Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review of the Year 2

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Following on from the most viewed posts shown yesterday, part two of this review instead looks at my personal selection from each month. I hadn't realised how difficult it would be as there was always more than one image that I wanted to feature from each month. Eventually I had to choose, and a short explanation follows on from each.

Incidentally I chose the image above to head this post as it was just such a lovely moment during the local Summer Carnival. (To catch up with this full post, and all the other posts, click on the caption beneath each image)


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It all began here with my first post, so it was only natural to include this almost typical observation of Irish life.


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Another observational image. This seemingly unusual location for a post box is worthy of a repeat showing.


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Wildlife was to feature regularly throughout the year, with this indicator of Spring providing a seasonal lift.


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It must be something to do with heads of creatures popping up above a green shroud but I just love the almost artisitc simplicity of this shot.


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Probably a one-off opportunity to capture a shot of the Presidential Jumbo following his visit to the UK.


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It makes me smile every time I see the title of this post pop up regularly in my blog stats.
I fear that the Googler (is that a word?!) has a completely different anticipation when searching for 'Roman Orgy'.


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I had fun writing this post and it will probably appeal to followers of football.
I also had fun photographing these short-lived creatures.


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This is a landmark with my point & shoot (rather than my DSLR) I had just replaced an old Sony p&s with a Canon G12 and was keen to put it to the test.


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I had completed on an interesting project - the 30 Day Challenge - one photo per day for a whole month, the image above being the first of the thirty.


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October saw me spending many-a-dawn out in the field after THE shot of the annual deer rut. I captured some pleasing shots but THE shot will have to wait for another year.


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A slight departure from the wildlife shots but enjoyable none-the-less.


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Portraiture featured high on the list towards the end of the year including an opportunity to photograph this outstanding performance.

So there it is.
I hope you enjoyed my selection. If I have missed out your favourite, then I apologise but why not drop me a comment below and perhaps I can revisit the post another day.

Thank you to all those who have followed my eclectic photographic offerings in 2011 and hope you will be back with me in 2012.

Now it just remains for me to wish you all

A Very Happy New Year!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Review of the Year 1

Having all but completed a year of blogging, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back over some of the postings that have now fallen off the radar and gone into the archive.

Which to choose?

Well, there are two ways to do it.
First. Listing the top ten most viewed pages, for whatever reason.
Second. Selecting one posting from each month. (I will post this rundown tomorrow)

So here goes.

Most viewed
(In reverse order. Click on title to open post, then click back button to return to this page for the next in the list)
10. Remembrance Parade Saffron Walden
  9. Disney Nature: African Cats UK release
  8. Goose Barnacles (Lepas anitifera)
  7. Bespoke Handmade Albums
  6. Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden, Jib removed
  5. Murmuration
  4. Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden, Safety Inspection
  3. Canon TC-DC58D 1.4x tele-converter. Review
  2. Saffron Walden Carnival Procession 2011
  1. Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden

Some of these are surprising but what is interesting to observe from this, is that the top viewed are not necessarily the images I would call outstanding. Rather they are mostly reportage postings, apart from maybe the murmuration image, which has a beauty all of its own and if it hadn't have appeared in this list, then I might have included it in tomorrows list.

Prepare for part 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Winter Evening Landscape

The last few days have alternated between decidedly dull and superbly sunny.
Wednesday was the latter, with an interesting early evening sky making it worth pulling my little G12 out of my pocket for. It clearly can't compete with the 5DII but then I don't always want to carry my big DSLR around on a routine dog walk. However, carrying the pocket-sized G12 around means I don't miss the chance for a shot.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fairy Ring in December

Whilst out with mutt yesterday, we came across this distinct feature. If I hadn't have known any better, I could have imagined some sort of alien visit had taken place in the corner of this field. However, a quick investigation revealed exactly what I was looking for.

Nestled in the lush green grass, as I suspected, were Agaricus campestris or the common field mushroom. Nothing unusual here then apart from it being late December. I would have more commonly anticipated spotting this feature during the Autumn after a shower of rain and when it was still mild. Seeing though, that we have had a warm dry Autumn, fungi were noted by their absence this year. So, it has been left to this mild (12 deg C) December and the recent spell of rain, to encourage this late show of Autumnal behaviour.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Morris Dancing, Man & Boy

Morris Dancing.
Boxing Day 2011
The Bullring, Thaxted

It isn't any wonder that after the probable excess of Christmas dinner, the Morris Men were dancing it off on Boxing Day!

The traditional Boxing Day gathering at the Bullring in Thaxted took place in glorious sunshine. It was even mild enough for the crowd to be treated to a handful of dances, unlike some years when it has been two brisk dances only, and a quick retreat to pub for a reviving pint.

This Side of Morris dancers clearly take men on early, although I expect the pint will remain behind the bar, for the time being, for one pint-sized dancer.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden, Jib removed

Shortly before 1 PM today, the broken jib was removed from the construction crane.
Contractors are continuing to make the area safe.

(For those who may be viewing this post as part of the on-going investigation,
further images may be available by contacting Ailec Photography)

Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden, Safety Inspection

Contractors have been brought in to inspect the damaged crane.

(For those who may be viewing this post as part of the on-going investigation,
further images may be available by contacting Ailec Photography)

Crane Collapse, Saffron Walden

A watch is being maintained on the damaged crane overnight.

Police are maintaining a cordon overnight after a section of a recently erected crane, collapsed on a building site in Saffron Walden. The incident happened late on Friday afternoon and residents in a nearby block of flats were evacuated as a precaution as increasing winds caused a safety concern. Fire crews initially assisted with emergency lighting and helped with the evacuation but left the scene at around 7pm.

It is not yet known what caused the crane jib to collapse.

In the light of the morning, it is clear that the jib has broken backwards and there is damage on the platform below the cab.

(For those who may be viewing this post as part of the on-going investigation,
further images may be available by contacting Ailec Photography)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Winter Solstice

After a run of cold, rainy days, the daytime temperature rose to a 'balmy' 12 degrees before the sun once again disappeared below the horizon on the shortest day of the year.

The days can now only get longer.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Observations On Rails

Manchester birds; red feet; on rails

Manchester guy; red feet; on tram

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Dear Santa...

There was a time when Christmas stockings were filled with the simple pleasures in life. Along with a few little itsy-bitsy things and a little bar of chocolate, there would be a shiny penny, some nuts, a satsuma and down in the bottom corner, a polished apple.

These days, if the apples and oranges aren't left out from the start, then they are quickly  hidden by the recipient, back in the household friut bowl (or waste bin if there isn't one) whilst the chocolate is stuffed and the myriad of nothings are discarded one by one.

So, it was interesting to observe recently, a young lad (seemingly under the supervising gaze of Santa) endeavouring to do a trade in another old-style, sugary apple treat: toffee apples.

Could it be seen here then, that someone was so completely enamoured that their secret Christmas list to Santa was stated very publicly? Top of the column - toffee apples!

However, unlike stocking fillers of the past, I doubt toffee apples will feature at the top of many 'Dear Santa' lists. It will be Apples of a very different kind that are desired now.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


You are probably asking what am I doing taking pictures of muddy little puddles? If you really want to know, it is actually something to get excited about, as are muddy boots during the daily walk.

Why? Well, as some of you might remember from previous posts, this region has been missing out on rain for rather a long time. So much so that we are now officially drier than the Middle East! With this current spell of bad weather (foretold by the moon halo at the weekend) we have had a couple of nights of rain, and to keep us all happy, the days have turned out to be dry and sunny, if not a little windy. A few steady weeks of this is what we could do with to try and boost up the depleted reservoirs, ponds and streams.

To take the picture above, I was standing in the course of a stream that has been empty for months, so any evidence of a puddle is significant. A couple of years ago I certainly wouldn't have been able to stand in the same spot. This little stream was full to bursting, to the extent that the little wooden bridge was shifted a whole metre down stream.

It seems unfair that some regions of the UK have had more than their fair share of rain whilst others are beginning to worry about lack of water. However, we should be grateful as there are regions of the world who are suffering great hardships due to the lack of this basic requirement for life.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Lunar Eclipse v. Moon Halo

2011 has been special in the lunar eclipse calendar as there were two occasions when a total lunar eclipse occurred. The first was on 15th June, when, you may recall, I attempted to photograph the event - with little success. (See Totally Eclipsed) The second was yesterday, 10th December, when once again, due to unsuitable weather conditions, the event escaped my lens.

However, I have not come away from the event empty-handed. My better half was returning from an evening out when he beckoned me to go outside at 10.30pm, and "Look at a ring around the moon". It was certainly worth a try at a photograph, so quickly donning some warm clothes, I plonked the camera on the tripod and took a series of images on different exposures and time settings. Eventually a 30 second exposure provided this image, with just a few simple post-production adjustments of the levels.

Instead of a lunar eclipse, I had captured a moon halo a phenomenon that occurs due to the presence of ice crystals high up in the atmosphere. Whilst not the red-eclipse moon I had hoped for, it was something equally beautiful. (Even if it is supposed to foretell bad weather)

So, until 15th April 2014, when there will be the next opportunity for a total lunar eclipse, (if I am in the right continent at the time) here is my version of the December lunar eclipse.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Kaleidoscope Theatre

Recently, I was wowed by a street theatre performance in mime.
Kaleidoscope Theatre, based in Shropshire, were entertaining the visitors at the annual Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre.

A huge audience gathered and watched in amazed silence as these five young people put on a performance that would put many groups to shame. They performed with such passion and intensity that it could not fail to captivate and endear the audience, with many struggling to hold back a tear as the final applause rippled around the square.

This group has performed around the world as well as closer to home, including the Edinburgh Festival, and I can't recommend strongly enough to get to see them if ever you see Kaleidoscope Theatre  on the play bill.

More info