Category Archives: Nature

‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ (sung with gusto!)

All things bright and beautiful,       All creature  great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,        the Lord God made them all.

Those words take me right back to my infant school assembly! Everyone knows this hymn,  even today – and most of us can say we know the words by heart – to the first two verses anyway!!

I’ve been trying to think of inspirational themes for my photography outings – much more successful with a theme!! Now it so happens that the theme for the 2021 BBC Countryfile Calendar Competition is ‘Bright and Beautiful’ so I think I might just give that a whirl.

Of course it’s light and dark that create all those great photographic effects:  the photographer who can capture light falling in a special way on a scene or lighting up a person’s face (to minimize those wrinkles!) holds the key to success – candle light, the glow of an open fire, reflections bouncing back off office windows, sunlight streaming through stained glass – Christmas lights! – all lovely, but Nature’s light has the most appeal – glorious sunsets, or dappled sunlight through the trees in a forest, light caught in water droplets on a leaf or clear blue skies over snow capped mountains. I’m going in search of some of those now but in the meantime here are some I prepared earlier !

             

       

    

 

 

Experiments in black and white

I would never want to see things in just black and white, but as far as photography goes, with the aid of Photoshop you can see your colour photos as monochrome images as well and it makes for an interesting experiment. You find yourself concentrating more on the shapes, textures and composition of a picture – it’s a bit like when you turn the volume on a television down – what you notice are the facial expressions of the people on the screen, their gestures and movements rather than just what they are saying.

Of course some people only ever shoot their pictures in monochrome and they often turn out more striking than if you desaturate an image you’ve taken in colour. Here are some of my black and white pictures: I think architectural features stand out, patterns and textures are accentuated, you notice the shadows, reflections and shapes in the windows of buildings, the markings on a butterfly’s wings or a bird’s plumage.

The beautiful veined pattern on a brunnera

Vibrant colour is what most people associate with this plant but its form is beautiful too.
In this formal arrangement of lilies the contrast of the stalks behind them makes this composition work even better in monochrome.
Hello!

I love this picture – the snowy white plumage of the goose and the dark gravel behind it. Birds’ plumage and their beady eyes look great in black and white

Vaulted ceiling in Avila Cathedral
And this is Ludlow Castle on the Herefordshire- Shropshire border, with its imposing walls and textured stone.
A typical house in the village of Weobley, Herefordshire – part of the Black and White Trail.
and this is also in Weobley, known as a cruck house for its curved timber frame.
There are many interior and exterior architectural features, which stand out when they are illustrated in black and white, and smaller every day things, like pieces of furniture, which just catch the eye.

What do you see here? I see a snake, but this is the stone lip of a water trough covered in lichen.
Avila’s impressive city walls
A market canopy in Sevilla, Spain with its unusual geometric roof
Arab Baths in Granada, Spain – a double take with its reflected image

Reflections, mirrored in water or glass, create some interesting effects

Glass panels in a block of flats in Girona, Spain
or man made features. such as this pebble mosaic garden path in a park in Madrid.

A silhouette creates a stunning image. A dark shape or outline against a light background makes for a great photo.

Toddler enjoying the cooling spray of a fountain in a park in Barcelona.
Butterfly alighting on a plant to feed

Eliminatiing the colour is an excellent ploy for getting people to concentrate on the details, the forms, the action …….

All decked out for the equestrian extravaganza that is La Feria de Abril in Sevilla, southern Spain
Little girl posing for a photo on the balcony of her home during La Feria de Abril
Spectators following the action as competitors climb up the hill into Avila, central Spain in the annual Vuelta a España cycle race.
Muscle power! Competitors on their way through Avila during La Vuelta a España
The city walls of Avila – magnificent backdrop to an exciting sporting event – the annual Vuelta a España cycle race .

I’ll finish with some butterflies – one of the most colourful creatures I can think of – but with their extraordinary markings they still look beautiful in black and white !

My Miniature garden

Ha! ha! Look what we found at the bottom of our potato tub! Big Daddy – weighing in at a princely 260 grams – they weren’t all that big, but for my first attempt at growing potatoes it wasn’t a bad haul. Experienced gardeners have a tendency to give you a (virtual!) slap in the face but saying things like – ‘Potatoes are easy to grow’ – well, maybe they are but they will not squash my irrepressible joy at uncovering my very own home grown ones for the first time! And here’s dinner! Yum!

Big Daddy

On to the other micro veg in my micro garden. Mostly in pots and troughs we have ……………courgettes

Coming along nicely

onions and leeks (all a bit squashed in too close together but i will know better next time!

I tried a cucumber plant – we grew these from seed and i nurtured and cajoled them in the conservatory to start with. Only two survived and of those 2 there is now only one looking healthy – it’s produced one edible cucumber so far – short, knobbly and bumpy like Spanish cukes but there are more coming. Yippee!!

Bit ropey!
But look …!

And a bowl of strawberries – the plastic bowl has kept them up off the ground and they have ripened beautifully in amongst the fennel and nasturtiums.

And unless i turned the whole plot over to veg that is all I have space for, apart from the herb patch which has some sage and some thyme. There is a bit more thyme in pots, along with some rosemary.

The overspill is in the conservatory – 2 monster chilli plants and some tomatoes.