When that fat old sun in the sky is falling, Summer evenin’ birds are calling

Well the visit to Cornwall came and went. Copious alcohol was consumed, but I still managed to take some photos.  Yes I take photos, I do not make them – I still think that sounds pretentious.

The extreme south west of Cornwall is like a convention of ruined tin mine workings. The nice thing about them is that they are “planned ruins”, with the missing stone having been removed deliberately in order to create other buildings. One famous landmark, which I had not seen before, is the Botallack mine, and particularly the Count house. The Count house is well photographed, and my version is based upon the light at the time, and the foliage at the time. I am sure it looks better with the colourful shrift in the foreground and a nice setting sun, but it was not there.




This does beg the question in landscape photography – light or composition?  For me, light can make a good composition stunning, but a poor composition is still a poor composition regardless of blue hour / golden hour sunlight.

Having said that, after the visit to Botallack we had fish and chips on the cliffs overlooking Sennen Cove, and stayed till sunset. The light was beautiful over Cape Cornwall, touching the clouds, and the grasses on the cliff managed to give a little interest to the composition for the sunset.



At the end of the second day we did celebrate the reunion a little heavily, and after getting to bed at around 2am, my loving wife woke me at 6:30. Of course this was just what I needed as I was facing a 300 mile journey home, which ended up taking eight and a half hours.  But I was awake, so I got dressed and went for a wander. The early morning light was still low enough to provide some nice light, colour, and shadow in the glass studio of our host.



So now it is time for my liver to recover for a few weeks. I am not saying “never again” because I know that is not true, but maybe withdrawal for a few days might be a good idea.  Until next time, and don’t forget to click on the images to open a bigger version in Flickr. Feel free to click and follow. There is no advantage to you, but it makes me feel good 🙂



One of these days I’m going to cut you into little pieces

This time the lyric has absolutely nothing to do with the story or the images. The truth is I could not find an appropriate lyric, but I love the fact that these are the only words in an instrumental lasting nearly 6 minutes.  Lots of arguments over what the lyric means, but I neither know nor care 🙂

You may or may not recall, and I seriously do wonder if anyone reads these blog posts with sufficient attention to know, but I have previously posted two square crop images from Cayton Bay cliffs, awaiting a third to make a triptych. At the end of last week we went up to the caravan for the day, so I went searching.  I happened on this, which I liked as it exposes the fragility of the cliff face in two ways. First the cliff itself with its gaps and cracks, and secondly the matching slopes of finer debris that has slipped down the cliff over the years as it wears away.  Do you think it needs livening up a bit though?


One of the features of this beach, and in fact this part of the east coast, is the defences from the second world war. (Hah, stupid autocorrect wants me to spell defence with an ‘s’. No.). Although originally on the clifftop, several have slipped and fallen to the beach, surviving both the fall and the tides to varying degrees


This week we are off to Cornwall.  My hope is to get some images, my expectation is that since our friends are borderline alcoholics I may be led astray. We will see…

“Forward!” he cried from the rear, and the front rank died

Had a nice drive out to the village of Hickling, where the village church has an installation called “There but not there”. I had not heard of it before yesterday, but it is a war memorial installation comprising black iron outlines of soldiers, with a poppy on their chest, normally in the churchyards. Plus inside the church, silently occupying some of the pews are clear perspex outlines of soldiers – there, but not there. Poppies are set before the silhouettes.  The silence and the stillness emphasises the sentiment.

Unfortunately the church itself was locked, probably because of the installation, so we could not get in. but we did find Tommy.  There are several churches across the UK participating, and there is a website showing the location of each.  Have to wait till Armistice day to get in the church probably..



Any colour you like


… or not. Strange how the most obvious of song titles took the longest to think of. The other great thing about this song is that the lyrics take no time at all to memorise. However, the title is believed to mean “you are the master of your universe and your own destiny. Make it any colour you like”.  A nice sentiment, but a little late to find that out at the age of 64! Jeez.

So first I need to rebel a little.  Is it a rebellion, or is it just transposing the Pink Floyd song title to the Henry Ford quotation?


Apologies if you have seen this already on my Instagram feed (@dbsilverfox), but I like it. Actually my wife likes it, and she does not normally like black and white photos.  This was taken at Whitby Abbey, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whitby is a great little fishing town, with plenty to see and photograph – though a totally clear blue sky and a temperature in the 20s does introduce constraints, with the contrast. However, the beach huts turned out OK I think


The following day started off a little foggy, but by the time we got to Scarborough it had mainly burned off. However there was still enough to give a soft background to the more vivid flag.  Remember to swim between the flags!


In derelict sidings the poppies entwine

I should have more confidence in Pink Floyd. With the obsession that Roger Waters has with the war I should have known there would be more than one reference to poppies. And as you can see, there is.  At least you can see it is different if you read my last post, which you did – right?

If not, then go back and read it now…. I will wait.

If Wordsworth had written in Northumberland rather than the Lake District, he might have said; “I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and bothies, When all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of scarlet poppies”.  Maybe they have bothies in the Lake district as well, but if they do, he missed a trick. That would have been a much better pome.

So, after the frustration of driving around and not finding poppies in the expected places I saw an Instagram post from a local photographer, and managed to find out where the poppies are.  Seems only fair, as I had previously shared the location of local bluebells. Karma is a wonderful thing. Even more impressive is that the field of poppies is very close to what looks to be a really nice pub, and we didn’t go in! Of course I do not want to be seen as smug and slim, so I made up for it with kebab for tea. That is a balanced diet really, I balanced an under-indulgence in best bitter with an over-indulgence in rubbish (but tasty) meat with chilli sauce. I should have been a nutritionist. Maybe I could do an OU course?  But I digress…




Until the next photographic outing…

A mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves

Poppies!  That is what we want, and that is what we went looking for today.  And we found them, in groups of one and two by the side of the road.  Clearly I had not stated the requirements very well.  I wanted fields of poppies, great swathes of red across the landscape. Not a single bloom choking its way clear of discarded plastic bottles. Needless to say I did not pull over to take the shot.  But I had to get the frustration out of my system, even if there was no photo.

When I stopped sulking about the poppies, or lack thereof, I realised I had not blogged about last weekend’s trip to Newstead Abbey.  Lord Byron’s home.  When I say that I mean the home of Lord Byron, not that Lord Byron is home. Well obviously not now, because he has passed on, fallen off his perch, and ceased to be.  As well as the Abbey itself, the gardens are well worth a visit.  However the gardener seemed to have the same dealer as the junkie ranger from Bempton Cliffs. He was well and truly wired.


The gap at the back of his skull probably did not help him concentrate either.


There is also a really nice cascade, which my dear wife had to investigate, in case it was a leak in the roof. Finally, photographically speaking, they have their own version of the Dark Hedges.  Next time I hope to bring you poppies, though I might well have shot myself in the foot using the poppies lyric from Pink Floyd as a post title already. Dammit.



But I can hear the sound of seabirds in my ear.

After the day at Bempton Cliffs I thought I was going to be stumped for a title, and I might have to cheat with an albatross reference – hanging motionless upon the breeze. But then I remembered a song called Seabirds. Pink Floyd to the rescue!

There were two objectives to the day.  Fear, surprise, and a fanatical devotion to the Pope … there were three objectives …  Sorry, wrong script. First I wanted to get photos of puffins.  Second I wanted to try capturing birds in flight.

Now even I know that puffins live in burrows they dig out of the earth, so how I thought sheer limestone cliffs would be an ideal place to find puffins is now beyond me.  Apparently, I was told on the way in, they are difficult to spot at first, but then you get your “puffin-eye” in.  Difficult??  One of the rangers was there at a viewing platform with a telescope, and said he could see about 20 of them on the cliff about 50 metres away (for any American readers that is about 55 yards).  He even let me look through his telescope to see.  Genuinely he must have been puffin’ something himself because I could not see even one. Having moved on, swearing under my breath at the junkie ranger, I did manage to find a couple, and boy did I need the 100-400 lens!


I don’t know about you but I am fairly sure their little beaks might struggle to make a burrow there?

Birds in flight was a bit hit and miss, and I think I need to research the camera settings a bit more. But I did manage this guy getting his ailerons in a twist as he hovered, and another who looked to be folding up his wings before he even landed!



The stars of Bempton Cliffs are the gannets. There are thousands of them – not just the two above.  With piercing blue eyes and yellow shaded heads they were everywhere.  Maybe it would just have been easier to change the objective of the day, ignore the fanatical devotion, and just go for gannets.  In the end I guess I did not get what I was after, and was initially a little despondent, but there is a pub at the bottom of the road that does a nice ham and cheese sandwich and a pint of local ale (a bit hoppy, but very drinkable) so all was not lost.

If you like the words and pictures please do not feel shy about following the blog. Not many do, so you would be in elite company.  Any comments are also appreciated.  I will leave you with gannets doing what they do. Enjoy.