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ShareMondays2018 – Intensely Autumn

Intensely Autumn

ShareMondays2018 – Intensely Autumn

A quick edit on my phone of this scene from NT Winkworth Arboretum went down rather well with family and friends on Facebook on Saturday, so I figured it needed a proper process and a bigger audience!

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ShareMondays2018 – London Gothic

London Gothic

ShareMondays2018 – London Gothic

The City Gardens in the ruins of St Dunstan-in-the-East are a haven for the people of the city in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. This tranquil space with it’s many trees and shrubs is also home to many birds and small mammals. Sitting by the fountain, listening to sound of the wind rustling the leaves, birds singing and feeding in the flower beds, almost hidden under the ferns, you really do feel transported away to another, quieter, time.

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ShareMondays2018 – Ghosts And Echoes

Ghosts

ShareMondays2018 – Ghosts And Echoes

Ghosts: A colourised, black and white image of seed-pods ghosting among the grasses at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre. I loved the way they moved in the breeze, seemingly detached from the rest of the plant. The scene called to my memories of black and white film photography and experimenting in the darkroom. As I looked through the lens I could see high key, stained and etched, showing the pods off like fireworks or bursting stars. Really happy with the end result!

Echoes: One of the things that I loved doing in the darkroom was multiple exposures, either from one negative, or several, to create my art. Echoes was created from three exposures, one with more contrast and two slightly offset exposures that shifted the focal point of the subjects. This image is a homage to the way I used to work in film, now created using digital processing. Digital doesn’t dilute the origins of creative photography, it has provided me a way to recreate darkroom processes as well as opening up so many more ways to be creative with post processing in colour as well as black and white.

Echoes

Ghosts and Echoes are a memory of the past, a celebration of the present and excitement for the future of the photographic process.

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Blue Monday : Banquet For Blue Tits

Banquet For Blue Tits

Blue Monday : Banquet For Blue Tits

The bountiful berries of the Cornus kousa, a flowering dogwood, make a fine banquet for the diminutive blue tits in the Autumn. It’s a feast for the eyes to watch them! There are a number of kousa trees around the grounds at RHS Wisley Gardens, but the best fruiting and most visited ones are just at the bottom of the rose garden. While other birds have to forage below the trees for fallen fruit, the blue tit appears to be the only visitor light enough to feed directly from the fruit ripening on the tree. Occasionally even these lightweights accidentally pick a berry that can’t quite support them and they tumble down through the leaves. I’m yet to catch that amusing sight on camera! My lead image really captures how adept they are at feeding from the berries, so I’m entering it into today’s ShareMondays2018 and Fotospeed challenges. I’ll keep on trying to photograph one their epic fails!

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ShareMondays2018 – Dahlia

Dreamy Dahlia

ShareMondays2018 – Dahlia

My favourite display at the RHS Wisley Gardens Flower Show is ALWAYS the one from Pheasant Acre Plants! I adore dahlias so their display is just heavenly. They are multi-award winners, adding Best Exhibit 2018 at Wisley to their trophies, alongside a Gold Medal from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. My favourite dahlias are undoubtedly the giant decorative cultivars. I was too enthralled by the beauty of this flower to actually note it’s name! I have many images from the flower show this year but I keep being drawn back to this particular dahlia. It just has to be my entry for ShareMondays and the Fotospeed challenges this week! I captured this image with my mirrorless Sony a6000 and a vintage Helios lens. I really like the soft matte quality of the images I get. Great fun for still life, particularly floral subjects!

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ShareMondays2018 – Summer Has Flown By

Summer Has Flown By - Southern Hawker Dragonfly

ShareMondays2018 – Summer Has Flown By

A beautiful, male southern hawker dragonfly, fiercely protecting his territory, at RHS Wisley Gardens, in the warm sunshine yesterday. These hawkers are dragonflies of Autumn, seen into October and occasionally even November. I’m sharing this beauty for this week’s ShareMondays2018 and Fotospeed challenges.

Cusp

Summer has flown by
In the mere blink of an eye
Autumn colours reign

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This Is Bliss

This Is Bliss

This Is Bliss

This image just had to be the one to share today for ShareMondays2018, Fotospeed and the WexMondays challenges! We’ve been away to Shropshire and Worcester this weekend visiting parents-in-law. Driving over the Long Mynd on Saturday afternoon was glorious! Fast-moving clouds shifting the light and shadow across the heathers and bracken, short sharp showers and a real freshness in the air. The countryside up there looks positively verdant compared to much of Surrey, still parched from the long, hot summer! I had hoped to see some ponies and got lucky near the second car park. I can’t walk very far at all, but they were just in range for me to ramble my way over. The group had five mares, a gorgeous foal and this fabulous stallion! He posed among the heather for a while, knowing full well just how beautiful and photogenic he is, but this particular moment brought such a grin to my face it became my instant favourite photo of the week. He’d wandered closer toward me and then sank to the ground to roll about with such a blissed-out expression on his face! That roll definitely hit the spot and reached that itch. They were a chilled-out family group, coming right up past me as they grazed. It was truly blissful perching on a rock watching them! Being away has limited how much processing I could get done so I will share some more images of the group later in the week, especially with the lovely foal!

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Say It With Flowers

Common Blue Courtship

Say It With Flowers

The recent rains have brought green back to the slopes of Box Hill, along with a wealth of wildflowers! It was rather lovely to watch these male (left) and female (right) common blue butterflies courting each other upon the wild marjoram flower buds. Sadly their dance of love never reached it’s conclusion as the courting couple were rudely interrupted by a busy bee!

Common Blue Courtship

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Transition

Transition

Transition

I’m fascinated by seed heads! I think these are the remains of verbena bonariensis (vervain), a tall purple-flowered plant that is loved by bees and butterflies. It was quite an ethereal sight seeing the twisting stems dancing in the breeze against the hazy clouded skies. I knew it would make a beautiful, minimalistic mono! The appearance of so many seedheads really heralds the coming transition of the seasons. Such a hot summer has sped up this transitional period! I think many of the insects will be greatly relying upon the late flowering plants, such as ivy, this year. If you’ve been growing verbena for butterflies this year, here’s a helpful link for how to harvest the seeds for next year. I’m sharing this image for today’s Fotospeed challenge.

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Blue Monday: Holly Blue

Holly Blue

Blue Monday: Holly Blue

This is my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I was really thrilled to count eleven holly blue butterflies along a short stretch of the Thames, near Sunbury Lock, for this year’s Big Butterfly Count. It’s a perfect habitat for them with plenty of their larval food plants; holly, ivy and hawthorn. This is the second generation of hollies in flight this year, females will be looking to lay their eggs next to the emerging flower buds on ivy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a third generation in flight this year!