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SING!

SING!

SING!

I couldn’t resist sharing this singing robin with you all today for Wex Mondays. I don’t think he could have opened that beak any wider! Talk about being full of the joys of Spring, they were literally bursting out of this lovely little bird. The sight and sound put a huge smile on my face so I hope it makes you smile too!

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Wings Of Love

Atrophaneura semperi - Big Billy or Red-bodied Swallowtail

Wings Of Love

This seemed like the perfect butterfly image for the Fotospeed challenge this week. With Valentine’s Day approaching how could I not share my love of lepidoptera with you all?

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Malachite Macro

Malachite Macro

Malachite Macro

One of the great joys of visiting a butterfly house is the ability to see large, tropical butterflies up close. Every single tiny and perfect detail of these beautiful creatures is revealed. The wings are a mosaic masterpiece of scales and hairs that will allow the butterfly to blend perfectly into its’ surroundings, or send a bold warning to potential predators. The malachite is a master of disguise but the macro lens allows me to bring you the finer details of it’s camouflage. This was taken at RHS Wisley Gardens last Monday while I was volunteering for the Surrey branch of Butterfly Conservation UK, helping man our stand in the Glasshouse, during the annual Butterflies In The Glasshouse event. I really enjoy engaging with the public at this event, sharing my passion for butterflies of the UK and Europe, as well as the tropical species. I’m sharing this macro for Wex Mondays this week and I hope it will inspire others to look more closely at butterflies too.

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The Unexpected Grass Snake

Grass Snake in The Glasshouse

The Unexpected Grass Snake

If you go down to The Glasshouse at RHS Wisley Gardens for the Tropical Butterfly event, you might just spot the local grass snake who has been coming into the warmth of the tropical zone for the last few winters. It’s currently the hibernation period for our native reptiles. This clever snake has found a great place to keep warm as well as being able to keep feeding on any insects and small mammals that have also found their way into the shelter of the glasshouse.

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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.