Olly Writes

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Tag Archives: photography

Sunday in the Cotswolds

Another weekend has passed and with it, another walking experience amongst Bristol’s Brunel Walking Group. As I don’t visit the Cotswolds too often on my own and can rarely justify the hour’s drive each way when I’m walking solo, I took this opportunity to join a ramble to the east and slightly south of Stroud. No sooner had I arrived at the meeting point in Bristol, I was asked to be an additional driver – it was fortunate then that I’d filled my fuel tank 5 minutes before!

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This walk began in an area known as Frampton Mansell, with Aston Down airfield located on the south side of the A419. We were to head north in an anti-clockwise direction towards Edgeworth, which was heavily shadowed beneath the terror of dark clouds…

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Quantock Greenway North (Part 2)

I apologise for wait. My laptop’s keyboard suddenly turned erratic just over a week ago and as certain keys had lost their function, one by one, I’ve only just this evening gotten around to fitting the replacement keyboard. This will be the conclusion to my first Quantocks walk. In the mean time, I’m also behind on other walks that have happened in the time since, not to mention all the other issues and topics I’ve been wanting to write about while I’ve struggled to even load a successful laptop boot.

We concluded Part 1 with a lunch stop at Triscombe Stone. Just a nudge beyond the halfway point, the walk continues clockwise around the western edge of the northern hills and it’s on we march towards Bicknoller.

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The Quantock Greenway North (Part 1)

This is a walk I completed on Good Friday and my first solo venture down on to the Quantock Hills; almost a year to the day when I joined the walking group on a trek across Exmoor, a few miles further west along the coast. I have been meaning to write about this ever since but a couple of items have held me back… One being the time it takes to sort through and organise my photos (having snapped over 200, I then uploaded 140 to Flickr!) but more recently, I am having keyboard problems where, for example, I have to avoid using all apostrophes and I can only create an open bracket by holding the right shift key.

But I will get there!

You can find the guide for this walk available online (The Quantock Greenway) and it is the same path that I set-out to follow. This first stretch, across the northern section of the hills, equates to 21 miles in total. Later this month (and again, in preparation for the 30-mile Mercury Mendip Challenge on the 1st of June), I’ll be driving south to complete the southern stretch, which tallies in at around 18 miles.

Due to time constraints and issues mentioned at the top, I have now decided to split this first 21-mile section in to 2 parts. This post will guide you from Holford to Crowcombe via. Great Wood.

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From Me to Yeo

A walk along the River Yeo in North Somerset has been on the cards for as long as I’ve lived in Wrington. It quite literally is on my doorstep! After four-months of gazing up at the overcast skies, I decided, two-weeks ago, that I would set out and see it all for myself.

This is a walk that begins in my current village of Wrington but sets off to explore much of the perhaps lesser-known local area.

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Always Walking

You know me; I like to walk. As much as I also enjoy writing, I’ve found it hard to keep you up to date with my walks of the past fortnight, because there have been three of them! This post is going to briefly summarise two of them, because you’ve (hopefully) seen much of each route before the third walk, being a new one to me, is going to require more effort and dedication before you see it published.

No, that is not a selfie!

So, starting off one day before my 29th birthday; I took a routine climb up to Crook Peak, two-months ahead of the 30-mile Mendip Challenge.

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This is Wiltshire

My destination for last Sunday’s walk wasn’t going to be anywhere other than Wiltshire. Initially, my sights were set on a Brunel-led walk around an unknown area close to Longleat. Before heeding the weather forecast on Saturday, I was lining up a trip to Lacock, which is surely soon to follow in April. But I wanted to save that one for a clear and consistently sunny day and so, instead, I elected to follow a walk titled the Wessex Ridgeway.

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Back in a Flash!

As hinted in yesterday evening’s walk review, I acquired a brand-new digital camera yesterday – the Nikon Coolpix S9400.

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This will replace the Nikon COOLPIX S8200 (a slight upgrade, then) that I tried to repair a month ago, before conceding defeat and handing it over to the professionals at Nikon… To keep that story brief; their technician determined that there was too much damage already done and that the camera was beyond economical repair.

In all the time that I was waiting for a response, I could’ve just purchased a new camera but they did eventually come up with a pair of Exchange Offers – one being an A-grade refurbished S8200 (admittedly, it would’ve been dearer than buying one new from Amazon); the other was a ‘bridge’ camera (which I understand to lie somewhere between a compact camera and a digital SLR, but also refurbished).

I quite liked the look of this Nikon Coolpix P520, especially considering that it would’ve only been a fraction dearer than the £150 I’ve just payed for my new camera and that it would’ve been unattainable brand-new, given its RRP. It was only when I began to read the reviews that I realised it had issues that would’ve irritated me – most notable, concerns over the camera’s inability to focus with clarity with the extensive zoom lens. But along with that, several comments suggested that there may be a delay or pause between simple functions such as taking one photo and preparing for the next.

Before my water bill arrived this week, I was thinking of going for a low-end DSLR, which might have cost between £300-400, at a guess. But I then began to consider what I would most like to use it for (walking) and I made a strong decision to stick with a compact that’s cheaper to replace and, I’m sure, a lot easier to carry over long distances and hills.

Speaking of which, I plan on buying a waterproof carry case for this camera; preferably with pockets for SD cards and storage. I won’t be preparing a full review of this model because I don’t consider myself to be ‘all-that-technical‘ when it comes to photography… I doubt I’ll even use half the features of this one, as with every other camera I’ve owned. I was a bit disappointed that the S9400 uses different batteries to my old S8200 (so, I’ve already ordered a spare) and while I’ve found the Coolpix range to be great at shooting in levels of low light, this one seems to compensate automatically by upping the white balance. It may not sound like a bad feature to have but my previous one didn’t do this. Having taken some sample shots of my flat (which has pretty poor lighting and a minimal allowance for daylight), I can see it giving a false representation of what my home truly looks like. I also found that a couple of features (which I would deem to be optional) were set to ‘On’ as default and so I had to work through the menus to disable them (not much of a challenge, given that I’m already familiar with the Nikon Coolpix interface).

I’m hoping to take this one out for a debut run walk this weekend. I’ve never owned a white camera before and only went for this because it was significantly cheaper than the other colours. It’ll be interesting to note the colour changes throughout the rest of 2014. Hopefully, I’ll have fewer grubby smart phone shots to share from here on! 😉

Thanks for reading and happy snapping!

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Lansdown; Feet Wet

This past weekend, I donned my waterproofs to brave the great outdoors. With a mountain of an expedition only a dozen weeks away now, I don’t think that I can use ‘the weather excuse‘ to keep me indoors for consecutive weekends. I have training to do and, flicking through the virtual pages of the three Walk West books, I can create a growing list of routes that I am keen to follow.

View from the car upon arrival.

So, with falling water forecast and grey skies in waiting for me as I woke up on Sunday morning, I decided to keep the setting fairly familiar and not-too-brand-new by visiting Lansdown, to the north-east of Bath.

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