Such a beautiful scene, the last glorious tones of Autumn, really needed a stitched panorama to get in all the details! This is Claremont Landscape Gardens, managed by the National Trust, near Esher and Cobham. A wonderful place to explore, relax, have a cuppa and feed the birds (please bring proper bird seed or duck/swan pellets that are available at most garden centres).
Newark Priory viewed from the banks of the Wey Navigation by Newark Lock. The navigation and the priory belong to The National Trust but the priory actually sits on private farmland. There are several beautiful views of the ruins from across the river and from the road. This is definitely a favourite view of mine, just catching the reflections of the ruins in the water. Even more ethereal on a misty morning, a glimpse into the history of Ripley and Pyrford.
I couldn’t resist a few snow-themed photos from yesterday for my posts this week! I just loved this robin, perched under the boughs of one the conifers on the lawn at RHS Wisley Gardens, sheltering from the chill wind. I thought he’d be a nice piece for today’s ShareMondays post.
I also want to say sorry to many of my followers who’ve been leaving me lots of lovely comments and not receiving replies! I usually do most of my social media chat and notifications on my phone but it’s playing up at the moment. I need to upgrade it but have been patiently waiting for the latest Sony Xperia to be released! Until then (fingers crossed in the next week or so) I am still putting up with a phone that crashes when the battery drops to around seventy percent. Normal service, and responses, should resume shortly. I hope you’ll continue to be patient with me!
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.
I had another go at focus stacking this last weekend. This time my subject is botanical, the decaying petals of a hydrangea. They’re all from one flower-head but all at different stages of decay, from the age-spotted pinks through to skeletal lacy remains. The petals were arranged on glass on a black background and lit with a diffused, blue spotlight. After stacking my images in Photoshop and masking in the focused areas, I decided that the image felt more appealing, almost vintage, with some areas left soft and unfocused. I gave the whole piece a hazy, matte finish to accentuate that vintage look that is a mirror to the subject itself. I hope you like it! I’m putting this one forward for both Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenges this week. Good luck to all taking part!