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Encapsulate

Encapsulate

Encapsulate

This last week has been a complete write-off thanks to sinus and chest infection. I know many of you have suffered similarly just recently! I’ve been back at the doctors today for stronger, more targetted antibiotics and phlocodine. Increasing my steroid inhalers has helped me breathe a little easier today but it always gives me the shakes. In short, I’m totally fed up! I just about managed to set up a piece of blown glass yesterday, so I could take a series of macro shots, from which I created a composite for today’s photo challenges from Wex and Fotospeed. Encapsulate is an abstract expression of how I have been feeling with this bug; trapped, dizzy, fuzzy, short of breath, drowning in mucus. If you’ve had one of these Winter bugs, I hope you are on the road to recovery as I very much hope for myself! I don’t do well being stuck indoors. The winter skies, misty landscapes and busy birds are calling to me!

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Blue Monday: Portrait Of A Blue Tit

Blue Tit painted in Topaz Studio

Blue Monday: Portrait Of A Blue Tit

Thanks to my wonderful hubby, I now have a computer that can access all of my Topaz Software! I truly feel like I can paint again. This blue tit portrait was created from a photograph taken in Shropshire over the Christmas period and processed using tools in Topaz Studio and Photoshop. This is my entry for the first Wex Mondays challenge of the year.

Original edit:

Blue Tit in Shropshire

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Wisley Glows Again

Wisley Glow on the Canal and Laboratory

Wisley Glows Again

Playing with light at RHS Wisley Gardens last week. It was only a brief outing as, like so many, I have been struggling with a nasty bug. Fresh air did me good though and I enjoyed seeing some new lighting layouts for Wisley’s Christmas Glow 2017. The last couple of years has seen the canal lined by red tulip-lights but I rather like the cooler tones in this year’s display. Very difficult to photograph the whole scene though, as those wonderful lily-lights are very bright compared to the warmer glows lighting the Laboratory Building. I found it very hard to choose a favourite from some of the images I took and processed, so I chickened out and got the hubby to choose instead! So this is my entry for the Wex Mondays challenge this week and a gallery of some of my other long-exposures and ICM play. Hope you enjoy them!

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Insert Quote Here

Insert Quote Here

Insert Quote Here

or… Flaming Flowers

or… Colours Of Christmas

or…. I had to get a photo for the Fotospeed challenge; it was late on Sunday night; I would have photographed The Belles but ended up co-opted to sing with them; pub was packed; this was my last chance subject; there was practically no light

or… I just fancied going abstract

You choose!

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Smoke And Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke And Mirrors

For the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges this week I have created another of my little still-life squares. I added a bit of smoke to the mirror using my vape but I must say it was harder to try and control than I thought it would be! I stacked nine images together so that I could get the smoke in all the areas that I’d wanted. I kept it soft like a sea mist. These little pieces are very self-reflective. There are many times that I feel like an empty shell, a pale reflection of the person I should have become. I can put on a mask but it’s all smoke and mirrors, tricks of the light. This shell is cracked. Not fit for purpose! Even a hermit crab wouldn’t want it. Half a life of Crohn’s will do that! It’s IBD awareness week with the theme Make The Invisible Visible (Crohn’s and Colitis) so this is a way of sharing something of the impact that the disease has had on me. I think if I took off that mask and lived showing people how I really felt all the time it would absolutely destroy me. I’m a rather fragile shell really. The mask is as much for myself as for anyone else. But still, there’s beauty even in an old, cracked and empty shell.

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Watch The Birdies!

Green and Gold

Watch The Birdies!

For me it’s one of the best tonics ever, watching the birds. It was my one request to my long-suffering hubby at the end of the weekend, as I started to feel a bit better following a nasty infection. Take me out to watch the birds. I still didn’t feel up to doing much more than sitting quietly in the birdhide, watching and listening to my feathered friends. Simon’s not quite as obsessed with birds (I think it bores him unless it’s birds of prey!) as I am so this was such a sweet gesture from him! There was only a fleeting visit by a couple of parakeets. They’re enjoying the sweet chestnut trees so much at the moment I don’t think they can be bothered with the feeders near the hide! There were lots of blue tits, great tits, chaffinches and dunnocks. I was really pleased to see the nuthatch and a pair of coal tits too. Several robins were feeding on the ground beneath the feeders and I caught sight of a couple of wrens in the undergrowth, moving far too fast to photograph! I’m putting the parakeet into Wex Mondays this week as I loved the glow of the late sun against the still-green leaves and the greens of the parakeet itself. It was uplifting!

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The Imposing Facade

St Paul's Cathedral

The Imposing Facade

I get very used to seeing images of St Paul’s Cathedral from the river, showing the famous dome. It’s truly iconic! There’s so much more to see around this incredible building. This is the facade from the front entrance. I have memories of standing here as a child, beneath the statue of the stern monarch, feeling very small and intimidated. I wanted to try to recreate that feeling of awe within this image. I crouched at child-height beneath the monument to capture the shot and then turned a bright, blue-sky day into a dark monochrome. This is my choice for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I’ll have a few more scenes from St Paul’s to share soon that show a few more unusual views of this London landmark.

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Autumnal Richness

Pheasant

Autumnal Richness

Late afternoon sun, glowing through the trees and highlighting a foraging pheasant. This scene last week typified so much of what I love most about Autumn; golden sunlight, warm colours and wildlife stocking-up on food ahead of the Winter months. Late at RHS Wisley Gardens and I think I was the last visitor to leave; actually, I admit it, I know I was the last one there as I would have been completely locked in if Christina hadn’t still been working in the membership offices! I love being in the grounds when it’s quiet. Even more wildlife appears! It’s magical. I thought that I would share this captivating scene for the Wex Mondays challenge this week.

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Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

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