7th Diary Entry

Santa was Good to me

My plans for Christmas 2013 were simple. Go to my mum's for Christmas, pull crackers, watch the Queen's Speech, eat lots, drink some and sleep. Day after Boxing Day, travel to Spain and relax for a week! Simples! Who knew that Mother Nature would decide to bellow her authority and cause major upsets to so many people (although only minor inconveniences to me, thankfully!)

Christmas Eve dawned quite nicely in London. I finished packing, including my camera equipment, and set off for Wales. I had no problems till I came off the motorway, at which point the rain started. Well, I say rain... it would be better to say a car-wash opened up and I drove through it - for 50 miles! Having driven through the floods in 2007, I was confident that my car would not let me down, but following behind idiots going at less than walking pace sometimes was oh so painful! The journey normally takes me about 3 1/2 hours; on Christmas Eve it was over 5 hours! I must admit that I was tempted sometimes to stop and get my camera out - when Mother Nature roars her presence, although it can be annoying and sometimes scary, it can also be very beautiful. If I had a rain cover for the camera, I would have done (note to self, buy a rain cover, you live in Britain, you need one!)

Christmas Day brought a smattering of snow on the Welsh Hills. It looked so picturesque, I had to get the camera out. Unfortunately, I had decided to leave the telephoto lens in London and was looking very disappointedly at the photos my Bridge camera was struggling to capture. Suddenly my mother appeared at my elbow with a digital SLR; a Sony a200 with telephoto lens. "Try this one" she prompted, and I took some lovely shots before the mist cleared and the sun started to melt the icing sugar snow. I examined the photos, already thinking of how a little bit of tweaking would turn them into really good views. I turned to my mother and cheekily asked "so, do you use this often?" The answer was a no and an idea formed in my mind. A little bit of negotiation followed and the camera, 2 lenses, charger and spare battery were mine!! Hello world of DSLR Photography!

Most of Christmas Day evening was spent watching the effects of the storms roll down and around England. Gatwick airport was under threat (as was my flight out to Spain); a friend of mine lives no more than 2 miles (as the crow flies) from one of the runways and she was watching the water creep, inch by inch, towards her house. She was one of the fortunate ones - the flood water stopped less than a car length from her front door.

Given the weather fun, and the fact that I could not take my new (to me) DSLR camera to Spain, I decided to return to London on Boxing Day and make my way to Gatwick by train rather than drive. What a stroke of genius! The journey to (and from) the airport was simple, quick and cheap! Since then, I have taken another trip out to Spain and used the train to take the strain of getting me to and from Gatwick. Thank you Mother Nature for pointing out the error of my ways.

So I took my trusty Bridge camera to Spain, and wondered if it would be for the last time. We took a trip into Valencia again - I have to say I love that city. There's so much fantastic architecture and the people are fun to watch. From a photographic perspective, I forgot all my lessons, and spent most of the time with the camera on auto! I spent plenty of time practising the construction of my shots however; I just need the brain power now to bring the 2 together!

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