The Crowds in Cardiff When Wales Played the All Blacks

Crowds in Cardiff for Wales vs All Blacks-7932-2There is something truly magical about the city of Cardiff when Wales are playing a rugby union test match.  You can almost taste the buzz of excitement and anticipation.  The streets are full of colour, with supporters wearing bright red jerseys and red scarves around their necks.  The dragon on the Welsh flag flutters on every street corner as street traders try to sell their stock of scarves, hats and flags.  People suddenly find themselves compelled to purchase ridiculous hats in the shape of a daffodil or dragon.  There is a tremendous feeling of national pride and even people who don’t speak a word of Welsh find themselves singing Sosban Fach or Calon Lan with tears in their eyes.  Beer flows like rain sodden rivers and we are thankful that Cardiff’s most famous brewery, SA Brain, is busy brewing just minutes away from the city centre.

One reason why there is such an amazing atmosphere in Cardiff is because the stadium, the magnificent Millennium Stadium, is in the heart of the city.  Most international stadiums are located outside of any major city, but the Millennium Stadium proudly sits on the banks of the River Taff.  Many players have openly stated that this is their favourite stadium as the atmosphere and noise if like anywhere else.

Crowds in Cardiff for Wales vs All Blacks-7965-2One of the most treasured test matches is when Wales play New Zealand, otherwise known as the All Blacks.  On match day, God must be inundated with prayers from Welsh fans asking for that miracle.  As of 2014, it has been 61 years since Wales beat the All Blacks, an embarrassingly long time.  And in recent years, every time the All Blacks arrive, there is always a just a glimmer of hope.  But each time this glimmer has quickly been distinguished by the formidable All Blacks.

 

Early this month (November 2014), I was in Cardiff covering a pre-match hospitality event, but took some time to photograph the atmosphere at the bottom of St Mary’s Street.  With my Canon 1000D and a 70-300mm lens I discreetly leaned against lampposts and shop doorways and watched the world go by.  This selection (and there are more on my website) was taken in the free 30 minutes I had before going onto the hospitality event and over 4 hours before kick off.  By then Cardiff was bouncing!  And by 7pm the inevitable had happened.  The All Blacks had won again!

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Driving Home Towards The Sunset

Sunset North of Merthyr-8010I was driving along the heads of the valleys road on my way back home from Ebbw Vale, just north of Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, when I saw this amazing sky.  I pulled over at the first opportunity and with my Canon 1000D took some photos.  I wanted some long exposures for the car lights and balanced the camera first on the car roof and then on a nearby post.  However, this photo, with the light reflecting on the side of the car, was taken hand held.  It isn’t perfect, but I wanted the reflection and didn’t have a tripod.  It was cold and I was late, but sometimes you need to just grab the opportunity to take the photograph.  On my website are a collection of photographs of sunrises and sunsets.

Photographs of the Colours of Late Autumn Leaves

Autumn Coloured Leaves-9981-2I am a sucker for the colour of late Autumn leaves and could spend hours poised with a camera taking photographs.  The best time to capture the colours is when the sun is low in the sky and you get that rich golden light, which just illuminates the gorgeous leaves both on the tree and coating the ground.  This set of photographs was actually taken at the end of my drive, just emphasising that you don’t have to drive miles to get photographs of fauna.  In fact, I had broken away from cleaning the car, leaving my protesting daughter in charge as I knelt down on the wet, dirty ground to try and capture the colours that I was seeing.

And, if you like this there are some more of the photos on my website.

 

 

Spare a thought for the Bugler performing the “Last Post” on Remembrance Sunday

Listening to the Last Post always sends tingles down my spine and just brings some deep seated emotions to the surface. It must be so emotional for the Buglers as well. I also wish to salute all you Buglers!

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Last Post - 5RW Memorial

This Sunday will once again see many of us commemorating Remembrance Day at Parades and Memorial Services up and down the country.

One of the integral parts of that Service, will be the playing of the Last Post preceding the 2 minute Silence. For many, this is the most poignant part of the proceedings, bringing all sorts of emotions to the surface, from even the most robust and stiff-upper-lipped of characters, as memories of loved ones and fallen Comrades, as well as thoughts of current serving personnel in the Armed Forces are given heightened awareness.

I have been honoured and privileged to have been asked to play the Last Post at numerous Parades, Memorial Services and Funerals during the last 30+ years and since joining the Regimental Band of The Royal Welsh, have a heightened awareness of its relevance and meaning to members of the Armed Forces and civilians alike.

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