Every Little Thing

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Out on the line – an unexpectedly good drying day in February

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This week at Lens-Artists, Amy asks us to show her things that make us smile. So here are some of the happenstance little-big things that, at various times, have caught my eye or otherwise brightened my day:

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A neat little cloud traversing Townsend Meadow

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Finding I’d grown a rather good cauliflower at the allotment

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Spotted in the garden sage bush

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Spring sun-catchers: crab apple flowers…

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…that in autumn become perfect tiny apples

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The Linden Walk in full summer leafiness

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Lens-Artists: Every Little Thing

Dads And Lads At The Severn Valley Railway

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This week Cee wants to see tender moments. Here are some that caught my eye on a couple of visits to Shropshire’s Severn Valley Railway.

They make me wonder too: young dads sharing their passion for steam trains; little lads not quite big enough to be sure. Which is also touching.

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And quite another take on the topic…

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A case of sore feet and

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a tender behind… (I know, it’s an old joke)

*tender = coal wagon

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Tender Moments

Framed In All Seasons On Windmill Hill

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A Don’t Look Now moment? Who is that small, retreating turquoise person?

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This week’s Lens-Artists’ challenge is from Tina. She asks us to think about ‘the rule of thirds’ in our photo compositions. Please go and see her very striking photo gallery (link at the end). As for me, I thought I’d feature some of my too many Windmill Hill photos. It’s the place where I go to play with my camera.

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June is orchid time, mostly pyramidal (above) and spotted, and  a small population of tiny bee orchids which are very hard to find (below)

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The grassland on the Windmill Hill is a rare survival – a traditional limestone meadow: clover red and white, bedstraw, orchids, agrimony, ragwort to name a few of its summer floral inhabitants.

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A profusion of Lady’s Bedstraw. Its subtle fragrance is delicious.

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After the flowers, a host of grass species

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A seat in winter

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Girls just wanting to miss netball practice

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Little ponies once used to graze the hill in autumn

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Early spring Cuckoo Pint

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Blizzard!

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Lens-Artists: rule of thirds

Corvedale In Late April

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Driving up and out of Wenlock yesterday and suddenly all of Corvedale  stretched before us. And so much of it YELLOW!

And so it seems that despite a wild and windy spring, followed by the last two weeks of dry and chilly weather, the oil seed rape is blooming. Its heady scent filled the car as we headed to The Crown at Munslow for a family lunch. The fields of it were everywhere, filling our sights as we rounded bend after bend on the narrow lane, shocking the vision at every turn. Then to the south, there was Clee Hill, rising serenely above a lemony sea. It made us wonder what Van Gogh might have made of this landscape, or if in fact the crop is having the last word: that there is little more to be said about yellow. IMG_0387re

Today Over The Garden Fence

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There may be a lingering chilliness on the wind, but in the upstairs garden crab apple tree Evereste  is in full floral finery. I don’t remember seeing her quite so blossom laden.  And she’s already attracting a few bees and sundry bugs, all calling in for their spring pollen fix. So if anyone is thinking of a crab apple tree for their garden, then Evereste  is a real treasure. She’s compact too, for despite the suggestion of gigantism in the name, she only grows about 10 feet (3 metres) tall.

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Wenlock Views Near And Far

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The header photo was taken among the ruins of Wenlock Priory, looking towards the trees and roof tops of the Prior’s Lodgings, now a private house, locally known as The Abbey.

This next shot is my well-trodden path to the allotment, along the southerly edge of Townsend Meadow. That’s an ash tree on the skyline – doing a good Ent impression as our Shropshire ash trees tend to do.

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And a nearer view of the ash tree – a sundowner shot complete with rooks flying home to their roost in the Sytche wood.

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And finally a rather strange and blurry photo of the Linden Walk, taken when all the pale and papery sepals had fallen off the lime tree flowers in late summer. I think if you squint, you might just spot someone at the top of the path.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: In the distance

Bokeh For All Seasons ~ The Art of Blur

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Sofia at Lens-Artists suggests we think about bokeh – the judicious (or in my case mostly accidental) application  of blur to add depth and accent to our photo images.

Here are some garden bokeh, taken at different seasons and times of day. The header photo is a late autumn crab apple over the garden fence. And next up is a very wintery globe artichoke at the allotment. I like the russet tones, focused and unfocused, picked up by the afternoon sun:

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Summer and a self-invited opium poppy out in the guerrilla garden:

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And late summer teasels forming outside the garden gate:

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An October sun-downer sunflower in the ‘upstairs’ garden:

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Early morning dew on a heuchera flower in early summer:

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And a May-time bouquet in the kitchen: lilac and hawthorn blossom:

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Lens-Artists: Bokeh

Long Mynd Wrought By 600 Million Years Of Earth Change

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This sheep is posing on some of the world’s most ancient rocks, layers of mud-stones, sand-stones and shales laid down when this incipient Shropshire Hill was still lying in shallow seas somewhere in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. This was followed by much shunting and shifting across the planet, tectonic plates smashing and colliding.

Our most local collision was along the Church Stretton Valley, just over Wenlock Edge, some twelve miles from where we live. To the east of it (some 600 million years ago) volcanic ash and lava formed our well loved hills of Wrekin, Lawley, Caer Caradoc and Ragleth. To the west lay the sedimentary formations of Long Mynd, which around 550 million years ago were folded and thrust upwards along the Church Stretton Fault.

Then in recent times (2.4 million to 20,000 years ago) glaciers slipped and slid along the  Mynd’s flanks, although the summit was clear of ice. And then during successive interglacial (warming) periods (300,00-15,000 years ago) melting ice fed stream torrents that cut deep valleys and batches…

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Ashes Hollow, one of the Mynd’s stream-cut batches

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And so it might be timely to ponder on the momentous natural forces that brought about the formation of this single Shropshire hill – begun in tropical seas half a world away, then wrought by collision, compression, ice and melt-water. And all achieved without the meddling of humanity and on a planet that is endlessly reshaping itself.

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View from the Long Mynd’s Carding Mill Valley towards Ragleth Hill

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Looking east from the Long Mynd towards the Wrekin

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Lens-Artists: Earth Story    Please visit Amy to see her very stunning Earth Story photos.