Archive | April 2012

Beautiful Snow

Coming to this resort (in the Fall) for many years, we have witnessed it under a complete spectrum of weather conditions. We have admired Autumn colours under brilliant sunlight but have also marvelled at it’s transformation to a magical world by the depositing of 15 inches of snow in just one night.

Arriving from England, where the slightest smattering of snow causes the whole country to grind to a halt, we were impressed by how quickly all roads and paths were cleared. The range of equipment used to clear the different sized surfaces was fascinating.

Nevertheless, after a fall of snow the views became a twinkling, white wonderland. The trees, dusted with snow, looked like cake decorations and the white background filled the scene with its own peace and calm. I certainly hope we will return there soon.

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Salt Lake City

Moroni on grey by webmink
Moroni on grey, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

I’ve visited Salt Lake City in Utah a few times, but I’ve only had the chance to explore its Mormon heritage once. The day I toured was not ideal for photography, so in the spirit of my photographic muse Galen Rowell, this photo captures an icon of the experience perfectly. The huge Mormon temple in the centre of Salt Lake City includes this representation of the angel Moroni, complete with trumpet. The background is the natural isolation of the grey sky and has not been artificially created.

End of Bangor’s Pier

They are not closing, nor are they removing, the pier in the Welsh city of Bangor. Surprisingly, I was in Bangor on a warm and sunny day (despite the weathermen forecasting grey skies and rain) so headed to the pier for ice-cream. The ice-cream seller was good humoured and chatted to us in a friendly manner before we wandered on to the end of the pier.

The pier is in good repair and if you walk to its end you are rewarded with great views. Turn one way and you see the Menai Straits and the bridges to Anglesey, turn in the opposite direction and enjoy the view out to sea, turn slightly back towards mainland Wales and you are faced with this view. When shown this photo, no-one ever guesses it is in Wales!

I am informed that Bangor gets a lot less rain than you might expect; most of it falling either on Anglesey or, slightly further inland, on the mountains. It is one of the smallest cities in Britain.

Many Walls

Arrow ports on both sides... by webmink
Arrow ports on both sides…, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

The Great Wall of China is not one wall but many. Far from being a single project it was the consolidation by the Ming dynasty of walls built locally to protect against the fierce northern tribes. Just one look shouted out the impossibility of assault on the wall at least by any civilisation not possessing helicopters. No one would be able to get around, under or over it at any point, both because of the solid severity of the structure and the lay of the landscape.

Yet there were arrow ports in both sides of the wall. If the northern tribes would be unable to reach the south side of the wall, what would be the need for arrow ports in the defences on that side? So in the name of defence, the Great Wall was in fact a spinal fortress, defensible against the assaults of hostile mobs of both the unenfranchised and the disenfranchised. Some things last centuries, it seems, even approaches to government.

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Perth, Australia

Perth, Australia by webmink
Perth, Australia, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

I enjoy trying to take photographs from the air while I am travelling. Some of my favourite photographs have been taken through an aircraft window – sun and moon rises, stunning mountain views and a few great city shots.

I really enjoyed visiting Perth in Western Australia, which has to be one of earth’s most remote cities. It’s clean, modern and friendly. This view, with the central area and the Swan River both in view, seems to capture the balance of life there for me.

Edinburgh Castle with a blue sky?!

A friend has posted a picture of Edinburgh Castle on his facebook account today; it is the traditional image of a Scottish castle surrounded by grey swirling skies. It reminded me that we had also recently visited Edinburgh and had anticipated grey skies, damp mist and rain. After all, isn’t that what everyone expects when they visit Scotland at Easter?

Surprisingly, we had very little rain during the five days that we were there and had a couple of days when the sky was a brilliant blue! Of course, it was still chilly but it not only gave us the opportunity to walk and explore this fascinating city but also allowed us to take some stunning photos.

Meeting up with some friends who live in Edinburgh, I was informed that the city didn’t feel right if the sun shone and that the city was at its best when shrouded in mist or light rain. Pictures of the castle should apparently have that gaunt, forlorn, haunted look, that only a grey background can impart.

Despite their opinion, I rather like this picture of the castle, with the gorgeous blue sky, and I definitely appreciated the chance to look around the buildings contained within its walls without getting soaked. I recommend a visit (despite the cost) and hope you manage it on as pleasant a day as we did.

Mother and Foal

Mother and Foal by webmink
Mother and Foal, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

We’re not too far from two newly-created national parks in the UK. One, to the north of us, is South Downs National Park, and the other is New Forest National Park to the west.

As “new” goes, it’s only new on the scale of the history of the British Isles. It was set aside as a royal hunting forest by King William I in 1079. One of its features is free-roaming horses, such as the ones you see above.

Everyone needs a TV in the bath!! :-D

I think we live in a fairly techy household… but, despite renewing one of our bathrooms over the Christmas holiday, we have not yet bothered to include a TV/computer screen in the bathroom.

This photo is from a hotel we stayed at in London. Did I appreciate it? Not really. Once we had got past the novelty and amusement factor – it saw very little use. When on holiday, we tend to use the internet less and watch almost no TV – instead we sight-see, walk and even… talk!!

Does the idea that you may one day be able to skype your friends from in the tub worry you? Or is it just the incentive you need to go on that diet? Either way, whilst this photo may not count as visually stunning, I hope it has increased your daily mirth quota, broadened your mind a little and might even inspire you to leave a comment! Enjoy.

Granite Landscapes

Yosemite National Park is probably my favourite place on earth. Even though it operates at maximum visitor capacity all year, it’s still easy to get away from the crowds and find the most beautiful landscapes imaginable.

This view from Olmstead Point shows the granite landscape of the area beautifully. If you’re in Yosemite, I very much recommend driving the Tioga Pass road and taking some long walks from the various trailheads. Don’t be put off by the crowds in the car parks; no-one much walks more than 5 minutes from them.

Tall Trees

Tall Trees by Webminkette
Tall Trees, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

Those who know me, know I love trees! I loved them as a child, I re-fell in love with them when we first visited Australia’s rainforests (where they seem to grow so high) and where rides through the canopy gave me a tantalizing glimpse into another world. In America we have visited some special groves – to celebrate both height and girth of trees – including those made up of Redwoods.

Today’s picture is of a less exotic variety, taken locally at Exbury (whilst we were mainly admiring the azaleas.) Nevertheless, these beautiful trees still appeared majestic and I could not resist standing below them and snapping the fascinating view when looking up at the pale sky from underneath their boughs.

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