Tag Archives: photography

On the Way to Work

It was a blood testing day today. I went down for 7.30, missing the initial rush, and found myself third in the queue. Just minutes later I was in the chair, bled in seconds and was out of the car park so quickly there was no need to pay.

After that I picked Julia up, dropped her at work and was at the shop for 9.30. Keen or what?

We had 20 parcels to pack and after a brief pause to eat my marmalade sandwich (I don’t like to eat before the blood test) I set to work.

“A prudent bear always carries a spare marmalade sandwich tucked under his hat in case of emergencies.”

Paddington Bear

I sent a parcel to Slovenia today, which is a personal first, and another to Hawaii, which is a first for the shop. Last week I sent a parcel with a ZIP code of 90210. I’d been close a few weeks ago with 90211 but today I landed right on it. It’s little things like this that keep me happy during the day. I looked the areas up on Google, and it makes me feel quite exotic for the rest of the day.

That was as good as it got. I had the afternoon off, pottered about, listened to the radio as I drove up to Clumber Park, decided not to bother with Clumber Park as the light had gone…

It wasn’t, to be honest, much of an afternoon.

The photographs were taken while we were stuck in traffic on the way to work. We could do much in the way of composition but the colour was nice. There have been better mornings for colour, but not one where we had the camera out and a queue of stopped traffic. Then, being cocky, I took one of a reflection.

Reflected sunrise, Nottingham

Reflected sunrise, Nottingham

 

Christmas and Humbuggery…

Pre-dawn on Sunday found me, as usual, sitting in a car park waiting for Number Two Son to finish work. When he’s off in Canada squandering his cash on Youth Hostels and check shirts it will all seem worthwhile.

For the seconf week in a row the Pied Wagtails didn’t appear. Like all sensible beings they are obviously keen on sleeping until the last possible moment.

You see some interesting vans, but is that a spelling mistake? Oh yes, it is.

You see some interesting vans, but is that a spelling mistake? Oh yes, it is

By this time I had already been lost in Nottingham doing Julia a favour (giving one of her workmates a lift to work) because if you are getting up at 5am why not make it 4.45 so you can really deprive yourself of sleep? Sat Navs are OK, but in an unlit street in the pitch black of a winter morning it can be quite tricky being told you are there when you aren’t. My fault, I should have used the address instead of the postcode. Or I should have used a map and torch – they worked for years before we had satnavs.

At the moment I miss the sunrise, for photographic purposes, as we’re driving back as it takes hold. I’m hoping for better things in a month or so, when I may be able to get a few shots from the car park or somewhere similar.

Castle Donnington Services - a hint of dawn as exaggerated by the camera

Castle Donnington Services – a hint of dawn as exaggerated by the camera

As we drove home down a parking deprived stretch of dual carriageway we had the sight of the sky to our right coming to life with salmon pink light, silhouettes of trees and pylons, and breathtaking cloudscapes.

To our left the power station gleamed in shades of grey and silver against a backdrop of night sky.

We seemed to be driving down the junction of day and night.

Very strange, very memorable and very frustrating I couldn’t photograph it.

It was also very tempting to use words like cupola, but I didn’t. Some words are best left to Victorian poets and architects.

The rest of my day so far has consisted of reading WordPress, washing up and procrastinating.  But mainly I have been avoiding thoughts of Christmas.

All that time, all that money and all that hope squandered on a couple of days that will do nothing to help refugees, global warming or my knees.

Scrooge, you say?

Bah! Humbug!

On a lighter note, I just did an internet-based quiz to check on my actual mental age, and find that due to my cautious optimism, life experience and forward-looking attitude I am a “Young Adult”. This, I feel, says more about internet-based quizzes and self-deception than it does about my mental age.

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.