Something a bit more simple for the weekly competitions today! Juno, posed on the windowsill, giving the classic shaping of the famous Art Nouveau poster, Le Chat Noir, by Théophile Steinlen. I can’t really share just Juno! This portrait of Luna focuses on the beautiful colouring of her eyes.
I’ve witnessed some incredible artwork in London’s Leake Street Arches over the last couple of weeks! A couple of weeks ago I joined a photowalk with Skylum Software and PhotoHound that took in the Arches, The London Eye, Southbank Skate Park and the view to St Paul’s from the Millennium Bridge. Utterly thrilled to have had one of my Leake Street images chosen as one of three winners for the challenge!
Last Friday I went up to the SheClicksNet exhibition at the After Nyne Gallery and got chatting with a number of other relatively local female photographers. What a great event it was and many congratulations to all the photographers who had their work exhibited! Feeling inspired, fellow SheClicker, Liz and headed back to Leake Street along with my lovely hubby.
The urban art is constantly evolving on the walls and I soon spotted a striking composition of a wide-eyed face, with clasping hands. It really struck me! What had this person seen through slatted fingers? It spoke to me of fear, horror, the inability to look away from something devastating. I would love to know what the original artist’s concept was! My own take on it is an in-camera double exposure, zooming out for the inverted, second exposure. The eye is just so haunting! I wanted my image to feel like fear that was spiralling out of control.
So, a huge thank you to the artists of Leake Street for this incredible, public art gallery and for providing so much inspiration with your thought-provoking pieces.
Dragonflies are usually quite short-lived, maybe only a week. Often an over-mature, older individual will be fading in tone and colour. This is an over-mature female black darter dragonfly found yesterday at Thursley Common NNR. It was resting on the sand, soaking up warmth for energy. Unlike many of the other dragonflies seen yesterday, this individual allowed fellow photographer Paul and I to get up really close with our macro lenses. I believe it stayed put for so long as it’s trying to conserve as much energy as possible in it’s old age. What a privilege though!
I was instantly struck by it’s fragility and faded colours. Black darters are our only truly black species and mature males are very striking, deep black with a few flashes of yellow. They’re also our smallest species of dragonfly! This individual had become parchment-like and translucent. The blacks had faded to blue-grey and brown tones while the eyes had become much lighter in tone and were strikingly beautiful. There really is a haunting beauty in the ageing of many winged insects that strikes a chord with me. It made me think of the Visage song Fade To Grey:
Feel the rain like an English summer Hear the notes from a distant song Stepping out from a back shop poster Wishing life wouldn’t be so long
The mountain village of Pyli, on Kos Island, is a favourite haunt of ours when we visit. The fresh water springs and public fountains are a relaxing spot with an abundance of wildlife. This dragonfly was good enough to stay posed while I manoeuvred to get face on with it and stared straight down the lens into those amazing eyes!
My specimen might be a bit tatty around his wings but these male emperor dragonflies are the real spitfires of the insect world, fighting hard and fast over their territory. He almost seems to be saluting me but I know that this behaviour is actually about cleaning and protecting those incredible and complex eyes! This close-up view was captured in the late afternoon last week, when the tired fliers start to roost in the reed beds. I’m putting this into the mix for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge.
Well, it’s been a truly crazy weekend! It’s always a bit crazy this time of year as we celebrate, first, my sister’s and then both my parent’s birthdays. This year my sister has reached the big four-zero and it’s an even more impressive seventy for my dad! Naturally, we organised a BIG party with family and friends coming, not just from all over the UK but also, from France and Australia. It was a great gathering with possibly the best buffet ever, definitely the best cakes ever (made by Sarah Jane from Flossy Cockles), a number of the very best musicians (from the Famous Five Band) you could hope to gather in one room, and a fantastic group of people to enjoy it all. One important thing was missing though. Dad. Yes, the birthday boy missed his own party! He was greatly missed by all of us there too. A nasty bug and adverse reaction to antibiotics forced our amazing dad to remain at home. It was really hard for us to celebrate without him! He’s the life, soul and comic relief of most gatherings, so we really owed it to him to celebrate in style. Not only that, we still had my sister and lovely mum to toast to! It was great to catch up with so many family members and friends that I hadn’t seen for ages. A few of my cousins brought their kids along and I loved watching them all play together! As always, the best toys to be found were balloons. Such a simple thing, but a child’s delight at knocking a balloon around is a timeless joy that always sucks in a few adults too! My Fotospeed challenge entry is this photo of my cousin’s little girl, Eva, having a wonderful time with one of the large, pink balloons. I think she hugged a few of them too tight and we had a several go bang, it’s all part of the fun though! Eva is the middle of three gorgeous girls and she’s a real pickle. Reminds me so much of my sister at that age! I just love the glint in her eyes and her cheeky smile. I think my dad will enjoy seeing my photos of all the kids playing! Thankfully he seems to be past the worst of it now. Rest, recovery and eventually we’ll be able to have a celebratory toast to his renewed health! Get well soon dad and Birthday Wishes to you and mum xxx
This is Robyn, a beautiful hooded vulture belonging to the fantastic Xtreme Falconry team from Dorset. Xtreme have been putting on Bird Of Prey events at RHS Wisley Gardens for many years now and always draw a crowd. Many, like myself, return time after time to see these wonderful birds! This is my Blue Monday post for that startling ring of blue around Robyn’s eye that is distinctive of this species. Hooded vultures come from Africa where they are currently declining in numbers at an alarming rate. They are now listed as a critically endangered species. Much of the decline is from poisoning. Trappers, hunters, poachers and misinformed farmers are all gunning for these shy carrion birds. This is tragic in more ways than the obvious! Vultures are not the only creatures that will be drawn to a carcass that has been poisoned. Lions, hyenas, leopard, cheetah and hunting dogs will all feed on carrion if they are hungry and haven’t got a fresh catch. Not only that, vultures and other carrion feeders are responsible for clearing away the dead animals that when left can rot and spread disease among both local animal and human populations. There is so very much to love about vultures, if you didn’t already find them beautiful and fascinating, I hope you do now!
I suspect that this dragonfly, at RHS Wisley Gardens, had only recently emerged when I found it yesterday. I wouldn’t usually be able to get this close to one! They have incredible eyes that take up most of the head, allowing them to see almost all around them and in higher definition than we mere humans could ever hope for. This is my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. Good luck everyone!