More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure.Cecil Beaton
I don’t have much to tell you these days, as my husband has been poorly and his treatment and recovery have been a dominating feature in our lives for the moment. But as I’ve been restricted to home for a while, I have been tinkering with various cameras and images and we managed to get away to the Lake District in June, so I’ll just post a gallery of recent images below.
I posted last time that I’d got a new Panasonic pocket camera and was tinkering with that, but since then, my lovely little DSLR has died and probably can’t be repaired economically, so I’m on the look out for a second hand one eventually, as it was just ideal for me. In the meantime however, I’ve added a larger bridge camera to my collection and am looking forward to getting to know it soon – I haven’t had opportunity to get out with it yet and frankly, it has largely rained since I got it a week ago.
I have however been playing with some images that I’d not yet published and trying different pieces of RAW image file development.
I hadn’t been happy with the results I was getting, so decided that I’m going to have to pay for a decent piece of software, so have been trying it before I pay for the full version.
I’ve been delighted with the results and some of the images in the gallery are the result of getting a decent image from a shot that initially looked lost. I do love that process of taking something that looked hopeless at the time of taking – usually because of an extensive dynamic range in the scene – and getting a nice resulting image from it.
I’ve been especially delighted with the results that I’ve been able to get from my pocket camera Considering that it has a tiny little sensor, it’s astonishing to me that I can retrieve blown cloud and sky areas, as well as lightening deep shadow areas to show hidden details, from under trees and the like. It’s a bit of a dark art and both a joy and a frustration in equal measure, but I can’t relinquish that overwhelming need to tinker with images.
I’ve published some of these photos larger than I usually do in my blog, so the pop ups when you click to view the images should be pretty much a screenful in your browser. Some originals are also perhaps a little larger than this (especially the landscapes), so if you want to enjoy more detail, right clicking the image will probably give you the option to open it in a new window or tab. If hovering over the image with your mouse produces a (+) icon, clicking it may make it larger still.
The photos below are just a selection of images that I’ve taken or worked on recently (hence the mix of seasons shown). Whilst slightly disjointed as a collection, they do pretty much represent what I like to photograph.
A favourite section amongst the trees around Tarn Hows in the English Lake District (September 2017).
It had rained hard and been stormy earlier in the day and it suddenly stopped and lifted and odd shards of sunlight glinted through gaps in the cloud. Thirlmere in the English Lake District.
I love being under trees in dappled sunlight on a hot day and this is a favourite quiet spot to stop for a picnic lunch.
Water lillies and lots of common blue damselflies at Tarn Hows in the English Lake District.
Tarn Hows in the English Lake District on a gorgeous hot sunny June afternoon.
Blea Tarn in the Langdale area of the English Lake District. The day before we’d been trying to find shade to keep cool, but this day we were glad we put coats on.
Tarn Hows in the English Lake District – the sun was out, the water lillies were in flower and the sun was warm. Life doesn’t get much better.
Walking around Tarn Hows in the English Lake District on a lovely day – we just stop on every seat to enjoy looking at the trees.
Walking around Tarn Hows in the English Lake District on a gorgeous June afternoon.
It isn’t a complete holiday until we’ve walked along the side of Windermere – it’s one of those favourite walks you do often because it has everything.
The walk along Elterwater in the English Lake District. It just started raining, so I snatched a quick photo.
One of a small family of marsh tits that visited our feeder – I don’t think I’ve knowingly seen one before. They move so fast, that they’re hard to catch – so I was glad that it paused for a moment for me.
A spectacularly clear day after a storm the day before, giving rise to good distant views over Windermere.
This blue hosta I have in the garden does form the most lovely raindrops – which I love to see on these big architectural leaves.
A favourite quite spot to stop for a brew and maybe a spot of lunch. This was an exercise in RAW file development, as it was a tricky exposure that just hadn’t worked in the in-camera JPEG.
We were delighted to be visited by a hare on several occasions, although it was only when the weather was lousy – so the light was low and the grass was blowing.
The photo isn’t sideways – this rose, which instructs you not to prune it, now flowers about 12 foot off the ground and they then flop over horizontally. I think I’m going to have to prune it after all, or I can’t enjoy the flowers at all.
We’ve had a lot of butterflies and other insects in the garden this summer and they move about so fast, that I end up with a lot of flower photos where a butterfly or insect had been.
You can see with all the tones and textures in the grass, how the hares blend in so well with their surroundings.
Thistles are the most astonishingly complicated and rather ferocious looking plants,
After a couple of visits she seemingly got used to seeing me through the window and realised she wasn’t going to come to any harm and she got more confident in her movements.
What could be prettier than a tiny spherical raindrop on the gorgeous contours of a large waxy leaf.
I’ve posted this photo before, but I re-worked this with a new piece of RAW development software and the result is significantly better.
These garden geraniums have been the most lovely delicate colour this summer.
And if it’s so we only pass this way but once What a perfect waste of time – ‘My Sad Captains’ / Elbow
Yesterday was Easter Saturday and we had the most lovely day. We visited our favourite spot, had a pretty decent undulating walk (at least my leg muscles say it was this morning), had a picnic outside (granted, we scoffed with increasing speed as our hands got cold once the sun moved off) and spent some quality time in the car with our coffee.
My husband pretended to read through closed eyelids (he watches TV using the same rather odd technique) and I spent about an hour with my binoculars welded to my face watching a handful of hares, just being hares, in an adjacent field.
I know that this is the perfect time of year to see hares, when they become more active during daylight in the pursuit of a mate and I also know that this area is good for hares, as we regularly see glimpses of them, so I was hopeful that I might get to see more activity than usual. And boy was I not disappointed.
As we settled in the car with a cup of coffee and books etc., just to enjoy the peace and the view – as we do at every opportunity (I suspect this is an activity that only becomes attractive beyond a certain number of years lived), I commented that three bunnies appeared to be engaged in some early evening shenanegans and were just chasing each other in circles.
We laughed at them running around and turning back on themselves and how the order of the chase changed often and it was only when I decided to get a better look with binoculars that it became evident that they were hares and not bunnies at all – the distance we were from them had completely skewed the scale and once seen properly, it was very obvious; their huge black tipped ears and much warmer colours, distinct yellow eyes and long hind legs. They can apparently run at up to 35 miles an hour, so it’s no wonder I struggled to keep up with them with binoculars.
The chase disappeared from view into the thick reeds and I scanned the field looking for signs of movement. I just passed over the field of view where they emerged from the reeds onto a flat green raise in the surface, just in time to see two of the hares leap right up from the ground, to land in boxing stance and put on the most fabulous, albeit fleeting, display of mad March hare boxing. I’ve only seen it in person once before at distance and as on that occasion, it was over before I could swap binoculars for camera and try to get a shot. Just a brief spat of handbags. Unfortunately, they calmed after that burst of energy and from then on they were only interested in feeding, no more chasing, or boxing.
By the time we decided to leave for home, we calculated that we’d seen at least 6 or 7 different hares. I found that after watching them for a while that I could easily identify individuals – one had a very fluffy white tummy, one had markings on its back, almost stripey like a tabby cat, one had a very fluffy tail and one a long skinny tail. At one point, a movement caught Barrie’s eye in the car mirror and one was crossing the road behind us. On the drive home, we spotted at least another half dozen in fields and at the roadside.
As I was scanning the field for activity, the light caught a shape in the grass and I wondered if this might be one of the forms that hares sleep in, usually during the day, before venturing out at dusk to eat. I knew that they made rudimentary forms from a scrape in the ground amongst long grasses for camouflage and shelter and certainly since I’ve got home and researched it, I’ve seen several photos of similar structures where a sort of tunnel has been formed in long grass in this way.
I’d also been watching a kestrel, rising up on evening thermals and hovering whilst hunting for food – we regularly watch a kestrel in this same spot. So it was an extra treat so be able to watch it settled on a nearby hawthorn bush, surveying the ground beneath intently.
Quality of the photographs:
I’m sorry that I’m not able to share better quality photos, but in all of these cases, the hares and the kestrel were some considerable distance away and whilst I could really enjoy them through binoculars, my camera unfortunately doesn’t enjoy the same magnification or clarity. So these photographs were taken at an equivalent zoom of a 720mm lens and are significantly cropped too. Plus, there were several objects between me and the animals, such as tall weeds, wire fencing etc., hence some odd blurry patches disturbing the details. I could have got out of the car to try and get closer, but I think that was likely to have spooked them and I preferred to go on enjoying watching them quietly, as it was such a privilege to spend some time in their company. But please do click on any of the photos for a larger version.
I don’t think I ever posted about my Christmas present from my husband in 2014 – which I have yet to enjoy.
En route to this favourite spot, we pass a local glider school who are often flying when we pass, so we tend to pull in and watch for any take-offs, as they’re winched into the air and it makes quite a spectacle to watch. I’ve often commented that I fancied having a go, so I now have a voucher for a ‘lesson’ in one to be taken at some time this summer. Whenever I think about it, my stomach does a somersault of excitement and terror, just about in equal measure. Watching them yesterday just heightened both sensations.