Sunrise, Penarth Pier

Sunrise Penarth PierI took this a couple of weeks ago, on a day when the spectacular sunrise coincided with me being out early to take Ronan to his childminder’s house. I’m using it as a bit of a test post: WordPress seems to be doing some funny things in terms of sharing posts on social media, and I wanted to try to find out what is happening. Although I’ve shared this around the place before, I thought that it was at least prettier to look at than a page full of Lorem Ipsum text.

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Gratuitous photo post: St Augustine’s, Penarth, with lots of lens flare.

Winter sun, and all that jazzSorry: I know this isn’t a proper post as such. I’m really tired, and trying to work short rows out is making my head hurt. The photo itself is a bit better if you click to embiggen.

Mind you, it was a lovely day, and the church is a gorgeous one. John Betjeman gave it top marks out the churches in the local area, don’tcha know? The interior is beautiful: you can see more here.

With that, I’m heading off to bed, clutching a copy of Little Red in the City. I’m going to work this bust shaping out if it’s the last thing I do.

Eep! Photomarathon update…

So, this evening, Stephen, Eoin and I trolled off to the opening evening of the 2013 Cardiff Photomarathon exhibition: as an entrant, I was invited along with over 400 others to be among the first to admire some amazing photographs, applaud the winners, and, let’s be honest, search desperately for our own images in a very full gallery. I didn’t honestly have great hopes of success, but I was looking forward to seeing my pictures in a proper exhibition, and maybe, just maybe, getting some sort of sign that I hadn’t made a terrible hash of the whole business.

We found my pictures in the throng, and I was amazed to see that four of my photos had been shortlisted for different topics. These are the first three (I’m glad that Eoin made it into two of the shortlists!):

shortlisted 2013I’m kind of amazed about the fingerpainty splodge, but I did like the pictures of Eoin chasing the kite and pinching the cake, so I was immensely chuffed to think that the judges had enjoyed them too.

What about the fourth one? We were pottering around the exhibition, admiring the entries, when Stephen dug me in the ribs, and said, “Hey, look at those enlargements on the wall: someone took the same photograph that you did!”. It’s a measure of how thick I am that I commented: “Wow, they must have had the same trouble framing the shot that I did…” before I realised that it was actually my picture. I may not have won anything, but I was one of the runners up, and had placed in the top five out of over 400 for one of the topic categories! This was the almost-but-not-quite winning entry, on the theme of “Mixed message”:

Mixed message

Not only was I blown away by the fact that I had got this far, but I was also really pleased that this photo had been a real team effort: Stephen had spotted the conflicting signs, and Eoin… well, it was about 7pm by this point, and Eoin had been gracious enough to let me take several shots before he went completely ballistic.

All in all, it was a great experience: we all had an amazing time, we got to see one friend make an inspirational speech and I was extremely pleased that another friend actually won one of the topic prizes. The Photomarathon was such a lot of fun: I can’t wait to do it again next year. I promise, though, that I’ll actually read up a bit on how to use my camera beforehand: I might stand a chance of doing better if I have a smidge more technical ability!

If you’re hanging about in Cardiff, and you want to see some really fantastic pictures (and my snaps), head over to the 1st floor Gallery at the Cardiff Story, on the Hayes in Central Cardiff. The exhibition opens tomorrow, and will be open until the 7th of July.

Photomarathon 2013

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, as the Photomarathon was over two weeks ago, but I wanted to record my first attempt at a proper photography challenge. Having admired the results of previous Photomarathons on Emma’s lovely blog, and having tried unsuccessfully to enter last year (boy, those 400 spaces fill up quickly: don’t hang about, prospective 2014 marathoners!), I was pretty amazed that, this year, I not only managed to bag a place in the challenge, but also to take the requisite twelve photos in twelve hours. All this with a husband and toddler in tow, and with a minimum of fuss: there was only one very small tantrum from Eoin (who was tired) somewhere around photo number ten, and one from me (final photo: my plan to hang out under the pier and take cool perspective shots was scuppered by the fecking tide coming in).

I have no illusions about my chances: I’ve seen the winning photos for the last few years, and they’re all excellent. Also, I realised a few days after the challenge (why do I always suffer from this sort of esprit de l’escalier?) that all the highly-rated entries had a common theme linking all twelve photos, and weren’t just a series of random pictures of stuff in their house, their toddler, or, in one case, a seriously creepy plastic Krusty the Klown (coulrophobes, beware).

For what it’s worth, though, here are my entries: the gallery format crops them a bit, so click to embiggen if you’d like to see the whole entry.


For “A bit on the side”, I really have Eoin to thank: I was going to take a pedestrian-enough picture of a piece of cake perched on a saucer next to a cup of coffee, so we all trolled off to Barker, and Stephen and Eoin waited at a table while I queued up to get the goods. As I was doing so, I glanced out of the window, and spotted two ladies in orange Photomarathon wristbands taking – you’ve guessed it – exactly the same picture. Returning disconsolately to the table, and entirely out of ideas, I decided to take the photo anyway. After all, I could always delete it if something better came along. Eoin, however, had clocked the slice of millionaire’s shortbread: he persistently photobombed my every attempt to take the darned picture, desperate to get at the cake which, for some inexplicable reason, I was photographing while he was trying to get down to the serious business of eating it. In the end, I gave up: you can probably see the teethmarks in the chocolate in this picture (it was several tries in), but at least there’s some humour instead of a just boring old shot of a cake on a saucer.

Incidentally, that’s a proper Vesper Martini in the penultimate shot, and, if you’re reading this Paul, yes, that is one of the cocktail glasses you gave us! I did not get to drink it, though: Stephen polished it off while I was on the seafront, swearing impotently at the incoming tide, and desperately trying to think of an alternative subject for “A different perspective”. Mind you, he did make me another one when I got home from dropping my entries off, proudly clutching my certificate of completion. I suspect that a rather lovely cocktail will be my only prize in the Photomarathon, but it was great fun nonetheless: I can’t wait to try again next year.