Just back from a wet and windy weekend in Wales, I thought I’d quickly share just ten photos from the trip (yes I know I’ve a huge backlog of Canada photos to share… all in good time!).
I’ve been to south Wales a few times in autumn and winter but it’s the first time the weather has been quite so bad. Rainstorms and gusty winds overnight meant some missed sleep, but luckily the worst of the daytime weather came when I was under cover.
Saturday morning was rained out, and Plantasia in Swansea offered a watertight glass dome filled with plants and animals. As the weather brightened up a lunchtime trip to Verdi’s Cafe in Mumbles gave the opportunity for views across Swansea Bay. Being close to 5th November there were lots of fireworks to choose from in the area, and seeing a bonfire and fireworks in the shadow of Coity Castle was a treat.
On Sunday a trip to the Cats Protection Bridgend Adoption Centre left me feeling a little sad that there were so many cats waiting to be adopted. But I was perked up by a visit to St Fagans, and all the dark clouds didn’t lead to a drenching. This was my second visit to the museum, which is a huge site with various buildings from all over Wales. The buildings are dismantled brick-by-brick and rebuilt at St Fagans. The St Teilo’s Church, for example, took twenty years to dismantle and move. Autumn is a great time to visit and see all the buildings set amongst the colourful trees.
A wet weekend produced a small but lovely waterfall at St Fagans National Museum of History.
Looking up a chimney and getting rewarded with some colourful lens flare at St Fagans National Museum of History.
The Newbridge War Memorial, donated to the St Fagans National Museum of History in 1995.
An artistic little window in St Teilo's Church, from the late 12th century and moved to St Fagans in 1985.
A watermill nestled amongst the trees at St Fagans.
Fireworks at Coity Castle.
More fireworks at Coity Castle.
In the pitch black, the camera could still capture Coity Castle.
The seafront at Mumbles is very pretty, and if you ever go be sure to go to Verdi's for an ice cream.
Last weekend, after I’d visited the World Pooh Sticks Championships, I went on to the Pendon Museum. Pendon is just five minutes drive from the Pooh Sticks site and houses three large miniature landscape scenes, a small shop, and a tea room.
The museum was founded in the 1950s by Roye England, and although I’m new to the world of modelling the thing that makes it stand out to me is the attention to detail in the models. I got chatting to some of the friendly volunteer staff who told me that alongside some of the commercially available models there’s a lot of custom built models. Not only do Pendon build their own models, they also run workshops on modelling techniques. One day an American clay sculptor visited and was so taken with the place that she hand made several of the figures exactly to the requirements of the Pendon scenes… you don’t get much more unique than that!
From a photography point of view there’s so much to shoot, and with the relaxed atmosphere, tea and coffee on tap, and protection from whatever the British weather is doing, I could easily spend an entire day here. Sometimes it’s hard to choose a maximum of ten photos from a collection to blog, and this is one of those occasions… even after a couple of rounds of culling I still had 33 photos to choose from, so I hope those I’ve settled on give a good feel of the Pendon Museum.
I’m a big fan of macro photography – taking photos of really small detailed things, generally insects, flowers, and the like. I’ve often seen people use these techniques with Lego mini figures to create fun photos and scenes – a friend of mine, Al Power, seems to have hundreds of the figures and often amazes me with some of his photos. Recently I spotted some photos from Matt Lincoln advertising a Jisc event, which were taken using a different type of mini figure (see examples here and here). It took me a while to realise that these were actually figures from the model railway world.
I browsed a few model shops and a whole new culture opened before my eyes. I expected model trains and railway-related figures, but there’s so much more variety available, even including some adult themes – something I wasn’t expecting to see! So I’ve bought a few figures and some time soon I’ll blog some photos with them.
To capture the photos below I went armed with my macro lens (Olympus 60mm), fisheye lens (Samyang 7.5mm), and walkabout zoom lens (Olympus14-42mm), and a Lens Skirt. The Lens Skirt is basically a flexible fabric pyramid with no bottom and a hole for the lens at the top, it allows me to cut out any reflections when I’m taking photographs through glass. I bought it for taking photos at aquariums and have also used it to take landscape shots from the top of tall buildings. It’s very simple and very effective.
The main railway landscape - it's quite a substantial size.
An example of how scenery is built up.
A close up of one of the figures - is it a scout, a postman, or other person?
The attention to detail is amazing, it looks so lifelike.
A train rushes past a station.
A guard by a Great Western train.
More figures which bring the scene to life.
The main control box.
The scene features a valley and tunnels.
Another life-life scene, with a figure by a river.