Snow Top With Clouds On Top ~ Kilimanjaro Then And Now

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We are told so many things these days. One of them was that the snow on Kilimanjaro would soon be a thing of the past. This photo was taken in Kenya before the prophecy in the late 1990s. We were driving down the old Mombasa highway just south of Kiboko when the mountain put in one of its astonishing appearances, and on a monumental tromp l’oeil scale. It is actually miles away over the Tanzanian border yet it looks as if you could just pop across to it.

Since Al Gore’s 2006  prognostication, travellers have apparently been beating a path to the summit while the snow was still there. Anyway, people will be pleased to know that there have been recent good snowfalls on the mountain. There’s a very nice researchers’ blog Kilimanjaro Climate and Glaciers blog with posts covering the October 2019 (when snowfalls resumed) and February 2020 when there was further snow. The research indicates some shrinkage of the north and south ice fields in their thinnest portions at lower elevations, but a metre of snow was recorded on the summit on 3 February. The satellites are also keeping their eye on things up there. This next image shows the entire caldera covered in snow.

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There could be an important lesson here. The absence or presence of snow on Kilimanjaro has long given rise to controversy. In the 1840s when the first missionaries, Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann reported back to Europe of sightings of snow on both Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, they were ridiculed by the experts: how could there possibly be such frigid matter in the equatorial regions. But there was and there is. Which all goes to show. We must choose our ‘experts’ wisely. Only ones with direct evidence and  well informed experience of REALITY need apply.

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Yesterday Was A Blue Sky Day

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It seems the hyperactive Polar Jet Stream has been responsible for the last few months excessive weather events in the northern hemisphere. This particular ‘river in the sky’ (there are others) apparently rips across the globe between the Arctic and the sub-tropical zone at the height of a trans-Atlantic plane. It can be up to 3 miles thick and between 1,000-3,000 miles long. And at this time of year it travels between 300 and 400 miles per hour. You can find out all about it at The Jet Stream.

Anyway last week the weather person promised us a break from its more obvious machinations, and said we were in for some bright, cold weather starting Monday.

And so it happened. Yesterday we woke to wall to wall blue sky, sunshine, fluffy clouds and coolly crisp air. And no rain! So to boost any signs of flagging spirits and counteract the effluent spewed daily by our mass media we set off for the wide open loveliness of Attingham Park for a big dose of fresh air and some brisk exercise.

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When we arrived there we found several hundred other people had had the same idea.  Hoards of mothers-and-toddlers, multitudes of dog owners with multiple canines, and a whole bunch of ‘at risk’ age-group folks like us. The several car parks were almost full to bursting.

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The National Trust staff, mostly volunteers, were their usual welcoming selves, and soon all the visitors were well dispersed across the parkland. In places around the deer park, where there are several gates to deal with, I noticed that everyone we met was opening them with their elbows and in like manner holding them open for others. At which point I decided it truly was impossible to get a complete grip on how one should react to this current Covid-19 drama.

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As I’m writing this I can hear the rumble of the farmer’s tractor in the field behind the house, monster arms of the spraying gear outstretched, giving the emerging crop a food boost. At the front of the house the traffic is still dashing by to Telford. Earlier I spotted Mr and Mrs vicar passing by on their daily dog walk. They stopped to chat with other walkers. The postman delivered the post.  People (some exceedingly aged since that’s a significant feature of Wenlock’s demographic) have been walking by into town to do their shopping…

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So yes. I was glad we went out yesterday. There was still quite a lot of flood water standing in the park, but the hawthorns and willows were bursting green. The daffodils were out. I found a crop of violets complete with butterfly. We saw a pair of ravens, making their cronk-cronking calls and doing a spot of aerial somersaulting. Jackdaws were cavorting; blue tits twittering, and the fallow deer looking frisky. And then of course we also saw the 650-year-old Repton Oak (see previous post). So much to be pleased about. Lots to be thankful for and wonder at.

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copyright 2020 Tish Farrell

#EarthMagic

Windmill Hill From Many Angles

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‘A good photograph is knowing where to stand ‘   Ansel Adams

This week Patti at Lens-Artists wants us to think about changing our perspective as we compose our shots. She prefaces her post with this very helpful quote from the great Ansel Adams. It’s certainly a tip worth chalking up in VERY BIG letters on the memory blackboard.

Of course there can be other options –  lying down for instance, which is what I was doing to take the header photo. Then there’s the matter of choosing the time of day, which will then affect where you stand (or lie). Different seasons may well provide new angles. And also the setting of your chosen subject. So with these notions in mind I thought I’d post a gathering of my Windmill Hill photos, taken over the last few years.

Of itself, the windmill is a rather underwhelming subject, and I have ended up taking masses of very flat looking photos. I have discovered that it helps to get beneath it somewhat, whether lying down or finding a good spot further down the hill. I’ve also found that late afternoon light can produce a bit more interest – even mystery. This next photo is my Wenlock version of Daphne Du Maurier’s thriller tale Don’t Look Now. Who is that swiftly retreating little figure in the gloaming?

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Here’s one of the more ‘obvious’ shots. The cloudscape and perhaps also the sun/shadow on the stonework add the main interest:

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Another thought is that even when you’ve fixed on a particular subject, it’s always good to scout around it, to see what else might catch your eye/have some bearing on the composition. E.g. one of the important things about Windmill Hill, besides the windmill, is the fact its hill is an ancient limestone meadow – a rare escapee from the effects of industrial agriculture. So come early summer I’m often lying down, in the next photo among the pyramid orchids, soapwort, white clover and yellow ladies bedstraw. There’s an added benefit too – the close quarters inhalation of bedstraw fragrance. Aaaah! No wonder it was used in mattresses for women brought to bed during childbirth.

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And in late summer my eye is on the knapweed and the great array seeding grasses:

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Midsummer sundown

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And then there are the autumn shots. A few years ago a bunch of small horses used to be brought in at summer’s end to graze the meadow. Then sadly their owner could no longer keep them and they had to be sold. For the past two years the Windmill Trust has had the hill mown and harrowed instead. This new approach has created a massive increase in orchids:

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Winter:

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And then there are the views from Windmill Hill:

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Bunking off games? The William Brookes School is at the foot of the hill.

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Windmill Hill can be a very sociable place. It’s a favourite spot for Wenlock’s dog walkers. There are other gatherings too: windmill open days, summer orchid counting; and in the next photo we are gathered during a solar eclipse when the world turned very still and cold and ethereal:

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Last but not least, here are some long-distance views from Townsend Meadow behind our house. The final photo also shows the oil seed rape in full bloom and a corner of the William Brookes School:

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Lens-Artists: Change Your Perspective

 

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In And Out And Round About Much Wenlock

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Below Wenlock Edge on the way to Westhope.

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The Downs Mill lane two winters ago.

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Much Wenlock High Street, Reynold’s Mansion built in the 16th and 17th centuries  on the immediate left.

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The lane by Wenlock Priory ruins and some fine Corsican pines.

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On home territory – a shining on Sheinton Street.

Cee’s B & W Photo Challenge: roads

Backlight: Big Tree, Little Tree

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I take  photos of this tree line more often than is necessary. It needs lots of zoom (the hill is on the other side of the town) but it’s a view I see when I’m up at the allotment. Or rather it’s a view I see when I’m leaving the allotment, and turn at the last moment to check what the light is doing over in the Callaughton quarter of Much Wenlock. This version was taken on the last day of November. The large tree is probably an ash, its undercarriage laden with ivy. I’m guessing the small tree is a hawthorn, similary clothed. It’s a feature of our trees around Wenlock Edge – their trunks and branches hung in ivy.

January Light #9

Bathed In Sunlight On Menai Strait

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Christmas Day on Anglesey. For once I didn’t mind when he who builds sheds and binds broken books walked straight into my prospective shot. (It’s a common occurrence). Two moments earlier I was wondering if a shot of the backlit rocks would work. Then out stepped Graham. So I caught him instead. He doesn’t know!

January Squares #4

Six Word Saturday

To The Lighthouse: Penmon Point

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On Christmas Day we went to Penmon Point in Anglesey, North Wales – fair weather and good winter light on the lighthouse.

 

Happy New Year Everyone

 

January Light  #1 This month Becky says ‘let there be light’, however we choose to conjure it so long as it’s squared. Please pay her a visit. Better still, join in. We cannot have too much light in 2020: lots of issues requiring full-beam illumination.