part 2 - Winter arrives early in Mid-Wales!
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suppose season's greetings are in order, although you'll forgive me for
not jumping into that feet-first as I am grounded by the worst cold I
have had for several years. So is half of Machynlleth by all accounts!
At least it gives me chance to get this long-overdue update done. I
didn't get around to sending a series of films off until fairly
recently, hence the delay.
excellent thing that happened to me this Autumn was that I was
privileged to be invited to give a talk at the Royal Meteorological
Society's meeting in South Kensington on my weather photography. It was
great to meet other photographers, many with way more years of
experience than myself, see examples of their work and listen to their
thoughts and approaches. It turned out that we had some things in
common but it was interesting to see where thoughts differed, too:
everyone has their own, personally unique approach it seems. I hadn't
been to London for years and the scrum getting onto a Piccadilly Line
train on the way out in the evening was quite an experience: one I'd
rather not have too often!
the weather. October's floods gave way to a cold end-of-month, a frosty
November and a noticeably cold start to December, which had me glad to
have cut so much firewood. Autumn colours were vivid this year but days
with the right light when I was free were few and far between. But the
main theme of this page has to be the early snow, which I'll get onto
after a few more "seasonal" shots....
visited a larch-wood near Glaspwll one sunny afternoon and had a play
with my ultra-wide 19mm lens in the dappled sunshine. Quite liked this
here's a telephoto of Bird Rock in the Dysinni Valley near Llanegryn,
where there are some exciting rock-climbs - as a consequence of the
looseness of the rock in places. The name - Craig yr Aderyn in Welsh -
refers to its usage as a cormorant roost/nesting area since time
immemorial, despite being several miles inland - harking back to a
period shortly after the last ice-age ended, when sea-levels were for a
time a fair bit higher than they have been over the last few hundred
Good sunsets were not abundant. This one had real potential, ruined by
the low ragged cloud that was drifting through. Mammatus had developed
on the base of a stratocumulus sheet, reminiscent of the stunning
sunrise I caught in late November 2006, but nowhere near as impressive
One evening a nice group of lenticular clouds formed in a NE wind in
the lee of the Cambrian Mountains. However, they drifted away by
sunset-time - pity!
one I did like though - a Westerly gale and shower-clouds moving
through at Borth. One for the slide-library I think!
this one - crepuscular rays going through shafts of rain, with a lone
gull adding interest
morning on the way to Aberdaron (fishing-mission): sunrise at Dyfi
Bridge. Get those cables buried!
On this particular
fishing-trip an impressive sundog developed right above Bardsey Island,
formed by sunlight refracting through high clouds made of ice-crystals.
The mackerel left early this year - was it a sign of colder conditions
fishing was slow but I did reel in this beastie tangled up in my line.
A quick unravelling and he was soon crawling back down to the sea-bed
(too small anyway in terms of the legal minimum size)...
clarity of the air suggested Ireland might be visible so I walked to
the top of Cardiac Hill at sunset to see - and it was! Can you see the
now to the over-riding theme from late October onwards: this (on my car
has been frequent and the first snow fell on October 28th as one of
several Arctic airmasses urged southwards over the UK. This is up on
the Machynlleth-Llanidloes mountain road at ca. 450m ASL as rain turned
to sleet and then, in the image, heavy and at times driving snow....
...this is the same area a couple of days
later. Not a huge fall but it had drifted about a bit....
...as can be seen here. I decided to have a run over to Dinas Mawddwy
to have a look at the lower mountains (Cadair Idris and Aran Fawddwy
were shrouded in cloud in their upper parts)....
...but hills topping out at just over 620m were cloud-free, such as
Maesglase (above), although here the light was a bit insipid....
...on nearby Cribyn it was a bit better but the snow-covered rockface
that dominated the view made this one work quite well!
The Bwlch - the famous
low-flying aircraft photography venue, with a different view eastwards
of the steep, plunging ridges of Maesglase.
the third of November the snow was rapidly shrinking away to nothing on
the lower hills - but on the high tops a good cover had built up. Shots
of that are on another film, however, so that's all for now!
2008 has not been the most productive year in terms of extreme weather,
despite the good early start with the Aberystwyth waterspout, lightning
"superbolts" and several impressive coastal storms. The summer was a
non-event unless you like incessant rain, and the autumn was notable
for its lack of photogenic convection, although the early October
floods offered some interesting photographic opportunities and the
early start to winter was a change from recent years.
The market for photographs has been hit hard by the recession and the
outlook for the next year or two is not encouraging: however, the
weather won't go into recession, so I'll be quietly getting on with my
photography and building up the slide library regardless. Things will
turn around at some point!
It's Boxing Day morning, with a keen Easterly now blowing down the Dyfi
Valley and temperatures of just 3-4C. Hopefully (as locals often say)
the colder weather will kill off the cold-germs! I can honestly say I'm
already looking forward to Spring! So here's to 2009 and whatever
spectacular goings-on in the skies that may turn up!
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