7 Jul 2011

We managed to eat lunch al fresco every day

I apologise for my posting tardiness of late, but between work commitments and a recent holiday, I haven’t been able to find the time to do it justice – or if I’m honest, I’ve not really had anything much of interest to say.

So, for now, I’ll just post some photographs from our recent ‘summer’ stay in the Lake District. Incredibly and unusually, after our lovely spell there over the Easter period, we also had largely gorgeous weather this time too. There were odd periods of rain or occasional showers, but they never happened when we were actually outside and it didn’t divert us from our plans.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.
Sea Thrift growing along the shoreline at Arnside in Cumbria, one of my favourite spots to feel the breeze through my hair – and on this particular evening, there was a lot of breeze to feel. Combined with dampness it made a right old mess of my hair.

We can always get a snapshot of the success level of a holiday with regard to weather by how we eat our lunch – we are almost always out for the day, with a recent habit of doing our walking when we arrive at our chosen location, taking a snack to eat with us at a suitable spot part way along our route, returning to the car for lunch, which is often quite a bit later than lunchtime by then.

The goldfinches just loved the seeds from the thistles growing in the orchard beside the caravan.
I’ve seen Mum doing this, how hard can it be?

Sometimes we eat where we’ve parked, often we move to a favoured spot where we know a good sheltered or quiet place to park or where there are picnic tables. If there are no picnic tables, we have a system of setting up a ‘table’ in the hatchback of the car and eating lunch there standing up. It probably sounds a little odd, but it works really well and we’ve practiced and perfected a technique that really suits us. We also have an [unfortunately] practiced technique for eating inside the car where conditions outside are unsuitable.

The skies were largely blue with fluffy white clouds, which made a delightful change.
Perhaps if we took ready-made butties for lunch, life would be so much easier, but where’s the fun in that? We tend to take fresh bread and an assortment of cheeses, meat and pate and just have a little of whatever we fancy.

It has always been a bit of a challenge having to organise fresh bread or needing to shop every few days when you don’t have much of a freezer, but the last couple of trips we’ve used part-baked rolls that have a long use by date and can be baked fresh each morning whilst we have breakfast. We supplemented this by making our own bread too (an easy soda bread where we measured and took batches of the dry ingredients ready prepared and bagged and just combined with a carton of buttermilk), made life significantly easier and we don’t know why we haven’t thought of it before – it has worked like a charm and freed up that shopping time to be out in the fresh air. And saved us a considerable amount of pennies too – appreciated as this was very much a holiday on a tight budget.

So, judging by that criteria, the fact that we didn’t have to retreat to the inside the car for lunch any day we were away, makes it a pretty good holiday – weather-wise at least. It certainly adds to the pleasure when you’re blessed with sunshine in which to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

I love the tilt screen on the camera that allows me to take low shots like this without getting muddy knees and eliminating the need for lots of trial and error using the self-timer.

I was extremely delighted to snag my first proper dragonfly photograph – taken with the maximum zoom as it was about 6 feet away down a steep marshy bank and I had no option to get any closer – largely as my husband refused to hold my ankles.

Further to earlier comments about my most recent camera, which turned out to be faulty, was returned and repaired, came back seemingly fixed, but wasn’t, was returned and I paid the upgrade fee to get the newer, now currently on sale, model. Thankfully, it performed flawlessly and I realise that my original camera was never right and the problems I had with it from the start were not the user error I blamed myself for, but it was genuinely faulty. So I’m much, much happier with it now and can concentrate on composition and creativity rather than trying to get the camera to focus properly etc.

We went past the pig farm that has an outdoor pen several times whilst up there and this little chap was by far the tiniest piglet in there and he saw me from right across the enclosure and set off to investigate, but was waylaid en route by another piglet wanting to play, so I never got to tickle him.
“OK, own up, who farted?”

On the lane up to the farm we stay at there was a little group of bunnies playing one evening at the field perimeter and we weren’t sure whether they were hares or rabbits – as we have seen hares in that spot previously. I was taking a few shots in far too low light levels, just to give me the chance to identify them properly, when this chap popped his head up out of the long grass – and disappeared again before I got chance to snag him. So I spotted where he’d been and pre-focused, hoping for a reappearance, which he made again briefly. Not the best image by any measure, but it amused the heck out of me.

And as often happens, we were delayed several times with holiday traffic jams:

And you can probably make up your own caption for this particular shot:

“Well, just come back over the same way you climbed over in the first place!”

Full gallery:

The rest of my holiday collection are in one of my on-line photo galleries.

Panoramic photograph of Tarn Hows:

One of the photographic areas that has always fascinated me is in creating panoramas and wide angle shots in general – you’ll notice that many scenics and landscape shots I take are at very wide angles.

I haven’t created a new panorama for a while – although I’m sure I’ve got lots of saved frames waiting for my attention – but I took a series of 5 overlapping frames to test out the new camera’s suitability for this process. Although the starting frames weren’t very good (some were a bit underexposed and dark for starters, due to the huge contrast across the scene), I’ve managed to do some work with them and make something good enough to reassure me that it will work well for me in future. Creating panos requires meticulous preparation when taking the frames to ensure that the individual photographs all have the same exposure and are focused in the same plane and positioned and overlapped so that they will line up carefully to give rise to an accurate and tidy stitch of the individual photographs when brought together.

This is Tarn Hows in the Lake District, from one of the less popular paths. 5 individual photographs stitched together.

If you click through from the image above it will give you a medium sized copy to view, but if you’d like to see it larger, this link leads to a larger version.