Winter Sun

Since the year began I have had this yearning to go somewhere for a proper good walk, the sort that you could say “it blows the cobwebs out” about. With each new year this has become a sort of tradition (weather permitting).

This past weekend the weather was perfect, a clear frosty morning, with bright blue skies inspired the thought and offered hope of being able to get some beautiful sunset pictures.

The Malvern hills was the chosen location for this, somewhere I have been to on many occasions growing up and could never get bored of, as the views are tremendous. I had never been at sunset, so this offered a new experience to an old location.

With the help of Google, I researched the time the sun would go down that day, I set off very optimistic, excited for what I was about to shoot.

The winter sunsets (and sunrises too) recently have been stunning, full of pinks, purples, oranges and blue hues.

In the photographs I’ve provided I hope they give a sense on how stunning the sky was at that time and how the view looked that evening.

The walk definitely blew the cobwebs out! The fresh air filled my lungs and frost from the morning still clung to the hills. I had brought with me, my tripod (I am getting better at being prepared for shoots) and set it up along different pathways offering different viewpoints.

The problem with sunsets is they don’t ever last as long as you want them too. I made the most of the time available and kept shooting as the light changed with the setting sun.

Something different for this blog too, I have provided some phone snaps, I generally use my phone for photos when I am out on a shoot but they don’t usually measure up to the dslr ones. However; this time with the light being so good, these snaps were just as effective.

I really like the way these photos have turned out. I’ve mentioned numerous times landscapes isn’t a particularly strong photography genre of mine, but I am definitely gaining more confidence and learning from each shoot.

The next day, along with the frost came a light mist, hard to resist I set out again to get more landscape shots. As before I took the pictures with my phone, and same again, I was quite happy with the outcome.

I really hope this winter sun continues for the coming weeks, offering more picturesque skies. I am currently unsure on where the next week will take me, but I looking forward to it.

Back to Nature

It’s such a great feeling to be getting back to the norm after all the festivities of Christmas and the new year. Getting back to routine and being able to blog again is brilliant, the laptop is fixed and with a brand new year; it brings new hopes and new possibilities.

The first few days of this new year I have gone back to one of my joys and to how this blog began, nature photography.

The hedgerow has been a hive of activity; with lots of birds coming to the feeder; laden with mixed seeds and nuts, which at this time of year serves as a lifeline to our resident species.

The visiting Robins have been constantly singing, their song ringing out around the garden, making even the dullest grey day bearable. These brave little birds are always close when I am out shooting, probably waiting to see if I will provide them more food. As they perch in the hedgerow it appears like they are posing for me, and who wouldn’t blame them, they are very striking with their red breast, making them stand out in the bare hedges.

A new visitor to the garden has been the Coal Tit. At first I mistook it for a Great Tit variant, but the more I observed the more I realised this was a new visitor. There has been a lot of fierce competition around the feeder especially when groups of tits (Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit and now the Coal Tit) and sparrows are around. The Coal Tits have had no trouble holding their own. I look forward to seeing them return to the garden in the coming year (fingers crossed).

Speaking of other Tit varieties, the Long Tailed Tit has been a regular visitor to the garden since last summer. They are very charismatic tiny birds, they come into the garden all of a sudden, in groups and as soon as they arrive, they leave. They tend to evade me when I have the camera out, until that is, this weekend where I managed to capture two photos with them about to fly.

I am so pleased with the outcome of those photos, going forward, with my nature photography in particular I would like to shoot more birds in flight.

The last picture for this week is the first quarter moon of the year. The sky was really clear and the moon was bright, it was not a hard decision to get the camera out to shoot.

It may be of interest to some to note, the first full moon of the year (wolf moon) will be the 10th January and is meant be a penumbral eclipse (meaning the moon doesn’t pass through the full shadow of the Earth which should hopefully give the moon a pinkish/red shade) so I am wishing the night sky will be just as clear then.

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Looking ahead, a few goals for my 2020 are; to hopefully to travel to new locations, to try new photography genres and to blog regularly. I am very excited to see where this year takes me. Has anyone else made any resolutions or goals?

Below are my first photos of the year, going back to where the blog began; nature photography, a fitting start for 2020.

Lichfield Cathedral

After the disappointment of last weeks shots, I was determined more than ever to stay positive and to keep trying my best in whatever/wherever I am shooting.

The pictures I have managed to produce this week I am more confident with and am happy with the results. I am defiantly learning from my mistakes!

This weeks offering is from (as the title suggests) Lichfield Cathedral. Apparently this Cathedral is the UK’s only medieval cathedral with three spires. I took a couple of shots to demonstrate this.

The sky was grey and with the slight mist around the West midlands at the weekend, everything was damp, this just added to the dominance that the Cathedral eludes to the surrounding area.

The Cathedral itself felt quite imposing. The architecture of this place (inside and out) is outstanding. I cannot even begin to fathom how this place was created, I was just in awe of it.

Mixing the modern with the traditional as you walk into the Cathedral, you cannot help but notice a huge light installation. This is an art exhibit for Advent (part of Cathedral illuminated) from artist in residence Peter Walker in collaboration with local schools and people from the Diocese.

It is hard not to be inspired by the Cathedral, the architecture, the grand ceilings, stained glass windows, ornate decorations and the light exhibit all offered shots to be had.

I must admit I was not previously aware of this magnificent location to shoot at, it was recommended to me. What an absolute gem of a place, I am very glad I listened.

Following on from Lichfield Cathedral, I am going to research and make a list of local locations to potentially shoot. I am hoping to find a few more surprises. .

Catching up

Over the last few weeks, I have been really trying to push my photography outside my comfort zone.

I have taken a couple of big landscape shots, a few nature shots and even some architectural shots. Even if the end result isn’t always the greatest, I have really enjoyed trying new things. My mantra is definetly “it may not be my style, but i’ll give it a good go”

The first of my pictures was shot on Painswick peak (Gloucestershire). The landscape was full of autumnal colours and had so much scope, it would of been silly for me not to shoot it.

I always feel with my landscape photography, I do not possess the eye to see what would make the shot that little bit better. I know the more I shoot in theory, the more I should improve.

The next set of pictures are from a very wet and misty walk on Clent Hills, I love the shots I managed to capture there, they are some of my favourite from the last month.

There is such a mood/atmosphere to these photographs. Shooting them before Halloween, I tried to add a sense of story to one, which I hope pays off. Getting drenched was worth the resulting snaps.

“How are we already into November?” I am sure this sentiment is shared universally, it just doesn’t seem that long ago that we were welcoming this year in.

November has always been one of my favourite months.The darker nights, cosy evenings in, frosty mornings. I just love it.

As it has been so wet the last few weeks I haven’t been to any planned firework displays. I had hoped to get some firework pictures which I failed at, I did however shoot some light writing with sparklers.

I have only included one here as the others I shot picked up light from other sources ( mainly a streetlight) and it infringed on the outcome.

My most recent photography location was at Broadway Tower. Along with the other locations in this post it’s a place I had never visited before. It was a absolute gem to shoot.

Since the begining of autumn one of my photography goals has been to try and capture some deer shots, especially as it is rutting season. I may have missed the rut this year but to shoot (photography wise) deer was a delight.

The tower shots I have tried to experiment with composition and even tried attempted a mono shot. They may not be perfect but as with the landscape shots, I should improve with practice. I do appreciate any feedback you may have to improve my technique or tips on how to approach any subject. It is very welcome, I am very eager to learn.

The Weekly

Another week and again there has been a lack of photography, for which I can only apologise for.

I don’t want to label it as a slump but with time restraints and responsibilities, I just haven’t been able to give photography the time it deserves, which is absolutely devastating to me. It is definitely something I need to remedy immediately.

Looking to the future for positives, regarding my photography; I am now able to continue with camera club, which I had to take a break from due to work training. I am looking forward to being inspired by other like minded people and it hopefully is going to light a fire under my bum to get me out more to shoot!!

Nature shots are definitely my comfort zone, I feel confident in what I want to shoot and how best to achieve my vision (depending on what is available to shoot, that is). I am hoping that with the camera club and with more time available I am going to push my comfort zone out, little by little.

I know that not every photography genre is going to suit me but the very least I can do is give it a good go and have a new found appreciation for those that do shoot those genres.

The two shots I did manage to achieve this week, I am very proud of. It was nice to get back to shooting nature after Bath. An observation regarding Blue Tits, does anyone else think they look slightly punky? Is that just me?

I hope you like what I have to offer this week.

Bath

I must start this post with an apology, I have not been great at posting recently. Unfortunately, I just haven’t had the chance to get out to do a nature shoot, which is very frustrating for me. Over the next couple of weeks I am hoping to dedicate some time to ensure I am out and about in nature.

To compensate for the lack of nature this time; I recently travelled to Bath for a day trip, like most of my photography skills I am not the strongest at landscape or architectural shots but I am always willing to give them a go.

I have never visited Bath before and I must say it is an absolute gem of a city, enhanced by the Autumnal sunshine. I had a great day soaking in the culture. I’d definitely recommend if you were looking to visit somewhere with a rich history or just wanting to recharge!

The photos below are of the Abbey, the Roman Baths and Pulteney Bridge.

I hope you enjoy my take on Bath.

Weekly Watch

12th – 18th August 2019

From the lack of photography last week; this week has been distinctly better. Hooray!!

One of the reasons for this; I have finally been able to make the jump to a full framed DSLR. I am aware that this may not mean much to some. In Layman’s term; it’s a much improved camera.

Disclaimer: that is not to say my photos will be distinctly better (I am very much an amateur) I’ve been getting used to using it and there has been a lot of experimenting with settings (I won’t bore you with the technicalities, as I’d probably get it wrong anyway!).

So there has been lots of practising, whenever I get the chance to. I continue to focus on the bird feeder for my subjects.

My hope for the near future; once I’m confident with the new kit is to scout out a few nature spots near me to one; vary the content for you the viewer and two; push myself out of my comfort zone, which in turn should help me improve! Fingers crossed!

There have been a couple of comedic shots, my personal favourite is the Juvenile Robin seemingly getting told off by the Great tit. I hope you enjoy this weeks weekly.

Weekly Watch

When first thinking about what content I wanted to add to my blog, a gallery of what I’d seen around my area each week was top of the list.

It combines my photography passion and being able to share and discuss what I had seen. I’ll always try to name what any species shot and where they had been located; more often than not in the garden.

22nd-29th July 2019

This past week has been excellent for garden wildlife visits. Whether this has anything to do with the warmer weather; I am unsure. There have been many first-time visitors to the garden, the biggest surprises were the Field Vole and Nuthatch.

I posted the Vole photograph initially to my Instagram feed; I had identified it as a mouse. It never would have crossed my mind that it could be anything different. I was asked “is it a mouse?” which made me start to dig a little more into its identity. I had a small mammal with an identity crisis!! With a bit of help from the comment section and google lens, we got the identity in the end. I mean I still would have been happy if it was a mouse, but I don’t think I’ve seen a Vole in the flesh until then which adds to the enjoyment of getting the pic.

The Nuthatch was another lovely surprise, I’ve never seen one in the garden before let alone at the feeder. At first glance I thought it was another Blue Tit, but something made me give it a second look. I’m so very glad I did! It was glorious, it didn’t stay long, and I almost missed the shot, I must have had a bit of luck on my side.

Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Rucoby.

Hi! I’m Rucoby a.k.a Donna, I’m a 33 year old photography enthusiast based in the West Midlands, UK.

I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog for some time ; as I’ve always enjoyed writing and finally I have summoned up some courage and have taken the plunge! So let the fun begin!

“So why now?” you may ask….the answer is simple. I found my passion. I’ve found something I want to share! Photography!

A bit of background information; I came to photography in my mid twenties, picking up my first DSLR in 2014. I attended a few evening photography courses back then and absolutely fell in love with the process.

Photography in all it forms has permanently become one of my biggest loves, I cannot express fully the joy I get with photography, as the blogging progresses I really hope I am able to demonstrate this.

It serves as my creative outlet, even if I don’t feel confident with what I am shooting, I am always willing to give it a good go! I primarily shoot nature shots but I do try to push myself outside of my boundaries every now and then.

I want to share my photography adventures, locations (which you may like to visit after), what I have learnt along the way and everything else in-between.

I am always looking to improve my skill set and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I will also add that I will be documenting my own mental health within this blog, as photography is very much a part of my therapy. It allows me to focus on more than myself and exhibit how I see the world.

I really hope you enjoy what is to follow! I look forward to talking to you in the comments.

(All photos used on my blogs are my own unless otherwise stated.)