The Art of Incompetence

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Hello folks.

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I’ve kind of been pretty wrapped up in editing quite a large back-log of photos, so here I am writing a short post about a little climbing outing I had with a friend last week. Plus I had some rather unsettling and angering news…

Why the post title? Well, that’s a tale long in the telling, although I admit that it will be a shameless dig at the organisation involved and I’m only really bothered that it upsets some of the people on the team, and not those I genuinely like and have a lot of respect for. You see I recently had to leave the mountain rescue team, due to apparent incompetence. I should point out that the rescue team have an 18 month training program to get all current trainees up to speed with their skills before taking on their final hill day assessment. One of my ‘mistakes’ was made on my first day, which was moved on from and I passed and gained entry to the team. Another was on a very dangerous winter operation on Tryfan in high winds and a blizzard in darkness; which was a minor mistake that did not endanger anybody and was due to nerves at wanting to perform well on my first winter job – I was not phased by the weather at all, or the treacherous conditions underfoot. I also rectified the mistake myself and did not receive help from my colleague, as stated in their letter top me, because I was COMPETENT ENOUGH TO DO SO. In fact I was enjoying the job apart from cold hands. This second mistake had been a long-term joke with the individual involved (one of the aforementioned people I have a lot of respect for). And you know what? The team awards team members annually for the most glaring mistakes; the wooden spoon, the white stick, the golden spanner and even a bad driving award. Somewhat of an incompetent over-sight in their letter to me….

Naturally, from this I surmised (as I hadn’t just fallen off a passing apple cart, being the intelligent and insightful human I am) that it was nothing to do with these minor errors and everything to do with the fact I have: a) opinions b) I hate seeing unfairness and inequality in a team environment, being ex-Army (which I will air if I see) and c) I wasn’t with the ‘in crowd’, as it were. So the team used my two minor mistakes to cover up the real reason why they would not allow me to continue with them. If they were an employer, t’would be a ripe old case to visitor a solicitor with, yes indeed.
Problem is, mountain rescue is essential and I was really keen to get on after some absence due to injury. Unfortunately for me, certain people that ‘run’ the team have zero people skills or diplomacy, and care very little for peoples’ problems. In fact, on seeing the letter from them, my wife resigned immediately from the team as she was disgusted. Nobody asked why or even cared; just a response accepting her resignation. And she’d worked very hard for that organisation and nobody but one person seemed to give a crap.

Anyway, I am over this now. I was just more angry as to how they dealt with the situation; poorly, with no consideration for my thoughts or feelings. Oh yes, and no warning before hand, just a letter. Not even the decency for a face to face chat. Nothing but cowardice from people so high on their self-induced pedestals, they can’t see the people on the ground.

So there we go.

I went climbing with a friend, to put my incompetent skills to the test and I did nothing but endanger my life and his the whole evening. In fact, I was so incompetent I actually led two pitches of the route up Milestone Buttress on Tryfan, a three star classic VDiff, whilst setting up the belays securely and my anchors to secure my friend and I to the rock very safely whilst we climbed. I even wore a helmet! And did my friend feel safe, despite not climbing with me before? Yes, absolutely! Because I CAN climb, safely and competently, assessing every move I make up the rock face, taking a little extra time to place gear in the rock to ensure it wouldn’t pull out if I was to take a leader fall, but not so jammed in that my friend couldn’t pull it out as he climbed up.

To highlight my incompetent and sheer, abject fear at heights, here are some shots of me climbing/leading and abseiling down the long, dangerous descent gully. Click on the image to open in a gallery. All JPEG with my point & shoot, so not best quality.

Ciao for now.

A Splash of Colour

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I took the dog up the back field this morning and as usual, I like to keep my eye out for anything to photograph. I don’t take my normal camera, but I do take my phone and if there’s something I like I will use Instagram and upload it when I get back in the house.

It wasn’t too long before I saw something, glowing red at the side of the track; poppies.

As it’s an overcast morning here in North Wales, the rich red colour really stood out. So I thought I’d get in behind them, crouch down low and get the contrasting, grey clouds and the mountains in the background, adding a ‘faux’ depth of field afterwards. I took just the one shot, and edited both quickly in Lightroom and Photoshop, giving one a colour accent, as I thought this would work really well for this kind of shot:

The poppy stands bright against the monochrome background.
The poppy stands bright against the monochrome background.

I decided not to clone out the grasses, although in hind sight, I think perhaps the grass on the right, breaking the skyline higher than the left side, I could have fixed.

Here is the full colour version:

Poppy Colour

I carried on walking around the upper side of the field and looked to the north west, to see Holyhead Mountain, 25 miles away, shining in the sunlight. I did not shoot this, as we all know how poor camera phones can be, and it would have just been a cropped, awful mess!

Well, I hope I’ve brought some colour to your day.


Midge Hell at Dinorwic!

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Last night I took the snap decision to drive the 15 minutes up to Dinorwic, which is an old quarry village sitting at around 300 metres.

There’s an amazing viewpoint that looks directly South up the Llanberis Pass, North over Llyn Padarn and to Anglesey and out West. To the east are the quarries and the gigantic, imposing galleries of Dinorwic quarry, that unfortunately had its gears stalled and eventually stopped in 1969. These tower up the side of Elidir Fach and Fawr like a giant’s stair-case; an astounding feat of human engineering, albeit to the detriment of the mountain. But if I’m honest, the mountain would look strange without the huge gouges cut out of the side of it. And Snowdonia wouldn’t be Snowdonia without a quarry on the side of every accessible mountain! There’s no avoiding slate here folks; both our front and rear gardens are full of it, all the roofs are tiled with it, we have coasters made from it, my PC desk is leveled by pieces of it, I look out the window every day to see Penrhyn Quarry across the way, with its greys, purples and blues of yes, you guessed it….slate. Although, geologically speaking, it’s actually ancient mud.

But ya gotta love it.

Anyway, my wife and I took the dog last night before sunset so I could get some photos done. Unfortunately, our native blood-sucking little creatures known as the British midge, were out in force and I was wishing that the strong winds that usually blow across this view point would pick up. Wishful thinking indeed.

I set up the camera and started to snap, zooming in here and there at different points up the Llanberis Pass. After I’d finished and after receiving a text from my wife to tell me the midges were “eating her alive!” I hot-footed it back to the car as fast as I could. Satisfied I’d got some decent pics done, I couldn’t leave without snapping one more shot, as the sun set over the little peak of Pen yr Bigil at 350 metres.

All in a gallery today folks, so just click to open in a Light Box.



Vintage Looks….

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Just a very quick post.

I forgot that I took this shot a while ago as I borrowed my friend’s Pentax K-30. You may have noticed that a lot of my shots at the moment are monochrome or have colour accents. I’m really starting to like black and white, and how very dramatic they can make an otherwise, standard colour image.

Playing around with this one earlier in Lightroom and Perfect Effects 8. The weather on this day was awful. I had to shoot to the north to avoid rain hitting the lens. The river in the foreground has tumbled down from Cwm Lloer that is to the rear-left of the image, shadowed by the bulk of Pen yr Ole Wen. The south westerly was really blowing the water across into this river; there were white horses colliding as the two waterways converged. My feet got soaked taking the shot, as I tried to brace myself against the wind!
The detail isn’t that great as for some reason I cannot find the original RAW file, so is an edited JPEG (and I really dislike working with JPEGs :( )

Anyway, I’d appreciate any CC you can give.

Over the Afon Lloer towards Bodesi, far right of image.
Over the Afon Lloer towards Bodesi, far right of image.