Westonbirt Arboretum in the Autumn

Now that autumn has arrived in the UK, it’s a great time to spend some time outdoors seeing how nature responds to the change of season.  An arboretum is a great place to see nature and, of course, take photos too!

So I recently went to Westonbirt Arboretum with fellow photo blogger Sheila Morris (you can see some of Sheila’s photo’s on her blog) to spend a few hours getting photos of the amazing colours and wildlife.  Westonbirt is a very large place, and even with all the crowds we saw at the cafe, once out in the woods there was plenty of peace and quiet to focus on getting the best photos.

For most photos I used the Olympus 60mm macro lens, which allowed me to get in really close for detail in some of the photos below.  It’s probably the first time I’ve used the 1:1 mode on this lens, which meant that I physically had to move towards the subject to get it in focus.  But when you get it right, the results are outstanding.

Scotland (part 1 of 2) – Lochs and Travels

As readers of the Just 10 Photos tweets will know, there’s two posts coming up from my recent trip to Scotland.  This first post focuses mostly on the Lochs, with a few other photos thrown in for good measure.

The five day coach break with Bakers Dolphin involved two days of travelling to and from Scotland, and three days exploring the Trossachs national park and Edinburgh.  Coach trips aren’t very relaxing as you’re always on the move, but it’s a good way to see the area and let someone else do all the driving (a good opportunity for a nap on the move!).  

Although lots of miles were covered and lots of stops were made, none were long enough for me to fully explore and photograph in detail.  But I had long enough to get a good feel for the area and get few photos of Scotland’s stunning scenery.  This was my first trip to Scotland, and I’ll definitely be retuning one autumn to capture the autumnal colours which I imagine will be amazing.

The weather was a mixed bag although I only got wet on a couple of occasions.  For anyone who like to see or photograph landscapes and never ending greenery you must add a trip to Scotland to your list!

Aberglaslyn Pass Walk

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged some photos – I’ve been away on holiday in north Wales, and the next few blog entries will be about that trip.

North Wales is a beautiful part of the world, with a rugged mountainous terrain which drops to some stunning coastal shorelines; an ideal place for photography. I’ve been to north Wales many times and have experienced the rainy climate the mountains bring, but on this holiday I didn’t see rain once. I wanted to walk along the Aberglaslyn Pass whilst I was there and deliberately chose the coolest day of the week. Unfortunately the cloudy skies don’t make for a great backdrop in some of the photos.

My walk started at the National Trust car park at Nantmor (grid reference SH597462 – where you can park for free if you’re a member), taking me to Beddgelert and back. The majority of the walk is alongside the river Glaslyn, which gives great opportunities for some photos of the river and its surroundings. The river is home to some otters, but I didn’t spot any on this walk. Close by the river is the railway track of the Welsh Highland Railway, a heritage railway that runs between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. A few years ago I spent a weekend helping to lay track for this railway before it opened, and it’s great to see and hear the trains in action and smell the steam engines. The river path crosses the railway track and eventually reaches Beddgelert, a village with a lot of history.

As well as some shops and pubs, Beddgelert is home to the resting place of ‘Gelert’, the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone reads:

“In the 13th century Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, “The Faithful Hound”, who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The Prince alarmed, hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The Prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here.”

After stopping for some lunch at Beddgelert, walking up to the station for the Welsh Highland Railway and onto Gelert’s Grave, it was time to walk back along the river.