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!
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.
This photo of friends and musicians, Claudia Stark and Lisa Von H, totally encapsulates the atmosphere at The Phoenix Cultural Centre‘s Big Busk in Woking Town centre on Saturday. We had all come together to celebrate music, community and culture in Woking. It was hoped that we would also be celebrating the signing of the lease on Quake nightclub, to be renamed Fiery Bird, as the next phase in the Phoenix project. Sadly the lease deadline passed, once again, without any further word on the completion! Get Surrey posted that “the council said it is looking into the matter”. Neither this latest let-down or the freezing cold could stop us partying though! I’m so proud to be part of this project and to have been part of this brilliant, fun event too.
A sunny, late November day in the gardens of Firespark Records and Studios. It’s only 9°C but there are butterflies on the wing! Three red admirals emerge from their winter roost, in the nearby fir, to feed on the flowers of this ivy tree (x Fatshedera lizei), soaking up the sun for the few, brief hours that it’s autumnal rays now fall across the garden. Are these the last butterflies that I will see before winter sets in? Perhaps. There may not be any more sunny days while nectar sources are still available for them to leave their roosts again. But if the sun is shining, wherever you are, keep your eyes peeled for dancing wings! You can help citizen science by recording your sighting with Butterfly Conservation UK. This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Good luck everyone!
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!
It’s very hard for researchers to know the exact number of these amazing cats left wild in Scotland, as they have hybridised with feral domestic-cat populations over the years. It is estimated that there are now perhaps only thirty five true wildcats left and they are at imminent threat of extinction. It breaks my heart! This beautiful female and her three kittens live at the British Wildlife Centre, near Godstone, in Surrey. Such a great place! I visited last week with my friend Nikki and godchildren, Rosie and James. Rosie loves all cats and the wildcats hold a special place in her heart too. It was wonderful to explore our native wildlife with them, whilst giving young James another photography tutorial! I have a few images of some of the other residents, but the wildcat topped my Twitter poll for what people wanted to see for today’s Wex Mondays challenge. I’m very glad to share a bit of their story with you, but for more information please visit the British Wildlife Centre wildcat page here. The centre does some wonderful work in conservation, rescue & rehabilitation and in education. It’s well worth a visit and I would really encourage everybody to support the amazing work that they do!
Source of life itself Golden roots and boughs mirrored In endless beauty
Celebrating the beauty of Autumnal trees, this is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I took the photo last Monday in the eerie and wonderful light of the red sun and orange skies, created by the Saharan sand that was blown in by hurricane Ophelia.
An underwater apparition from the flooded quarry at the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC). Simon and I went up to the centre, near Chepstow, on Saturday to get in a couple of freshwater dives. This British Aerospace Jetstream 200 has been one of the attractions at the site since 2006 and can be found at the north end of the quarry, at a depth of eleven metres. Visibility is usually better than the five metres, or so, that we had this weekend. I rather enjoyed seeing the various wrecks appear, like ghosts, from the gloom ahead of us though. Taken using the Olympus Tough TG4, this image is my entry for Wex Mondays this week. Good luck to everyone taking part!
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!