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Chasing Dreams

Male and female brimstone butterflies in a mating dance

Chasing Dreams

I spent a lovely afternoon at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, wandering through the pinetum and woodland areas, chasing butterflies. The woods in the pinetum are full of native bluebells. Their importance as a food source for butterflies and other insects was so evident in the number that we spotted! I found six different butterfly species in and around one small area of bluebells. Brimstone butterflies were by far the most numerous! They delighted us all with a dance of love, as the more vibrant males competed for the attention of the paler females. Pure magic! My featured image, of the male and female dancing together, is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge. I’m including a gallery of all six butterfly species below; comma, large white, brimstone, green-veined white, peacock and speckled wood.

Male and female brimstone butterflies in a mating dance

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Wordless Wednesday: Soaking Up The Spring Sunshine

Brimstone On Tree Flowers

Wordless Wednesday: Soaking Up The Spring Sunshine

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Wordless Wednesday: Butterflies Are Back At Wisley

Great Mormon

Wordless Wednesday: Butterflies Are Back At Wisley!

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World Photography Day: Dryad Dance

Dryad Dance

World Photography Day: Dryad Dance

The world is but a canvas for our imagination

                                               Henry David Thoreau

This “canvas” was inspired by two dancing speckled-wood butterflies!

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101 Reasons To Visit Kos Island

Kastri Island viewed from the ruins of Agios Stefanos

101 Reasons To Visit Kos Island

Pictures speak louder than words, so I have 101 photographs that I believe will speak directly to your hearts on the beauty and appeal of this fascinating Greek island.

My piece of advice to you all this week, as part of the WordPress Discover Challenge, is to believe what your eyes see through my images of Kos and not what the world’s media would have you believe! Visit Kos and other Greek Islands, they are affordable, welcoming, enthralling and perfectly safe. You won’t regret it!

All these photographs were taken between June 21st and July 5th 2016. Most were shot on the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera, NFC transferred to my Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone and edited in Snapseed and Adobe PS Touch Apps.

Part of WPC: Look Up for the wonderful birds of Greece!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

The Lookout

Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

This week Krista has asked us to depict something or someone we admire. I admire every single member of my family and all my amazing friends, so I don’t want to single any of them out! I happened to be working on a composite image of wrens when the challenge came up, so I felt it was the perfect opportunity to explain the inspiration behind the composition of the piece. The way the wren moved about on the branch was quite comical and reminded me of the work of wildlife artist, Warwick Higgs. Please have a look at his work, it’s great fun!

Sixteen years ago I was working in a gallery in Epsom. We made bespoke frames for all sorts of pieces of art, as well as selling prints, limited editions and Fine Art originals. They were some of the happiest days of my life but also some of the hardest. My Crohn’s was out of control and I went through three major operations to have a permanent stoma formed, an ileostomy. Having a place to work, if only part-time when my health allowed, gave me a real purpose and enormous satisfaction. My boss and colleagues were always supportive and understanding. It was hard for all of us when arthritic problems and fibromyalgia made it just too unsafe for me to continue working as a framer several years later.

It wasn’t just my co-workers in the gallery who gave me much needed support though! We worked closely with a number of wildlife artists who I admired very much indeed. Among them were David Sheppard CBE, Gary Hodges and Warwick Higgs. All of these artists helped us raise funds, for local and international wildlife charities, through auctions of their art at events held in the gallery. Warwick spent a lot of time with us as we framed many his originals. He also used the gallery space to hold a number of Live Art days, setting up his easel in the window space and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with everyone who visited.

He was always very encouraging of my own art, both painting and photography. We shared a love for the observation of animal behavior, bringing some of those charismatic quirks into our work. I remember being incredibly touched when I received a handmade card and letter from Warwick whilst I was in hospital for the second of my operations. To be able to make someone feel valued is a rare gift! I will never forget his support and wish that I hadn’t lost touch with him over the years. A wonderful artist whose observation of the natural world has always produced the most delightful and fun pieces of art!

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Blue Monday: Rest In Peace Sally

Blue Tit and Blue Skies

Blue Monday: Rest In Peace Sally

I’ve been posting blue images for over two years now, linking them to the Blue Monday theme run by Smiling Sally on blogspot. Last Tuesday she passed away after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure. Although I knew that she had recently had a spell in hospital, the news still came as a huge shock. I have never met Sally and we were very different people in many ways, but I liked her very much! She was a retired teacher, married for over fifty years with a close bond to her family. Many of her posts where about her husband, children, grandchildren or her new great-grandson. They meant they world to her and my thoughts are with them all at this sad time.

Sally always left me such lovely comments on my posts. She was amazed at how many natural blues I found in flowers, birds, butterflies and more! Her meme for the post was of the Blue Jay, a wonderful natural blue bird of the USA. I’d love to see them in the wild one day. She always loved seeing my photos of our Blue Tits from the UK and so this is what I choose to share with you all today, in remembrance of Sally. I will continue to post a Blue Monday every week to continue Sally’s wish to spread some joy and happiness around the world at the start of the week with her favourite colour.

Thank you, Sally, for all your support and for helping me find happiness on a Monday instead of feeling the unwanted blues! These galleries contain just a few of my Happy Blue Monday images.
Smiling Sally