Catching the Light ~ Menai Strait In Winter

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This week Amy at Lens-Artists has set us a fine task – the pursuit of natural light. It’s one of the aspects of photography that fascinates me most; especially when it’s in short supply. Anyway, I instantly thought of the strange light effects that happen across the Menai Strait between the North Wales coast and the island of Anglesey, caught here during various December sojourns on the island. All the views are looking towards the Welsh mainland and Snowdonia.

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Lens-Artists: Natural Light

Pose Perfect

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This week Lisa at Our Eyes Open  asks to see photos of birds we love. To be honest pheasants are  not a favourite, though their plumage is certainly magnificent. What I love about this pheasant is that he stopped to pose by the Sweet William. It shows him off so very nicely, don’t you think. After that I wasn’t too keen on him, and reverted to grumpy gardener mode. The photo was taken near my allotment plot and I didn’t need him nibbling and pecking among my veggies.

Bird Weekly

The Changing Seasons: December 2020

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Here are some of the many photos taken in the last few days in my various spheres of activity. First: snow scenes in the Linden Field.

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And in and out the garden, over the garden fence:

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And up at the allotment and surrounding vistas:

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And finally my Happy New Year photo: all the very best to everyone in 2021.

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The Changing Seasons: December 2020

 

More About Outline Than Content

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This week Jude at Travel Words truly set us a photo challenge:

“find an object where its outline is more dominant than its three dimensional qualities, you need to approach your photograph with an eye for shape rather than form.”

She also provided a very striking photo for guidance. I then returned to the words, thought I understood them, but as I looked through my own photos began to wonder if I actually did. So after a backtrack to Travel Words to see how others had responded, these are the photos I came up with. The header tulips are anyway worth including simply for their ‘look-at-me’ factor. Also if you’ve forgotten to plant your tulip bulbs (in the UK anyway), there’s still time to do it in December.

The next photos are all from Kalamata: remembrance of sojourns past and other Greek reflections across the Gulf of Messenia.

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2020 Photo Challenge

Season Of Leaves

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As a Halloween ‘babe’ (I use the term retrospectively) one might expect a new broomstick for one’s birthday (and actually a good old fashioned witches’ besom would be quite useful) but this year I received a very smart leaf rake – pale ash handle topped by the most elegant splay of shiny stainless steel tines. In fact the new rake is so artily attractive, I was rather  reluctant to take it up to the allotment.

But then yesterday, it being sunnily fine after recent gales and deluges, and with signs of copious leaf fall everywhere, the need to gather the makings for next year’s leaf mould overcame me. Armed with two big bags and rake I set off across the field, intent on making a start on clearing the lane beside the allotment where, the day before, I had swished through a sea of field maple leaves.

And then just as I was leaving the house I grabbed the camera too, switched it to monochrome mode. I remembered that Jude at Travel Words had set us a photo assignment to look for patterns in black and white. So here are the results of killing two birds with one stone. I also have two very full leaf ‘silos’ on my allotment plot.

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2020 Photo Challenge #44  Jude gives us lots of pointers and some striking examples of black and white composition.

Frosted Ferns

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Part of me wants the frost to hold off. Part of me would welcome some frigid temperatures in the parsnip bed so we can start eating them. But mostly I hope the winter cold will save itself for January. This photo was taken a couple of years ago, maybe three. It was early December and we were spending a few days in Hay on Wye, the world capital of second hand books. It was only an hour and half drive from Wenlock and we set off in mild, don’t-need-a-coat weather. By the time we arrived, a heavy Arctic chill  had descended on the land. You could have sworn that the Snow Queen had just whisked through the Welsh Marches, or that we’d somehow stepped through one of the wardrobes in Hay’s many vintage shops and pitched up in Narnia. Any too-long exposed flesh tingled painfully, as if one had nicked one’s finger ends and drawn blood. Serial stops for hot chocolate were called for, and it was hard to leave the town’s many welcoming, if steamy cafes, for a trawl around the catacomb-like book stores. Anyway, we survived, and this photo of crisply frozen ferns, captured as we headed home, is a good reminder of that trip. It has its own magic.

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Nature’s Patterns

Dear John ~ A Household Treasure

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We see it every day. Or do we? Do we actually see, as in look and engage? We certainly pass by it night and morning and at times in between. It hangs on the bedroom wall, beside the spiral staircase, this portrait of John Lennon by stellar photographer and photojournalist, Jane Bown. And how do we come to have this particular treasure?

From 1949 and over the next 6 decades Jane Bown (1925-2014) was the The Observer newspaper’s photographer (The Observer being the sister Sunday paper of The Guardian weekly i.e in the days before its 2008 sell-off). Some time in the early 2000s, not long after we had repatriated ourselves after eight years in Kenya and Zambia, and were living in Kent, The Guardian offices in Farringdon Road, London, announced it was having a small exhibition of Bown’s work, not only portraits but also the chance to look at the contact sheets from particular shoots. There would also be the opportunity to  buy one of the limited edition reprints. So: one Saturday morning we took ourselves off to the capital by train, not a small event for two dislocated souls not then caught up with the way things worked in the home nation.

The key thing about Jane Bown’s work is she always used natural light – never deploying flash or even using a light meter.

Famously reluctant to talk about her working method, Jane once admitted that for the brief moment when she looked at somebody through a lens, what she felt could best be described in terms of an intense love.

Quote from the Guardian Print Shop site.

But to go back to the earlier question of how far we engage with the objects we surround ourselves with. Doubtless many have sentimental attachments – gifts, mementos, inherited items from loved ones; some are domestic tools, artefacts for cooking, home maintenance, cleaning, eating, and therefore deemed essential; others are specially acquired assemblages: dolls, snow globes, china pigs, model cars, snuff boxes, original art, books, orchids: stuff. Of course, given the quantity of possessions most of us house, if we gave due consideration to each and every one of them each day there would be no time to do anything else. There could be an element of the King Midas curse in this?

And the portrait of John Lennon? There is no doubting that when his presence is fully acknowledged, the times I stop and behold, he does feel like a presence. The keenness of gaze is almost too poignant. I start wondering what he might say to us now – in these times ‘of lies, damn lies, and statistics’. I’m thinking he might tell us to WAKE UP!

You can see more of Jane Bown’s magnificent work HERE,  HERE and HERE.

 

Lens-Artists: Everyday objects

Bringing Up The Rear ~ That Would Be Me

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Walled Garden, Attingham Park

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He who lives my house has a habit of walking into my shots so I have quite a file of Graham-from-behind photos. I rather like this one though, mainly because the truncated wintery view of the walled garden probably wouldn’t have added up to much if he hadn’t stopped for a moment’s contemplation.

Here are some more ‘back’ views come upon during Farrell expeditions around Much Wenlock:

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The path from Wenlock Edge behind the house

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Field path to Bradley Farm

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The lane behind Wenlock Priory

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The Linden Walk with passing speed-walker

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On Wenlock Edge looking towards Ironbridge Power Station

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A ‘now what’s she doing look’ on the old railway line

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: the back of things

Square Perspective #24