Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculpture by the Lakes is a landscaped park in Dorset, owned by Simon Gudgeon, who is a well known British contemporary sculptor.  This park provides a showcase for his work.

Last Saturday I was able to spend the afternoon there with Dee, and our friends Susanne and Ed.  I did, of course, try to take a few photographs.  The weather was cold and dry, but I still found it quite difficult to produce the quality of photograph that I wanted.  I’m going to put it down to the cold freezing my poor old brain.  Still, it was a useful opportunity to, hopefully, learn from my mistakes.

I haven’t been able to find time to post, or visit blogs recently.  I’ve got a little time available today so I thought that I would post a few photos from that afternoon, even though I wish they were better.  Any artistic value in these images should, of course, be attributed to Simon Gudgeon and his wife, Monique, who is responsible for the gardens in which the Sculptures are set.

Here is a ‘gallery’, best viewed as a slide show, by clicking on the first image and then using the carousel.  I hope that these images may inspire you to visit Sculpture by the Lakes.

A visit to the Sculpture by the Lakes site will provide details of this excellent Sculpture Park as well as some images which are much better than mine.  I’m looking forward to revisiting the park soon, to try to improve on these shots.

Golden Cap – The View.

Recently, our good friends Bobbie and John from Nottingham visited us for a couple of days.  Living in Nottingham, they don’t see much of the sea, so when they visit, we normally try to do some coast walking, or at least get to the coast.  Obviously, October isn’t the ideal month for this and we were pretty disappointed with what the weather had to offer.

Some years ago, Bobbie had started on a walk to Golden Cap on the Dorset coast, but had not actually got there.  As the weather was meant to be dry until after lunch on the better of the two days that they were with us, we thought that we could put this right and enjoy the views from Golden Cap.


We parked in the National Trust car park at Langdon Hill and started the short walk and easy route up to Golden Cap.  It started to rain as we exited the car park but this wasn’t too bad since there was plenty of shelter from the trees of Langdon Wood.  There was also a bit of a view of the sea, looking down towards Seatown.

As we struck off from the Langdon Wood circular walk, towards Golden Cap, we left this shelter, but the rain was still not too bad.  When, however, we arrived at the top of the climb, the heavens opened and, of course there was absolutely nowhere to shelter.  After some good few minutes of torrential rain we were soaked, but the rain eased and was very quickly replaced by low cloud.  The following photo shows the wonderful views of the surrounding coast that can be expected on a day such as this!  It also shows that we still enjoyed the walk, and have a sense of humour.

wpid-untitled.jpgNo tripod (again) and too much wind anyway, so I’m behind the camera.

After this, we gave up on the walk.returned to the car and went to Lyme Regis to have some lunch.

Sorry, no photographic merit in this post.  Just a reminder that we can still get out and have fun, even when the British weather doesn’t cooperate.

After the Storms – 3

Over the last couple of months it has become impossible not to have viewed many images in the media, showing the effects of this winter’s storms.  Many of these images have depicted the results of the violent winds when combined with high tides around our coasts.  Others have shown floods caused by the wettest winter on record.  The fact is, that the weather events of the last three months have combined to cause devastation and human misery in many parts of the country.  The livelihoods of many people have suffered and homes have been completely lost or badly damaged.  I suspect that even those of us who have not suffered directly, will feel the ‘knock on’ costs in future years, due to the need to pay higher insurance premiums.

You can see from the title of this post that I have made two previous posts, ‘After the Storms‘ and ‘After the Storms – 2‘, on this subject and these were of the floods over the Somerset Levels.

Although the violent wind strengths that we have suffered of late have been mainly linked to coastal damage, significant numbers of trees have been brought down inland as well.  When I took the photos featured in ‘After the Storms’, I met a lady who didn’t suffer from the ‘tripod reluctance’ that I do.  Armed with a very heavy duty tripod and ND filters, she had been intent in capturing the late afternoon sunshine over the floods, and probably with ‘milky water’ to boot.  One of the images that she was taking focused on this willow tree.


I hope that she achieved the image that she wanted at that time, because this willow has now been uprooted, as shown below, and can no longer form the focal point for any future attractive landscape images.


This post was only intended to show the manner in which the storms have permanently changed our landscapes, however, as I write this post, I am very conscious of what many people have lost during the storms, and I feel huge sympathy for them.  This leads to somewhat of a feeling of guilt when I capture images of the storm and flood devastation.  The fact is though, that weather events like this, can produce dramatic images that many photographers would want to record.  Would it be more acceptable to shoot only hard hitting ‘documentary’ images, showing houses and cars that are submerged, rather than apparently pleasant looking landscapes?  It is my view, that all the images in these 3 posts are ‘records’ of the floods and are therefore acceptable, even if they sometimes appear ‘artistic’.  By the way, I’m obviously not referring to either of these images as artistic.

Any views?  Does anyone else worry about whether to shoot this type of subject?

A Monochrome Sunset – Daft?

After having a fairly unsuccessful outing a few evenings ago, one photo from which I posted here, I wondered whether a sunset at Ham Hill might be worth a try.  The sun was at least shining, which has been a bit of a novelty this spring.  I was in a bit of a hurry, so didn’t use a tripod, a common mistake for me.  I had a go at a three exposure HDR image without a tripod anyway.  I wasn’t happy with any of the colour images in the end, and accidentally viewed a mono option from the Photomatix Pro presets.  As I thought it was better than any of the colour options that I could produce, I saved it anyway and here it is.

B&W Ham Hill Sunset
The setting sun in B&W at Ham Hill

I think the field in the centre is of blackcurrant bushes.  It was the definition of the rows of blackcurrant bushes in this field that I wanted to include in the image.

Am I daft to shoot a sunset as a monochrome image?  Probably!

House with a view

We recently spent a very pleasant couple of weeks visiting our son and his family in Freeport, Maine.  It turned out that we were a bit early for the best of the ‘leaf peeping’ season, the timing of which is pretty difficult to predict accurately.  The colours were slowly starting to appear, but were not great during the period that we were there.  Never mind, we had a good time anyway.

They live on the top of a hill with some great views, so although there was a lack of colour while we were there, I thought I would post some shots of the view from their deck.  Here is the first one, taken soon after we arrived.

Neil's View Continue reading

A walk by the river

In an earlier post, ‘Wrong Lens Dave‘, I showed some images where ideally I should have used a longer lens.

It was a pleasant summer’s day and we had decided to walk a part of Langport and the River Parrett that we had not explored before.  This post includes a few more images from that walk, which were probably taken with the right lens for the occasion, though of course this is always debatable.

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Wrong Lens Dave

In an ideal world, so I’m told, photographers should plan their shoots so that they always have all the right equipment with them, and it should be readily to hand.  This is of course so that they can guarantee to return from the shoot with amazing images that their friends, family, clients and the world at large will subsequently drool over.

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Cuba Libre – Viñales Valley

Chapter 4 of the Cuba Libre story covers our time in the Viñales Valley, Pinar del Rio province.

Vinales Valley
Vinales Valley from Hotel Los Jazmines

Viñales Valley Panorama

Whilst in the Viñales Valley, we stayed at the Los Jasmines Hotel.  It was a smaller hotel than the one we stayed at in Havana and we were told not to expect too much of the menu, as being smaller, the hotel would have less government budget for food.  In fact, although there was a bit less choice, we thought that the preparation and service was probably better.  Most importantly though, the views from the rooms were great.  The last picture in the previous post and the panorama above show the view from our room.

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Cuba Libre – To the Vinales Valley

Cuba Libre Chapter 3 takes us to the Viñales Valley.  On our journey to Viñales we visited an area known at Las Terrazas in the Sierra del Rosario range of mountains.  This is a small community and nature reserve aimed at developing leisure and tourism in this area.  Part of this visit took us to an old coffee plantation where we were shown the old coffee bean roasting and grinding facilities.

Buena Vista Coffee House
Ruins of an old coffee plantation at the Las Terrazas Nature Reserve.

Ruins of an old coffee plantation at the Las Terrazas Nature Reserve

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