Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Shooting strangers from afar - Thematic Photography

If you live in a village as small as mine it's often difficult to find a stranger at all. However just when I was about to give up I came across an ideal opportunity.

A stranger getting directions from a stranger
I thought it rather odd to see a car in this country lane that leads to nowhere but some farms. When I checked the car's registration I found that it had originated over 250 miles away, in Chelmsford, Essex.

I guess the stranger just wandered into my next shot of a fire practice on the River Tees.

Fire practice near the Infinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees
We went to watch our grandson in a surfing contest at Saltburn last October. There were strangers by the score - 

On the pier
and - 

On the beach
Even two of the surfers were strangers to me.

Shame the surf was so poor.
For more strangers unaware they are in the camera's eye head over to Carmi's Thematic-Photographic-306.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Stamps on Postcards

As there is no Sunday Stamp theme this week I went looking for another source of stamps by raiding a collection of postcards that have accumulated over the last 30 years or so.

Rio de Janeiro - Sunrise on Copacabana Beach
Both the stamps were issued originally in 1982 although the card is clearly postmarked 1984.

The top two stamps show the Mamona or Castor Oil Plant; The bottom stamp shows ears of Trigo (wheat). Brazil is the third largest producer of castor oil behind India and China.

From France I found two different denominations of the same Marianne.

François Mitterrand became the 1st Socialist President of the Fifth Republic on 10 May 1981. However the Marianne on these stamps is that used during the presidency of his predecessor, Valéry Giscard d-Estaing.

This is the Gandon Sabine Marianne by the stamp engraver Pierre Gandon inspired by a painting by Jacques-Louis David,

The Intervention of the Sabine Women (1799)
'Mitterand's' Gandon Liberté Marianne did not appear until 1982.

Both the postcards with these stamps were to my daughter.

The Côte d'Azur
The card from Paris just had to be from my eldest son to his sister 

because the message ended, 'Il me plait que tu n'es pas ici!!' This is a long standing family joke even if it was in French.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Look Straight Down - Thematic Photography

The danger is, as you get older, that you may not see your feet when you look straight down. However I do have shots that will qualify, some from years ago.

Looking down from St Rule's Tower, St Andrews - c1956/7
Moving on about 20 years to Norway I was looking down again.

1000 feet down to the water close to the Pulpit Rock, Lysefjord
The Pulpit Rock (Prekestolen) has a vertical drop of 1982 feet (604m) down to the fjord.

Much more mundane is the shot I took looking at a drain last winter.

Iced Drain
When we were at Richmond Castle last week I baulked at climbing the narrow spiral staircase to the top - that would have been an ideal place to look straight down. So I have had to settle for this view from the walls.

Bridge over the River Swale from the Castle wall

Of course if you are not careful someone may catch you looking straight down.

Danger strimmer at work!
No, I wasn't whacking weeds.

For other wacky shots looking straight down visit Carmi at Thematic-photographic-305.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Undersea Life - Sunday Stamps

There is a bit of a fishy tale about the theme of undersea life this week. I had used all my undersea creatures before so I had to trawl the world for my stamps this week starting with the National Fish of South Africa.

South Africa - Coracinus capensis
The Galjeon inhabits South Africa's coastal waters, confined mostly to the shallows. Its colour varies depending where it lives - almost black in rocky areas and silver bronze where it's sandy. KwaZula-Natal knows it as the black fish or black bream; elsewhere it is called the Damba, much easier to say than coracinus capensis

It may seem strange to include a stamp from a landlocked country like Hungary especially as Xiphophorus Helleri is part of their tropical fish series issued in 1962.

Hungary - Xiphophorus Helleri
The green swordfish (Xi-H) is a freshwater/brackish water fish. Where it has been introduced elsewhere in the world it has become a nuisance pest. Significant numbers exist along the east coast of Australia.

'Wars' have been fought over fish, the Cod Wars between Iceland and the United Kingdom in the 1950s and 1970s being well known disputes over fishing rights. It's not surprising to find that fish are featured on Icelandic stamps.

Iceland - Salmon (I think)
Iceland - Haddock and Cod
Britain would be at a loss with a supply of melanogrammus aeglefinnus (Haddock) and gadus morhua (Cod) to go with their chips.

These days though fission chips may be found subsea.

Great Britain - Nuclear Submarine
For other subsea sights and creatures just follow the links at Viridian's Sunday-Stamps-183.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Please be seated - Thematic Photography

When we visited Richmond in North Yorkshire today there were times when I would have been delighted if someone had said to me. 'Please be seated.'

But no-one did, even although there were seats like this available.

This one was the first we passed on our way down from the Market Place to the River Swale.

We could even have used several along the riverside, even those that had seen better days.

Can you spot the dog behind the tree?
Further on we were spoiled for choice when we had stopped for coffee.

Free seating
But we preferred to stand and look over the wall at the 

River Swale, Richmond
Of course we got a better view of the river from up on Richmond Castle's walls.

Looking down on the River Swale
By the time we had walked up here we were very pleased to see a vacant bench. There was no need for us to be invited to be seated.'

Bench in the Castle garden
We know at least two who never needed to be asked that question.

Maxie and Sam
Who needs a blanket?
If you still need to be invited to sit down then check out Carmi's 'Please be seated' at Thematic-photographic-304.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Faraway Islands - Sunday Stamps

I guess what you regard as 'faraway' depends on where you live. In England I've always regarded Australia and New Zealand as the most distant countries we have not yet visited. However I've chosen some smaller islands for this week's 'faraway' theme. I would have to take long haul flights to reach them.

Ardea cinerea is a grey heron. 

The Republic Of Maldives, also referred to as the Maldive Islands, or just The Maldives, is located in the Indian Ocean. It consists of a double chain of 26 atolls. 

The Maldives were a British Protectorate from 1887-1965. It is the smallest Asian country in population and land area. With an average ground elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level it's hardly surprising that its existence is threatened by rising sea levels resulting for global warming.

My second island is a Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom in the Caribbean Sea.

Anguilla separated from St Christopher and Nevis in 1983 but remains a British Overseas Territory. St Kitts and Nevis may the the place you need to go to find that pirate's treasure, always assuming that they were burying it at the time.

Other faraway places, possibly romantic or exotic as well, may be found by visiting the links at Viridian's Sunday-Stamps-182.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

American Lighthouses - Sunday Stamps

This week I just happened to find and old envelope which carried four stamps, each one a different lighthouse.

USA - Lighthouses
Tybee Island lighthouse in Georgia was ordered by General James Oglethorpe, Governor of the 13th colony, in 1732. It guides mariners into the Savannah River and is one of America's most intact lighthouses.

Morris Island Lighthouse, South Carolina
The Morris Island light stands on the southern side of the entrance to Charleston Harbour. Decommissioned in 1962 it was replaced by the new Charleston Light on Sullivan's Island at the north end of the harbour.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse, North Carolina
The Cape Lookout light, 163 feet tall, stands on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina, Fully automated in 1950, it was first lit in 1859.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia
Old Cape Henry was the first lighthouse authorised by the US Government. Dating from 1792 it guided shipping heading for Chesapeake Bay.

It is an octangular truncated pyramid of eight sides rising 90 feet to the light. 26 feet in diameter at the base and 16 feet at the top it is built of Aquia Creek Sandstone from the same source as the White House.

To see what others have chosen for this free theme week check out the links at Viridian's Sunday-Stamps-181.