Musicians creating

These are some more of my photos of musicians crafting their music. As in previous posts, the intention is to try to capture the feel of the music as well as the artist creating it. The first five are some of the members of a “collective” of free-improvising musicians who met once a month to explore together. The final image is our son, Ed, playing on stage in Bournemouth.

Textures on the beach

At the base of an unstable clay cliff on Barton Beach in Hampshire, these vivid colours catch the eye.
Further along the same beach – if you’re in luck you may find a fossilised shark’s tooth, tens of millions of years old.
I never worked out how these holes were formed. They don’t seem to be made by living creatures but, perhaps, in the long distant past….?
A trickle of. presumably, iron-rich water running out from the base of the cliff drew this diagonal line across the rock.
A bit further down the line the flow forms a “delta” and the colours change.
Some colours are definitely not natural – this was some form of oil pollution spilling across the sands at Steart Beach in Somerset.

Some more machinery

This is a detail of a carding machine in a wool museum in Wales. What I love about it is that they used teasel flowers set into this large rotating drum – for all man’s ingenuity the natural product (which had, presumably, been used by hand for generations) couldn’t be improved upon!
On a sandy beach in Normandy this winch drum was gradually been eroded away – dust to dust…..
A horse-drawn plough has found a new role as part of a garden wall in West Cork.
This tractor is going nowhere. Photographed somewhere in West Cork.
This is another non-runner but keep it in the back of your mind as it will be relevant to a future post!
This is the engine on an old Fordson tractor which was still in regular use in Hampshire, UK. The owner had kept it is very sound mechanical condition but allowed a “patina” to develop on the rest of it.

Some trees

Trees are magnificent complex organisms. Whether standing alone or crowded into a woodland they have a beauty that can stop you in your tracks to just wonder at them.

A solitary oak in an open part of the New Forest in Hampshire.
Another “loner”, again in the New Forest, this birch is reflected in the mirror like pond, keeping itself company!
Glengarriff woodland in Co Cork where the trees seem to grow out of the rocks. In spite of this, and helped by the beautifully clean air, they are richly verdant.
Also in the woodland at Glengarriff, these birch trees form a delicate screen in front of the woodland behind them, bathed in sunshine.
Light playing on trees again, this time a stand of oaks back in the New Forest.
Still in the New Forest, this beech tree fell years ago but refused to stop growing, forming a living arch.

Having selected these images and drafted this post, I received an email from my sister, Bena. She had made friends on line with an environmental campaigner, Joannah Stutchbury, partly because they share the same unusual surname. Joannah’s mission in life was to protect the Kiambu Forest, on the outskirts of Nairobi from encroachment by developers, for which she had received several death threats. On Thursday last week she was murdered as she returned home. It is a truly shocking event that can’t be condemned strongly enough. Bena has started a petition which you can sign “here” if you would like to support the continuation of Joannah’s work.

Street ironmongery

I’m continuing here with more examples from my collection of manhole covers and other ironworks that we walk and drive over, often without noticing the design work that goes into producing a functional object. These are all examples from here in Ireland.

Our friend and neighbour, Robert, who is co-author of the most excellent Roaringwater Journal, alerted me to the presence of these manhole covers in Cork City. Made by Cavanagh, who make a huge variety of ironworks in Ireland, there is no clue as to what lies beneath it but who cares, it’s the most beautiful Celtic design.
These post sockets are spaced at intervals along some streets. The circular panel can be removed and a pole for a traffic sign inserted and locked into place. It seems to be an extravagant system but it gives great flexibility to Councils who can amend their urban signage without having to dig up the pavement each time. When not in use they are rather stylish.
Some are cleverly designed so that the two halves can be removed separately and the symmetrical panels can be read from either side. There is no doubt about the purpose of this one.
Another two part cover for a fire hydrant but, this time, the two halves are not symmetrical.
Others, though purposefully designed, give no clue as to which company they are used by.
This one says what it is but I have no idea what ISVI stands for….
I wonder what “slides out” in either direction? Possibly cabling of some sort?
This one could make you dizzy if you stared at it long enough!
I like the way the makers name becomes part of the non-slip design. The mystery on this one is what the small cover on the left is for? It could be a rodding eye for clearing obstructions?
This one has so much concrete around it that i’m not sure it could ever be opened.
This must have been very elegant before its pattern was worn away by years of pedestrian traffic.
I like these last three drain covers because they are so simple and have performed their duties faithfully for years and years.


These are more photos of boats at, or beyond, the end of their working life.

This old fishing boat lies in a cove off Schull Harbour. John, who was out walking his dog, is taking a break in this very peaceful spot. There will be more about him in a future post but he tells me that the boat was built by Heggarty’s at Old Court, on the River Ilen, and that she has been lying here for thirty years or so.
This vessel has been abandoned on a jetty on the River Ilen. It has been stripped of anything useful and one wonders what will become of the hulk.
These are two shots of a wreck on the League in Castlehaven. It was many years ago and I keep meaning to go back and see whether any trace remains of it.
A punt up in Co Galway – it looked like it had been left to rot in this beautiful setting.
This curious boat, tied up to a pontoon in Limerick, had probably simply filled with rainwater. I can’t make out whether it was paddled or rowed or even punted!

Some more people

This was taken on the same day as one of the images in my last post on portraits. It was a sweltering day in downtown New York and the fire hydrant had been opened up to cool things down. It also provided plenty of opportunity to play and this is my sister, Gina, cartwheeling through the improvised fountain.
This is a portrait of my grandmother taken in the mid ’70s. She was born on this day (4th July) in 1891.
Keeping things in the family, this is my cousin Emma taken in the late ’60s or early ’70s when both our families used to come out to West Cork for the summer.
In the early ’80s I spent some time on the remote island of St Helena with my girlfriend. We were “camping” in a derelict shack up in the mountains and were befriended by some of the locals. I can’t remember her name but she and her friend spent time with us and she loved having her make up done!
In the ’70s, as young adults, we used to spend time in the “snug” at the end of the bar in the Wine Vaults in Skibbereen when we came to town. The barman looks like he’s come in to ask us to leave but it was actually to take an order for the next round of drinks.
Fastnet asleep! This was Henry who had come to visit us with his parents. We went to Crookhaven for crab sandwiches at O’Sullivan’s Bar and then to the beach where the journey took it’s toll and he needed a siesta.

Some fauna…

We have feeders in our garden for small birds but this year we have had an influx of rooks and jackdaws doing everything they can to get at the birdseed. Sometimes they wait below the feeder to catch the seeds discarded by the sparrows and chaffinches – at others they hang off the feeder to try and shake the food out. Very clever but also very annoying. Their activity this morning made me decide to do photos of fauna this week.

This young rook was persistently demanding his breakfast though he looks quite big enough to find it for himself!
Another rook, trying to get at our “fortified” bird table.
It’s not just the rooks that can be annoying. This arab mare (my apologies – he is actually a stallion) doesn’t seem to be appreciating the bantam’s singing.
This Connemarra pony is looking much more relaxed in her native habitat.
One of our labradors, Bilbo, doing what labradors do – getting wet. Sadly, he and his sister, below, both died in the last couple of years.
Shonagh, chasing fairies in a New Forest stream.
And something completely different. When I first saw this bundle of bumblebees on the ground I thought there were just two of them. When I looked at the image more closely it looked like three but it is such a tangle that there may be four…. I don’t know anything about bumblebee behaviour but it looks like they are mating.

All added to the Birds and animals section.

Improvising musicians

I’ve written about this series of photos in an earlier post, Chasing the Music, so I’ll just say that while these musicians were improvising freely (no prepared music or pre-arranged plan) I was trying to capture the music visually.

This cymbal is an interesting example – it looks like the crash of sound is evaporating off its surface, like steam off a boiling cauldron!
In a similar fashion, the notes seem to be flowing off the piano keys.
I inverted this image (reversing the colours in Photoshop to make a negative of the original) which gives the tambourine an eerie deep sea creature look.
Guitarist in full flow.
The accordionist, playing his heart out.
Susie playing her harp and making clouds of magical music.

These are all added to the Musicians and Music section of the portfolio.

Timber constructions on the coast

Man has interacted with the sea since time immemorial. At the point of contact, the coast, he has made structures for a variety of purposes ranging from necessity to recreational. Timber is often the material of choice for these constructions which feature frequently in landscape photos. Here are a few examples – I have many more for future posts…

I think these must have been supports for some form of jetty across the mud flats in the Severn Estuary to get from the shore to navigable water.
I’ve never been sure what these posts are for. They are on a long shandy beach in Calvados, France, and my have something to do with preventing the shifting of the sands but those usually run at right angles to the water. Perhaps they mark a route where the base is firmer and safer to cross?
Like the previous photo, this row of stakes runs along the beach in Chichester Harbour, Sussex, rather than across it. The taller posts at intervals must remain exposed at high tide as a warning of the hazard to boats.
Another mysterious construction, this time in the Solent in Hampshire. Ideas on a postcard…
This geometric construction, at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, seems to have a dual purpose – pontoon and navigation mark. There was one with green paint on the other side of the channel. (I’m not sure how you get from the floating pontoon to the shore!).
I saw these while driving down the west coast of France. The fishermen must go out to the towers at low tide and spend the next twelve hours or so working their nets until they can get ashore again.
Sometimes the structures are purely creative. It’s a lovely way to re-purpose driftwood and other flotsam.