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ShareMondays2019 – Tulip Dreams

Tulip Dreams

ShareMondays2019 – Tulip Dreams

Guildford Castle always produces a magical display of tulips in the gardens of the old moat! I’ve been playing with using in-camera multiple exposures and extra blur from Nik Analog Efex and Photoshop. I love the way it’s been working with the pastels of the Spring blooms! Happy Easter and good luck to everyone entering today’s Twitter comps!

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Be The Canvas, Embrace The Colour!

Amy Turk - Be The Canvas, Embrace The Colour!

Be The Canvas, Embrace The Colour!

It’s the wee small hours of the morning but I just wanted everyone to start their Monday off with the joy of colour, collaboration and art. Amy Turk, you were an absolute joy to work with. This is the final image from the day when all the paint and Holi powder had been (literally) thrown into the mix of our painted canvas backdrop and make-up done by myself and Julia K. Our team was completed by videographer, John Hoskinson and my wonderful hubby, Simon Williams. Turns were taken mixing paint, placing and holding the backdrop, setting lights, making tea, chucking paint and powder about, all whilst looking like a bunch of extras from Breaking Bad or CSI in our blue boilersuits, gloves and shoe protectors! What a BRILLIANT way to spend a Sunday 😀

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ShareMondays2019 – Soft Snowflakes

Soft Snowflakes

ShareMondays2019 – Soft Snowflakes

Last week’s weather was pretty wild but we didn’t get any snow down here. Just rain, sleet, hail and thunder! Friday was much more settled and I managed to get out to RHS Wisley Gardens for a while. These snowflakes in the Cottage Garden looked so soft and sweet, I couldn’t resist them!

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ShareMondays2019 – Uncommon Beauty

Uncommon Beauty

ShareMondays2019 – Uncommon Beauty

I spent much of my birthday on Thursday at Thursley Common NNR, near Elstead in Surrey. I went in search of dartford warblers, curlew and lizards. The lizards managed to evade me, although other visitors did spot a couple on the boardwalk when the sun  came out! The curlew flew over me twice which was a treat to see and I found my dartford warblers at the far end of the boardwalk, near the dragonfly sculpture. Other signtings included stonechat, chiffchaff, goldfinch, redpoll, great and blue tits, greylag geese, mallard, wren and a bit of smoke on the horizon.

After the recent, devastating wildfire on Chobham Common, the sight of smoke on our heathland is a bit worrying! It was soon apparent that this was a small contained fire, most likely where the ranger was doing some land management. 325 hectare of woodland, peat bogs, heathland, ponds and ditches is a huge area to manage so the ranger, James Giles, organises volunteer workparties to maintain this precious resource. The wispy smoke created a atmospheric haze through the distant pines. Once I knew it wasn’t a concern, I was able to sit back in my wheelchair and marvel in it’s uncommon beauty.

Dartford Warber

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ShareMondays2019 – Stick With It

Stick With It

ShareMondays2019 – Stick With It

I had a great photoshoot with drummer Andy Gray yesterday! It was a shoot that was testament to the resilience of creatives in the face of adversity. Andy’s bad back and my multitude of medical annoyances were NOT going to get in the way of the creative photoshoot we had planned!

Using the rehearsal space at Firespark Studios with the wonderful Julia K has allowed me to get back to a style of photography that I have always loved. For me, portraiture needs to tell a story. Sometimes a minimalist, subtle image can carry that story in a far more powerful way than a traditional portrait. Andy’s drumsticks are an extension of himself, in much the same way as my camera is now, or my brush was when I was painting.

When you stick with the thing you love, not just what you do, but who you are, the means by which you choose to express yourself aren’t just tools any more. The connection becomes organic. I am my art. Julia is a spark of creativity and Andy is his music!

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ShareMondays2019 – Punk Pelican

Punk Pelican

ShareMondays2019 – Punk Pelican

I went to St James’s Park in London on Friday after a morning appointment at Guy’s Hospital. I went for the wildlife and I wasn’t disappointed! The pelicans were gathered ready for their afternoon feed, showing off for the public. It’s a lovely opportunity to study them up close. Absolutely stunning birds! When the breeze lifted this pelican’s crest, I couldn’t help but be reminded off the sad loss of Prodigy front-man, Keith Flint, last week. He would have rocked this hairdo too!

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ShareMondays2019 – Close Up With A Creeper

Tree Creeper

ShareMondays2019 – Close Up With A Creeper

Almost at the end of a lovely afternoon in the sunshine at Bushy Park and a couple of treecreepers appeared, on birch trees in the Woodland Gardens, near the Pheasantry Cafe. I had to let my tea go cold while I went to try to get some images! They eluded me on many of the trees, circling around and climbing very quickly, until one decided to pause at the base of the tree I was standing right next too. I hardly wanted to breathe, let alone move! It paused long enough to let me get a few close shots from behind. Those markings allow this tiny bird to almost disappear against the tree bark from a further distance!

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ShareMonday2019 – Pop Goes The Weasel

Weasel at the British Wildlife Centre

ShareMonday2019 – Pop Goes The Weasel

Do you remember the rhyme? Could you make the “popping” sound with your cheek? Yes, I do and yes, I still can. And I can’t help doing it when the little weasel at The British Wildlife Centre actually pops up to say hello! I was visiting the centre with my godchildren last week during half-term. It’s a favourite place of ours for a day out and was lovely in the warm sunshine we’ve been treated to recently.

There’s still no conclusive answer as to exactly what these rhyming lyrics mean. It seems most likely that they are derived from cockney rhyming slang Weasel and Stoat meaning coat, referring to a coat being pawned to get money for food.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel

Weasels are closely related to stoats and otters, from the Musetlid family. They’re the smallest British carnivore and you can tell them apart from the stoat, not because they’re stoatally different, but because the weasel has a shorter tail with no black tip! They can be found in a wide range of habitats throughout England, Wales and Scotland but are not seen in Northern Ireland or on many other British Islands. Blink and you’ll miss them though, tiny and very fast! I’ve only seen them a couple of times in the wild myself and not long enough to be able to photograph one.

I really love finding my inner child again, through spending time with the many children in my life! They remind me of all the joy and wonder in this beautiful World of ours and how to enjoy the simple pleasures. Like singing nonsense rhymes, making popping noises with your cheek, all while laughing at the antics of a small and utterly brilliant British mammal! Hat’s off to the British Wildlife Centre for all the wonderful, conservation, education and rehabilitation work that they do.

Sources: The Wildlife Trusts, British Wildlife Centre and Wikipedia

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ShareMondays2019 – Pre-flight Check

Pre-flight Check

ShareMondays2019 – Pre-flight Check

I was driving down to RHS Wisley Gardens on Thursday afternoon when I spotted this kestrel circling the field opposite Wisley Church. There’s a small lay-by that I pulled into as the kestrel approached. I was absolutely thrilled when it took a perch on the cables nearby! I didn’t want to spook it, so grabbed the long lens, wound down the passenger window and managed to get a few images as it surveyed the surroundings, before taking back off to resume the hunt. A magical moment! Often when I spot wildlife from the car there’s nowhere to pull over and be able to watch or photograph what I’ve seen. This has to be my ShareMondays moment and I will add it to the Wex Mondays challenge too. Have a great week everyone!

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ShareMondays2019 – Hang On!

Hang On!

ShareMondays2019 – Hang On!

I tried a few different creative processing styles for this little long-tailed tit, but in the end I think maybe less is more. Photographed at Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve on Saturday for this Monday’s weekly challenges from Wex Photo Video and Fotospeed.