A Touch of Frost

There is something rather magical about a frosty landscape.

Trees, berries and flora, who once were dull, bare and rather sad looking due to the season are suddenly encased in ice, that glistens white, to create an ethereal setting that puts me in the mind of Narnia at the time of the Snow Queens reign.

This past week we were treated to such a scene, a hard frost that lasted throughout the day.

Out into the garden I ventured to observe how the ice had changed the landscape. Formations of ice, known as soft rime ice, caused by water droplets freezing in light fog/mist to outer surfaces, in this case branches, leaves etc…generally in the appearance of white needles/scales covered virtually all of the garden.

I wanted to dedicate my photography to the changes these formations made to the smaller landscape, rather than the bigger picture, so I decided upon my macro lens (Sigma 105mm).

Simply shaped leaves now surrounded by delicate, spiky ice, Holly bushes with frosted berries and their leaves given white outlines all drew my attention.

One of my favourite finds were spider webs vacated by their maker and given an icy makeover. Their intricate designs highlighted by the frost.

Even without the frost, the garden has been a great solace for me. Birds visiting the feeders are a great source of entertainment. Since the beginning of the year I have been keeping a list of birds/animals that have visited the garden. It will be interesting to see how this evolves during the year.

Unfortunately, I do not have any birding pictures for this week, but the sightings I have noted have given me a great aim for upcoming posts to try and capture. I will not spoil the surprise of what sightings I have made, I am hoping to be able to show you!

I hope you are all bearing up during the lockdown, I sometimes wander what I would be doing to keep my sanity if I didn’t have photography. What has helped you so far during these times?

A great symbol of hope that I was able to snap this past week, was the humble snowdrop. Seen as a signal of the upcoming spring, this bloom is a welcome sight in the garden. I love looking for markers of each season, for the past 3 years I have owned an almanac to aid me in what to look out for in each month of the year.

I would highly recommend The Almanac created by Lia Leendertz, not only a beautiful looking book full of gorgeous illustrations, it is jammed packed with pages of what to look out for each month, what to be working on in the garden, folklore relating to the month plus much more.

This year I have also purchased The Night sky Almanac by Storm Dunlop and Will Tirion, apart from my moon pictures I would like to give astro-photography a proper try this year (weather permitting).

Before Christmas we were treated to “The Star of Bethlehem” where Jupiter and Saturn were aligned to appear as one star, last occurring in 1623. Sadly the evening when the great conjunction happened, a cloudy sky prevented it being seen from here, although the previous and latter evenings they could be clearly seen in the sky extremely close together. Did you manage to see the alignment?

Again, no photographic evidence was collected for the event, I am hoping that with the Night sky almanac I can prepare and research how to capture different astro occasions, helped by the fact I should be aware of them in ample time. Fingers Crossed!

I hope the past week has been a good one for you all, I wish you all the best, until next time, take care.

Snap Happy

With all the bad weather we have been having lately, it would have been quite easy for me to want to hibernate and not venture out to shoot. In truth; the reality has been the complete opposite. The photography muses must have been with me this week.

In between the downpours and the worst of the blustery winds, I have been out in the garden with the camera. Displays of vivid greens and resilient blooms have inspired the majority of my pictures.

Around the feeders, the hedgerow has been a hive of activity. Like myself, the birds have been making the most of the breaks in the weather. Fights over territory and food have been commonplace. I have been quite surprised to see how bolshy Blue Tits can be, they are not phased in taking on the bigger birds.

Moving away from the garden, I took a trip to Kinver Edge and Rock houses at the weekend. I must admit I was completely unaware of this location beforehand, it’s an absolute gem.

Scrolling through the National Trust site I knew I wanted to stay local. Stumbling upon this location it looked very intriguing and offered something different to the standard stately homes or parks.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kinver-edge-and-the-rock-houses

There is plenty of interest as you walk around, from the striking red sandstone to the views from the Edge, the pretty gorse flowering on the hillside and of course the Rock houses themselves.

I feel bad for not knowing about this site sooner, it is a definite recommendation from me; not only for photography opportunities. The surrounding area offers lots of different walks and I look forward to returning and taking different routes.

As I write this post the bad weather, for the time being, has subsided and there are even sunny spells. I’m feeling positive moving into the new week and hopeful my photography motivation holds fast.

It’s a Phase…. I think

Feeling Creative

I was very fortunate this week to be treated to a trip to London, specifically with the purpose of visiting the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery. I’ve provided the link to the exhibit below if it peaks your interest. (Pre Booking tickets is advised)

https://www.saatchigallery.com/art/tutankhamun.php

I have been desperate to visit this exhibit from the moment I had learnt it was happening. These artifacts once they have completed their tour (they have already been displayed in Los Angeles and Paris) will rightfully return home to Egypt to remain there indefinitely.

The exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of Howard Carter’s discovery; Tutankhamun’s tomb.

It is astounding to think how old these treasures are, even encased within the glass cabinets you get a real sense of the opulence and craftsmanship these items possess.

Heading there, I knew I didn’t just want to take pictures to catalogue the items I had seen that day, I can buy postcards or guide books for that. I wanted my shots to be more creative than that, to try and encapsulate the feeling the objects held rather than the details.

I had prepared and packed my DSLR the previous evening, checking that the batteries were charged, that the lens were clean and that the flash card was empty. I was optimistic that all my pictures would come off this camera.

As you may of guessed from my tone, this was far from truth, I didn’t even take it out of my bag.

The exhibit, as you may well imagine, is quite a busy one. With the amount of people around it just made way more sense to shoot with my phone. I was still able to shoot what I wanted, how I wanted and the quality (in my opinion) wasn’t compromised.

I have to admit to not taking many pictures, at times I was just so in awe of these treasures that I wanted to immerse myself in the experience rather than worry about what shot I was going to try and take next.

This allowed me to;

A) Only take the shots I wanted to take.

B) Enjoy the exhibit without worrying I was missing out on information because I would be wrapped up in getting lots of shots.

I also have to say because these exhibits are dealing with death, even if it was thousands of years ago, I still felt taking photos of the more personal items within the collection was disrespectful.

Referring to the title of my post this week; it’s a phase. Currently I am really appreciating the aesthetic monotone gives to the photos I have been taking. I have found that while I am editing I have leaned heavily towards the monotones, I’ve just loved the feel and sense of story it adds to each shot.

Another weekend and another storm, this time Storm Dennis. I have not braved the elements and haven’t ventured out this weekend, although I had been itching to use the camera.

In a break from the rain I did manage to get outside and take a couple of shots in the garden. I knew I definitely wanted to get a daffodil picture, if I couldn’t take one then I was worried they would be flattened by the high winds that have continued to pass through the region.

Again the resulting photograph is monotone, it really gives emphasis to the shape of the petals and how delicate they are. I am not sure if this love of monotonal edits will continue for long but I am loving them at present. I hope you enjoy them too.