Category Archives: photographs

Thinking of Summer

I’m looking forward to summer now. Autumn is all well and good, with plenty of interesting leaves and migrant birds and I like Spring, though it’s always a sad time as you know it won’t last.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Teasel at Rufford Abbey

Winter, to be fair, offers a few frost-rimed photo opportunities but little else. In the English midlands we don’t have much to offer in the way of scenery or snowfall.

Marigold with frost

Calendula at Wilford

So that leaves Summer. Summer is easy – plenty of flowers and plenty of insects, including butterflies. There’s a lack of birds because they mainly hide behind leaves, but you can’t have everything.

I was speaking to Eddiethebugman earlier today. You may remember his guinea pig shots from an earlier post. He takes a lot of photos of insects (as you may guess from the name) and employs a technique called focus stacking, which produces brilliant images of insects.

As I understand it you bracket the focus settings and use a computer to put together a very sharp image using the best bits from all the shots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Angle Shades moth

It’s beyond my technical capabilities, but I’m a great admirer of anyone who can do it.

He was telling me that he was once criticised for using the technique, as it isn’t “proper photography”. It’s a bit like the list of words you shouldn’t use in poems – there’s always someone ready to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. I even read a poetry competition judge recently saying that you shouldn’t write poems about butterflies.

Small Copper

Small Copper in the garden

Who wants to live in a world without butterfly poems?

The same goes for photographs. I’m always happy to see good close-ups of insects, no matter how they are produced. If someone wants to spend hours over producing one perfect image I’m prepared to admire both the photograph and the craftsmanship.

My photos, as you can see, are more of a point and shoot affair with a large helping of luck and hit and miss. I’ve added a few to liven up the post.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Comedy carrot

 

 

Chasing a Sunset

We went to Derbyshire today and had a productive time – plenty of photographs, a couple of books, a Bakewell pudding and a new work bag for Julia (plus a can of white gloss for the new garden table project).

On the way back I was moaning to Julia about the lack of colour in the sky when it suddenly turned blazing red. The only trouble was that it was behind my right shoulder. As we twisted and turned I realised that there was a lay-by ahead and a good view of the sunset on my right. Somebody was already parked with the same purpose, using a phone, which still seems strange to me. I mean, I wouldn’t use a camera to contact Julia and tell her I was going to be late home.

So, here are some of the results. The flare in some of them is due to a finger mark on the lens. Fortunately I realised what it was and was able to correct it by breathing on the lens and applying a quick polish with my handkerchief. Proper photographers are probably wincing at the thought, but I’m a low tech sort of bloke, and it did the job.

One thing I did do right was to put the sunrise/sunset filter on (because I remembered I had that option after Sunday’s sunset). It didn’t add anything – these were the actual colours because it truly was a spectacular sunset – but it did stop the camera “correcting” the colour automatically.

A Few Odd Photos

The moon was looking good last night so I thought I might as well take a few shots.

I’d tried earlier in the day but the shot wasn’t quite right. A bigger moon, a gibbet and a crow would have been a great gothic horror image. A small moon, a rook and a lamp post didn’t produce quite the picture I was imagining.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Almost a gothic horror photo

I managed a couple of selfies over the holiday, because I was bored and the weather wasn’t much good for photography and myleg wasn’t much good for walking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Selfie in a teapot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a closer view

We were having tea and cake at Snape Maltings when I noticed I’d caught my reflection in the teapot. So I took some more, specifically trying to catch the reflection. The selfie isn’t much good but the triangles are interesting – they were the supports for the glass roof of the tearoom.

Finally there are a couple of selfies taken in the bathroom window. It was much more difficult getting the angle right than I had imagined. I still haven’t quite worked the angles out, even now. I just took plenty. Some didn’t even catch a reflection. I tried some without the small mirror but they weren’t as interesting.

Give a man a camera and there is no way of guessing what he will do when bored.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Teasels in flower

The main picture shows some teasel in flower. They have gone over a bit but you can still see some of the bluish flowers. I thought I’d include the picture after showing the mature ones earlier on this week.

 

The fungus is growing out of one of the raised beds in the Mencap garden and the mooring ring is from the quay at Burleigh pottery in Stoke.  I spotted the blue butterfly on a visit to Men in Sheds in the summer and the bear was in a field near Scarborough advertising a music event. The dragonfly was pictured on our trip to Rutland Water, but I don’t seem to have identified it on the photo and can’t find the reference. I think it’s a Common Darter if I  remember correctly – I only see common things.

 

The bird with the bandit mask is another Nuthatch and the Swan was cruising down the river at the back of the National Arboretum last year. The mouse is from a harvest loaf we cooked on the farm and the remaining two photos are also from the farm – a Mint Moth (there were dozens about in the herb garden) and a poppy with chamomile.

They all bring back memories, and without blogging I wouldn’t have restarted with the photography – another thing I like about blogging!

Five Favourite Photos

I’ve decided on a post to cover up my lack of recent photography. I will, of course, be dressing it up as a listing of my favourite photographs. It will also make a change of pace from the last post,

Common Blue

Male Common Blue

I was on the way to visit Men in Sheds when I stopped to take a picture of round bales. We have a Hockney post card showing a scene like this and I keep trying to reproduce it photographically. So far I haven’t managed, but this Common Blue flew past and after twenty minutes of stalking I had a couple of decent shots. That’s about as good as it gets – butterfly photography can be tricky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small Copper on castor oil plant

This was one Julia spotted in the front garden. It’s a small garden and relies on self-seeded red valerian to attract butterflies, though it has plenty of marigold and allysum as back up. We’ve had quite a variety this year, with the favourites being the Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

Though they are great things to see, they are very difficult to photograph, so they haven’t made the cut.

This was the opposite of the previous photograph – no stalking needed. All I did was get the camera out as I walked from the car to the door.

Goodbye, cruel world

A Puffin thinks about ending it all

I know it’s only contemplating flight, but it does seem forlorn as it looks down. The clown face adds to the general air of despair. This photograph was taken as a group of birds loafed about just below a viewing platform at Bempton Cliffs.

We also went to Flamborough Head that day, and spent an enjoyable time on the cliffs there too. With a mixture of poor health, work and creaking knee we’ve not been out and about much this year – which makes the good days all the more special.

Bee-eater at East Leake quarry

Bee-eater at East Leake

This is a poor photo, but we had an interesting trip out and saw, albeit distantly, some exotic birds. The quality of a photograph, for me, lies in the memories of the day it was taken on, as much as in obtaining a pin-sharp picture of an event. Even people with top quality equipment were struggling because the heat was making the air shimmer and at the distance we were working this was causing problems. With low quality optics and a dirty lens I never expect perfection…

They were very much on the edge of their range, despite global warming and the nests failed in the end, but it was a brave attempt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This one always  cheers me up. The photo, that is. The subject of the photo always has a list of jobs for me.

This was taken as a new profile photo when Julia started the new job at the Mencap Garden. It’s a typical pose – outdoors, dressed for gardening and with that enigmatic smile. It’s a smile that shows how happy she is to have been married to me for all this time.

Well, I think that’s what it means.

Philosophy, Photographs and Puffins

The featured image shows my first attempt at using the Panorama setting on the camera. It just goes to show that a boring photograph is a boring photograph, no matter how you dress it up.

The wheelbarrow is quite interesting, as barrows go, and is a lot easier to use than a conventional  barrow if you have mobility problems. The recycled BBQ/herb planter adds a splash of colour. Apart from that the view from the front door of the container/office/canteen is very dull. Julia has plans for this and I’m hoping to document them over the coming year.

What starts as a dull picture therefore has potential to become an interesting  series of dull pictures., though it would be foolish to ignore the possibility of producing a dull series of dull pictures.

It is likely that in next month’s photo the barrow may have moved, but will that simple change be enough, or will I have to include another item in the picture to ensure  that people keep looking?

I also used the Self Portrait feature. I’m not actually sure what it does. In a break with tradition, I wasn’t wearing my selfie shirt, so maybe it is just a liberating setting to break people out of a rut. It certainly doesn’t make bad haircuts look better. After a few practice shots  I have now learned how to avoid the Fungus the Bogeyman look (wide in the chin and narrow at the top) and can make my head vary in shape quite considerably, but that, again, has nothing to do with the setting, just experimentation.

They say the camera never lies, which is true, as the camera, philosophically speaking, cannot form the intention to mislead. It can, however, give a false picture, depending on the angle you take your selfie from. I won’t show any of these shots as you suffered enough last time, so here’s another Puffin. People like Puffins, and it gives me a chance to work three P’s into the title (though a Phalarope would have fitted better). At times they can look very sad. This one appears to be thinking of ending it all…

Goodbye, cruel world

Goodbye, cruel world

 

 

 

 

Man, Mirror, Monkey, Selfie

They say that if you give typewriters to a roomful of monkeys they will eventually write Hamlet.

If you give a single monkey a mirror the results will be more immediate and more amusing.

If you give a man with time on his hands a digital camera, despite the supposed gulf in evolution and technology, you are firmly back in mirror/monkey territory.

I generally try to strike a pose that marks me out as a leader of men. This is easier with a camera than a phone as the phone invariably shows me looking sideways due to the placement of the lens. That makes me look shifty. Depending on the angle of head and camera I can also look like Mr Potato Head. Or a shifty Mr Potato Head.

I also find that I look older from one side than from the other, and serve as a terrible warning about cutting your own hair.

Having said that, if you buy cheap clippers you only need to cut it twice to be in profit. Once I qualify for senior citizen offers I may let a barber do it again as the costings will change.

I’m going to gloss over the matter of nasal hair (though I won’t be shooting from that angle again) but there can be problems with the degree of zoom and with holding the camera steady.

So that leaves this one. To be honest it looks less “leader of men” and more “pining for a decent haircut” but it’s the best I can do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Best of a bad lot

Julia says next time I pick her up from work she’s going to leave a mirror outside and see what develops.