Cats Rule! - My Oldest Surviving Digital Photo

I fired up my old fileserver tonight to dig out one of my old photos for someone, when I spotted this lurking in a forgotten folder. This was taken with my Nikon D100 back in March 2003, and according to the filename was photo #94. It’s now my oldest surviving digital shot.

And it’s still the best photo I’ve ever managed of my cat. He’s wised up to cameras since then, and runs a mile any time I try and take a portrait of him.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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I recently updated my Aperture workflow tutorial for Aperture v3, and posted the slides up on Slideshare.net:

It contains a detailed walkthrough of the steps that I follow every time I process photos to share on this blog and on Flickr. I hope you find it useful.

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Former Bank In Mount Stuart Square

Mount Stuart Square, a designated conservation area since 1980, is home to something like 60 listed buildings. Some of these listed buildings are considered landmark buildings; some are not.

One of those which isn’t is this building, No 1 Mount Stuart Square. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to track down online what bank this originally was. If you happen to know, please leave a comment below!

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Green Leaves

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Continuing the Week of Woodland Wallpaper, today’s shot is one I’ve done many times over the years: green leaves lit by sunlight.

Whether it’s parking the car, or just seeking respite during a long walk, there’s something very satisfying about seeking shade from the hot sun beneath the trees, and being able to look up at the green canopy overhead to pick out the details of all the veins in the leaves. There’s a real sense of relief, and of peace.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Trees In Bute Park

Although most visitors to Bute Park in Cardiff may only really notice the wide open spaces of the playing fields, or the gorsedd stones left by a previous eisteddfod, it is the trees where the beauty of Bute Park truly lies. As well as the arboretum (which contains some of the finest examples of trees in the UK), the playing fields are ringed with trees, casting their cool shade down onto anyone walking or cycling by who needs shelter from the sun.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Under The Trees

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Hope you all had a good weekend. We’ve reached the halfway point of August, and it won’t be long now until the holiday season is over and the kids are heading back to school for the start of another academic year. And I’ll be heading back too to start teaching again after a little bit of time away to recover from my car accident. With that in mind, this week’s theme is the Week of Woodland Wallpaper. Five working days, five wallpapers of what I hope you’ll find to be wonderful woodlands to stare at whenever you’re sat in front of your computer.

This shot was taken during a walk in the woods at Gethin to the west of Merthyr Tydfil just over six years ago. I’ve no idea how I got this effect; I’ve certainly never been able to reproduce it again, but I’m glad that it happened on such a nice shot.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Taken as part of Guardian Cardiff’s June photography challenge.

Parking For Private Use Only

Sign found at the eastern end of Beulah Road, Rhiwbina, Cardiff.

Back and Neck Chiropractic Clinic

A simple but affective (if slightly vandalised) sign found at the eastern end of Beulah Road, Rhiwbina, Cardiff.

Sold

From the outside it looks like it needs a bit of work, but what a stunning-looking house someone’s gone and bought.

And The Speed Limit Is ...?

Can you work out which speed limit applies to that road, and which one doesn’t? 🙂

No Cycling Please

Sign spotted beside a very tempting-looking lane south of Beulah Road, Rhiwbina.

No Cycling, Please

A closer look at the no cycling sign. At this distance, we can see that somehow it has been dented.

Obscured Instructions

In leafy suburbs like Beulah Road, sometimes road traffic signs can get obscured. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems in practice, but it’s a shame that no-one seems to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

Muddy Bum Bikes

Is that one of the best names for a company, or what?

The Oldest Sign Of The Lot

This is the oldest sign that I could find on Beulah Road, on the side of Capel Beulah.

Fete of the Earth

Sign in a local shop window on Beulah Road, advertising a sustainable living event at Cardiff Central Library.

Gernant

This street sign is nestled comfortably into the very pretty hedgerow.

Church For Really Tall People

Spotted this sign trying its best to peek over a very tall hedge on Beulah Road, Rhiwbina, Cardiff.

Spray-Painted Sign

Found this vandalised sign on a sub-station just behind Beulah Road today. It’s been sprayed all sorts of funky colours, which makes it doubly interesting when converted to black and white 🙂

That No Cycling Sign Again

Clearly, there was something about the no cycling sign that really caught my eye during this walk up and down Beulah Road, Rhiwbina, Cardiff!

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Menuki Up Close

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My last desktop wallpaper this week concludes this week’s theme of the Japanese katana.

Tightly-held underneath the bindings of the tsuka-ito, you will normally find two menuki, one of either side of the hilt. Traditionally made from some kind of metal (often brass, but sometimes from precious metals such as silver), they range from plain to elaborately ornate in style. They sometimes match the other furniture on the sword, especially if you buy a blade made today, but that seems to be rarer amongst older blades with original fittings.

The menuki aren’t just ornamental, pretty though they can be; they also serve the purpose of improving the swordsman’s grip by making the tsuka fatter at the points where his hands go. This is one of the reasons why iaidoka (those who practice the art of drawing this beautiful sword) cringe so much when they watch Hollywood movies, where the big action stars grip their swords with their right hand jammed right up under the guard. Millions of dollars in film budgets, and they can’t get the basics right. Sheesh.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s theme. It was requested by the lovely Mrs H. If you have an idea for a desktop wallpaper theme, why not send me a message on Twitter (@stuphotos) and I’ll see what I can do.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with another weekly theme of wallpaper to share.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Earlier in 2010, I decided to spend a Sunday exploring the railway stations of the Coryton Line. This is the surviving section of the Bute’s Cardiff Railway, the last of the great railways built to bring coal down to the Cardiff docks. I’m sure I read somewhere that the Bute’s original intention was to run this railway along the route of the Glamorganshire Canal (which the Marquis had earlier bought), but that ultimately he wasn’t allowed to close the canal, and so had to come up with an alternative route for his railway.

Today, the Coryton Line is a single-track commuter run that swings east to west across the north of Cardiff. There are no services on a Sunday, making it the perfect day to explore these stations.

The Photos

Rhiwbina Railway Station

Taken from the footbridge over the Coryton Line at Rhiwbina Station, looking west towards Whitchurch Station. Note the CCTV camera perched high on the left in a commanding view along the platform – provided there isn’t a train there 🙂

Rhiwbina Railway Station

Looking east from the platform towards Birchgrove Railway Station, there isn’t much to be seen. There are local shops at the heart of Rhiwbina just off the bridge that you can see in the distance.

Rhiwbina Railway Station

There isn’t much more to be said about Rhiwbina Railway Station to be honest, except that I found it tidy and with a modern shelter for passengers enduring the long wait for a train.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Tsuka and Mekugi

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My desktop wallpaper today is another from these week’s theme of the Japanese katana.

It’s incredibly dangerous to handle the blade of a katana. Not only are they razor sharp on their single cutting edge, but the oils from your skin will hasten the sword’s demise by causing severe corrosion over time. What’s needed is the tsuka – the hilt of the sword, which is traditionally bound in ray skin and either silken or leather cord known as tsuka-ito in Japanese.

To hold the blade in the tsuka, the end of the blade (known as the tang) normally has one or two rivet holes punched through it (known as mekugi-ana); there are corresponding holes in the tsuka too. Into these holes go mekugi, normally bamboo pegs. You can see the mekugi on the right of this photo. For several years, this blade was actually held in place with a mekugi that I fashioned from an old chopstick, until I had the blade remounted to preserve its original furniture.

The cheeky chap you can see on the left is an example of a menuki, and we’ll take a closer look at him in tomorrow’s wallpaper.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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