Tag Archives: photography

Shipwrecks, Spiders and Sweethearts

What a literary shop we are.

One shop assistant used to publish photos widely as Eddie the Bugman. Whatever I say about his inability to keep his hands off my stationery, there’s no doubting that the “genius” tag applied by several people is well-deserved. Unfortunately he’s stopped doing it at the moment.

The other shop assistant is of course, a slightly known blogger and poet of niche forms that most people have to look up, such as haibun and clerihews.

Finally, we have the proprietor, a man who once won an award for his article on serial numbers on Bank of England banknotes. In case you are suffering from insomnia I can reveal he’s recently been back to the archives and another sleep-inducing slab of text on early serial numbers is in progress.

Don’t worry, I’m not being hypocritical here, I’m actually less subtle when discussing them when he’s listening.

Fortunately he redeems himself with the odd article about medallions, numismatic curiosities and, in this month’s Coin News, an article about the shipwreck coins of the little known SS Elingamite. As a result of the article and, of course, this blog, it’s now better known.

The coin that started his search was from the childhood accumulation of an Australian, and it has the ship’s name and the date of the wreck engraved on it. When I find my photos I will show you.

In the meantime, the header picture is stamps and the others are a sweetheart brooch I bough off eBay last week – it’s the central part of the 56 Squadron Crest – the squadron Albert Ball and many others flew in, though the hallmarks are late WW2 period so Ball was long dead by that time. It’s smaller than the photos suggest, only about an inch wide.

Sweetheart Brooch 56 Squadron RAF

Sweetheart Brooch 56 Squadron RAF

Hallmark 56 Squadron RAF sweetheart

Hallmark 56 Squadron RAF sweetheart

Hallmarks are for Birmingham 1944 and the maker is Thomas Fattorini. You could write a book about the Fattorini family, but I will resist the temptation.

One for Tootlepedal

As requested by Tootlepedal, here is the picture I took of a long-tailed tit yesterday. They flit through the treetops, squeaking to each other and never settling long in one spot. I didn’t have my big camera with me and the one I did have was set for flowers in close-up so it is a very bad shot. I put it here just to show that long-tailed tits, though beautiful birds, are not easy to photograph. I will then add, if I can find them, a few more shots taken over the years which are slightly better.

Poor shot of a long-tailed tit

Poor shot of a long-tailed tit

Even the miracle of modern photo editing can’t make this into anything but a comedic failure. Small equipment allied to poor technique do not produce good results, as Julia has often mentioned.

I don’t seem to be doing too well finding the shots of long-tailed tits, though I know I have a few. Try these instead. Here’s one from  The Marmalade Police and other stories…

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I will look for more tonight but I have to go to work now – packing parcels and answering phone calls from people who are about to have their dreams shattered.

Number One son is back from his raid on Leeds. He has fixed up a flat and done his first job interview but is bemoaning the fact that he might have to take a boring job. I didn’t like to explain that this is normal. The job openings for International Playboys and Unicorn Trainers are very limited.

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!