Sunday, 22 May 2011

A hidden gem we've walked past many times

I've just realised that this is my 100th blog post here - I had intended to mark the occasion with something more in keeping with the milestone, but it's nearly midnight on a Sunday evening and to be blunt, my imagination and flair has totally deserted me, so apologies that it's not something more worthy.

Please click on any of the photographs to see a larger view.

Whilst we were away over the Easter period the Fuji bridge camera I had been given for a recent big birthday to use as a walk-around camera when I didn't want to be weighed down with the bug guns, had developed assorted faults and is currently back with the manufacturer to be looked at, under warranty. There is clearly something amiss with the sensor and a whole collection of small, somewhat intermittent, but increasingly frequent, niggly problems - like it won't switch off or on, won't change mode etc. At first I put them down to quirks of the model, but when you lose shots because of them, or get home and find that several frames you took that day were totally out of focus, something really has to be done with it.

The fabulous gardens as Sizergh Castle in the Lake District - I have already published a photograph of this scene from a JPEG file - but having opened up the RAW file and seeing how much better the tonality of it is, as well as how much further detail I have been able to bring out, it has made me question my workflow all over again.

I had been happy with my Easter photos until I opened the ones taken with my DSLR. But considering this camera and lens combination cost about 7 times the amount of my new camera, it jolly well should show it up.

None of the very many photographs I took of this scene with different cameras really did it justice, with the low early evening sun filtering through the spring foliage and warming up the fragrance from the bluebells.

So whilst I'm without it, it has given me the opportunity to work on some photographs I'd taken recently that I hadn't done anything with yet and to give further thought to some of my concerns over the image files I get from it - and my perpetual quandary since getting it on how best to use it - I've never quite been able to get colours right in landscapes (which I think my Easter collection helped me to make decisions) and can't settle on just working with out of camera JPEG image files, or to do the extra work of using RAW files which give better results, but are more work - and the software provided for doing so is rather clunky to use, somewhat discouraging that approach and the frustration it invariably brings.

Bluebells nestled amongst bright spring green emerging foliage - one of my favourite things.

I was pretty happy with the photographs I took over Easter (largely as JPEGs) until I worked on both some images I took with the much larger and heavier DSLR (which at the time of buying, the cost - with the ultra wide angle lens I like to use - cost about 7 times this other newer camera, so it jolly well should show it up) and also some of the frames I took with the bridge camera in a RAW format and developed into images myself using software - a slightly tedious process, but certainly yielding better results.

So whilst I've been tinkering and trying different post-processing settings, which has been a really worthwhile process for me, I found a series of photographs I took before we went away at Easter and had temporarily forgotten about. We moved to this area about 29 years ago when we got married - we commuted to the area for work for 3 months initially, whilst we looked for a house and planned a wedding, moving here properly when we returned from honeymoon.

The area surrounding the reservoir was once farmland with assorted cottages and farms and it's always fascinating to see the gateposts and walls remaining from such previous occupiers. I wonder how many modern gateposts would withstand the passage of time in this manner

On the moors above us is a reservoir which has a 2Km walk around it and we do this lap very often, having walked it many, many times in those 29 years. And regular readers will know how much I love walking in woodland and how important being amongst trees is for me.

Off to one side is a steep narrow path disappearing into the trees and we only recently set off up that path to see where it took us. I'm actually now pretty cross that we've walked past it dozens of times without ever realising that it adds an extra loop into the walk through a most unexpectedly gorgeous wooded area.

It just goes to show that even little gems like that can be right under your nose without you knowing, or appreciating it. I can't see us missing out that loop many times in future - although I think it might be tricky walking if it's especially wet or icy - which it often is when we do that walk.

The leaves were just emerging when we were up there in April, but I hope to be back there very soon when I expect that the green will have exploded from what you see in these photographs. I'm really looking forward to it - and to my camera coming home too - I'm sorely missing it.

Turquoise dyed magnesite beads with double coiled antiqued copper. I wanted something with smaller beads to match the large chalk turquoise beads I use in necklaces, for those that prefer a more discreetly-sized earring.

Work-wise this last week I've been a good girl and caught up a little on photographing my backlog of finished pieces. I can seemingly make much faster than I can photograph (that's no doubt more to do with my motivation, making is so much more fun) and list pieces and I find the perpetual backlog really tiresome. But I set myself some deadlines last week and actually met them. I'm hoping to reward myself with some quality bench time to tackle some new ideas this week.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The best holiday weather since 1996

That says it all doesn't it - that I can actually remember the last holiday we had with really great weather - and not that recently either.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.
On the Good Friday bank holiday we hit heavy traffic and were held up for some time - Herdwick ewes being moved into pastures closer to the farm ready to have their lambs. Mr Boo christened this photo "Where's Woolly?"

This was taken over a week later, but only a few yards away so may well be one of the Herdwick ewes above being brought down to lamb. Each ewe only has a single black lamb.

We've just spent the extended Easter, Royal Wedding and May Bank Holiday period in the English Lake District and with the exception of one evening with a short-lived downpour - late enough that we'd already drawn the curtains and washed up from dinner, so it really didn't trouble us - and one day that was grey and drizzly, we had wall to wall sunshine for the entire 12 days.

I've always had a bit of a fixation about sunlight through trees, it's just one of my very favourite things.

Where we stay in a permanent static caravan on a working farm, the bedroom window is on the north east face of the structure and if I wake up with the sun on my face, we know it's a good start. Unfortunately, that's a somewhat rarer experience that I'd personally like. Every morning, bar one, the sun kissed my cheeks as the alarm went off. Fabulous.

Ramsen / wild garlic; the hedgerows and woodland were thick with it - the flowers just opening - it gives off a gorgeous sweet garlic smell if you brush the leaves as you pass.

But then you have to get up and to it quite promptly as long, static, metal caravans in full sunshine soon turn into baking tins and whilst the day might start with temperatures close to frost-inducing, the air warms alarmingly rapidly as the sun rises and heats the metal sides.

Our neighbour during our stay - taken through the kitchen window - this spot, nestled against one of the damson trees in the orchard, was a morning favourite as the sun warmed up. Soon after I took this, his brother sidled over and snuggled up next to him.

But it is fabulous to eat breakfast with the patio doors wide open and looking out onto the scenery with the spring breeze playing around you.

One of the very most important things to me is walking through woodland and it was just about perfect last week.

A rare moment of stillness in an otherwise very breezy period.

Walking through woodland along a lake shore and coming across small private (albeit rocky) beaches periodically to perch, catch your breath and admire the view, is about a perfect way to spend a spring day.

The weather was just about perfect for us, lots of sunshine, but cool air and on some days, a distinctly brisk and chilly breeze. Just ideal for getting out and walking, although our lunchtime picnics were a little more lively than ideal on some days. When your crisps blow off your plate and you have to hold bread down, you know it's time to retreat indoors to eat. Al fresco dining; I love it.

I wish I could have captured the fragrance for you too. There are few things more perfect to enjoy than dappled sunlight on deciduous ancient woodland with masses of wild bluebells.

The trees pretty much fully opened from bud within the time we were there and there's this short period each spring when the trees are this most magnificent luminous bright spring green - the foliage in the sunlight last week was breathtakingly gorgeous - beech trees especially are the most vibrant fresh colour. Foliage is pristine and un-ravaged by weather, disease or insects and at its most perfect - combined with the lovely clear air and sunshine, the Lakes were about as beautiful as I've ever seen them - and I've spent a lot of my life there in just about every possible set of conditions.

When we arrived, most of the ferns and brackens were unfurling and within a week, were all totally open

I wish I could share with you the fabulous fresh air, scent of the bluebells and the invigorating freshness of woodland in sunshine, but I'll just have to leave you with the photos and your imagination will have to fill in the rest. There's a more complete set of photographs in my image sharing gallery.

I love to sit on this seat around a tree and view the fabulous rock garden with its gorgeous maple trees at Sizergh Castle. I never tire of looking at it.

I love this scene in the castle gardens - the water lillies are just growing.

These flowers are less than an inch in diameter, yet fabulously complex geometric structures.

I was so excited when I came upon this pen of pigs - there must have been 50 assorted pigs of different breeds, colours and sizes, all sunbathing in a pile together - that I almost forgot to take photos - I was too busy trying to stop myself from squealing and jumping up and down in excitement.

Did I mention that I totally love walking through woodland and seeing the sunlight filtering through. I suspect I did.


Related Posts with Thumbnails