Signs of Spring

Today I allowed myself a little time in the garden, inspite of it being very cold, to take a few photographs and sprinkle eggshells round vulnerable plants to keep off the slugs.

Luckily I have a good view on the garden so I have been able to keep in touch with what has been growing, even if I have stayed indoors.

I am pleased to see that the snowdrops are still holding on and happy to see that the daffodils are finally here. There is also one lonely crocus. back over the other side, near the snowdrops, my Lenten Roses are giving a great show. Well it is Lent!You can see the remains of the Christmas roses at the front.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and especially like her macro photographs of flowers, as that is something I enjoy experimenting with.

Recently she wrote an article suggesting how to edit macro photos using Lightroom –

Now I don’t have ‘Lightroom’ but I was able to apply some of her ideas to the photograph of the crocus and produced this – What do you think?


One a week Photo Challenge – Nature

Ah! how to encapsulate nature in one photograph?

View of fields and mountain
If you click on the photo you can see a bigger version which shows the beauty even more clearly

Of course one cannot, but instead of giving you a collection of photographs that show different aspects of nature, I will share just this one photograph that seemed to me at the time to encapsulate the true beauty of nature as found in Britain. In this case in Wales, near Tywyn.

I took it when I was on my second holiday in the area when out on a walk.

Photo Challenge – Creation

When I think of the word creation, my first thought is not of those things that I create but of God’s creation. Now putting all of that into a one photograph is a bit difficult and even if a photograph including the night sky might hint at something, night skys are very disappointing in the middle of a city.

But then I thought of the poem by William Blake (the first few lines of “Auguries of Innocence”)

Where he writes:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

So I will try to capture the wonder of the whole of creation in an image of just a tiny part of it. photo-challenge1649-creationJust look at the amazing detail in the humble spider.

I have never been able to take a really good photograph of a spider’s web but this is maybe the best one. 0534-spider-webAfter all this too is a creation – of a spider!

Photo Challenge – Wild

I suppose there are many ways one can interpet wild but the word reminded me the the last verse of Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem “Iversnaid”:

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

I didn’t see myself being able to go out and find real wilderness but I happened to be on Southampton Common last week and although the common is managed there are plenty of areas that are left wild. I didn’t have my camera with me but the photographs my phone takes are good enough at this sort of resolution, as long as I don’t want to do anything fancy, so here is my chosen photograph for the challenge. photo-challenge1647-wildI cropped this to my preferred 4×3 format but my phone takes 16×9 format and here are four others that were in the running.

The first place I stopped0530-wild-2The one I thought was prettiest. 0530-wild-3One of the wildest. 0530-wild-4And one with interesting branches.0530-wild-5


Photo Challenge – Autumn

I looked around and decided that the Autumn colours are not at their best yet and so I decided that instead of taking a new photograph (and how can you capture Autumn in just one photograph anyway) that I would create a gallery of some of the Autumn photographs I have used on my blog previously.

If you click you will get to see each photograph full size. Not all the same as they come from different posts. Note the Gallery does not work in the WordPress Reader you have to go to my blog!

Photo Challenge – Fern

Now this was a tricky one as I am not especially partial to ferns. Bracken on a Welsh hillside mountain, yes, your garden ferns, no!

Up to now I have tried to stay ahead with my photographs but being so busy with my garden, there I was on Sunday with no photograph; so I resorted to a visit to East Park in the city centre on my way home from church.

Luckily, and I do mean luckily because the place I had hoped to have ferns didn’t seem to have accessible ones, I found some almost at once. Not entirely easy to photograph and they are obviously just waking up after a winter sleep and I couldn’t really step on the beds to get a better angle but I did find this. Photo Challenge16019 - fernSuch a lovely spring time green and though it’s hard to see at this resolution a tiny snail attached. Tiny snailI also took this photograph that I thought if you ignored the scale could be some sort of alien life. Alien life?Though of course just a fern waking up like a sleepy animal uncurling.

Maybe it isn’t a Jacaranda!

On Saturday morning I meet a friend and we walk past Parkstone Place Park on the way to visiting a nearby cafe. Last Saturday before I made my post we had discussed the tree I showed you and what it’s name might be.Unknown treeJill of ‘Nice piece of work’ had suggested that the flowers looked like the Jacaranda so it just might be that and when I checked on the internet they seemed exactly the same to me, so I assumed that must be what it was.

Now at this point I hadn’t seen much in the way of leaves on the tree in the park or pictures of Jacaranda trees but when I eventually found some I wasn’t sure because the leaves of the Jacaranda tree looked like mimosa and I didn’t remember seeing anything like that.

Today I met my friend again and we had another look.

I hadn’t got my camera with me so I used my phone.LeavesAs you can see the leaves are not at all like the feathery leaves of mimosa but more like regular leaves.

My friend, who is obviously more observant, also pointed out that there were old seed pods on the tree.SeedsThey were not like the flat pods of the Jacaranda either. You can see the leaves more clearly here.

I did pick up a couple of dried half pods to bring home to photograph.PodsNow this same friend had been looking in her garden books and she said that she had found a tree with similar flowers called Paulownia and also the foxglove tree (I said originally that I thought the flowers looked like foxgloves!) but she thought the leaves were much bigger in her book so maybe it wasn’t. So now I am not sure what it can be.


The Common close up

The other day the sun was shining and I decided to go for a walk on Southampton Common. I decided to concentrate on looking at the small things that one might otherwise miss and the first thing that caught my eye were the autumn leaves now white with the first real frost of the winter.


Here is a close up of one leaf.


And there were also the odd delicate white feathers like this. A warmer spot, no frost here.


The surface of the lake was partly iced over and people were out with their children feeding the ducks. I was struck by this morsel of bread floating in the water.


I love the texture of bark on trees and the beautiful colours here held my attention.


On the ground was a twig covered in lichen.


And some trees were covered with it too.


And also loving the damp bark of a fallen tree was moss.


There was ivy on the wall,


A fir cone on the ground


and signs of new ones yet to come.


Some odd traces of human activity, mainly near where the cars park.


And near the entrance/exit flowers on the rhododendron bushes.


Of course I had to take some views as well.

Here the winter trees stretching upwards either side of the path.


And of course I can never resist taking pictures of water, especially when there are swans. Seagulls too, swooping over the water.


Then of a sudden they all took flight.


The light was fading. Time to go home.


When I got near home I stopped to take some pictures of the mahonia flowers.


And looking up I caught sight of the moon above the roof tops.


I was surprised to find how many photographs I had taken. Partly because although I normally think of myself as good at taking hand held photographs, I seemed to find it hard to hold the camera steady. Was this the cold?

Photography: colour or monochrome?

(The photographs below are repeated in the post but I wanted a way of displaying them so they could all be seen at a glance.)

I have recently found Leanne Cole‘s ‘Monochrome Madness’ posts and been entering photographs. (The first two below).

Now when I learnt to take photographs at about age six or seven with a box camera it was monochrome (‘black and white’) or nothing.

I remember when colour film came in and my father saying that anyone could take photographs in colour that taking a good photograph in black and white required more skill. He switched to taking colour photographs however and I have spent my adult life doing the same.

When I had the money I bought a SLR which was smaller and lighter than some and gave amazing photographs. (It had to be replaced when a spring broke and I never loved the new camera as much).

I resisted the move to digital but eventually realised that film was a thing of the past and having been lent my son’s bridge camera had come to appreciate the advantages of digital. One of which was no longer being at the mercy of film processors who seemed to get worse and worse. (I would think longingly of the days when it was easy to delvelop and print one’s own photographs. (The days of black and white!)

At first I intended to buy a digital SLR but the one that seemed to give me what I wanted was so much heavier than my much loved Konica and I am not getting any younger. So persuaded by my brother I bought a Lumix LX5 and I have been very happy with it. It gives me the control of apperture and speed I wanted and is good for macro and low light without flash. I know a DSLR would be even better but the portability and weight make up for it. So many cameras seem to be made to fit men’s hands. The Lumix is very comfortable to hold.

So much for biography!

I discovered that the camera has three black and white film settings as well as six colour ones. This reignited my interest in black and white photography so I have started taking pictures in black and white from time to time.

There was this one when I was in Spain.

Fountain in Avila

and this one in Boars Hill.


I also took this at Boars Hill and it seemed very strange I wasn’t sure if it made a good photograph or not.

Pine cone

What do you think?

However since then I have been looking at converting some of my colour photographs to monochrome and noting the differences.

This was one of my favourite Avila photographs but I actually think it works even better in monochrome.

Fountain - colour

More drama!

Fountain - monochrome

This photographis virtually monochrome already!

Heart - colour

As you can see. (With a little sharpening.)

Heart - monochrome

I notice that I take a lot of square photographs these days. That is one of the things I appreciate on the Lumix. I have a choice of 1:1, 4:3. 3:2 and 16:9 so I rarely need to crop to get what I want.

Maybe it seems strange that a ‘Rainbow Junkie’ should  take an interest in monochrome photography but as you can see from the piece at the beginning, as far as photography goes, it is where I began.

A winter walk

Usually when I share my pictures with you I create a normal post interleaving the photogaphs with a narrative. This time I am trying out the new gallery format as an alternative.

I would be interested in any comments you have as to whether you prefer this way of doing it.

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO to start a slideshow from that point.