I am a designer and photographer. I live with my wife and our two dogs in the Welsh Marches, a land full of history, legends, mountains, rivers and dragon's breath; a place where animism thrives. To our north are the Cambrian Mountains, the Elenydd, a vast plateau so ancient that its mountains now have the appearance of steeply rounded moorland hills; to the east is England; to the south stand the Black Mountains and in the west the Brecon Beacons rise around the twin summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, the highest mountain in West Wales.
I last posted here on 28th June 2015, just after we had moved to Wales.
The time since then has been well spent. We ripped out much of the ornamental elements of the garden – roses on sticks particularly; dug in loads of well rotted organic manure and this summer our garden has rewarded us not just with fruit and vegetables but more importantly a huge increase in biodiversity. When we first arrived there we’re very few birds in the garden and hardly any insects. Removing yew hedges and replacing them with espaliered apples and pears (old varieties) and letting the herbs grow in the lawns so that the nectar loving insects could feed has transformed the place.
The time has also been well spent with a camera and I plan to post on that subject much more in the future months. In the meantime if you are interested some of my landscape work can be seen on the new web site also called, not surprisingly: Hares on the Hill
I have been so busy with work and the new house that I have had little time to post here so I’ve decided to close this blog down. If you want to stay in touch please visit my nature photography site at haresonthehill.co.uk there is a blog page there where I will when time permits carry on. Thank you for all of the ‘likes’ and helpful comments. I wish you all well with your blogs.
A while ago I posted some images of the frozen ponds on the Begwns. I’d made the images because I had liked the way the dead bracken and grasses lay in the ice and several people who saw the images (not here) commented on how pleasing the composition were. I was busy building my photography site on Squarespace when I learned that the Saatchi Gallery in London had a big digital screen on the second floor of its building where the work of new and ‘up and coming’ artists is displayed in a continuous loop. I was aware that Saatchi was much more receptive to photography as an art form than many other galleries so I thought I would submit a couple of the Begwns images to see what would happen. Anyone can register and submit work for selection by the curating team: I have no knowledge of the criteria they use to select work and I wasn’t expecting any interest. To my surprise I got an email from them the other day advising me that they had selected one of my two images for inclusion. Thank you Maurice!
We walk our dogs on the Begwns, an area of moderately high grassland common that sits between the Black Mountains and the Wye Valley to the South and high moorland to the North. Some mornings when mist or rain obscures the view I do wonder why we are plodding across open grassland and bracken without any shelter from the howling winds or wandering about in thick mists trying to find: (a) the dogs and (b) the way off. But on every other morning we are treated to views like the one below.
Looking across the Wye Valley to Mynydd Troed early this morning with the sun rising over Hay Bluff.
Most of the snow and ice has disappeared now from the southern hillsides of the Begwns but not on the little ponds and streams that appear in the autumn and are gone again by summer. Jill and I have started to visit them every morning to see how the ice has changed overnight and I thought that I would share a few of them here. There seems to be no end to the variations in the ice formations or the patterns made by the frozen plants.
Finally one image of the Begwns as it was a week ago after the thaw had begun. No images of it under snow – there was nothing to see but snow.
It has been four and a half months since we moved to our new home in the Welsh Marches. I foolishly thought that once we had unpacked all the boxes and hung a few pictures on the walls that it would be back to normal and out of the door for a long walk with the camera. I had forgotten how long it can take to get a new home straight and an unfamiliar garden under control: four and a half months in our case.
By the time December arrived we had completed all of the urgent jobs and felt that the rest could wait until the new year, so it was time to get outdoors with the camera again. I’ve made several attempts in the last week to capture the clouds that have been sitting on top of the northern edge of the Black Mountains range. Last week a blizzard hid the tops and finally drove me off Hay Bluff, this week the weather has been kinder but is still very wet. Yesterday Hay Bluff was completely hidden by cloud but from about half way up the single track road that leads to the car park and the Gospel Path beyond it was possible to watch the clouds formations over Twmpa, or Lord Hereford’s Knob if you prefer, and what I think is Mynydd Bychan beyond. This was hand held into a howling gale and driving rain, so no opportunity for graduated filters, tripods and other luxuries.
In December 2015 we want at least one of the 122 countries who are signed up to the Treaty of Rome to table an amendment, a proposed addition, a 5th international crime to this statute (4 already exist: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Crimes of Aggression). This would mean that corporations, countries, politicians, government ministers and even individuals would have a duty of care to not commit or allow Ecocide to be committed and thus give the long needed protection to the planet we live on.
Those who commit Ecocide in the territory of a state or country can be called to account by the International Criminal Court. An exception to this rule is that the ICC may also have jurisdiction over crimes if its jurisdiction is authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
We, the people, as individuals need to help make this proposed law happen for the future survival of our planet and biosphere before it is too late…
Please visit the http://www.eradicatingecocide.com website to see the many ways you can be part of enacting this law.
Our garden is full of trees, hawthorn and blackthorn and is intentionally quite wild; it backs onto woodland so we regularly get all sorts of interesting insects turning up in the house, and of course at this time of year with the windows open we get a lot of moths.
This is the first Common Emerald that we have seen here and we were taken by its distinctive wing shape and the chequered fringes. This particular individual appears quite travel worn – its verdant green colouring beginning to fade. They fly from dusk onwards, in June and July, around woodland and hedgerows, and occur in the southern half of Britain. The books say that they prefer woodland and hedgerows; particularly hawthorn and blackthorn which are food plants for the larvae. We have never seen them in the garden before, despite it being ideal habitat, so wondered if the species is moving westward or if this is just an odd occurrence. An hour or so later two more arrived, both in perfect condition, presumably this years hatch. For a closer look at the beauty of this beast, click on the image to open the full size version; as a guide the adults have a wing span of between 24 and 27mm.