Christmas Past On Ynys Mon

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That this first  photo worked at all is something of a mystery. There was hardly any light (as you can see) and I was using my very basic Kodak EasyShare digital camera. But then it was Christmas Day and we were staying on the Welsh island of Anglesey (Ynys Mon) with its millennia of mystical associations – druids, saints and seers. When I took the shot I was standing above the little town of Beaumaris looking towards the Welsh mainland and the foothills of Snowdonia. The Menai Strait lies between, obscured by trees. It is a zone of extraordinary light-through-cloud displays.

Here are some early morning shots taken further along the Strait, rooftops of Beaumaris in the bottom edge foreground:

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Life in Colour: Black/Grey

Catching the Light ~ Menai Strait In Winter

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This week Amy at Lens-Artists has set us a fine task – the pursuit of natural light. It’s one of the aspects of photography that fascinates me most; especially when it’s in short supply. Anyway, I instantly thought of the strange light effects that happen across the Menai Strait between the North Wales coast and the island of Anglesey, caught here during various December sojourns on the island. All the views are looking towards the Welsh mainland and Snowdonia.

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Lens-Artists: Natural Light

Strait Views On A Winter’s Day

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Look to the horizon, out beyond the oyster catchers and the black-backed gull, and you will see a line of ghostly windmills caught mid-arabesque against the sky. This is the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the North Wales mainland, caught on a December morning last year. We often spend Christmas on the island, though not this year for obvious reasons. And we have often had December days like this – perfect sunshine stillness and warm enough to abandon the winter coat. No wonder the windmills look frozen in space. Not a breath of air to stir them. Only the calls of gulls and waders.

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Our Eyes Open Lisa’s bird weekly challenge is birds near/on water or snow

In A Winter’s Light ~ Ynys Mon

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Winter light over the sea can make for some mysterious monochrome images. The first photo was taken early one morning, above the small town Beaumaris on the island of Anglesey (Ynys Mon). In the foreground is Menai Strait; beyond it the mountains of Snowdonia in mainland Wales.

For several years Anglesey has been a favourite place for family Christmases. There have been times of hair-raising gales, but also days of brilliant sun and unexpected warmth. This searchlight-sun effect over the Strait is a particular local phenomenon, and you quickly understand why the Celtic Druids, and later the early Welsh Christian saints were so drawn to the place. Landscape as transcendental meditation.

You can hardly see the Strait in the next photo (below the tree silhouettes), and it was anyway just going dark. But even so there’s a luminous glow on the field slopes of the far shore – a reflection off the water? And then there are the snow slopes making their own light. I like seeing how much of an image can be gained from the least amount of light. At the time I was using my little Kodak EasyShare ‘point and shoot’ camera. It was interesting what it could come up with.

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The morning we visited Plas Newydd it was broodingly gloomy – as if the sky gods had forgotten to switch the lights on.

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But some sunnier days on the beach at Newborough:

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2020 Photo Challenge #46 This week’s assignment from Jude: make sure you have contrasts in your image(s). Clear whites and strong blacks will add impact and create attention.

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

The Magic Of Winter Light

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You cannot beat the Menai Strait for magical light shows, and especially in December when there can be perfect days like these. These photos were taken on Anglesey near Beaumaris, looking across to mainland Wales: the first at midday, the second in the early morning from behind the town, and the third at Penmon Point in late afternoon.

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Lens-Artists #19: Magical Light

For more inspiration please visit Amy and the other Lens-Artists to see their take on magical light.

Winter On The Menai Strait ~ Soulful Sunday

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I’m posting this photo, taken one December morning on the North Wales island of Anglesey (Ynys Mon) to remind myself that winter in the British Isles can sometimes be blissful. In fact we have experienced perfect winter weather days on this island on several occasions – cold certainly, but utterly still and dazzlingly bright with hardly a cloud in the sky, only the calls of seabirds and waders echoing over the water.

Ynys Mon is of course an island brimming with spirits. It was the last stand of the Celtic Druids against the Romans (see Island of Old Ghosts); there are the cells and wells of early Christian hermits, and many a prehistoric chambered tomb dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. There are also all manner of mythical connotations too. In the centre of this shot you can see the Great Orme across the Menai Strait at Llandudno. It was named by the Vikings, the word orme deriving from the old Norse for a sea serpent. In this view you can well see why they came up with it.

All in all, then, I thought this view added up to a suitable contribution for Ali’s new meme: Soulful Sunday. Please visit her blog The Mindful Gardener – a must-go-to spot for anyone who loves gardens or gardening or marmalade flapjacks. There are also some glorious pictures of the Kent countryside in yesterday’s snow

The Mindful Gardener: Soulful Sunday

Darkness And Light ~ Thursday’s Special

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Solstice – the longest night – a time for drawing in; earth quietness; immanence; a conjuring of new possibility.

This photo was taken a few Decembers ago – the view from the island of Anglesey looking across the Menai Strait to Snowdonia on mainland Wales, terrain of antique tales of shape-shifting princes and magicians, their black deeds and bloody conflicts.

Thursday’s Special ~ darkness and light

The Weather In Wales ~ Winter Sun

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It’s hard to believe that I took this photo nearly a year ago – a late December day on the shore of  Menai Strait on Anglesey. There’s a view of the Great Orme across the water. Everywhere so still. Not a cloud in the sky. And sunshine warm enough to sit in.

I don’t know who the man on the bench is.  He was reading a book quite surrounded by this view. There’s something of an optical illusion about it – the dark cap above the seat back (echoing the nearby black rocks in the water), his foot below the seat, yet the corporeal lack of him in between head and toe,  where the sunlight seems to pass unimpeded through the bench slats. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice…

copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Weather