No 8: Borough

Modern use of an old building on St Mary’s Street, Cardiff.

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

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Tsuba with Udenuki Ana

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

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

Although the appraisal of any katana rightly focuses on the condition, quality and aesthetics of the blade itself, to a martial artist looking for a working blade, the sword’s fittings cannot be completely discounted. The tsuba (Japanese for the guard) plays two important roles in swordsmanship. The obvious one is to protect your hands from someone running their blade along the length of yours. Can’t exactly fight back if you’re missing a few fingers or your thumb now.

Many tsuba (but by no means all) also contain what I believe is called udenuki ana, one or two holes through with the sageo (the cord normally tied to the katana’s sheath or saya in Japanese) can be looped. This has the important effect of tying off the katana, preventing someone from just walking up to you and pulling out your sword with intent. It also stops a blade falling out and onto the floor (where it could well shatter) if you are bowing or otherwise leaning forwards for some reason. (A good swordsman will also secure his katana at all times using his left thumb, but a belt-and-braces approach is safest when using live blades in the dojo or in a public demonstration).

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

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Merthyr Road: The Point

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 10th, 2010 in Cardiff, Leisure, Modern, Photos, Shoot.

The Point

The Point was, for several years, a very popular live music venue at the southern end of Butetown in Cardiff. A converted church in Mount Stuart Square, the external structure still contains many of its original features dating back to 1900. Today, it stands empty, its future use to be decided.

I only went to one gig there myself, to see americana band Iron and Wine. The volume of the music inside was tremendous; impossible to say anything to anyone, and I found it very difficult indeed to enjoy the music as it was turning to mush at that level to my ears. I can’t say I’m surprised that it closed at least in part because of noise complaints, but I am sorry that it did so. There seems to be so few live music venues in Cardiff any more for budding musicians to learn the trade. No wonder the X-Factor auditions are so popular each year 🙁

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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Hamon Line Up Close

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

My desktop wallpaper today is a second shot from this week’s theme … a Japanese katana.

In this closer shot, you can see the martensite crystals that form the hamon line, which in Japanese are known as nioi. You can also see the distinctive turnback on this particular blade, where the hamon line turns back on itself for a short distance, just before the blade meets the guard (tsuba in Japanese). I’m told that sword appraisal books don’t mention turnback features like this one, so it may be aesthetically interesting but not considered notable.

You can also see the wear and tear on the blade from hundreds of years of cleaning, especially some of the larger scratches. This blade is believed to date from the Koto period, which ended in 1596 (although putting a date on it is a gross over-simplification, as with all things to do with the appreciation of the katana). It must be properly oiled after every use to keep the iron sealed against contaminants that would cause it to rust.

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

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Grass In Bute Park

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One of the great legacies from the age of coal that gave Cardiff its wealth before the First World War is also one of the great gifts made to the people of Cardiff. Originally flanked by Cardiff Castle to the south, the River Taff to the west, the Glamorganshire Canal to the east and Western Avenue to the north, Bute Park was begun in 1873 by the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and handed over to the people of Cardiff in 1947 by the 5th Marquess.

It is a fabulous place to roam, especially for the many thousands of office workers in Cardiff’s busy city centre who need somewhere to escape to on a lunch time. As well as open playing fields and the arboretum, there are quieter, shaded areas under the trees and by the river banks where you can go and hide with a book for a bit of peace and quiet.

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

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Katana Hamon

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

This week’s desktop wallpaper is something … a little different. Last week, Mrs H said that she’d like to see me try my hand at photographing a katana, and as I like making the wife happy, I thought why not. The photos that came out were quite interesting, I hope you’ll agree.

The katana is the sword of the Japanese samurai, perfected in a culture of constant warfare. An amazing blend of both science and art, what gives the sword both its beauty and its deadliness is differential tempering, a quenching process that creates a brittle but razor-sharp cutting edge, and the softer, more durable back of the blade. The dividing line between the two is the hamon, the wavy line that runs along the length of a genuine blade.

This blade has a fairly gentle undulating pattern known as notare-midare (irregular wave).

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

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80 Photos: Nikon D200 Tribute

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 7th, 2010 in Equipment, Photos.

Nikon D200

After four and a half years of faithful service, I finally sold on my Nikon D200. It might have been the Nikon D100 that got me into digital photography way back in 2003, but the Nikon D200 was the camera that I really fell in love with. It served me very well indeed, and although I made the switch earlier this year to the Nikon D300s, it took a while before I was ready to finally part with it.

I still have many thousands of photos from the Nikon D200 that remain to be sifted through, processed and uploaded (including many photos for my Merthyr Road project), so you’ll still be seeing new photos from the camera for months (if not years) to come here on this blog. But I wanted to post a tribute here and now to one of the great Nikon cameras … my choice of favourite photos taken with the D200.

No captions this time, just images. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

The Photos

Dolphin On The Beach

Beneath Whitby breakwater

Borth Beach At Sunset

Walking Along Borth Beach

Dawn Walk On The South Beach

The Martians Are Coming!

Fishing Nets

The Stile

16361

Ice By Candlelight

Lighting The Way Home

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk

Harlech Castle

Cadw Shop, Harlech Castle

Craig Yr Allt and The Garth

Dawn on Caerphilly Mountain

Mumbles Lighthouse

The Sorry Remains Of Brighton West Pier

The Fountain

Outside The Rainforest Biodome

2008 Review: Janet's Foss

Sunset On The Hill

Restricted Shore

The Bridge Opposite Castle Street

Cardiff Bay Railway Station

The Line Of Light

The Burning Beacon

Anthropogenic Crap

Who Are You Looking At?

We Are Not Amused Either

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

The Greenway

Yellow Quarry Tipper Lorry

A Giant's Bite In The Landscape

Steetley Magnesite

Ribblehead Viaduct

Towards Pontypridd

Your Favourite Photos

South Towards Pontypridd

Graffiti Outside The Treforest Tin Works

The Abandoned House By Calanais III

British Camp

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Past, Present and Future In Cardiff

Cathedral

The Lower Gun Deck, HMS Victory

The Reflections In The River

The Deserted Beaches Of Harris - HDR

Unity

Stone Wall Texture

Trees And Graigwen

ye olde Newbridge Arms

The Submerged Forest

Graffiti Inside The Treforest Tin Works

Walnut Tree Viaduct

Still & West Country House, Portsmouth Harbour

Penarth Pier

Unity - The Pontypridd Sculpture

Sunset On Borth Beach

Whitby Abbey At Sunset

Walk To Pennard Castle

Ribblehead Viaduct

Bridge Over The Glamorganshire Canal At Pont-y-dderwen

Sheltered Bay - HDR

The Submerged Forest

The Old Bridge, Pontypridd

The Chapel On The Hill

The Spa Footbridge, Scarborough

Morning Across The Taff

The Western Isles

Scarborough South Bay At Dawn

The Rooftops Of Cilfynydd

The Spice Island Inn, Portsmouth Harbour

Passing Beneath Catherine Street

The Submerged Forest

The Rediscovered House

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80 Photos: Nikon D200 Tribute

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 7th, 2010 in Equipment, Photos.

Nikon D200

After four and a half years of faithful service, I finally sold on my Nikon D200. It might have been the Nikon D100 that got me into digital photography way back in 2003, but the Nikon D200 was the camera that I really fell in love with. It served me very well indeed, and although I made the switch earlier this year to the Nikon D300s, it took a while before I was ready to finally part with it.

I still have many thousands of photos from the Nikon D200 that remain to be sifted through, processed and uploaded (including many photos for my Merthyr Road project), so you’ll still be seeing new photos from the camera for months (if not years) to come here on this blog. But I wanted to post a tribute here and now to one of the great Nikon cameras … my choice of favourite photos taken with the D200.

No captions this time, just images. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

The Photos

Dolphin On The Beach

Beneath Whitby breakwater

Borth Beach At Sunset

Walking Along Borth Beach

Dawn Walk On The South Beach

The Martians Are Coming!

Fishing Nets

The Stile

16361

Ice By Candlelight

Lighting The Way Home

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk

Harlech Castle

Cadw Shop, Harlech Castle

Craig Yr Allt and The Garth

Dawn on Caerphilly Mountain

Mumbles Lighthouse

The Sorry Remains Of Brighton West Pier

The Fountain

Outside The Rainforest Biodome

2008 Review: Janet's Foss

Sunset On The Hill

Restricted Shore

The Bridge Opposite Castle Street

Cardiff Bay Railway Station

The Line Of Light

The Burning Beacon

Anthropogenic Crap

Who Are You Looking At?

We Are Not Amused Either

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

The Greenway

Yellow Quarry Tipper Lorry

A Giant's Bite In The Landscape

Steetley Magnesite

Ribblehead Viaduct

Towards Pontypridd

Your Favourite Photos

South Towards Pontypridd

Graffiti Outside The Treforest Tin Works

The Abandoned House By Calanais III

British Camp

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Past, Present and Future In Cardiff

Cathedral

The Lower Gun Deck, HMS Victory

The Reflections In The River

The Deserted Beaches Of Harris - HDR

Unity

Stone Wall Texture

Trees And Graigwen

ye olde Newbridge Arms

The Submerged Forest

Graffiti Inside The Treforest Tin Works

Walnut Tree Viaduct

Still & West Country House, Portsmouth Harbour

Penarth Pier

Unity - The Pontypridd Sculpture

Sunset On Borth Beach

Whitby Abbey At Sunset

Walk To Pennard Castle

Ribblehead Viaduct

Bridge Over The Glamorganshire Canal At Pont-y-dderwen

Sheltered Bay - HDR

The Submerged Forest

The Old Bridge, Pontypridd

The Chapel On The Hill

The Spa Footbridge, Scarborough

Morning Across The Taff

The Western Isles

Scarborough South Bay At Dawn

The Rooftops Of Cilfynydd

The Spice Island Inn, Portsmouth Harbour

Passing Beneath Catherine Street

The Submerged Forest

The Rediscovered House

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80 Photos: Nikon D200 Tribute

Posted by Stuart Herbert on August 7th, 2010 in Equipment, Photos.

Nikon D200

After four and a half years of faithful service, I finally sold on my Nikon D200. It might have been the Nikon D100 that got me into digital photography way back in 2003, but the Nikon D200 was the camera that I really fell in love with. It served me very well indeed, and although I made the switch earlier this year to the Nikon D300s, it took a while before I was ready to finally part with it.

I still have many thousands of photos from the Nikon D200 that remain to be sifted through, processed and uploaded (including many photos for my Merthyr Road project), so you’ll still be seeing new photos from the camera for months (if not years) to come here on this blog. But I wanted to post a tribute here and now to one of the great Nikon cameras … my choice of favourite photos taken with the D200.

No captions this time, just images. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

The Photos

Dolphin On The Beach

Beneath Whitby breakwater

Borth Beach At Sunset

Walking Along Borth Beach

Dawn Walk On The South Beach

The Martians Are Coming!

Fishing Nets

The Stile

16361

Ice By Candlelight

Lighting The Way Home

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Calanais At Dusk

Harlech Castle

Cadw Shop, Harlech Castle

Craig Yr Allt and The Garth

Dawn on Caerphilly Mountain

Mumbles Lighthouse

The Sorry Remains Of Brighton West Pier

The Fountain

Outside The Rainforest Biodome

2008 Review: Janet's Foss

Sunset On The Hill

Restricted Shore

The Bridge Opposite Castle Street

Cardiff Bay Railway Station

The Line Of Light

The Burning Beacon

Anthropogenic Crap

Who Are You Looking At?

We Are Not Amused Either

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

The Greenway

Yellow Quarry Tipper Lorry

A Giant's Bite In The Landscape

Steetley Magnesite

Ribblehead Viaduct

Towards Pontypridd

Your Favourite Photos

South Towards Pontypridd

Graffiti Outside The Treforest Tin Works

The Abandoned House By Calanais III

British Camp

Calanais At Dusk - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Macleod Stone - HDR

Past, Present and Future In Cardiff

Cathedral

The Lower Gun Deck, HMS Victory

The Reflections In The River

The Deserted Beaches Of Harris - HDR

Unity

Stone Wall Texture

Trees And Graigwen

ye olde Newbridge Arms

The Submerged Forest

Graffiti Inside The Treforest Tin Works

Walnut Tree Viaduct

Still & West Country House, Portsmouth Harbour

Penarth Pier

Unity - The Pontypridd Sculpture

Sunset On Borth Beach

Whitby Abbey At Sunset

Walk To Pennard Castle

Ribblehead Viaduct

Bridge Over The Glamorganshire Canal At Pont-y-dderwen

Sheltered Bay - HDR

The Submerged Forest

The Old Bridge, Pontypridd

The Chapel On The Hill

The Spa Footbridge, Scarborough

Morning Across The Taff

The Western Isles

Scarborough South Bay At Dawn

The Rooftops Of Cilfynydd

The Spice Island Inn, Portsmouth Harbour

Passing Beneath Catherine Street

The Submerged Forest

The Rediscovered House

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My wife and I recently went back to Margam Country Park in late spring as the perfect place to go with the cameras for a local day out. In the end, my knee only lasted a couple of hours sadly, but I still managed to come away with a few interesting photos to share.

The Photos

Capel Mair ar y Bryn

This is the chapel of St Mary on the hill, which was built as part of Margam Abbey. The abbey itself was founded in 1147, and was in use until King Henry VIII dissolved it in 1536.

Bench At Margam Park

If anyone nicks this bench for their back yard, at least their visitors will know where it originally came from!

Entrance To Margam Abbey

Only the nave of Margam Abbey survives today, and it is still in use as the local parish church.

Chapter House Ruins

The ruins of Margam Abbey include this impressive 12-side chapter house. Chapter houses were used as meeting rooms, where the abbot and all his monks would gather to discuss matters concerning the monastery and its inhabitants.

Ruins Outside The Orangery

Margam Country Park boasts an Orangery completed in 1793 (making it one of the oldest buildings in South Wales that is still in use today). Just to the east of the Orangery lies these ruins with its vaulted ceiling.

Beware Of Falling Masonry

Although they look stable enough, and on a sunny (or a wet!) day offer the temptation of shelter, for safety reasons they are in fact fenced off with suitable warning signs.

Green Leaves

My wife loves to visit Margam just to say hello to the trees, and when the sun shines the canopy lights up in the most beautiful of ways.

Tree Roots

I can’t explain why, but my eyes were drawn to the roots of this tree standing just to the south of the Orangery. Maybe it was the textures, or the contrasts of colour, or the contrasts of light and shadow. Whatever the reasons, I think it makes for an interesting photo, and will probably feature in my Daily Desktop Wallpaper series at some point!

Previous Visit To Margam

My last visit to Margam Country Park was in October 2008, as my very first WelshFlickrCymru meet-up. We spent the whole day there, and I hope you enjoy the photos I took last time too.

Through The Arches

The Tree By The Abbey

Peering At The Cloisters

The Tree By The Abbey

The Fun House

The Path By The Gum Tree

Sculptures Grazing - Landscape

Sculptures Grazing - Portrait

The Gum Tree

The Seat Under The Gum Tree

The Flowers Of The Gum Tree

The Bee and the Gum Tree

The Gum Tree

The Orangery, Margam House

The Cry

The Chapel On The Hill

Margam House From The Chapel

Port Talbot Panorama

Margam House Through The Window

Monopod Head

Margam House

Deer Foraging For Food

Two Deer Foraging For Food

Deer Feeding

Deer Silhouette

Looking East Through The Trees

Looking West Through The Trees

The Unusual Pit On The Hill

Robin Looking Down

Margam House

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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