Monday, 31 August 2015

Tape Cardiff: The RSPB and Migrations promoting nature through art

*As a important note I would like to state that all photos and views on this blog are my own and therefore do not reflect the views, official photography and opinions of the RSPB as an organisation.

If you had gone down to Bute Park over the month of August, you might have noticed something strange in the woods. A gigantic spiderweb suspended between the trees of Bute Park.

Made entirely out of sticky tape and brought to life by Migrations, RSPB Cymru and the City of Cardiff Council, this great events gave adults and kids alike the chance to explore a spider's eye view of the natural world first hand.

As a volunteer at the event, it was great to see something like this set up that so directly engaged the general public. Children ran around the exhibit excitedly, people would stop randomly to take pictures on their phones and the looks of delight on people's faces as they left the exhibit was palpable.

Being actually able to crawl round the structure like a spider in its web or a moth in a cocoon was enormous fun and really gave you a childlike sense of wonder, joy and a sense of discovering the natural world for yourself. One of the great parts was knowing that this whole structure was entirely renewable, as afterwards it would be taken down and turned into perfectly usable plant pots.

There was also a strong sense that the installation had a serious message behind it as well. Set up in Bute Park as a way to encourage adults and children to think about and connect with the nature that surrounds them.

So after this structure has been taken down and recycled, how can the public promote the welfare of nature in their own homes? Well perhaps they can set up piles of wood in their back gardens to give spiders, moths and other insects a place to live. Or they could think about putting out bird feeders (particularly over harder winter months) that they can clean and refill regularly in order to help birds in the area. They could think about digging a pond in their back garden to help animals like frogs, newts and toads. Finally if they have a hedge or fence in the garden and the neighbors approve a small hole could be put in it to create a nature highway through which animals like hedgehogs could move freely.

For more ideas about how to help the natural world and to find out more about what the RSPB are doing you'll find a link to their website below.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The city of Bath

The historic city of Bath is a place best known for it culture, history and sheer opportunities to relax and luxuriate (mostly relating to its famous hot springs and the historic roman baths built around them).

I had decided to catch up with some old friends from uni and after some discuss on the matter we decided that Bath make an ideal place to spend a glorious summers day. Pulling into the station I discovered them standing outside the station next to what proved to be our ruin; Cocktail Bar Bath.
After a few cheeky cocktails we were ready to hit the city and see what it had to offer.

Bath itself is a beautiful city filled as it is with grand historic building, vibrant greenery, lovely parks and elegant streets. As we wandered along taking in its sights we took in ladies taking high tea, took in the beauty of the complex housing the baths themselves (we didn't go in due to the truly large amounts of money it would have cost), had a chance encounter with a man who offered us the chance to hold the pigeons that he had tamed, gawped at the brightly coloured pig statues that lined the street and took in the beautiful structure that was Bath Cathedral.

After all of this we felt like a sit down was in order and so we stopped for a spot of lunch in a part of town overlooking the splendid Royal Victoria Park which offered us beautiful views of the surrounding greenery.

Afterwards we took a rather languid walk up to the Royal Crescent, an impressive set of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping arc before an impressively large park. We took the opportunity to sun ourselves on a bench for a little while before strolling back down into town. After taking in a few shops around town (including the lovely gift shop attached to the roman baths) we had one final coffee at a lovely little coffee house by the station before saying some fond farewells.

As I pulled away from the station I was really happy to have spent the day with friends in the historic city of Bath.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Cardiff Pride 2015

"My mom, she’s a fan of Saint Thomas of Aquinas. She calls pride a sin. Saint Thomas saw pride as the queen of the seven deadlies. She saw it as the ultimate gateway sin that would turn you quickly into a sinaholic. But hating isn’t a sin on that list. Neither is shame. I was afraid of this parade because I wanted so badly to be a part of it. So today I’m marching for that part of me that was much too afraid to march. And for all the people who can’t march. The people living lives like I did. Today, I march to remember that I’m not just a me. I’m also a we. We march with pride.  So go (explicit) yourself, Aquinas." - Jamie Clayton in Sense8

Pride had once again come to Cardiff and being the out gay man that I am I decided it was my patriotic duty to get off my arse and attend the event. As usual it was the perfect mixture of high camp, colour, glamour and most of all a feeling of pride to be part a larger gay community.

What I've always liked about pride in Cardiff is the sense that for one day the city is transformed into something approaching a massive party. Everyone seems friendlier, the town centre is transformed into something that is colorful and bright and everywhere you go you get the sense that life has gotten a little bit brighter and more exciting for a moment. Its great to think that the gay community can share this larger then life moment and enliven the world around them.

Coopers field in the Cardiff was definitely the centre point for this filled as it was by rides thumping out dance music, shops and stalls selling brightly coloured gay paraphernalia, delicious food and several stages filled with dance acts, singers and comedians.

Everywhere you looked wandered people dressed to the hilt in brightly coloured costumes, leather gear, over the top drag outfits and even a few people in very little at all.

There was however a very serious side to Pride as attested to by the numerous stalls such as amnesty international, the faith tent, the police and army tents to name just a few. All delivering the important message that ignorance, hatred and homophobia are still very much a part of our world both at home and abroad.

And so it was also a time to stand up and show the world that we as the gay community are not filled with shame or self hatred, we are not to be loathed and feared and we will welcome the world with open arms and we will do it with pride.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Ballons take flight

While I did in fact promise myself I would write a second part to a beginners photographers guide. Its taking longer to write then expected so in the mean time Balloons!!!

I had been travelling back with a friend from a day out in Bath. It had been a magically day and as our train pulled into Bristol it became even more magically. For that day Bristol had been home to a ballon festival and as our train pulling into the station we followed a magical trail that ran across the sky.

A trail of balloons that soared majestically above the city of Bristol, we stood entranced on the platform, desperately taking pictures. Trying to capture the wonder of this floating beauty. It was a moment of transient bliss that meant that maybe for an instant our souls could take flight and our imagination could rise out into the deep blues and ride upon an untamed sky.