Pumpkin Moon

Tamsin’s Halloween pumpkin often makes an appearance for Bonfire Night. This year’s theme was “Bats around the moon”. Hope the dark magic doesn’t go to far ..

Witches and Dark
Call upon Kith & Kin
Bats commanded to Hark
Enchant the Pumpkin
Rise up real soon
Eclipse that moon

Machynlleth and Llyn Glanmerin – a short walk

A short (~ 4miles with 750ft climb) circular route from Machynlleth to visit beautiful Llyn Glanmerin. This is a relatively easy walk for any regular walker, including children. It does have a climb near to the start, so some fitness is advised. Tamsin and I walked this at the beginning of June whilst our car was in the garage for maintenance. There’s plenty of views & wildlife to take in on this pleasant stroll.

For convenience I have started the walk from the main Pay & Display Car Park in Machynlleth (Loos available at CP entrance). Exit the back of the car park and turn left on to a pleasant tarmac walkway which will lead you past the library and on to the high street. Turn right & follow the pavement until you reach the road turning right for Forge & Dylife, take this turning. Close to the end of the housing you will see a signposted footpath leading to the right. Follow this footpath away from Machynlleth, uphill on the right edge of the local common land. As you climb above the golf course on to bracken & heath, do look back at the view of Machynlleth nestled amongst the hills of Dyfi.

Machynlleth Panoramic
Machynlleth Panoramic

Continue uphill across this now heathy common land. The track now strays from the righthand edge a little, crossing open land from one block of woodland edge to another. Keep an eye open for Red Kites gliding across the skies above you.

Red Kite against blue skies
Red Kite against blue skies

When you meet Glyndwr’s Way crossing you from wooded left to open heath right, keep straight ahead into a narrow wooded path that takes you on a brief detour to Llyn Glanmerin. As you emerge from the forestry Llyn Glanmerin is immediately down to your left. Llyn Glanmerin is sometimes referred to as Lord Herbert’s lake. Lord Herbert Vane Tempest of Plas Machynlleth was a director of the Cambrian Railways. He sadly died, along with 16 others, in the Abermule train crash of 1921. The lake itself is of about 7 acres in area and is most picturesque with water lilies floating upon it and Rhododendrons on its banks.

Banks of Llyn Glanmerin
Banks of Llyn Glanmerin
Water Lily on Llyn Glanmerin
Water Lily on Llyn Glanmerin

On a warm summer day Dragonflies & Damselflies are to be seen patrolling the water’s margins in search of a mate or laying eggs beneath the surface.

Skimmer Dragonfly
I believe this to be a female Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) Dragonfly; with dark pterostigma yet golden costa.

Now briefly retrace your steps through the narrow section of woodland, back to Glyndwr’s way. Upon meeting the Glyndwr’s way path, turn west along it and over the open heath land. This well marked path will then lead you downhill towards the Cae-Gybi lane. As you descend, see if you can spot Plas Machynlleth (Lord Herbert’s old home) beneath you at the edge of Machynlleth.

Plas Machynlleth
Plas Machynlleth

Upon meeting the lane, turn right along it briefly, before again leaving it to follow Glyndwr’s way down to Plas Machynlleth. Turn right & walk along the path through Plas Machynlleth’s grounds. This will lead you to the back of the car park from whence you began the walk.

Route Map:


Tamsin the autumn fairy

One of the great pleasures of working with your enthusiastic & artistic daughter are the impromptu moments of photographic opportunity. Tamsin is an excellent model with a natural ease acting in front of camera – more than that though, her creativity tends to inspire the photographer. Only the other day we were setting to on routine maintenance of our weather station equipment. As ever a vine needed trimming back from the main rain gauge; before long Tamsin was plaiting the offcuts in to a fairy crown or wreath. The early autumn leaf tinges in crimson were complemented by the red fleece that she was wearing, so down the ladder I climbed & went to fetch a camera.

If you’d like to read the full article and pick up some tips on the photography & processing, then why not head across to the main article on my photography blog.

Social Media – Reflections On

Personal reflections upon social media and why I am reducing my use of it.

I guess it all started for me back in the early – mid nineties, before widespread access to the world wide web. Access to bulletin boards (like those on CompuServe) and to internet newsgroups, opened up a smorgasbord of discussion & debate. It wasn’t long before I became involved in multiple groups of geeky discussion. The discussions were, for the main part, well humoured yet passionate with topics like determinism & the nature of existence being rather popular.

Before long I was writing hypertext documents & publishing my first webpages (starting about 1995 as I recall). Different forum software became readily available for webservers and the discussions broadened further with many locations for idea cross pollination. But shortly after the change of the century Web 2.0 came along, the modern commercialised social media leviathans appeared. Along with these platforms came a huge dilution of quality content & ideas. Now there was a growing competitive rush for likes, +1’s or whatever; a rather narcissistic chase for self validation & proof of popularity – something that started to push me away from these platforms. Over the last decade I have ebbed & flowed in relation to social media – conventional advice is that the modern artist requires a substantial social media presence but I am far from convinced that this is true.

Over the last couple of years I have posted content for several reasons:

– A. Art. I love the process of taking photographs & creating art but at the end of the day, commercial or not, these images are for viewing. For putting smiles on people’s faces or provoking thoughts in their minds. Social media is a useful place to allow access to one’s imagery but it is very easy to lose focus on tha art and instead focus on social media posts. This is something that I strongly wish to avoid – I shall therefore be reducing my posting rate to re-enable an art centric focus. Over time I suspect my website galleries shall become the main online access to my photography, hopefully backed up with real world galleria & exhibits.

– B. Family. When my ex left us, Tamsin (dear daughter) was 16 and various folk expressed concern for her. I increased my sharing of family content to allow folk to be reassured and for not so present family members to stay in touch with a little of Tamsin’s life. As it happens the other family members have appeared somewhat uninterested & a few other people have even used my postings to negative effect. Now that Tamsin is 18, I feel no need to continue feeding trolls.

– C. Ideas & Beliefs. Anyone who truly knows me, will know that I’m an ambivert who finds fun in most of life. They’ll also know that my mind is almost always running at a million mph. I’m passionate about various topics especially conserving our planet for future generations. I shall continue to write the occasional article for dissemination across various online media.

To all the lovely people who have supported me through difficult times – thanks so much and I hope that you continue to enjoy my work, postings will just be a little less frequent. If you want to contact me, email is going to be the most reliable – easy to do from my websites.

Wildlife Tog Tamsin


Badger foraging

So we’re having something of a Harry Potter marathon this week. Last week ,in preparation, I finally completed my Pottermore registration.
What’s really cool is that Tamsin & I have ended up in the same houses at both Hogwarts & Ilvermorny. That is, Hufflepuff & Thunderbird. So by way of a little celebration here is a night photo of one of our badgers – very Hufflepuff indeed.
For the record, my patronus is a swift and my wand is Cypress wood with a Dragon heartstring core. Thus I shall probably meet a heroic death whilst fighting for those I love; wielding much power but tinged with just a little darkness – how apt 😉