2014 Thoughts & Information

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19th November

Big day today: Another one of them birthday things!

Off out to the Kinmel Arms for lunch. This is still my favourite restaurant in north Wales.

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On my last trip home my Sony RX1 came up with an error message again; exactly the same message as previously, but this time the big difference being, it is out of its warranty period, so I have to pay for the repair. Not really good enough when one considers the cost of this camera. I think I will have to part-ex it for a different model or make when it finally comes back. Maybe one of the new mirrorless 4/3rd cameras with interchangeable lenses?

This picture of my friend Simon was, as a result of the above, taken with the iPhone 6 in the carpark of the Kings Head. I cant remember why Simon was drinking a soft drink, but it is not normal.

On the way back to work, as usual I spent a day in Zurich with my daughter and grand children. 

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In the evening I finally found a restaurant I had heard about and had been searching for for a while. Restaurant Oepfelchammer is famous in Zurich due to the graffiti on the walls of one of the rooms. There are names carved everywhere, the walls, the beams and even the tables. This is not a recent thing as the menu says there is one name dated 1850 somewhere on the walls. The food was good too!

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I always stay at the same hotel if I can, the Hotel Adler on Rosengasse in the old part of Zurich. Normally I end up in a piano bar just around the corner to the hotel for a couple of bottles of Swiss Dark Beer before retiring, but this trip I ventured into a bar just opposite the hotel called Tina’s Bar. I was a bit wary at first and peaked around the door to make sure it was not a pole dancing club or anything. But no, it was a ‘normal’ cocktail sort of place. Interestingly it had a gin I had never tried before ‘Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin’ at 60% ABV, I only had one (double) honestly. It also had one of my favourite gins  'Monkey 47’; which also had to  be sampled.

If you look closely at the photo to the left, you will also note that they have a lengthy Absynthe drinks menu. I’m not sure if Absynthe is for me, but I might try just one of the choice on another visit.

And finally the big news for this post. We have bought a new car. A Mazda 6 estate. The Jimny took just three days to sell on Auto trader so that was very good.

16th November

I am concious of the fact that I am not keeping this web site as up to date as I would like.  My recent trips in Mozambique have been very busy with little of no time for photography and it always takes me a week to return ‘to normal. when I return to the UK; this trip being no exception.

Finally though I am sorting some recent photographs from the single foray I managed on my last rotation.

13th October

Where does the time go? again! Even though I have had more than four weeks at home there is much that I have not managed to get done.

We went on a short holiday to north Yorkshire early on during the holiday, but apart from downloading the pictures taken I haven’t even managed to give them keywords in Lightroom yet. This is something I will have to knuckle down to and do in the evenings when I am back at work.

One major project that I have started, is to get all my music collection digitised and organised with cover art embedded in each file. The death of CD’s? To this end, I have purchased a little program called ‘ Bliss' for the MAC’s that will automate a good deal of the job; I hope.

This is going to be ongoing project that will last a fair while I think, but sometime next yeaar I intend to sell/part-ex my Nakamichi PA5 and CA7 power and control amplifiers that I have had for many years together with the Celestion DL6 speakers. They are all still giving excellent service and have not been abused and look as new (I even have the original receipts and manuals somewhere). I intend to convert to full NAS streaming for my musical listening requirements. If anyone reading this would like to make me an offer then they are available from January onwards at a reasonable price to a good home.

I leave tomorrow on my way back to Mozambique and will, as normal, call in at Zurich to see my daughter and grand children. Must remember to get some pictures to post here on this web site.

Adieu till November 8th.

20th September 2014

It’s been over a month since I last updated the web site; where does the time go. This past trip to Mozambique, although only three weeks long has been extremely busy. I only managed to leave the camp on one occasion, and even then I had a phone call asking for me to return as their was a minor crisis.

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On my way back this time, I had to spend a day in JoBerg; no seats on the Friday plane. So lunch at the Butchers Shop in Nelson Mandela Square was called for.

The Butchers Shop is "WORLD FAMOUS” or so I was told by my South African friends. I must say though that I was underwhelmed. It was OK, but nothing more.

The square itself is also a lot smaller than I was expecting.

Since being home we have been out for lunch on three occasions, three days on the trot.

First we went to The Castle in Conway - Excellent as always, then the next day the Bull in Beaumaris, as good as the Castle and finally, on Wednesday, The Grovenor Hotel bistro in Chester, no better then the other two even though being about twice the price. I enjoyed it though: I always enjoy Chester.

18th August 2014

Yesterday I was asked by the Llandudno Lifeboat crew to support the planning application for a new boathouse. This I am very pleased to do and as an additional effort I have put the details below.

So, please to anyone reading this blog can you show your support for the volunteers who risk their lives to provide this essential service.

17th August 2014

A quick update to show the photos I took recently on a short walk at Llangelynin Old Chuch up on the Conwy Mountain. 

I have set up a new gallery entitled Welsh Heritage in which I can put anything  that shows the rich history of north Wales. Llangelynin Church is the first entry.

Yesterday evening whilst having refreshments in the Kings Head I got to chatting about words with Simon Hall. I was wondering if these ramblings could be called Synopsis of my Sinapses? I have read that Synapses are connections between neurons through which ‘information’ flows. Therefore with my thoughts being information passing between the neurons in my head, these words could be called a Synopsis of that information.

15th August 2014

Since my last ramblings on this page there has been another “music” event over the road at the Kings Head. We escaped again by going away for a couple of days.

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Our venue this time was the Cholmondeley Arms which is near Malpas on the crossroads of Bickerton Road and Wrenbury Road on the A49 in Cheshire. At the time of booking, I had read that they had 115 different gins behind the bar, in what is an old school house. By the time we arrived this had grown to the impressive number of 224 and was still growing. This is an excellent place to visit, and like us, to stay in the old Headmasters House just next door. The food was excellent, in fact I will go so far as to say, I had the best Rib Eye steak in a long time on our first evening. Or was it the Gins talking!

We visited a few hosteleries over the course of three days and I have uploaded some photos starting here.

Prior to leaving home, on the Saturday, we took some friends, Tom & Eve, to the Eglwysbach Show. We were at the show after we got married in 2000, it seemed fitting to go again as I was home and we both enjoy country shows. The Eglwysbach one is particularly good as it has not grown out of proportion and retains the 'country show' feel. I managed to get a few good shots of both Ali, Tom & Eve on the day as well as of some Alpacas that were at the show.

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During our days away we also had some good walks, and on the Monday went a few miles along the “Sandstone Trail”  on a loop around the perimiter of the Peckforton Estate. 

We had been on the Bickerton Hill section of the trail on a previous get-away weekend and the views from this section were just as outstanding.

 Beeston Castle shown here is very impressive.

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We parked just above the Pheasant Inn and  had to sit outside at the end of our walk with a pint of local Cheshire brew for me and a cup of tea for my driver. This serves the advantage of getting Wilma to have a drink, (nothing to do with me at all).

 We have discovered that Wilma, who is normally very fussy with what water she will drink, is much better if I pour a bit of my pint into the water first.

The views from the terrace were outstanding and we were told that it was possible, on a clear day, to tell the time from the Clock on the Liver Building in Liverpool. On the day we were there I could see the Liver building through the 500mm lens on my camera, but it was not quite clear enough to tell the time.

Maybe we should go back one day when it is clear to get a better photograph.

I have uploaded these and some other interesting photographs to a new Cheshire photographs gallery here.

Since being home I have been pleased to find out that one of my favourite short walks is again open to the public. This walk is above the village of Tal-y-Bont in the Conwy Valley and skirts the side of a reservoir that takes the outflow from Llyn Eigiau, before returning alongside a leat cut into the side of a hill. I have uploaded some photos from this walk to the ‘North Wales Lakes’ gallery here.

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I particularly like the mix of old and new technology that can be found in the hills of Wales. My appreciation of our industrial heritage could have been nurtured during my years exploring the mines of the Great Orme with the Great Orme Exploration Society.


On our way back we called in at The Three Pigeons at Graigfechan for lunch. We have camped here in the past and they often have a musical festival and are on the local bus pub trail.

I have also had a walk to 

This has been a large update to the web site before I leave on my way back to work. But again I will only be gone for three weeks and then have five weeks off, as I am approaching my maximum allowed time in Mozambique and have to restrict the time spent in the country.

1st August 2014

Another month dawns and I have to start planning for my return to Mozambique. Things have been very quiet on the photography front this trip home.

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Due to the  ‘music’ event at the Kings Head last weekend myself and Ali took ourselves off to the Pen-y-Dyffryn country house near Oswestry which was excellent. The staff were very friendly and made us very welcome. The food was excellent and I can recommend this lovely hotel to everyone with no reservations.

The weather was very nice and we could sit outside to enjoy the sights and sounds of country life without the racket that would have been emanating from the KH.

On the Sunday we took a trip to the Pistyl Rhaedr waterfalls and I have added a few of the photos to the North Wales Lakes gallery, but I will have to do a bit of re-organisation I think and find a different home for them.

Then on Wednesday I had a boys day out in Chester with my friend Keith,  I have added to the PnP section here for both the weekend and Wednesday here.

22nd July 2014

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I’m back home, suitably rested and have uploaded the photos I took on the last Sunday before leaving work. For a change we went off early in the morning and there was still dew around as can be seen from this Lilac Breasted Roller which hadn’t dried off fully in the morning sun.

The others photos can be found in the birds gallery after the Roller by following this link.

I have also uploaded a few photographs to the Mozambique pictures gallery.

11th July 2014

Three days ago I nipped out of the office to see if I could get a photo of a beautiful butterfly that was fluttering around a tree just outside.

Failure! I did not manage to photograph the butterfly. But, I did manage to get some shots of a Scarlet Breasted Sunbird that was in the same tree.

As some of you will remember,  I was originally due to start on my way home today but agreed to stay on an extra week due to James my B2B having an exam yesterday. It’s not to bad and there is plenty of electrical work to inspect at the moment so I am keeping fairly busy.

4th July 2014

A large photograph up-load this time, with twenty bird photographs starting here. These pictures were taken over the past two Sundays. I have stopped carrying my camera around with me everywhere as there do not seem to be any birds, or other wildlife, around the camp at the moment.

I have also uploaded a photo of a local woman walking along the beach and some shots of the local views.

As I have agreed to do a 5 week rotation, it will be the 18th July before I leave here and make my way home.  Only two weeks now though so the time will soon pass and as a bonus, I will have 5 weeks off before my next hitch.

17th June 2014

On my way back to work I have to stay in an hotel overnight and took this shot of an Habeda Ibis patrolling the grounds looking for grubs in the grass.

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Back at work I went for a short drive on Sunday afternoon with a colleague and took some photographs of local scenery.

As always the beach was spectacular and the photo of the young girl srrolling along it just says it all.


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The crabs were along the edge of the mangrove swamp in the wetlands close to the beach and there were thousands and thousands, very interesting.

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On the same drive we spotted a couple of Brown Headed Parrots and three African Green Pigeons.

All in all a very pleasant return to work. This trip I will have to stay a little bit longer ( 5 weeks) as my B2B James is on a course in the UK which doesn’t finish until after he should have left to return here. But, every cloud has a silver lining, as I will have 5 weeks off on my next leave.

9th June 2014

Today is packing day and saying goodbye to my friends for another month.

I went for a short drive on Saturday, hoping to avoid the rain. No such luck, so I snapped this Hare and then came back home via the butchers in Tal y Bont.

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A lunchtime tipple at the Snowdon calls, Kings Head at 5:30 and then home for Duck and red wine with Ali.

My flight is at 13:40 tomorrow afternoon, so there will be no rush in the morning, which is much better than trying to catch the earlier flight.

I will be staying in Zurich overnight and will be meeting my daughter and grandchildren on Wednesday. 

14:50 

Just got back from saying goodbye to Keith Campbell over a pint in the Snowdon.

And will be in the Kings Head a bit later for the same reason.

See you all from 11th July onwards.

Good Luck, Prosperous Times and best wishes to everybody.

Tony

5th June 2014

I am going to start this blog with a picture taken on Monday this week.

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This was taken on the Great Orme in Llandudno, not too far from our house.

Last year I was lucky enough to see and photograph a Greater Woodpeckers nest with the adults feeding their young.

This year myself and Ali both found different Greater Spotted Woodpecker nests, but I have only managed so far to get pictures of one of them.

The photo here was taken with my new Sigma 50-500mm lens at full stretch on a tripod with a remote trigger.

I am returning to Mozambique next Tuesday, via Zurich, and am really pleased and proud to have again captured these photographs for you to enjoy.

Last weekend I went on a wildlike photography course on Anglesey organised by Naturebites and CastleVision Photographic Services. It was a very enjoyable weekend, so thanks to Kathy, Ken & Laurence for the expert tuition and guided nature walks.

I have uploaded two plant photographs to a new gallery ‘Plants’ imaginative or what, and also a couple of photographs of a Red Squirrel to the new ‘Mammals’ gallery.

I will try to update the website at least twice whilst I am back at work, but being so busy it is never easy. I certainly plan to go for a drive every Sunday afternoon if possible and should all things being equal have suitable material for the site.

I also have a mini project on the go! Whilst home I have met a guy names Peter Rhind who publishes several sites on the web dealing with BioProvinces and I have said I will try  to get him some relevant photographs from the 'Zanzibar-Inhambane BioProvince’ which is the relevant name for where I work.

Finally. Congratulations to the Kinmel Arms for being included in the ‘Lonely Planet’s Hidden Gems - Europes 50 Best Secret Spot' destinations book and to Tim for for setting a new UK record in the Mount Everest Marathon and being the 3rd fastest foreigner and 18th overall.

30th May 2014

Lots of wining and dining this week, so a restfull day today is called for, which is giving me a chance to update the website with what’s been happening since the the 21st.

I’ve been to Chester twice, once on my own and once with Keith Campbell. There is a rare photo of the both of us in The Boot on the Rows in the PnP Gallery section, an excellent stopping off point as the pint of Larger and a pint of Bitter was only £3.80! I can’t figure out how Sam Smiths manage to keep the prices so low.

Also of note is the photo of Louie on his first outing to the Kings Head. He will grow into a large dog, but Simon doubts he will get as big as Archie was.

On Sunday we met up with Members of the Great Orme Exploration Society to investigate a hole that had appeared close to Treweeks Shaft on the Orme. Whilst out and about I managed to get some shots of a pair of Choughs on the cliff edge above the tram tracks.

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I had a successful day photographing various scenes. This photograph of the Great Orme Goats on the cliff with the wind farm out to sea in the mist, is one of my favourites.

Another is the shot of Ali with the billy goat in the background.

I have also added some photographs to the Great Orme gallery which can be found here and of Ali paddling on Llyn Padarn here.

Finally, this weekend I am going on a photography course organised by Castle Vision Photographic and Nature Bites. The course is at Glan Morfa on Anglesey and I am hoping to learn some new skills and take some photographs which I will upload here during the course of next week.

21st May 2014

Here I am back home, enjoying the sun today while waiting for a delivery driver to pick up my MacBook Air which is being returned to Apple with a problemn connecting to wireless.

I have updated the birds gallery with three additional photographs and added a couple of pictures to the bugs gallery here.

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Every Sunday I try to get off the camp and go for a drive. The week before I left we were lucky to spot this Reid Buck in the undergrowth. It didnt stay around for long, but soon ran off when it spotted us. I have added this picture to the Mozambique gallery along with that of an Egg Eating Snake.

11th May 2014

Well, time is passing very quickly and I will be leaving here in a few days (Friday 16th) to start my return journey. I arrive in the UK on Saturday and as usual Ali will be at the airport to drive me home.

I have updated the birds gallery to show the photographs I took last Sunday and also the Mozambique Bugs gallery, which I am excited about as I managed to get a photo of a moth laying its eggs with the male underneath her wing fertilising them; at least thats what I think is happening. 

We recently had the Mozambique labour day celebrations here at the camp. I have uploaded two photos to the Mosambique gallery of the women here celebrating. following on from these photos I have uploaded a photo of a mother and her child near the beach.

I also recently visited Pemba to arrange for a six month visa and of course now have to update the PnP section with the refreshment locations.

After lunch today we are again going for a short drive to see what we can find to photograph. I will hopefully manage to upload this update whilst I am out and then wilth any luck add an update tomorrow with todays photographs.

1st May 2014

Last Sunday, myself and a colleague; Rod Lupton went for a short drive around the local area and  managed to get five different bird pictures and even a Baboon!

I have not had much chnce to take photographs this trip as I have been too busy, but this Sunday coming we intend to go for a drive again and see what we can find.

14th April 2014

Last Sunday, myself and a colleague; Rod Lupton went for a short drive around the local area and  managed to get five different bird pictures and even a Baboon!

I have not had much chnce to take photographs this trip as I have been too busy, but this Sunday coming we intend to go for a drive again and see what we can find.


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13th April 2014

The weather has been very nice these past few days and early in the week myself and Ali had a few nights away at the Nunsmere Hall Hotel in Little Budworth, Cheshire. It was Ali’s birthday on the Monday, so we celebrated with a meal at the hotel.

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The following day, after a walk around Delemere Forest, which I must say was not all that special, we had a late lunch/early dinner at an Italian restaurant just down the road called 'Pesto at The Cabbage Hall'. It was very similat to the Spanish Tapas style of eating but with Italian food. And was excellent!

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On our return I took myself off to Bangor the next day to collect my new business cards from Zip Print.

I had got fed up of writing down the address of this web site and so decided that cards was the easiest way out.

Ali says I am just addicted to business cards as she never uses them for her business.

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Whilst in Bangor I had a stroll down the pier. it was the first time in the 26 years of living in north Wales that I have been down Bangor Pier. The photo above shows the view along the pier looking towards Anglesey.

Finally on the way home I called in at Port Penrhyn and had a walk down the Cegin Valley, again I had never been there before, but have since been back with Ali as it is a very nice walk and there are plenty of birds along the way.

6th April 2014

Friday I had a trip to Gwydir Castle near Llanwrst.

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I had never been before; in spite of passing the gates numerous times in the past. What caught my eye was a Peacock sitting on a branch of a tree just prior to the entrance. I spent a very pleasant couple of hours looking over the castle rooms and wandering the gardens. The Peacocks were splendid and almost seemed to pose for the camera on times. There were plenty of other birds in the gardens as well and a selection of pictures can be founf here.

On the way home I called in the Bull for a sandwich and as proof that spring is here caught this shot of a farmer tending his lambs with mummy following close behind.

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Then yesterday before meeting James; my B2B from Mozembique, who has been demobilised due to the problems with cyclone “Hellen”. I spent some time on the Great Orme and managed to get a photo of a Kestral. The weather had started to improve from the misty conditions of the previous days and I took a couple of photos of the views that can be admired from the Great Orme.

3rd April 2014

It looks like I might be delayed on my return to Mozambique! Most of the people have been demobilised back to their home country.

Cyclone Hellen which hit the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the coast caused damage to the infrastructure with roads and bridges washed away. Consequently there is a disruption to the supplies reaching the camp and until this is sorted, then things are reduced to a skeleton crew.

I have added a photo  to the Photographs - Great Orme gallery of the pier on a rather hazy day. I was killing time before a call at the doctors to replenish my Malarone supply.

The PnP section has also been updated with a couple of shots from a trip to Chester yesterday,

And finally some GOOD NEWS. Phil is recovering from his operation and has come back home to Llandudno for the first time since the scare.

28th March 2014

I have been back in the UK for nearly a week now and thought it about time that I updated the web site with the photos from the latter half of my Feb/Mar rotation.

One of the highlights of the last trip was being shown (and trying to photograph) mosquito larvae. This proved very difficult as the larvae and pupae live in water and the reflections meant that out of 50 odd photographs taken, only two were worth showing here. I have now purchased a polarising filter for my 105mm macro lens and hopefully next trip I will be able to improve on this.

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We had some rain and then some more and finally some more rain during this last trip.

There were big problems with flooding with some of the accommodation units awash.

The drainage has been improved since this photo was taken, but still, with the amount of rain that falls in this area I would expect more flooding next year if not this!

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The plants and flowers like the wet conditions though with new shoots spring up everywhere. But there are bright spots in all the rain. This local lady, who works for us, was leaving for the day after all the rain and she brought a good spash of colour to what otherwise would have been a drab photograph.



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I have added some bird photos to the bird gallery here.

Finally from Mozambique I have added a photo of a colleague to the PnP section.

I had to go to Chester on the Monday of my return and took Ali. We visited the Architech for lunch and then went to The Church for a final pint before catching the train home.

The weather has been kind this first week here in n Wales, so on Wednesday we went to Bodnant Gardens. I have added a gallery, to the photohrphs section, just for the gardens, as I am sure myself and Ali will return on a regulat basis. It make a very pleasant stroll for a few hours and is of course right on our doorstep so to speak.

9th March 2014

Its been a while since I last updated the web site and even as I write this I am not sure if I will be able to get a good enough connection to allow the update to upload.

Anyway, over the past few days I have managed to take some photographs of a variety of subjects.

An update to the Mozambique Bugs gallery can be seen here. There are 7 new photographs of the critters that gather around the camp.

I have added some birds to the bird gallery.

Some additional photos added to the Mozambique gallery.

A few photos from our recent trip to Zurich can be found here.

An update would not be an update without a few additions to the PnP section which can be viewed from here onwards.

And finally, we have had some rain here at Pioneer camp recently, so the locals have found that they can use the vent from the clothes dryers in the laundry for other purposes.

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Shoe drying in Pioneer Camp.

12th February 2014

After visiting Cambrian Photography yesterday to get an UV filter for the 105mm Macro lens I spent a very pleasant few hours in the Kings Head. John Les and friends were in attendance as usual on a Tuesday afternoon and the resultant photographs can be found in the Music at Kings Head gallery of the Photographs section.

Today is really dismal with rain, rain and more rain, so I wont be venturing far.

I start mny travels back to Mozambique on Sunday, but first, myself and Ali are going to see Phil Barratt who is sadly a little poorly in hospital in Manchester. Get well soon Phil! 

 After this I will go to Zurich for a few days to see my daughter and then onwards overnight on Wednesday to Jo-Burg,  arriving back at work on Fridaty at about lunchtime.

This trip back I am taking the 2X convertor together with the 105mm macro lens so I hope to get a few more pictures of the bugs to be found in Mozambique.

11th February 2014

I went for the walk yesterday in Haulfre Gardens and took these two picturres from the same location. One was taken with my 105mm Macro and a 2X convertor making it 210mm focal length. The second one was taken with the Sony RS1 at 35mm which is its fixed length.

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There has been minor cropping to both photos but nothing too severe.

The difference in the results shows how distances can be deceiving when viewing photos taken from the same location but with different focal length lenses.

Thank you to Dennis for the correct name and description of the Jack Up.









The PACIFIC OSPREY at 24,566 gross tonnage an Offshore Construction Jack Up in the distance taken with a 210mm lens equivalent.

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The PACIFIC OSPREY at 24,566 gross tonnage an Offshore Construction Jack Up in the distance taken with a 35mm lens.

10th February 2014

I’m home in the UK at the moment and the time has really flown, even though the weather has been mostly foul.

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We went for a drive through Snowdonia on a really wet and windy day stopping off in Beddgelert and finally having lunch at the Ty Gwyn in Betws-y-Coed.

On another day I drove around in the Trefriw area and revisited Coed Felin Blwm whilst the waterfall was in full flow. I particularly like this short walk as in emcompasses so much in such a very small area.

Today Ali has gone to get the car serviced at Pentraeth, so I am off out for a walk in Haulfre Gardens with the macro lens on the camera. Hopefully I will find something interesting to photograph.

1st January 2014

The start of a New Year; and may it be a hapy one for all my family and friends.

I now have a new date for returning to the UK. I leave here on the 24th January and will arrive at Manchester the following morning. This is two weeks later than originally planned as I have been asked to stay on for a short while.

On the 30th December the Training Shelter buildings were sprayed to kill off the mosquito’s, unfortunately that also saw off all the bugs I had been photographing. Hopefully in a few days time a new lot will arrive and pose for me again.

I have  found a tree at the end of the site which is full of 'Brimstone Canaries’ or at least that is the provisional naming from Eve, and she is my oracle on this subject.







© Tony Davies 2016