This looks like a winner to me.

The Beacons from Brecon graveyard
The Beacons from Brecon graveyard

Following the completion of the Bird/land project I realised it was time to step back from bird photography for a while. My bread-and -butter income still comes from the sale of postcards and some of them were beginning to look a bit tired. Rather than reprint them again I decided to spend some time replacing them with new designs. So it was time to put my landscape photographer’s hat on again……

Taking photographs for postcards must be easy…..right? Well, er…..no! Somehow one must be able to sum up a well-known location in just one image, the sense of the place, if you like, and ideally in a way that has not been done before. Take the Brecon Beacons, for example. They may not be the most dramatic mountain range in the UK but they are very popular. I had seen a photograph on a flyer for a holiday cottage rental company showing  a former farmhouse idyllically situated in the foreground with the main peaks behind it. It looked like it would be worth searching out the location. When I eventually found it,  I couldn’t believe it was the same place. The original photograph appeared to have been taken from well above ground level, and there was a string of electricity cables and phone lines running to the house. It had been photoshopped out of almost all recognition!

Whilst on the lookout for a new viewpoint I’ve spent hours driving and walking around the narrow, high-hedged lines between the Beacons and Brecon. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of the view I wanted through a gap or a gate but on closer inspection there was always a snag. I eventually narrowed it down to a couple of fields, through which no public right of way existed. A  friendly farmer gave me permission to cross his land to reach the spot but on the two occasions I was there during the autumn conditions were just not good enough. So that particular view will have to wait for another year. And even then, I have a horrible feeling there will be a snag there too.

What I did find earlier in the year after many hours searching, was a view of the Beacons from the graveyard at Brecon.  The image may not have a great deal of merit in an artistic sense but as a postcard it looks like a winner. I’m not sure yet what I’ll use as a caption!

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Seeking enlightenment?

IMG_0621You can get very close for £75k, according to this estate agent.

It’s been a quiet time recently for me photography-wise. I’ve taken delivery of 48,000 of my Wild Wales postcards, beautifully printed for me by a local printer, and now I have to get out on the road and sell them! Just waiting on the first batch of fridge magnets too, being air-freighted from China. At first the idea of producing fridge magnets seemed a bit tacky, but I gradually came around to the idea. Depending on the image (and the quality of the printing) they can be quite attractive. We’ll have to see how they go.

For some reason I happened to glance in the window of a local estate agent this morning. We know they tend to enhance the positives of their properties but this is surely going too far…..!

 

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A case of mistaken identity

The Upper Rheidol Valley, Ceredigion
The Upper Rheidol Valley, Ceredigion

On my way back from a trip to the Teifi Marshes, just in Pembrokeshire, at the weekend, I stopped off at a National Trust property near Aberaeron where I spent some time photographing wild daffodils and snowdrops on the river bank.

At lunch time I bought myself a sandwich at the riverside cafe . Two men sitting at a table caught my eye. I know you, one said, you’re Jeremy Moore, aren’t you? “Erm….yes…..but I’m sorry I don’t recognise you…..” Ah, we both know who you are but you don’t know either of us!” That’s right, I said, somewhat bemused. “It’s the great Jeremy Moore,” the man said, “I’ve got two of your books!”  This was quite a surprise, but not an unwelcome one, as I had been feeling in need of a little boost to my self-esteem. His tongue was so far in his cheek, I suspected, that I was surprised I could understand a word he was saying.

Then he introduced himself. His name was John and he was an anti-windfarm campaigner. He reminded me that he had accosted me in an Aberystwyth cafe one day and been critical of my pro-windfarm stance. For my part I remembered the episode and how annoyed I had been. On Sunday he suggested that I must have changed my mind on the subject of windfarms but in fact I haven’t; I’ve never felt comfortable about wind turbines in the landscape but they don’t send me in to paroxisms of indignation every time one comes into view. We all use electricity. Wind turbines remind us of the uncomfortable fact that it has to come from somewhere, and we don’t like it.

About ten years ago I had an exhibition at MOMA Wales, a lovely little gallery in Machynlleth, Powys. The subject matter was a small area of land high up in the Rheidol valley – ‘wild Wales’ if ever it existed anywhere. The Battle of Hyddgen had taken place there over six hundred years ago. During my research for the exhibition I came across a poem by the great Welsh priest/poet R.S. Thomas, who had felt the weight of the ages while in this place. With the permission of his son, I reproduced the poem and framed it alongside the images in the exhibition. Shortly afterwards the hilltops surrounding Hyddgen had been proposed for a windfarm, the biggest in Wales.

John had taken a group of anti’s up to Hyddgen and recited the poem, which he believed I had written. So not only, in his estimation,  was I a notable anti-windfarm personality but was also poet of great wisdom and insight! No wonder he thought I must have changed my mind.

For the record, the windfarm has not yet been built, partly thanks to a concerted campaign by the anti’s. There is more doubt now than ever that the thing will go ahead, but if it does, we will be able to see part of it from our house. But if I were ever able to bounce a grandchild on my knee and answer the question “Grandad, what did you do about climate change?” I wouldn’t like to have to say “I campaigned against wind turbines in the Welsh hills”.

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Wild Wales / Cymru Wyllt 2013 calendar

Wild Wales / Cymru Wyllt 2013 calendar (front cover)
Wild Wales 2013 calendar (back cover)

Just a little plug for my Wild Wales / Cymru Wyllt  calendar, now (2012) in its eighth year of publication. At 330mm x 245mm in size (opening to double), thick card cover and quality paper inside, and twelve seasonal image by me, it really is fantastic value at £6.50 (inc p&p in UK). An ideal Christmas gift, especially if you love Wales, or good nature photography wherever it might be found!

To order direct visit www.wildwalespostcards.co.uk ,  or phone me on 01970 828164 to arrange the purchase.

STOP PRESS – BUY NOW AT ONLY £5.00 PER COPY (INCLUDING POSTAGE)

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