I was staring straight into the shining sun

Don’t do that – you’ll burn your eyes out!  Well I can’t believe it is just about a month since my last post. I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself, but I’m probably not.

Last week we took a break in search of some sun in the Mediterranean island of Malta, and Gozo and Comino but they were only for a couple of hours each.  I took with me a polarising filter, which I had bought for my forthcoming trip to Australia, and ended up feeling it added close to zero value. So that will make my packing lighter.  Malta will keep me going for a couple of themed posts, as I had the chance to do seascapes, architecture, night/low light, as well as general interest photographs, in different lighting – though the main purpose of the holiday was to relax. I say relax, but on our “chill out and do very little” day we still managed to walk around 10 miles.

So, straight into the shining sun, on the cruise back from Gozo and Comino:

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And the Triton statue at the entrance to the city of Valletta:

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The Triton statue is the first thing you see when you get off the bus, and is a bit of a draw for the camera

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Malta is overrun with churches, and is historically a Catholic country. The result of that is the populace having to donate 10% of their income to fund the enormous amount of gold in those churches. So next post will cover some of the lavishness in this, the smallest country in the EU.  Till then, remember to click on the image to see a bigger version in Flickr.

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And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees

Again not strictly 100% true, but the thought is there.  The river was actually brackish and brown, and by the time I had cut out the reflections with a polarising filter it looked almost black. The trees were there though.

It seems like a long time since I just got lost in time and space, slowing down with a tripod to enjoy the outdoors and some landscape photography. This week, however, my other better half was out for the day. So with the leaves starting to turn and fall I set off to enjoy Padley Gorge and Surprise View, in the Derbyshire Peak district.

In Padley Gorge I kept stumbling across a workshop being run by Fuji, all using the new XT-3. When I say stumbled across, I saw them and got in the way of their images to make sure of a victory for Olympus. It has to be done, just be sure to keep a smile on your face as you say sorry.

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After eating my sandwich by the river I made my way back to the car and drove to Surprise View. I had never been there before, and to be fair the greater landscape needed a better sky/better light than I had. But the views are spectacular. What a surprise.

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I will have to return for the views, but all was not lost.  A major feature of the area is the birch woodland, and on the way back to the car I spotted a couple lying in the grass. To clarify…. they had found some toadstools. So being a fun guy I joined them to make up a threesome.

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So, no deer – I think I missed the rut again – but plenty to keep me off the streets causing mischief.

Don’t forget to click on the images to open them larger in Flickr. Until next time…

Up and down, but in the end it’s only round and round.

Well it sounds like a fairground lyric to me, and October marks the annual Goose Fair in Nottingham. The largest travelling fair in… depends on who you believe, but definitely Nottingham.  I don’t know how long I sat in my front room thinking I need to go to the fair, but making absolutely no progress towards doing so. But in the end I picked up my camera, checked the battery, and took the tram to the Forest. not Sherwood forest, the Forest recreation ground, which is where the fair is.  Tram is a great way to get there. Parking is a nightmare around the area, but the tram stops right next to the fair, and as the State considers I am old I get a free travel pass.  It was packed, but I managed to get a good few shots , some of which are already on Instagram.  You have seen them? You are following @dbsilverfox, aren’t you?

So, there will follow a small selection showing the wider fair vista, some sense of the energy and confusion, and also a psychic element. You would not believe how many “direct descendants” of Gypsy Rose Lee find their way to Goose Fair every year. Oh, and who would have guessed that the new Gypsy Rosa Lee would be wearing Crocs??

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Fearless

Hmmmm a little teaser there.  Last week we went to Liverpool.  Were we fearless? Well that was never put to the test to be honest, though Julie did have her first Brazilian churrascaria meal, and she was a little nervous at first. But we got through it and she actually enjoyed it I think.  Even though we had the Sauvignon Blanc rather than a Malbec. To hell with convention I say… maybe that was part of being fearless? But I digress, just for a change. If you know the song Fearless you will know it ends with the sounds of a football crowd singing “you’ll never walk alone”, a song entrenched in the traditions of Liverpool FC. So there you have it. Fearless.

The main reason for going was that we had tickets to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. But we threw in a tour round Liverpool, a trip on the ferry ‘cross the Mersey, the Cavern Quarter with some obscure beat combo, and finally to Crosby for Another Place.  Though on the way to Crosby we did, at Julie’s request insistence, pull in both Goodison Park and Anfield stadium.

And I can only recommend the city. It is really clean, wide open spaces, beautiful architecture, both old and new, and lots of places to eat that do not need a prior waxing.

I took a few photographs, but will only trouble you with a handful to cover the highlights of the trip.  There are a lot more…

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The Liver building is everywhere. Or here, there, and everywhere as this popular beat combo from the ’60s would say.

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The combination of the old and the new is evident throughout the city.

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Not just soldiers, but horses were also made of terracotta, and live horses (well dead by the end of the process obviously) were also buried along with the emperor. those chariots were not going to pull themselves, after all.

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Each figure has a different face. So although the bodies came from the same moulds, the faces were personalised.

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Just chilling outside the Cavern Pub, across the way from the Cavern Club.

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The Beatles Story is a really good exhibition. Photography is allowed, and I am sure I am not breaking any rules posting images?  I am sure a friendly Scouse lawyer with a great sense of humour will let me know if I am…

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I had to smile at this mural outside Everton’s ground – “No ball games allowed”.  Not going to win many cups that way guys!

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There should be a prize for who can spot the most men on the beach, but to be honest I have nothing to give you. Many go for the long exposure, silky water approach. But I felt real water matched the cold isolation a bit better. Added to which I swear the wind would have blown the tripod over!

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Now when I was a lad we didn’t let a bit of cold and wind and rain stop us. We just carried on.  Youth of today can’t take it. Even put t-shirts on some of the iron men!  If you ask me they would have been better off with a pair of underpants!

So there we go. Hopefully the rut will be upon us shortly, so expect an obscure title as I have already used the deer lyrics…

Magic visions stirring

Well magic might be a slight exaggeration. Maybe majestic is better. So you could treat magic as an abbreviation with a spelling error? Happy with that?  Do you know where the lyric comes from?

You see, the problem is that Pink Floyd were not big on lyrics about deer. And I am determined to maintain the lyric theme in the hope that Roger Waters might one day search me out and invite me to take photographs at his concerts.  Maybe it is more that I have set off down a blind alley of PF lyrics as post titles and I cannot get off the wheel. I am a stuck hamster.

The deer rut is coming, and I am hoping to get it captured this year, since I missed it last year. So expect some obscure and meaningless lyrics to come.  In preparation I went for a walk around the grounds of Wayne Manor to check if the deer are ready.

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They are certainly looking ready.  The velvet is all gone, the antlers are looking sharp, and there is evidence on the lawns where the deer have been digging. I saw a little play fighting, but mainly they were pretty relaxed. However, the small groups led to some interesting arrays of antlers.

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On the way out of the park I was met by some fallow deer on the path, looking relaxed in the dappled sunlight.  But now I have a question… do the fallow deer rut as well, or is this territorial female ownership an aspect of Red Deer only? Google will let me know I am sure.  UPDATE: Yes they do…

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Winding, finding places to go. And then one day – hooray!

Yes it is a Pink Floyd lyric, but where from? As a clue – this is not Roger Waters, but Syd Barrett, so that dates it a bit.

But leave the lyric, I am excited. Finally, after a lot of failures, and trying more than one location, I have managed to get a kingfisher! Up till now I have considered the kingfisher to be a mythical creature along with dragons and unicorns – but less fiery and less horny. Well I say that, but I guess a kingfisher’s private life is its own. This week has finally laid that belief to rest, and I have first hand evidence they really do exist.

This little beauty was perched exactly where it was told to – outside the Delta hide at Attenborough Nature Reserve, then flew off about 20 feet to the middle of the lake to fish and came back to the perch.  I say fish, but it actually caught a newt, so is that fishing? Newting? Newting’s first law of fishing?  So it played around the perch for about 15 minutes and then went, not to return again over the next two hours before I gave up and left.  Just goes to show how much luck was involved in getting the timing right. Oh, and one thing I have learned is that when they move they move quickly, and 1/800 second is not a fast enough shutter speed, so excuse the blur on the diver.  Please click on each image to see it bigger in Flickr…

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There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

Well that is my excuse anyway. Last week we went up to the caravan for the day to see daughter and grandchildren at the beach.  It was not a choice, it was a command from my granddaughter. She has to have a photo of something she did over the summer holiday, and decided I was to take it of her surfing.  Well, any excuse to get to the coast, and to watch the young ones having fun.

All in all a perfect photo opportunity and subject for a blog post you would think. So why has it taken me more than a week to remember?

Of course, the decision then is which photo to pick.  Enjoying the surf? Focused on keeping the water out of eyes and mouth?  Wiped out?  How about all three?

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