Tag Archives: photography

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.

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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.

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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.

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Comedy carrot

 

 

Wild Guinea Pigs of Newstead Abbey

While I was in the shop yesterday Eddie showed me a picture of wild guinea pigs in Newstead Abbey country park. They seem to have moved on, or become a succulent part of the food chai,n as he hasn’t seen them since.

~The Wild Guinea Pigs Of Newstead~

 

I pasted the link but it added the picture – not sure how that happens. Clicking the photo seems to link back to the site, but I’m a bit suspiciousvof all this modern technology.

If you search for Wild Guinea Pigs of Newstead Abbey you will find his site, with many insect photos.

He’s wasted taking picures of coins for ebay.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

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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!

A Walk in the Woods

I went for a walk in the woods today and, as you can see from the header picture, I managed to get a photograph of a Nuthatch. It took some doing, I’ve discarded around 20 blurred images and another 20 photos of an empty table. They really are flighty birds.

The morning looked hopeful, with sunlight and a number of great lighting effects behind the clouds. By the time I reached Rufford Abbey the light had, of course gone. It did reappear a couple of times, mainly at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

 

There were a few other birds about but I failed in my attempts to photograph a variety of tits and waterfowl. I had been hoping to get some shots of swans, with reflections, but that was doomed by a lack of swans. There were a few of this year’s cygnets about but they didn’t come close enough for an attempt.

One of the few subjects that did benefit from the lighting was the bed of teasels. They also have the advantage of not moving much.

 

Spiders, Shopping and Dead Butterflies

A couple of days ago I noticed something fluttering in the front garden, It turned out to be the remains of a Small Tortoiseshell, enangled in a sider’s web. It was past help, but I thought I’d take a few pictures. If I ever need a picture of a dead butterfly with a spider I now have one in stock.

It was quite a cunning plan on behalf of the spider, stringing a web between the Red Valerian flowers and lying in wait for a passing pollinator. I imagine that it wou;d have preferred a nice juicy bee, but it got a butterfly. There must be plenty of food in a butterfly, but the wings are a bit of a waste.

I  tried to get some close-ups, but must have touched a web, as the spider made a rush for me, defending its lunch. In such a David and Goliath situation we were always going to have a non-traditional outcome. I was never going to fall over after taking a rock between the eyes. Fortunately the spider didn’t push its luck and, after a sneer, it went back to eating.

Moving forward to Bank Holiday Monday,  we went to the garden centre so that Julia could buy more plants. We always seem to be buying new plants. After the first half of the trip I hobbled back to the car, making much use of my walking stick, and allowed her to enjoy the centre without me holding her back. I am so noble.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with me, apart from laziness and the inability to put up with heat. I’m just a very bad husband. However, I was able to sit in a car in the shade and enjoy the breeze instead of sweating round a variety of converted polytunnels masquerading as a shop. I feel a little deception was good for my health.

Whether or not it remains good for my health if Julia reads this, we will have to see.

As I sat in the car I took a few photos. There wasn’t much to photograph, but when in doubt take a picture of things that look like a pattern. That’s why I took the pots and compost bags.  They aren’t good photos, but they look like they could be. The one with the pots would have been better if they’d been stacked on the level. Or if I’d noticed they were sloping when I took the photo.

 

It was nice day, even if it was too hot for me, and even better when we were able to drive round with the air-conditioning on.

At least we weren’t disappointed by this garden centre.

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.