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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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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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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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Upon Reflection

Fading Out

Upon Reflection

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!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Details Of The Scarce Swallowtail

The Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly

Weekly Photo Challenge: Details Of The Scarce Swallowtail

Jen has asked us to discover the intimate details of something unexpected, and share our images. On returning from snorkeling in Kos one day, I discovered this almost perfect example of a Scarce Swallowtail butterfly, that had sadly expired just outside our apartments. It’s not often that I get the chance to get my 30mm macro lens out to study a butterfly’s wing in such close detail! I believe it had just reached the end of it’s natural lifespan, having mated and laid its’ eggs on the citrus trees in the garden. I was very fortunate to find it before the ants did! Nature always recycles it’s own. I’ve saved the images at a slightly larger file size than I usually would so that you can see the extraordinary details of the scales on the wings. Click on the individual images for a closer look!

The hind-wing edge detailsClose up wing detailThe overlapping section of wingsClose up wing detailDetails of the patterning on the hind-wings