Tag Archives: photography

Desert Island Blogs

Based on Desert Island Discs – I will be selecting 8 blogs to read on a desert island plus a book and luxury item.

Opening music.

First off, johnknifton.com. Eclectic is a good word for this blog which can cover a vast range of subjects over a space of days – slavery, bombers in WW2, true crime, Nottingham history, executions, Nottingham High School, football, birds and Nazis all feature. I’ve just spent most of the day catching up with his last few posts and following various avenues of research suggested by the reading. Some of these posts open up a whole new world, make sure you have the time to take it all in.

This is one for when you want to sit down and ponder the ways of the world, to the sound of the lapping waves as you drink from your coconut and sit under an umbrella made from palm fronds. (I’m assuming this is going to be a proper tropical island rather than an island off the west coast of Scotland).

Next, Ramblings by derrickjknight. He looks like an amiable sort when you see his picture, all twinkling eyes and avuncular whiskers, but when the time is right he can be merciless in dealing with things that displease him, which are generally things that displease me too.

As a setter of crosswords he’s quite capable of slipping the odd pun, so you need to keep your wits about you when reading.

With an excellent garden and an endless supply of nutritious meals provided by the admirable Head Gardener he would be the blog to turn to when I wanted to think of home.

Number three, and the final selection for today – Tootlepedal, of Tootlepedal’s Blog. From the Scottish borders he posts a huge selection of bird, bee, butterfly and flower photographs and still finds time to cycle immense distances, sing, cook, eat treacle scones, visit family and take (more) pictures of landscapes, livestock, churches and bridges. I’ve had to miss a few things out as there isn’t room. Yes, he’s that busy.

Something I’ve noticed about his blogs is that it’s nearly always sunny, and his garden seems to be weeks ahead of ours despite being further north. I’m starting to think this is some sort of Blandings Castle effect. Have you ever noticed that it’s always summer at Blandings?

I keep my eyes open bit so far I’ve seen no sign of a pig in the garden.

This would be the motivational reading for the island – you can’t read about Tootlepedal’s day without feeling inspired to do more work.

That’s it for now, there will be three more next time and two more plus the luxury items in the last one. Don’t worry if you haven’t been included so far, there’s time yet…

Fifty minutes

This morning I dropped Julia at work and, fifty minutes later, was back at home.

In the garden I listened to the faulty strimmer and revealed a basic difference between the sexes, before taking some more flower photos.

Julia has many talents. She could probably, if her ambition lay in that direction, do a better job of running the country than Theresa May. I, on the other hand, have to plan in advance just to get my socks on. However, when called upon to diagnose the problem with the strimmer in the Mencap garden, I was able to spot the problem straight away.

I’m not an expert on strimmers but I could spot that the high-pitched grinding sound was a bad sign.

To be fair, Julia, who is completely deaf to the sound of mechanical agony, doesn’t need to know this as she has me for all that technical stuff.

I, in turn, use a mower shop for repairs as my efforts usually end up with a puzzled look and a tin of leftover bits.

Most of the rest of the journey home involved traffic and queues. One hold up was caused by an ambulance parked across the road as the crew treated a man lying on the road. I took some photos as we waited because  I had the camera handy.

I could see his feet moving so I didn’t feel too intrusive. Anyway, there were a lot of people hanging round so I wasn’t the only voyeur. As I drove past, I noted he was wearing a helmet and a bicycle was propped up against a tree. That is the price of reducing traffic and pollution.

I’m happy to report that he seemed quite lively, and hope he wasn’t badly hurt.

There is a question, though, about the ethics of taking pictures of accidents. There’s a long tradition of postcards showing various disasters including train crashes, mining disasters and fires, but does that make it right?

Is the picture journalism, local history or just intrusive?

It took me back 40 years to a Sunday lunchtime (the accident, not the photography) when the driver of a red Austin Maxi overtook me on my Vespa 200 (yes, I had a scooter at one time) and pulled over before passing me properly. Result – me in gutter with the knee injury that still bothers me today.

Accident on Woodborough Road , Nottingham

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It’s amazing what you can pack into less than an hour.

 

Partridges, Photographs and Pheasants

After dropping Julia off at work (she works at one of the few centres in Nottingham that wasn’t closed today) I went to look for a sunrise. There was a small one, but as I chased it down it became duller, smaller and less impressive, so I didn’t bother.

I did manage to get a picture of a Red-legged Partridge in front of a backdrop of oilseed rape.

In some ways it’s a picture of all that’s wrong with modern farming – a non-native gamebird against a background of monoculture. As it’s the only decent photograph I’ve taken in the last seven days I’m not going to dwell on that thought. It’s a sign that I’m getting better and have now recovered enough brain power to spare some for photography.

I accidentally photographed a pheasant and missed a hare too.

I spent most of the rest of the day back in bed sleeping (I’m still convalescing, after all) and when I finally got up Number One Son made me an excellent beef and horseradish sandwich using meat left over from tea last night.

We aren’t popular: it seems Julia had earmarked that for tomorrow night’s tea.

If you think I’m unpopular now wait and see what happens when she examines the biscuit barrel.

Tree, rapeseed and a pheasant

Can you see the pheasant?

A Few More Kites

Just a few more photographs of the Kites – I finally found the energy to crop a few into respectability.

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Red Kites at Gigrin Farm

We may call them Red, and from a distance they may look brown like a Buzzard, but in fact they are a stunning combination of grey, black and red-brown, with some looking quite different to others when you see them side by side.

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Red Kite with wing tags

It looks like this one has a wing tag on, which will be colour-coded and numbered. The “proper” photographer in the hide managed to read the number off the tag, but he had much more impressive equipment than I do. I can barely see the tag.

Light blue on the right wing indicates a bird from the Irish Republic.

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Red Kite in Wales

Sorry they aren’t better shots,. I’ve taken steps to rectify the problems with my photographic situation, but I’ve been disappointed by the Lottery before so I’m not going to hold my breath.

Sandsend – an Old-Fashioned Resort

We went to Sandsend last Saturday. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s an old-fashioned sort of place just north of Whitby, with a couple of cafes, some car parks, hotels, toilets and probably some pubs (though I’ve never really noticed as I’m usually too busy looking at the road and avoiding caravans). It also has a small river, cliffs, a great beach and wonderful views.

Yes,I know what you are thinking, as a reviewer of travel destinations I leave something to be desired.

It wasn’t originally part of the plan, but Whitby had been rammed with cars when we tried to find a parking space so we drove north. That’s the problem with travelling to the coast on the first nice Saturday in Spring – everyone else decides to do the same thing. We’d known that when we set off, and the queues around York (which seems to be at least 50% retail outlets these days) had confirmed the presence of large numbers of cars.

We weren’t able to get into the cafe by the beach, where I used to eat Yorkshire Curd tart. We haven’t been for a few years, and the cafe has been done up, so they might not even serve curd tart any more. That’s the trouble with time – you look back at something you used to do regularly and find it was ten years ago. I like curd tart, but as with liver and bread and butter pudding, which I also like,  I find out I can live without it for years at a time.

It’s not that I go short of food (far from it!) but there’s so much food and so little time.

People were fishing from one of the car parks, which seemed a good way of securing a supply of fresh fish, though experience with a rod suggests it’s actually a good way of wasting a day. Even without fish, it’s a good way to get out into the open air.

There seemed to be a camera club about, as small groups of people with cameras were wandering about taking pictures of an ancient mounting block. I took photographs of Herring Gulls, Starlings and Pied Wagtails on the chimney pots of the hotel. Each to his own I suppose.

Finally, there was a microlight that flew across the bay a couple of times, even landing on the beach after the first pass, which seemed a bit dangerous. The engine note had sounded a bit ropey as he approached, but I’m not sure why he needed to land as he didn’t seem to have any time to fix anything whilst on the ground. Maybe he just wanted to expose beach users to heavy machinery and a moving propellor.

After ice creams we looped back to Whitby, but I’ll leave that until later.

The Best of Times… etc

Yesterday was, as I said yesterday, a good day.

It was also, which I didn’t say, a bad day at times. I generally try not to mention the bad times unless I can see humour in them, as I don’t want to depress readers or transfer my real life reputation for moaning to my blogging life.

That’s why I didn’t mention the Gregg’s breakfast at the M18 Services. It featured an idiot, filthy tables and ketchup. I could have dealt with the idiot and the filthy tables, but I asked for brown sauce. If I’d wanted ketchup I would have asked for it. And the day I ask for ketchup in a bacon sandwich will be the day we see Satan wearing ice skates.

In the afternoon I hit a wooden post in a car park.

It wasn’t easy. First I had to reverse past it without either seeing it or hitting it, then I had to pull forwards and damage the door and wing in one easy motion. Two months ago someone scraped the car while it was parked and three weeks ago a bus clipped my mirror and took the cover off it. I’m hoping that bad things really do, as my mother used to say, come in threes.

As I took the final photos at Bempton my camera card filled up. I cleaned a few off and managed to get all the photos I wanted. After fitting the other card I took some shots in Whitby, including a Cormorant, a Redshank and eight Pied Wagtails at the side of the harbour. I also had a go with some of the camera settings taking shots of the Abbey and churchyard.  You could almost see Dracula. Some of them were really good shots, as were some of the shots of fishing gear. I was quite pleased with them.

Unfortunately you’ll have to take my word for it. After viewing that card I put the other one in the computer to load shots for the blog.

Twenty four hours later I still can’t find it or remember where I put it. Nor can I think of anything else to write about.

So, as I say, borrowing heavily from Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Tomorrow I may find the missing card, but if I don’t I hope to find some inspiration.

Under Fenland Skies

We went for a trip into the Fens today. There’s not much to see apart from black soil and big skies with a few scattered houses (that always seem to need some paint or a repair to the fence).

Actually that’s not really fair. They have large agricultural buildings, reeds growing in roadside ditches and a lot of history.

I would be happy to move back, as they are actually more interesting than any town in the Midlands. The Fens are an example of what we do to the world. First we drained them, then we watched them dry out and blow away. The ground level is currently around four metres lower than it was in 1850.

Mainly they have big skies. I’ll leave you with a few photos for now. They would have been better if there had been some foreground interest like wind turbines or pylons but there was nowhere to park so I took what I could. With long straight roads and thundering lorries you need to park safely.