For personal reasons I’ve been kind of quiet recently and not published too many posts, but hopefully by the end of next week I should be able to get back on track. The choice for this weeks challenge reminds me of one of those great photography jokes that always seem to pop up now and again.
A photographer from a well know national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze. When the photographer arrived, he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him. He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, “Let’s go!” The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air. The photographer said, “Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures.” “Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I am a photographer,” he responded, “and photographers take photographs.” The pilot was silent for a moment; finally he stammered, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”
I’m sure you’ve probably heard it or something very similar? Anyway to this weeks challenge. Accompanied by my able-bodied assistant and tripod carrier we set off for Parys Mountain on Saturday. Weather wise we had dark clouds, strong winds and the threat of rain. Perfect.
Parys Mountain – in the Welsh language Mynydd Parys – is located south of the town of Amlwch in north-east Anglesey, Wales. It is the site of a large open cast copper mine that was extensively exploited in the late 18th century. However, there is evidence that the mountain was first mined for copper ore over 4000 years ago in the Bronze Age, Parys Mountain is thus one of the few sites in Britain where there is evidence for the prehistoric beginnings of the British metal mining industry. Nowadays there is a way marked trail around the mountain, giving views of Amlwch Port to the north and the nearby Trysglwyn wind farm to the south.
The Warning Notice at one of the entrances to the mine is quite clear.
Upon entering these premises you consent that Anglesey Mining plc and the occupier of these premises will accept no liability for any loss or damage caused.
Entry is at your own risk.
It’s a cover all statement and as long as you stick to the way marked paths there shouldn’t be any problem. This really is a boots area and in the winter wear warm clothing, Parys Mountain trail is rocky, open and exposed to the elements and there’s almost no shelter…..and Anglesey is known for the winds that blow there.
Our objective was to reach the abandoned windmill tower on top of the hill, but on the way we were going to stop to take some photographs.
The bare heavily mined landscape, with predominant red, yellow and orange colour, gives the mountain a strange appearance which has been used in the filming of several science fiction films and television shows,
Due to the high level of soil contamination little plant life survives on or near the mountain, but there are a number of examples of copper-tolerant plants and bacteria.
Parys Mountain dominated the world’s copper market during the 1780s, when the mine was the largest in Europe. Its rise severely damaged the mining industry in Cornwall. The copper from the mine was used to sheath the British Admiralty‘s wooden ships of war, to prevent the growth of seaweed and barnacles and to protect the wood from attack by shipworms. This increased the speed and manoeuvrability of the vessels, and enabled them to remain at sea for longer as there was less need to return to port for maintenance.
By 1901 production had dropped dramatically and the mine was producing only copper and ochre from the pits. Production carried on for another twenty years, until 1921, when the receivers were called in, effectively meaning that the mine had ceased production.