Side Of The Millennium Centre

Good morning. I hope the morning chill isn’t detracting from the beautiful blue skies we’re lucky to have today. I hear the forecast for the week isn’t great, so make the most of today!

This week’s desktop theme revolves around a trip down to Cardiff Bay with an old friend from university last Monday. To get us started, here’s a different shot of the coal scuttle (as some of us locals call it), aka the Millennium Stadium. There’ll be more tomorrow.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

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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The community centre at Trallwn in Pontypridd is typical of many in the valleys. Originally a mission hall, it has been extended and converted into a great resource for the local community. The result is an exterior that at first glance appears old, like the terraced houses around it appear old, but look closer, and the mixture of old and new make for an interesting subject for my camera.

The Photos

Gate To The Community Centre

Plants Growing Out Of The Wall

Fence And Yellow

Fastening The Litter Bin To The Telegraph Pole

Extractor Fan Grill

Down The Drain

Drain Pipe On The Wall

Drain Pipe, Leaves and Vent

Grit Salt

Bethania, 1908

The Old Entrance To The Hall

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As part of Guardian Cardiff’s June photography challenge, I headed down to Broadway in search of interesting signs to capture and share. Broadway is a perhaps overlooked road, eclipsed by the Newport Road that runs around it at both ends. It was once called Green Lane, and was once home to BBC Cymru when they first started broadcasting in 1964. Today, it looks somewhat run-down and neglected, and that’s reflected in some of the signs that I saw during my walk. But everyone I passed was friendly and welcoming, and left me hoping that better times lie ahead for this area.

The Photos

End Of Splott

Sign at the eastern end of Broadway, Adamsdown.

Royal Oak, Adamsdown

They have another lamp outside with the words ‘Royal Oak’ backwards, but unfortunately the light wasn’t good enough to get a decent shot of it.

What Is Money?

Makes a change from the usual ‘earn lots of money working from home’ signs you see on lampposts.

Clairvoyance Evening at The Royal Oak

I was amazed at how this piece of paper had survived both wind and rain.

24 for 12.99

This is the boarded up window of a former Victoria’s Wine off-license. It seems logical that this window must have been boarded up when the off-license was still in business, otherwise there’d be no booze to advertise?

Open Monday at 1pm

With the World Cup on (at the time I first published this photo on Flickr), I’m sure plenty of folks wish they could have shuttered shop for a few days to watch the footie on TV.

Hostile Substances In Use

This was one of several such signs I came across, suggesting that there has been a problem in this area with people climbing over fences into private property.

Not So Ideal After All?

I guess this corner location didn’t turn out to be as ideal as the last tenant had hoped.

2 Men and this Van

Removals and deliveries for hire. And you should check out their shop too; looking through the window, it looked to me that they had some very useful furniture available, and a welcome antidote to the IKEA world of today.

Wife For Sale

This sign tickled me far too much; I just had to share it 🙂

Missing: One AWESOME Cat

No matter where you go, there always seems to be missing cat posters on lampposts and in shop windows. This one stood out for me though because the owner’s love of her cat just leapt out off the poster. Here’s hoping Josephine is reunited with her cat all safe and sound.

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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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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Restored Bridge At Taffs Well

This footbridge over the River Taff between Taffs Well and Gwaelod-y-Garth has recently been renovated and restored into a fantastic condition.

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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Cycle Hire Pedal Power

At the western end of Cardiff Council’s controversial new road bridge into Bute Park, I noticed this striking sign directing people entering the park over the new bridge to where they can hire a bike to cycle around the park.

I think cycling is a great way to explore Bute Park and Pontcanna Fields, and you’ve always got the choice to cycle down the Taff Trail to Cardiff Bay and the barrage.

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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Water Bus Stop in Bute Park

Just inside the entrance to Bute Park, there’s a bus stop for the Cardiff Waterbus service. The service started in 2000, and links the centre of Cardiff with the redeveloped docklands of Cardiff Bay.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bute_Park
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Waterbus
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2010/04/28/a-decade-of-making-waves-for-waterbus-91466-26330343/

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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Mrs H and I went out this morning to shoot photos as part of the @4amproject (blog | twitter). Our original destination was Cardiff, but it was so busy with staggering drunks that instead we headed off to the quieter location of Penarth and its pier.

The Photos

Steps Up Off The Beach

To try and cut down on the amount of light from the street lights, I headed down onto the beach itself where it was much darker. Whilst I was waiting for Mrs H to finish using the remote cable release, I turned my camera around to take this shot looking up the stairs back to street level.

Looking Across The Bristol Channel

Turning the camera around the other way, the English coast across the Bristol Channel was lit up by the tobacco stain of street lights both near and far. With it being almost low tide, I managed to get some great reflective effects in the wet sand out towards the estuary.

Penarth Pier

This is what we came to photograph. Penarth Pier at 4am, lighting up the sands below as it juts out into the Bristol Channel.

This is Mrs H’s shot of the beach with Penarth Pier beyond.

Mrs H’s shot of the promenade at Penarth, looking east towards the pier.

Mrs H’s shot across the sands towards the lights of the English coast.

Mrs H went down onto the pebble beach for this one, using the foreground to add detail and a focal point to her second shot across the Bristol Channel.

Thoughts On The Day

I’d come across the 4am project by accident on Twitter, and although I’m about as far from being a morning person as you can get, I liked the idea of trying to take photos at a time of day that I normally don’t even see, never mind shoot at. With the cats giving us very strange looks, we grabbed our gear and headed out towards Cardiff to find somewhere interesting to photograph.

Our first choice was the Hayes in Cardiff, but at 4am on Easter Sunday it was just far too busy to do any photography. The city centre was teeming with parties of people and supervising police; after a bit of discussion we decided to go and find somewhere quieter, and Penarth and its pier seemed much more likely to be nice and quiet.

We were very lucky with the weather: nice and dry, and not too cold.

This was our first time out with the wireless remote cable release I bought in Bath on Thursday, and although it’s really great that both of us can share the same cable release, in practice when you’re doing 4 minute exposures, you need your own cable release. Oh, and wireless cable releases are well worth the extra that they cost 🙂

Our first time out doing early morning photography was a lot of fun, and is something we’ll be doing more of this year.

Post Processing

Other than a little bit of sharpening, and a bit of cropping and bringing out of the detail in the shadows on the Penarth Pier shot, I haven’t processed my photos at all. Which made me think … what would these photos look like in black and white?

Steps Up Off The Beach (alternate version)

Looking Across The Bristol Channel (alternate version)

Penarth Pier (alternate version)

Which versions do you prefer?

See Also

If you’d like to know more about the 4am project, check out these links:

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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The caravan park at Font-y-gary has been a popular place for the residents of Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys to escape to for an affordable summer holiday for many years. Overlooking the Bristol Channel, Font-y-gary stands above a rocky beach that affords great views to the west towards Aberthaw and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Thoughts On The Day

We decided to end the weekend with a shoot down on the coast. South Wales has some amazing coastline, much of which we’ve explored in previous photography jaunts, but one place we haven’t been back to since we went digital in 2003 is the coastline around Font-y-gary and Aberthaw. Sadly there wasn’t enough light (or time before the tide came in) for us to make our way along to Aberthaw too this time, but we’ve agreed to head back there soon – perhaps to try a morning shoot as everything interesting is to the west.

We went out there for Kristi to get in some practice with her new Canon rig. Since she dumped her old Nikon D70 for a Canon EOS 500D (I know, I know … I tried to convince her to simply get a better Nikon, but there was no stopping her …), her photography has had a whole new lease of life. I’m just really pleased to see her getting out and about and getting her creativeness back after last summer’s car crash. Today, she wanted to practice a mix of coastal photography and sunset photography, and Font-y-gary offered both a-plenty.

Whilst she did that, I had some fun of my own. It gave me a great opportunity to get some practice in with both my Nikon 70-300mm VR lens (I’m really loving its colour handling) and the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D. To be honest, the light was crap; it was overcast, with little colour in it and little contrast. I’m pleased I managed to get anything at all from it.

The Photos

Fishing By The Shore

My favourite shot of the evening was this gentleman fishing down by the shore. I’ve no idea whether he went home empty handed or not.

The Shape On The Horizon

Right on the edge of the horizon, we could just make out this odd shape. We figured it must be a ship from the way it kept changing shape, but it certainly had us puzzled.

Mrs H's Canon

The main reason we went down to the coast this evening was for Kristi to get some practice in at shooting coastal scenery. She’s recently switched from her aging Nikon D70 to a Canon EOS 500D, and has been greatly enjoying the upgrade.

Me … despite the impressive features that the 500D offers (such as a truly-useful LiveView and in-camera colour curve editing), you’ll have to prise my Nikon out of my cold dead hands!

The Stone

Whilst Kristi practiced shooting waves with her tripod-mounted Canon, I thought I’d get some practice in of my own, playing with the amazing depth of field offered by my new Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D lens. The best of these shots was this stone, all alone on the sand.

Sunset At Font-y-gary

With the light fading, the tide coming in, and a dodgy knee that wasn’t looking forward to the climb up off of the beach, there was time for one last photo of the sun setting out over the Bristol Channel before we left.

Post Production

Whilst we were down on the shoreline, Kristi showed me how she could adjust the colours that her Canon EOS 500D saw through what she said was the white balance controls, although it looked more like a colour curve system to my eyes. Either way, it looked like she could drag some colour out of the sky in-camera – something my Nikon D200 simply can’t do. (I admit it; there are some things a Canon is better at. Glass isn’t one of them though 🙂 ).

Back at base, I remembered that Aperture 3 now includes a curves tool, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to play with it and see whether or not I could bring a little more colour out of my own photos from the shoot. Post-processing isn’t as good as in-camera, and the curve tool isn’t quite as intuitive as the 500D’s in-camera control, but hopefully you’ve enjoyed these images. More practice required though!

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The Rain At Night

A handheld shot of rain falling, made possible with my new Nikon 50mm f/1.4D lens. Shot under a spotlight down at the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

Mrs H and I had gone down to the Barrage to practice some night photography, but unfortunately the weather was against us. We hung around for a bit, hoping for a break in the rain, but it wasn’t to be.

But as Mrs H was packing up her gear, I noticed how a spotlight was picking up and highlighting the falling rain. I managed to find an angle where I could shoot upwards towards the light without getting the lens wet, and fired off several frames. This one was the best.

I kinda like it. It’s definitely a different shot to what I normally do 🙂

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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