Ancient stone monuments

Most people are fascinated by stone circles, standing stones and megalithic tombs. Who built them and how and why? How have they survived for so many years (unfortunately, some haven’t but that’s another issue)? Huge amounts of research have been inspired by these questions. At the end of the day they look beautiful and it is magical to be in their presence. In the west of Ireland we are lucky to have many examples, a few of which I am including today. I have used Photoshop to give the images an “antique” look which seems appropriate considering their age.

The Gurranes standing stones, near Castletownsend, were some of the first I remember seeing here in West Cork in my youth. It was only recently that I made the effort to get close to them and it was really worth it.
In fact, I couldn’t decide which image I preferred so I put them both in!
This is at Kealkill where a small stone circle is accompanied by two large standing stones.
At Uragh, in Kerry, is a similar combination in a magnificent setting which includes some of Ireland’s last remaining ancient woodland.
The Drombeg circle, near Glandore, is one of the best examples and a popular attraction. Sadly, on the day we went, the site was spoiled with a lot of litter but….
This is the Altar wedge tomb near Toormore, another amazing survivor.
And another, even larger, example in the Burren, Co Clare. The Poulnabrone dolmen is truly impressive.

Another closer look

There is no specific theme to the photos this week except that, although they are not “macro” shots, they are all looking at a detail in the landscape. My reasons for selecting them are to do with colour and shapes – in other words, textures.

Copper beech leaves after a shower of rain. They have an almost metallic look.
Copper and rain also feature in this shot. The copper as a component of the bronze that forms the blade of this ship’s propeller.
Autumn leaves and pine needles in the New Forest in Hampshire, where you get a wide variety of species growing together.
It was the colours in this puddle that caught my eye.
This was a sea defence wall reflected in a pool of water on the beach. It was a beautiful sunny late afternoon and I loved the contrast between the golden colours of the concrete and the deep blue sky blended by the gentle ripples.
Another reflection. This time the tip of a submerged pine branch showing above the surface of a forest pond.

Boats that sail no more.

No matter how well built, boats don’t last for ever. Some are scrapped, some are sunk and others are left to quietly disintegrate. Seeing examples of this last group we can only guess why their owners decided they were no longer worth repairing or maintaining. They also carry a hidden history of all the places they have been, dangers they have survived, pleasure they have given to their crews and more.

On a beach in Calvados, France.
In a creek off Schull harbour.
At Cunnamore, West Cork.
In Co Clare – how did they turn a boat of this size upside down? It must be at least 9 metres long.
On the League in Castlehaven.
On the salt marshes near Lymington, Hampshire.

The music keeps flowing

More photos of musicians doing what they do best – I try to make a graphic representation of the beautiful sounds they create while free-improvising together and, most importantly, listening to one another.

This last image is slightly unusual because Adrian was creating sounds with his computer, though it looks like it’s all coming from his head (which perhaps it is!).

Wood blocks

This is a series of wooden blocks that were set into concrete forming part of a sea defence on Hengistbury Head in Dorset. Some form of structure, probably railings and long since departed, was bolted to the blocks which have weathered beautifully over the years.


Like snowflakes, every sunset is different and fleeting. They seem to have universal appeal so here are a few more that presented themselves to my camera.

This was looking down Roaringwater Bay, here in West Cork. The mass of floats in the water are mussel beds – they are a real nuisance if you are in a sailing boat but the mussels do taste good!
Later that same evening the colours had changed from subtle to dramatic.
This was looking over the salt marsh near Lymington in Hampshire UK. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that a circular object has a rectangular reflection…..
Across on the other side of the Solent, Yarmouth harbour on the Isle of Wight.
In Hampshire again, on the beach at Barton-on-Sea and some restless sea birds.
This one is miles away in the Bay of Biscay where the fishermen spend lonely hours between the tides.

Looking a bit closer

Sometimes it is worthwhile to forget the broader picture and look in at some of the details. Patterns and textures present themselves if you look for them.

This bit of seaweed was being washed back and forth by the breaking waves which were forming foam along the beach. Some kind of oil pollution was creating lovely rainbow colours on the bubbles.
A different kind of seaweed, dried out on the rocks with almost all traces of colour bleached out.
This was part of a beautiful cauliflower fungus that we found in the New Forest – it tasted delicious!
These pine cones and needles looked so extraordinary when I inverted the image into a negative that I kept it that way – they look like they’re floating in milk.
The contrasting colours in this tree bark caught my attention.
A beech leaf surrounded by some water soaked sycamore leaves, looking like burnished gold.

Bits of buildings

There’s no particular connection between the photos this week – they are all parts of buildings that simply caught my eye.

The colours in the different corroding metals were so vivid. This was in a farmyard in Devon.
This is outside a cottage in Hollyhill, West Cork. I’ve been back since and the barrel has deteriorated considerably, so I’m glad I caught it when I did.
This is all about the colour (and the tenacity of plants) – in Skibbereen, West Cork.
The colours of this building in Corfu have more “patina” but are just as striking.
This is on, my old favourite, the Butter Road near Schull.
In a wall in Rossbrin – nature colonising an old post box. The lichens are pretty impressive too.

Portraits 3

The first two portraits this week have connections to earlier posts in a different category – old machinery. They also have a connection with old boats.

John, having a rest on the gunwale of this wrecked fishing boat, is (or was) the owner of the old tractor that was on the Butter Road near Schull. It is in the machinery section of the portfolio. I say was because it has now been sent off for scrap. He does have a collection of working farm machinery about which he is very knowledgeable. I like the devoted way his dog is looking up at him.
Shaun was standing on the foredeck of a beautiful old tug boat that he was about to scrap as it was way beyond its sell-by date. The engine room can also be seen in the machinery section. (He is also my brother-in-law, having married my youngest sister this year!)
This regular of the Ballydehob Jazz Festival is taking a break from his pall bearing duties to make a phone call. I like the incongruity of it and it also serves as a sort of introduction to the following portraits which all have a musical connection. They could have gone in the music and musicians section of the portfolio but, in this case, they are more about the person than the music so I put them in here.