We change so much as we grow and develop don't we? My first husband was a geologist, and i couldn't understand his passion for rocks, they really seemed quite boring to me! I asked the odd question, but nothing really 'stuck' and I didn't 'get' the beauty inherent in them, let alone manage to get my head around how they were formed, or just how old they were!
Now I have to say, they fill me with utter wonder and awe. They are simply so beautiful. How can they possibly exist in so many different forms, colours, patterns, contortions and textures? Why do some persist, while others erode? (Yes, technically I know that some are harder than others, but it still seems quite miraculous to me.) How 'on earth' (pun intended, sorry!) can they be THAT old - and just how can I even begin to get my head around what that really means?
So, how has that happened? How have I gone from being really quite indifferent, to being totally awestruck? And what a wonderful thing to happen! It means that we can always look forward with hope and relish, because we never quite know what's going to happen - and yes some of it will be difficult, but some of it will be amazing!
I guess having the opportunity to spend more time developing my photography has been a huge factor in this. I have always loved the bigger landscape, and loved being out in it, and trying to express it through my photos, and as the years have marched on, I have begun to 'see' differently, my photography is changing - always - again how wonderful. So the 'awakening' had begun.
Then I moved to Anglesey - glorious, wild, and free in so many ways - and I found lots of beautiful rocks! At first they just skimmed my consciousness as I enjoyed making my 'bigger pictures', then I began to notice what a variety of different colours there were. I love colour, a lot of my photography is a celebration of the colour that we have all around us, so it was this that first impacted on me and drew me in. Then I began to notice the textures; I love trying to express texture on the sea and so again, the textures drew me in.
Then - when teaching a workshop - I found some amazing black rocks up in the north of the island. This was a revelation to me, they were extraordinary in their shape and texture and I loved them - even though I don't like black! I began to use them as foreground in some of my 'big pictures' - but found myself increasingly drawn to them just for themselves.
Shortly after this, my friend Simon began to do some close up work of 'Parys Mountain'- a local disused largely open cast copper mine, where there are some amazing colours, and I found myself very 'taken' with them. So, thank you Simon (you know who you are) for the part you have played in this :-)
Then serendipity intervened - what an amazing moving and shaping factor in our lives! I was down on a beach I use frequently for teaching workshops because it has such varied scenery, and in fact was doing a 'one to one' with someone. I had noticed some fabulous rocks as we walked out to an interesting viewpoint, but we marched on to our viewpoint in order to catch the tide 'just right.' Fortunately for me, the participant - Gwilym - became quite ill, so we started to walk back, and I suggested we make some photos of the rocks - which were more accessible and nearer the car. I was totally fascinated and drawn in by the rocks, but unfortuately Gwilym couldn't carry on - (yes, he's fine!) - so having stopped for a rest at a local cafe, he took himself home. However, by this time I was completely hooked, and took myself back to the beach to make some more images.
I quickly realised that this beach was 'a gold mine', as there were so many different kinds of rocks. I decided to set myself the project of taking lots of different close ups within a 20 square yard area - yes really, I paced it out and it was literally less than 20 square yards. I was completely stunned by the variety of colours, textures, shapes and contours within such a small space - entranced doesn't come close to expressing what happened to me, I lost track of everything and became utterly at one with the rocks!
So, the gallery above is the expression of all that, and of years of love of our landscape - and then of a changing perception of it.
I do hope you enjoy it and I would welcome any comments in the box below - or via my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/cherylhamerphotography - where I will post a 'link' to this page.
The technical bits!
I am no geologist, but I do know that Anglesey (Ynys Mon in Welsh) has been designated a 'geo park' (a kind of geological site of special sceintific interest) because of the enormous variety and age of the rocks we have here - possibly some of the oldest in the world.
To really get the 'low down' visit http://geomon.co.uk/ - but here's just a sample of what it says:
"The Geopark territory points to a spectacular geological heritage. With rocks spanning 4 Eras and 12 Geological periods, 1,800 million years of history has fashioned more than 100 rock types. Such is the variety of shapes and types, present through at least four mountain building periods, that casual visitors and local people alike cannot but marvel at the magnificient colours and structures visible around the coast of this magic isle. Explore and discover this outstanding geo-heritage, from which the island derives its local and regional distinctiveness and character. Using the prestigous coastal path allows access to 90% of Anglesey's geological highlights. Most of the coast is accessible to all, be it the seasoned walker rambling the entire 125 miles or the casual visitor dipping into one or more of the scenically beautiful 'honeypot' sites along its length. "
From my investigations it seems that the Geology of Anglesey is divided into four groups - and the beach I took these shots on falls into the 'Gwna Group' - "this unit consists of greenish silty and sandy layers, but it features an extraordinary and spectacular mélange. A mélange is the product of a major undersea debris-slide of catastrophic proportions, and this one, cropping out not only on Anglesey, but also on northern Llyn from Nefyn to Bardsey Island, lives up to the name. Within that green silty matrix there are clasts, ranging from pebble size up to rafts over a kilometre across, of a variety of rocks, all jumbled together. The diverse clasts include stromatolitic limestone, basaltic pillow-lavas, bedded cherts, red mudstones, white quartzite and - rarely - granite."
So, I guess that pretty comprehensively describes why there is so much variety within this one small section of beach! (And of course that's just one small area - plenty of scope for more to come!)
But for me, it's simply utterly beautiful and I hope my images have helped to express that beauty to you.
This gallery was made from the rocks in a 20 square metre area of a local Anglesey beach.
I was totally awestruck by the colour, texture, patterns and contortions in such a small area. The earth was calling to me - singing it's 'wondrous song' and I simply had to try and express it's 'awesomness' through my imagery. Click on the individual images to enlarge. I hope you enjoy it.
For more background and technical details, see below.
All images are copyright of Cheryl Hamer Photography
I am very aware that the tectonic and volcanic action which made these photos possible took place millions of years ago. However, similar actions are taking place right now in many corners of the world - for example Nepal, and Chile very recently. For the people affected by this, the earths movement is very far from beautiful or wondrous.
To this end to support the people of Nepal who are still struggling, I am supporting a charity run by a fellow local photographer - (John Rowell). You can follow their work, and make a donation at https://www.facebook.com/CommunityActionNepal/timeline
Alternatively if you would rather help out with the Chile quake you can do so at http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2015/September/Help-after-huge-earthquake-in-Chile
Making these photos - and revelling in their beauty - has made me even more aware of these current problems rather than simply 'pulling down my blinkers.' I hope that whilst you can enjoy their aesthetic beauty, they also motivate you to make a donation, however small. Thank You.