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Poetry in Motion

Poetry in Motion

Today brought my last opportunity, for 2013, to photograph the beautiful Butterflies in The Glasshouse at RHS Wisley Garden. They didn’t disappoint!

This is the Golden Birdwing, part of the swallowtail family, with a wingspan of between 14 and 16cm it is truly magnificent.

Today I was taking photos alongside my brother-in-law, Kevin, and our first sight of this butterfly today was in the hatchery, shortly after its emergence from the chrysalis.

RHS staff then brought it into the tropical zone of the Glasshouse where it remained posing on one tree for a long while.

In truth, I didn’t expect to see it fly as it can take many hours for a butterfly’s wings to harden!

It was just as we were making our way out that our golden beauty took to the wing and gave us a spectacular show as it fuelled itself with nectar.

I hope this sequential image leaves you as spellbound as we were at the time.

I’d like to thank the RHS and, in particular, the staff and volunteers at The Glasshouse, RHS Wisley for bringing us this spectacular exposition each year, amongst all the other wonderful work they do.

Tomorrow is FREE entry to the gardens and The Glasshouse http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley

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You Looking at Me?

You Looking at Me?

I believe this is a juvenile Sparrowhawk. I first caught a glimpse of it about a month ago diving through the Wild Woods at RHS Wisley Gardens.

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for it every time I visit but most often it’s been too distant for me to photograph well. It seems to have claimed the area as its home and it should do well with such rich hunting grounds.

Today, whilst I was taking some lovely portraits of my friend Sam with her two children, I happened to spot it swoop across the meadow into this tree.

Sneaking up on a bird of prey in an electric wheelchair isn’t really advisable but somehow, I managed it 😉

I was only able to get this one photo of it before my subterfuge was undone and my subject returned to the denser woodland.

We watched it watching us for a while longer and attempted a few more photographs, but my 75-300mm isn’t quite up to the job.

There are often bird of prey events at Wisley and a number of other local settings. Over the years I’ve photographed some fabulous birds. There’s nothing quite like watching and photographing a wild raptor though!

When we get another good clear day I shall go hawk hunting 🙂

Why not plan a trip to Wisley yourself and see if you can spot this lovely little hawk http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley

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A Lovely Cup Of Rosy

A Lovely Cup Of Rosy

There’s something so quintessentially British about having a delicately brewed pot of Earl Grey tea in a pretty, little china cup.

Finding places to have a nice brew, or a good choice of coffee blends, in a relaxed environment, is becoming more of a challenge with so many franchised coffee shops taking over the nations’ high streets.

I like my shops and cafés to have a bit of personality and individuality. Sadly it’s not particularly easy for independent retailers in the UK right now.

Business rates continue to favour the “chain store”, the “multi-national”, leading to town centres that are mere clones of any other you might visit.

I’m sure that can’t be good for tourism! When I go abroad I love to explore off the beaten track, as it were, finding out about that country’s culture, people, customs and food.

If any of my followers either live in or come to visit Surrey then I would highly recommend a wonderful, independent Coffee House (that also serves tea!) in the village of Ripley, called Pinnock’s http://www.pinnockscoffeehouse.com/

A friend and I spent a relaxing afternoon sampling the various coffee blends and teas. The friendly atmosphere and good, yet unobtrusive, service was most welcome.

The setting is possibly my favourite aspect of Pinnocks. Even I, short as I am, had to stoop under the wonderful, old, exposed beams in the comfortably furnished upstairs. Shelves packed with books, a corner filled with board games and the smell of worn leather all add to a very homely feeling.

Now that’s what I call character!

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Entwined

Entwined

I’m revisiting some of the study techniques we used years ago at art college. Making miniature, abstract slides and then using a slide duplicator to create a piece of art was such fun!

I have a great, independent photographic shop, Harpers, nearby where I get many of my accessories and most printing.

http://www.harpersphoto.co.uk/

They have a selection of second hand pieces, for most cameras, which are often more affordable and easily adapted. I couldn’t resist the duplicator!

This is quite a simple composition but it reignites some fond memories and I love the colour and shapes.

Hope you like it too 🙂

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Making New Friends

Making New Friends

Pixel’s a very sociable cat 🙂 He loves attention from just about anyone who comes over!

Today he was in ultra cute mode as he got to meet one of my dearest friends, Helen.

She was treated to extra long cuddles, much purring and kitten kisses, nose to nose.

Like everyone who meets our little rascal, she’s smitten. In fact if she’d come with a larger hand bag I think we’d have lost him 😉

And then we all sat down to watch the 6 Nations Rugby. I don’t know if Pixel understands the rules yet but he does, at least, seem to have become used to me shouting my head off at TV and almost leaping out of my seat!

It’s so very nice to spend lazy, weekend afternoons in the company of good friends and a cat 🙂

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Little Mirrors

Little Mirrors

Today brought the first appearance of the wonderful but tiny Glasswing Butterfly in the exposition at RHS Wisley Gardens.

The only way to photograph these wee beasties is on full manual, including manual focussing. Those wings really are completely translucent.

Unlike a lovely Scarlett Swallowtail who spent quite some time flying from one visitors camera to another, (photos will be on my Facebook page early next week) this Glasswing was definitely a bit camera shy!

It flew in circles around me for a while, much to the amusement of a number of watching children. It then hovered over just about every leaf on this shrub until I started to wonder if it would ever settle!

And it didn’t stop for long on this one leaf before retreating into the denser foliage. Good to have a test of my photography skills! Hunting, patience, speed and not treading on any small children 😉

You still have until March 3rd to discover the butterflies yourselves and next Friday, 1st of March is FREE entry to RHS Wisley Gardens and the The Glasshouse!

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/What-s-on/Butterflies

Follow the photo link to find me on Facebook 🙂

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Vainglorious Cob

Vainglorious Cob

The Mute Swans on the canal are full of pomp at the moment. Hopefully the pair I watched today will be preparing their nest soon!

They would normally breed and lay their eggs sometime between March and May.

I shall keep an eye on them over the next few months and see if they do manage to raise a clutch. It would be quite lovely to photograph the whole family growing up.

Although the cob here was very puffed up and showing off he wasn’t in any way aggressive, so perhaps he’ll let me close enough to get some nice images of the cygnets.

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Seeing The Light

Seeing The Light

White light is the culmination of all the colours in the visible spectrum.

That fact was hard to get my head around when I started using photography as a medium in my art.

After so many years using paint to blend colour and a love of the work of Rothko, using colour in a new way was a challenge.

Today I embrace all the ways that colour works and how it can work for me.

Light is colour and vice versa. Rothko once said “We start with colour” and “We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.”

The two colour forms here in my image are a revealed truth. They merge to create white light. I think it’s beautiful and somehow magical too.

I have one last quote from Rothko that I find particularly compelling in regard to sharing our work within this global, networked gallery;

“A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token. It is therefore a risky and unfeeling act to send it out into the world.”

Thank you, Mark Rothko, for inspiring this love of colour in me.

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Chloe

Chloe

So here I am sitting at Caffe Centrale in Woking at The Lovely Music Night listening to some wonderful local talent in the company of good friends and many music lovers. These nights are produced by Elaine, Joe and Chris from The Phoenix Cultural Centre.

This is the first time I’ve tried blogging at a live music night whilst photographing and filming the acts all at the same time! MORE CAFFEINE PLEASE!

My subject tonight is young, singer-songwriter Chloe Reynolds. She performs at many of the music nights that I go to and a number of lovely music festivals as well. I’m sure I’ll be seeing her again this year 🙂

I’ll be posting all photos and videos on my Facebook page so do drop by and visit me there http://www.facebook.com/miradordesign

For more information on The Phoenix Cultural Centre please visit http://phoenixculturalcentre.org.uk/

To see and hear more about Chloe visit her main site http://www.chloereynoldsmusic.com/ and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ChloeReynoldsMusic