Birkheads Secret Gardens ~ May 22 ~ part 2

On with the flowerfest!

Alpen Rose (rhododendron ferrugineum)
Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra,)
fake heron surrounded by Boris’s Avens (geum coccineum) (there’s a joke to be made there I think)
a rather large peony
moss phlox and garden phlox combo.
faerie
Common lilac ( syringa vulgaris)
another peony
Broom ( cytisus scoparius )
Angel’s Tears (narcissus triandrus)

They’ve managed to have a Great Crested Newt or 2 in one of the ponds. This threatened creature has suffered a massive decline and is now legally protected. It can be easily identified as it is our largest newt and the males have vivid breeding colours. Not that you can see those on my rather blurry photo, but I’m including it anyway as they are rare as rocking horse poo due to young boys back in the day hoying them out of the water and taking them home in a plastic bag, where of course they died.

Great Crested Newt (Triurus cristatus)
Not a scarecrow. (non a cucumerario formido)

So that’s the end of our flowerfest, but stay tooned for whatever comes next.

ref: https://www.birkheadssecretgardens.co.uk/

Northumberland Zoo ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Before we get to the Snow Leopards we’ll have a quick look at some other residents in the zoo.

They have Shetland Ponies, which always remind me of the wonderful books by Norman Thelwell I read as a kid.

Ponies

I’d thought these were Ostriches when I first visited, but nope, they are Greater Rheas, which are smaller, and are the largest birds in South America. They are related to ostriches and emu’s and like them, can’t fly. Seems a bit daft to me to be a bird and unable to fly, but hey ho each to his/her own.

not Ostriches.

Before the big cats arrived the only other felines at the zoo were a pair of Canadian Lynx and these proved to be quite elusive in their large enclosure as it is full of tall plants, but this day I at least got to see them sleeping.

The Canadian lynx, is a North American wild cat that ranges in forest and tundra regions across Canada and into Alaska, as well as some parts of the northern United States. Historically, the Canadian lynx ranged from Alaska across Canada and into many of the northern U.S. states. It’s a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as the bobcat at supporting its weight on the snow. The Canada lynx feeds almost exclusively on snowshoe hares; its population is highly dependent on the population of this prey animal. It will also hunt medium-sized mammals and birds if hare numbers fall.

snoozy lynx

The new arrivals now, firstly the Arctic Foxes.

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. It has a large and very fluffy tail. In the wild, most individuals do not live past their first year but some exceptional ones survive up to 11 years. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm (18 to 27 in), with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.

Arctic foxes must endure a temperature difference of up to 90–100 °C (160–180 °F) between the external environment and their internal core temperature. To prevent heat loss, the Arctic fox curls up tightly tucking its legs and head under its body and behind its furry tail. This position gives the fox the smallest surface area to volume ratio and protects the least insulated areas. Arctic foxes also stay warm by getting out of the wind and residing in their dens Although the Arctic foxes are active year-round and do not hibernate, they attempt to preserve fat by reducing their locomotor activity. They build up their fat reserves in the autumn, sometimes increasing their body weight by more than 50%. This provides greater insulation during the winter and a source of energy when food is scarce.

Natural predators of the Arctic fox are golden eagles,Arctic wolves, polar bears, wolverines, red foxes, and grizzly bears. Not many of those in Northumberland so these two can live a long life.

Foxy

FInally the Snow Leopards. These beautiful big cats are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, the global population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and is expected to decline about 10% by 2040. The snow leopard shows several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Its small rounded ears help to minimize heat loss. Its broad paws well distribute the body weight for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase the grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Its long and flexible tail helps to maintain balance in the rocky terrain. The tail is very thick due to fat storage, and is covered in a thick layer of fur, which allows the cat to use it like a blanket to protect its face when asleep.

I took so many photos I couldn’t choose which one or two to post, so I made a couple of short videos to show them off. The ladies names are Nieva and Karli.

in B&W
and in glorious technicolour

So that’s that. Next week we’ll be off to someotherwhere so stay tooned for that!

all pictures embiggenable when you clickerate them
full album with more birds, animals etc HERE.

Bolam Lake ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Following on from part 1, we’re still photographing swans, because , well you can’t have enough magnificent swan pictures really. 🙂

The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display. Both feet are paddled in unison during this display, resulting in a more jerky movement. The swans may also use the busking posture for wind-assisted transportation over several hundred meters, so-called windsurfing.

windsurfer

The mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds. In several studies from Great Britain, males (known as cobs) were found to average from about 10.6 to 11.87 kg (23.4 to 26.2 lb), with a weight range of 9.2–14.3 kg (20–32 lb) while the slightly smaller females (known as pens) averaged about 8.5 to 9.67 kg (18.7 to 21.3 lb), with a weight range of 7.6–10.6 kg (17–23 lb). The most familiar sound associated with mute swans is the vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight which is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 km (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight.

lift off

We often come across other people walking around the lake and now and again I can sneak in a people picture, in this case a little people picture’

girls

and two couples, people and swans,

two pairs

but rarely do we come across people in or on the lake, so this lot gave us a nice surprise.

The Paddle Family

they were having a grand time!

there’s always one

and swans are not the only birds at the lake though these are in a dead tree.

Dead Tree Birds

And that’s about it for Bolam Lake. Next time we’re popping around the corner to revisit St.Andrews Church so stay tooned for that!

Bolam Lake ~ October 2021~ part 1

Sophie and I were making the best of Autumn and so the weekend after visiting Belsay, we went off to look for more Autumnal colour and to see the swans et al at Bolam Lake. We last visited 4 years ago in September 2017 – ah, the good old pre-plague days! Looking back at those photo’s there was more autumn colours in September 17 than there was in Oct 21 🤷‍♀️.

Bolam lake was constructed c.1817 for Lord Decies of Bolam. John Dobson was commissioned to lay out the grounds in 1816, including the 25-acre artificial lake and woodland. Northumberland County Council purchased the lake and some of the surrounding woodland in 1972 for use as a Country Park.

Bolam Lake

The weather was a bit pants, but the swans didn’t seem to care. Bolam has a herd of Mute Swans, though they are not entirely mute, as they’ll hiss or snort if feeling threatened. But they are quiet in comparison with other types of swans, and in spite of that are quite beligerent with the male swans highly territorial. They will threaten intruders, striking an aggressive pose with wings arched over their back, before charging at them to chase them off. 

these two were quite friendly..we had birdseed 😊

There are many collective nouns for a group of swans, they can be a bevy, a gaggle, a whiteness, or a wedge, but only when in flight. Herd is OK too which suits me fine.

a bevy/gaggle/whiteness herd.

Since the 12th century, the Queen has had the right to claim ownership to all unmarked mute swans in the country swimming in open waters, and there is a traditional swan upping ceremony, an annual ceremony that has taken place for hundreds of years and takes five days. It’s held every July on the river Thames at Caversham. In the ceremony, a flotilla of Thames rowing skiffs, manned by “Swan Uppers” make their way along the river led by The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber. The cygnets are marked as being either part of the Vintners or the Dyers livery companies. This is determined by their parentage. All Crown birds are left unmarked. Although it’s a tradition it also helps with conservation. Anyway, it only happens on the Thames and the rest of the country’s Mute swans can go about their business unaware that they are Royal swans, although they always look regal, so maybe they are.

passing by

There is more to see than swans though, so let’s move on. The ground was damp, and shady so we came across a few mushrooms and fungi, I love finding ones I haven’t seen before.

not sure which type of mushroom this is, think it’s one of the Grisettes, didn’t munch on it just in case.
Orange grisette
Trametes versicolor (turkey tail )
Fomes fomentarius (Hoof fungus, Tinder bracket)
Evernia prunastri – Oakmoss Lichen

my last photo today is of a dear little dog, a collie I think, who was undergoing some training with her owner. I hope it’s a girl dog!

Dog in pink.

That’s it for this week. As you read this I’ll be driving 250 miles down south, takes about 5 hours, to visit with my son and grandson, so will be late answering comments today.

Stay tooned for next time, there’s more to see at the lake 🙂 .

all photos are embiggenable by clickeration.

365 ~ Sept 5th ~ 11th

Abbreviations you may come across during this post. AFAC~ airy fairy abstract concept. AAFP ~ annoying as F-bomb prompt. CBBP ~ completely bloody barking prompt.

This week has been all about ‘motion’. I haven’t been that successful, and have frozen motion rather than blurred it as blurring usually requires a tripod, slow shutter speed and specialised filters which I haven’t got. Anyway, on with the show!

Day 248 ~ Stream. ~ We will stretch ourselves with new skills and revisit some old ones. Photographing motion can be tricky but, with the right shutter speed and a little patience, it can also be FUN!  Adding motion to your image can help tell the story, convey an emotion, or even set the overall mood. Water makes a great subject to practice shutter speeds from streams to streaming water!  Tips: Faster shutter speeds will freeze the action and capture the details.  Use a SS of 1/250 or higher. With slower shutter speeds, movement is captured as a blur – SS of 1/60 or lower.

Water sounded a bit boring to me.

stream

Day 249 ~ Fowl. Don’t let this word limit you.  When I searched what the actual definition of fowl is I found this: “A bird, such as a chicken, duck, or dove that is raised or hunted for food. Or in scientific usage, any of various birds having large heavy bodies, short wings, and legs built for running and scratching the ground. Most fowl nest on the ground. The turkey, pheasant, quail, grouse, partridge, and chicken are fowl.” I am lucky to live near many lakes, rivers, and ponds and all throughout the year we have no shortage of fowl that can be seen on or near them. See if you can find one of these feathered friends in motion today.  You may be surprised by how many you see once you consciously watch for them!  

Well what an AAFP! What if you don’t live near lakes, rivers and ponds?? What if you’re at work all day, then cooking dinner for visiting family members and don’t have time to get to a lake??? Are all these prompt ladies retired or living off their husband’s salaries?? There was no chance I was going to find a duck swimming about on the streets of Wardley. However, it didn’t stop me photographing a ‘fowl’. Crispy aromatic duck served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and hoisin sauce. And yes, it was delicioso!

fowl

Day 250 ~ Space ~ I used space to help show movement in this photo.  I have space in front of the vehicle so that there is room in the photo for it to travel.  I used a technique called panning in attempt to capture the movement. For the perfect panning photo, use a shutter speed between 1/30 and 1/125s.  The faster the subject is moving, the higher your shutter speed needs to be.  Focus on your moving subject and pan your camera from side to side in tandem with the object as it moves through the frame.  This will cause blur in the background giving the illusion of movement. Panning is a lot of fun, give it shot! 

And another AAFP. Actually panning is not a lot of fun when you’ve been at work all day, had your dinner, then have 1/2hr to get your shot and you’re rubbish at panning. Phil didn’t fancy driving up and down our street, so we tried with a toy car that rolls forward if you pull the wheels back. I had about 50 goes before Phil headed for the whisky bottle, but it was no good as you’re supposed to have space for it to enter, not space that it’s left! So I sat upstairs looking out of the bedroom window with my pap lens on the camera, and managed to pan a magpie flying across the sky and out into space. It’s not great but it fits the prompt. Just. Not winning at panning.

space

Day 251 ~ prompt free. ~ Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure. Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in you day now feel bigger and call to be documented? Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you. Keep your eyes open and have fun!

When I got home from work and parked the car, I noticed a giant spider and web across 2 of the bushes opposite our house and thought that’d be a good one if I can get the spider to move. Didn’t go quite as planned, although he was travelling his web the slow shutter speed photo’s were a bit of a mess so I froze the action instead. That little black blob on the left is his aim, a nice juicy morsel. Anyway as I was shooting Vinnie came out and nudged the bush, which made the web wobble, which made Spidey shoot off like a bat out of hell and that made me do the same!

prompt free~ motion ~ Spidey

Day 252~ Animated. ~ The dictionary definition for animated is “full of life or excitement; lively.”  Based on this definition, nothing says animated more than a two year old…and even more so when he is being chased by his auntie!  Animation is not contained only in motion, but also in facial expressions and the “mood” conveyed by an image. Today’s photo should be full of excitement.  Your subject may be a child; but it might also be a pet, another adult, wildlife…or some other creative subject that you might conjure up.  Whatever you choose, show us a photo that is full of life!

Well this is a bit of a failure- ‘today’s photo should be full of excitement’, I don’t have kids to hand, or excitable dogs/deer/ etc. Winnie is definitely animated and excited, but not until about 9.30pm when it’s dark outside and she can leap about like a loony chasing moths. Lord Vincent is not really animated or excited about much at all, but he does love to rolly polly on the patio when the sun is out and will roll over several times and have his belly tickled too. Might not be exciting to anyone else but it is to us.

animated

Day 253 ~ Underneath. ~ How do you like to show motion? Knowing the best shutter speed is important. Remember that slow shutter speeds cause blur and fast shutter speeds stop the motion. I tend to go for a fast shutter speed, and to stop the motion. Standing underneath my brother in law as he takes a swing on the rope that we found on our walk, I managed to get a great angle to show his enjoyment. What will you find to photograph from underneath?

AAFP the third. I don’t really go about ‘showing motion’. I’m not a sports photographer or one to be shooting motor vehicles. Sigh. If I’m photographing birds or cats I stop the motion, if I can. I took my iPhone with me on a walk this morning but the only thing I could think to shoot was the stormy clouds above me.

underneath

Day 254 ~ Discovery. ~ Capturing wildlife on camera can be difficult.  They are constantly in motion and you have to be quick!  My little buddy was scurrying about quite ferociously and begging me for peanuts. When he discovered the cache I had left, I managed to capture him in motion munching on his treats.  His little body was either trembling in anticipation for his tasty snack or because another squirrel was running about and threatening to take it from him. (I am in the habit of causing “squirrel wars” with my peanut snacks!)  In order to capture wildlife in action it is best to use a high shutter speed and multiple high speed shots!  

Ah Mrs.Cocktail ~ Dress, let me down with an AFAC. Why didn’t you just call it ‘wildlife’? Do all the prompt ladies live in the Great American Outback, where the deer and the buffalo roam?? There’s precious little wildlife in urban Gateshead I have to say, other than dicky birds, and I’ve done a couple of those in other prompts. Luckily 10 minutes driving brings me to the Washington Wetland Centre where they have some Asian Shortclawed Otters, so Phil and I went off for a mini-outing and we got to see them swimming about. This one discovered a fish in the water, I think the keepers throw some dead ones in while the otters are asleep for them to discover when they get up. Anyway the blighters move so fast and even with a fast shutter speed I had a lot of misses. This one isn’t quite as sharp as I’d like but it fits the ‘discovery’ bit.

discovery

So another week done, and ‘motion’ is over. Not quite as onerous as double-exposure week was, but still a bit of a struggle. As usual I’ve learned some stuff, and I’m adding doing otter photography to my practice, I’d like to get some good ‘motion’ shots of them. Onwards then dear reader, onwards to the sodding selfie week. Deep joy. 🥴

365 ~ 4th~10th April

Well this week has been a bit of a mixed bag really. This is ‘style’ week and the style is Golden Hour. Golden Hour is the period of daytime an hour before sunset, or an hour after sunrise, when the sky is all reddened from the low angle of the sun. Of Course Golden Hour requires the sun to be in the sky, so looking at the weather forecast I knew this wouldn’t be the easiest of weeks. Let’s begin!

Day 94 ~ Nature. In photography the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset. It is also called the Magic Hour!  To me this is so appropriate for today’s prompt of nature. Nature is magic!  It may refer to living plants, geological processes, weather, animals or humans.  We are surrounded by a world of nature right outside our doorsteps.  Step outside at sunrise or sunset and see what kind of magic you can capture in nature during the golden hour. There is the chance that the weather or the hour for photography won’t suit or cooperate with you.  Not to worry!  If that should happen, show us what nature surrounds you today.

So basically do it in golden hour if you can but not if you can’t. Well I am not keen on this shilly shallying, and determined to only shoot in that period of time, which up here is from 6.13am and would require me to get up whilst still asleep, not do-able, or 7pm, which is doable, except that’s just around dinner time so adjustments had to be made. Day 94 did not have a golden hour at that time, it had the grey hour instead, so I made do with my blossom tree which has burst into action this past week or so and added a warming filter to give it a bit of a golden glow. It wasn’t very effective really as you can see how grey the sky is behind it, but here it is.

Nature

Day 95 ~ Energized. I don’t know about you, but when the golden hour turns the sky into a myriad of glorious colors it sure does energize me to grab my camera! When the sun is low in the sky, it is the perfect time of day to take advantage of backlighting your subject or trying your hand at silhouettes. When you illuminate your subject from behind, you might be surprised at details that stand out, things that might otherwise have been overlooked. No amazing sky today? No worries! This effect can also be achieved using the light from a window or open doorway to create your own backlighting. Can’t wait to see the light that energizes you today! 

That ‘Z’ is a bit mad isn’t it? and I had to stop myself from correcting the spelling, as I believe in letting people speak/write in their native tongues however incorrect they are. 😉 I had a really busy day at work and didn’t feel energised at all. Taking energetic pictures was the last thing I wanted to do. The sky was grey and moody when I got in from work so I figured I’d have my dinner and then play around with window light. But at the last minute, a break in the clouds happened and I spotted the chance to catch my eucalyptus tree engoldened. I know how the sun works on our estate, what will be lit up and when, and have spotted the gold happening before so was glad to get the picture. I didn’t bother with the backlighting or silhouette, nothing I haven’t done before, I just loved the side lighting on the tree. So I was energised in the end and chuffed with myself, this is my fave shot of the week.

Energised

Day 96 ~ Cable. Everything kind of fell into place easily for this prompt today.  We bought a fish house/camper earlier this year that has the most amazing cable system on it; and, the golden hour tonight was lovely.  Those two pieces together allowed me to capture the prompt and picture style week quite nicely. I hope you are able to find a cable today that catches your eye.  Just try to remember to use the beautiful hues of the golden hour to accentuate your subject.  I do believe you’ll also have a lovely photo to share with us today as well. 

This one annoyed me. Firstly, I didn’t know what a fish house/camper is. I googled it and found out that a fish house sells fish, but then found out a fish house camper is just like what we call a camper van, but in the USA people use camper vans to go ice fishing. I think that’s right. Here in the UK we don’t have many lakes that freeze over and require the fish to be removed so having a specifically designed camper for ice fishing is just not a thing. The USA ones come in various sizes, mostly ginormous, and cost more than my 4 bedroom house. I imagine the petrol needed to move it would power a small country for a year, so that’s annoying considering the climate thing. Also annoying is the assumption that we can all find a wonderful photogenic cable of all things. The picture she posted was like a winch with a heavy roped cable around it, and I’m thinking where the expletive deleted am I gonna find a winch in Wardley? I was moaning to Phil and he suggested electric cables and we still have a few of the old fashioned telephone cables on poles on the wrong side of the tracks of our estate. Luckily the sun was breaking through the clouds so after dinner I got in the car and drove over there to find one.

cables

Day 97 ~ What’s more refreshing than taking a stroll around a lovely pond at golden hour?  The water flows out of the fountain, hitting the pond surface with the spray lightly touching your face as you walk by…doesn’t that sound like a nice way to spend a warm evening?”Refreshing” can come in many forms such as a refreshing drink, a refreshing swim, or a refreshing change of scenery.  Taking photographs during the golden hour can be refreshing in itself.  The light falls so gently at this time of day, adding drama and texture to your photo. Show us the refreshing way you enjoy golden hour today. 

There was only grey hour this particular evening and no Missy, it wasn’t a warm evening at all, bloody freezing here this week! Refreshing swim??? In yer dreams 🙄. I had no inclination to find a pond. Also I received my new iMac today, and I had a lot to do starting with migrating everything from my old iMac to the new one. It’s an easy process as macs have a migrating assistant, and so long as both computers are on the same internet connection it’s just a matter of invoking the assistant, hitting a couple of keys, and hey presto, a couple of hours later it’s done. So I had a refreshing glass of wine whilst I was setting it up, and as it was in the golden hour timescale, put my golden faced clock next to it. I’m winning at golden!

refreshing

Day 98 ~ Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure.Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in YOUR day now feel bigger and call to be documented?Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you.

I usually use a cat for prompt free days, but today I’ve been busy resetting my old iMac to default so Phil can have it, then resetting his old one so we can give it to a grandkid. My old iMac has been with me since 2012, 9 years now and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just too slow now for the size of the photography programs I use, but will be fine for Phil. The one he’s been using is a smaller iMac that I got in 2008 and gave him when I upgraded last time. It still works too, 13 years and still going strong. They may be top end price wise but at least they don’t conk out after 4 or 5 years. I don’t expect I’ll ever need another, but who knows. So meet the new boss, same as the old boss,but with upgraded internally stuff. Full disclosure, it was a miserable, bloody cold grey hour yet again, so the golden hour look is fake. *hangs head in shame*. 🤪

iMac in (fake) golden hour.

Day 99 ~ Authentic. I have spent many years trying to figure out what my personal style is when it comes to photography.  In a nutshell, I have come to the conclusion that I like authenticity in my images.  I like them to reflect true and meaningful moments in life.  I think that puts me in the category of lifestyle and documentary photographer.  What this means to me is that I don’t generally set up my shots.  I don’t edit out imperfections.  And, I don’t always shoot at “the best time of day.”  My intellectual self knows that shooting during the golden hour makes for gorgeous photos, but the realist in me also knows that a lot of life’s stories take place in the other twenty-three of hours each day.  And those stories need to be captured, even if done so in less than ideal circumstances.  Think about what creates authenticity in YOUR photos.  Capture that today.  If it happens during the golden hour, yay!  If not, shoot anyway.

A woman after my own heart. So this basically means shoot what you want when you like, sod the challenge. Another prompt free day in other words. Maybe she just couldn’t think of anything prescriptive. I had of course decided it was shoot the cats time, but just as I was considering that Phil called me to the conservatory as Lucy the hedgehog had turned up again. She’s been 3 times now during the day, but also turns up at night, as we see her on the wildlife camera. We are figuring her body clock is way off. Also she’s a lot smaller than the others that visit at night so maybe she’s trying to eat herself bigger and needs to do it more often. Anyway she seems fit and healthy, eats and drinks well and runs around pretty nimbly. She is definitely an authentic Hedgehog and not a copy.

Authentic Lucy

Day 100 ~Shine. By taking photos on a regular basis you learn when the best light of the day is for you.  I love it when the sun is shining and everything has a soft glow during golden hour.  I am better at taking the photos in the evening, I am not a person that gets up early enough to see the sunrise most mornings at this time of year. By using the golden hour to take a photo of my magnolia tree, I am making the bud shine. What can you find to shine today at golden hour?

Nothing. That’s what I can find shining in golden hour because bliddy golden hour is bliddy grey. Again. But although no lovely shafts of sunlight came my way, I noticed that it still lit up the higher clouds, the white ones toodling along higher up than the grey blanket in the lower sky. I could see their reflection on the back of my car so thought that looked a bit shiney. Works for me anyway.

Shine

And that is the end of Golden Hour/Grey Hour week. Only 2 shots out of the seven were in a proper golden hour, and the rest I had to fudge, but at least they were taken when golden hour should have been gold. I suppose I could have got up at 5 am and done a morning golden hour thing, but that was never going to happen, and even if I had it would still have been grey more than gold. So a challenging week, but stay tooned for next week, adventures in colour. I think colour week is becoming my favourite week!

365 ~ 21st ~ 27th March

The briefs for this week-

Day 80 ~ Perceptive.This week we will be exploring the many angles from which we can photograph the same subject.  The angle we choose depends on which details of the story we want to be most prominent in our image.  What do we want the viewer to notice first?  What feeling do we want to evoke?  Are there details we wish to downplay?  Do we want to tell the whole story?  Do we want the viewer to figure out what is going on?  As you choose the subject of your photo today, think about the story you wish to tell.  Shoot from several different angles.  Which angle best conveys your perception of the scene?

I kind of think perceptive wasn’t quite the right word, and perspective would have fit better for ‘different angles’, but I’m not the boss so I ignored that bit and shot my plant here from different angles, then chose the one I like best. This little plant is amazing,  drosera capensis secretes a sticky ball of fluid at the end of each spine on it’s leaves, which attracts little insects. The insects come to drink, get stuck, and the leaf slowly curls over the fly and absorbs it. I have one next to my orchid, as orchids tend to attract tiny flies, and it works a treat.

Perceptive

Day 81 ~ Sidewalk. I had to look up the word ‘sidewalk’ to make sure I understood what it was, as we don’t have sidewalks here in Europe.  We have pavements. Whilst out and about today, try to look down and see what you find.  You will be surprised by what you can find to photograph.

I did know what a sidewalk was as I am a world traveller and watch American movies. Anyway, this day was a Monday and me at work all day. We don’t have pavements where I work, but on my way home I drive through a little villagey place called Earsden, and they decorate their pavements with big tubs of flowers. I think they are quite posh in Earsden. They also put flowers around the bus stops next to the pavements, so I pulled up the car and took a shot from low down.

Sidewalk

Day 82 ~ Prompt free day. Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure.Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in you day now feel bigger and call to be documented?Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you.

I am quite glad when prompt free day falls on a work day as it was this Tuesday. It means I can just apply my default position ~ ‘when all else fails, shoot the cat’. This is Vincent, or Vinnie as we call him. He’s a very big but very placid boy, which is just as well considering his lunatic sister is a handful.

Lord Vincent.

Day 83 ~ Marble. I once read that to boost your creativity, instead of buying new equipment you should buy a step ladder and knee pads…reminding us sometimes it is not about the equipment but the placement of it. So today, let’s place our camera on the ground and take a photograph from the Ant’s Point of View! I promise you will gain a whole new perspective from this angle! p.s. this is where those kneepads come into play! 

Of course I already did the ground placement thing with Vinnie, but I don’t think it matters. The marble bit confused me, but my pal Connie who is also on this journey (and the inspiration for me doing it ~ I still haven’t forgiven her 🤣) thought it’s because you get down on your knees to play marbles. This reminded me that I have some marbles in a jar in the kitchen, so I got them outside and had a little play and shoot session in the garden.

marble

Day 84 ~ 3 o’clock.We are going to use a “normal” angle today because most of us find ourselves in a sitting position around 3:00 in the afternoon. Where are you sitting at 3:00 today? If it helps you to remember to take a photo at this time, set an alarm in your phone when you read your email. It doesn’t have to be exactly 3:00 on the dot – capturing your 3:00 could be anytime within the 3:00 hour. If you have a clock to show the time, that’s even better. 

Can’t see the point of it being 3 o’clock and then not being exactly 3 o’clock. I suppose it lets off all the numpties who don’t set an alarm and forget ~ really? You’re doing a project everyday, how can you forget??? Anyway I wasn’t a numpty and took my shot on the dot of 3. I was watching a video by photographer Sean Tucker who has an amazing perspective on photography and life in general.

3 o’clock

Day 85 ~ Depth. Depth can be defined as the distance from top to bottom or the quality of being intense or extreme.  We use depth a lot in our photos.  It makes them come to life and adds interest to them.  Using a different angle when you shoot is also a great way to add interest to your photo. Depth can be interpreted in many ways; the depth of a colour; the depth of an emotion or depth through distance.  Show us how you choose to interpret depth in your photo today.  Remember to look up, you never know what you might find!  

Well y’all know how literal minded I am, I hear ‘depth’ I see a lake/sea/ocean. Also looking up doesn’t give you depth so much as height I think, but hey-ho, each to his/her own. So I toddled off on a windy day to the secret lake. It’s been a couple of years since I went there. It’s on the way to my usual nature reserve, you can just see it through the hedgrows if you know it’s there, and it’s fenced off as it was once an old mining quarry and presumably not safe. But you can’t keep kids from finding a way in, nor pesky photographers 😊. It was cool to see a swan has taken up residence there, probably one of the offspring from the pair in the nature reserve. He came all the way across the lake to see what I was up to, and allowed me to take his photo.

depth

Day 86 ~ Vibrant. When I think of vibrant, I think of bright and striking color. Color with a lot of depth. This week has been about angles and perspective. Think about what you can photograph from the back that might make it more interesting. When you photograph a subject, think about exercising your creative muscle.How can you photograph something from the back that will really make it interesting. What details do you want to capture. Don’t forget to look for vibrant colors.

This is the embroidery on the back of a kimono I got from somewhere back in the day. Works for me.

That’s the end of the different angles week, and next week is the first week of a new month so we are back to doing sodding selfies self ~ portraits, deep joy. 🥴

Washington Wetland Center – October 2019

After we’d visited NELSAM we still had a couple of hours of daylight so decided to visit WWT Washington Wetland Centre as it was only up the road from the museum and is always good for birds and otters.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust started out in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and was set up by Sir Peter Scott, (son of Scott of the Antarctic).  Peter became an Olympic sailing medallist and a well-known painter and broadcaster. He created the IUCN red list which measures whether species are threatened or endangered. He was the founding chair of WWF – and even drew their famous panda logo.

The Trust is all about conservation of endangered species, and their mission is to save critically endangered species from extinction, work with communities around the world who depend on wetlands and inspire people to take care of nature.

There are 9 WWT’s across the UK and we are lucky enough to have one near Sunderland. I’ve done a few posts on this blog from the WWT but there’s always something new to see.

I think this is Purplepore Bracket (Trichaptum abietinum) fungus.

There is a pair of Black Swans at Washington, they have white wing tips and red bills with a white stripe on them.

Black Swan

Fun guys

We were very excited to see a kingfisher, as neither off us had seen one in the flesh before

Kingfisher

Kingfisher with fish catch

Further up in that part of the lake a heron was also fishing

We went to see the asian short clawed otters at feeding time

It is a member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and is the smallest otter species in the world. Its paws are a distinctive feature; its claws do not extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This gives it a high degree of manual dexterity so that it can use its paws to feed on molluscs, crabs and other small aquatic animals. The Asian small-clawed otter inhabits mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands in South and Southeast Asia. It lives in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding; offspring from previous years help to raise the young. Due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution, and hunting in some areas, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

The breeding programme at Washington is very successful and when the litters of the main pair grow up they are sent to other wetlands to diversify the gene pool.

Then we went to see the flamingos, my faves, but walked past the geese first,

telling off, & not listening 🙂

Mr.Pink

Beady Eye

The weather was deteriorating at this point so that was the end of our day out, but stay tooned to see where we end up next time!

all pics are clickable to embiggen.

Full album HERE

Wallington ~October 2018 ~ part 2

part 1 HERE

After wandering around the walled garden (see part 1) we then went into the large conservatory and took some photos of the flowers and bits and bobs.

large purple plant

 

large purple plants flowers.

there were a few different types of Fuschia

 

 

the glass house is definitely full of flowery goodness

 

Basking.

A nice detail set into the wall

“When wearied and overwrought by study or affairs of business, repair to these haunts and refresh your mind by a stroll amidst the flowers”

We left the glass-house and had a wander up to the bird feeding station

a lucky day!

 

 

It was nearing lunchtime for us too, so we walked back up to the house, past the lake and boat shed

 

A heron took flight out of the reeds whilst we were shooting and I managed a half decent shot

 

Stay tooned for when we visit inside the house!