. My only complaint this year was for some reason that is beyond me they reduced the amount of deckchairs put out for spectators to watch the racing??? It is after a rowing regatta after all...

The colourful outfits are always wonderful at Henley and this year was no exception. Amongst all the striking blazers, trousers and ties was this magnificent orange cap. In the overcast conditions it stood out at a great distance and was as bright as the light in the top photo! I shall be searching for one of the caps for myself me thinks.

Two purchases were made from the rather pricey regatta shop. I got a silver photo frame, in which I shall put an old black and white photo of my late father from his rowing days. I have already got my mum on the case to find a photo from the old family albums. And the other purchase was not Michele in the photo, but "Blue Bear" complete with his boater!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Weddings, Reunions & Farewells

The Whitsun bank holiday weekend at the end of May saw the wedding of my cousin David to his girlfriend Joanne. I went to the wedding just outside Banbury in Bodicote with my mother and brother. It was a lovely occasion, and amazingly the weather stayed fair after all the recent rain. Mum who has spent much of the last year being treated for bowel cancer looked lovely and it was the perfect occasion to celebrate. The last time I had been to the church was probably to David's christening over 40 years ago.

It was also a family reunion. David is the son of my late father's sister, and over the last few years the families have not had the opportunity to get together, in fact the last time was at my dad's funeral 4 years ago. There is no sinister reason for this, and sometimes it is easily for families to drift apart and time seems to march on. I got in touch with one of my other cousins Sarah a few months ago as she very kindly bought and supported the fundraising book I have self published to raise money for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Since then we have had regular contact and the culmination of that was the whole family getting together at the wedding.  It was such a joyous day and we all got on terrifically and it was especially nice for mum and dad's sister Anne to spend some quality time together as they have both gone through some tough times health wise recently. It was a shame that my sister and her family couldn't join us, but I am sure the families won't leave it so long until the next meeting.

Following on from the wedding we drove up to Suffolk the following day to drop my brother Noel off at Dragoman where he works driving overland tours all over the world. He has now departed for a 5 month stint through Europe and Asia, and then plans to go on to Australia to celebrate his 50th birthday in January. I am hoping to join him there at the end of the year, although challenging times at work are making this look less likely now. It was nice to see where he works and get an understanding of how hard they have to work to prepare the vehicles for these long distance trips. We will all miss him, but especially mum who enjoys having him around the house! It's going to be quite a long time until he is back, but we hope he has a fantastic and safe trip.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Dogs in the Snow

Friday January 18th, 2013 we had our first major snow of the winter in the south of England, and always everything ground to a halt and the weekend started a few hours early for most people. But as frustrating as that can be when you are trying to get stuff done especially at work, there is always an up side and snow always brings with it a sense of fun. For some of my 4 legged friends the last few days have given them the opportunity to play in the snow :)