This is Johnson’s Blue, the most heavenly geranium I know. The colour reminds me of a Mediterranean sky, even though it is very much An English cottage garden favourite. This one is 2 years old and has been kept in a tub rather than the border but that’s so that I can move it around to work with the other perennials. A little piece of heaven, the view from my doors…..
Having taken this photo during my visit to London last year, and following on from yesterdays post and the theme of architecture I decided to find out just what this building was. I have since learned that it is called Strata SE1, is located in Elephant and Castle, Southwark and is the tallest residential building at 43 stories high. The feature that really sparks your imagination though is the 3 turbines sitting at the top of the building, looking like something from a futuristic James Bond film, ready to chop you into pieces should you skydive through them (as only James Bond would of course!). At one point in it’s history the building was voted ugliest building, however it was actually designed to be eco-friendly, with the 3 turbines designed to provide 8% of the electricity demands of the building. Unfortunately the residents in the penthouses complained that when the turbines were running, it was too noisy and the vibrations sent them insane, so the turbines were only allowed to run at certain times of the day. I cant decide whether I love it or hate it, maybe it should have been called the marmite tower…..you decide……
Last year I had the pleasure of a visit to London for a long weekend, a place that you cannot fail to find photographic inspiration….that’s if you can get close enough to anything long enough to take the shot before the next herd of tourists converge….of course I was one of those tourists!! During this visit I discovered a love of architecture and structures, something I haven’t really dabbled with before, probably as the town that I live in is somewhat lacking in dramatic architecture, so I don’t tend to look at the bigger picture so much. But in London, its all around you, you cant help but see it on every corner, in every view, and for me the best way to see it is from the top of a London Red bus or the balcony of your apartment. I was lucky to stay in an apartment set behind the London Eye, near the Borough Market across the Thames from the well known sights and the skyline was stunning. This shot was taken at random, with a small Canon camera, but I love the grainy texture to this shot, it makes is so atmospheric. I didn’t realise what I had captured until closer inspection, however you can just make out the top of the Tower of London, the infamous site of many a gruesome hanging, but somewhat over awed by the towering cranes filling up the sky high above it. To me they look like tall gibbets, gallows waiting for their next victim to swing to their doom, almost softening the Tower of London by their modernism and minimalist dressing. The dark side of the London skyline…..
Sometimes in life you form an opinion about something or someone, this could be based on information past or present yet it lives in your mind, surfacing occasionally to remind you or warn you. Yet sometimes we choose to ignore it, push on and move forward away from it, in the hope that we are moving towards something better and away from the past. A surface blur hiding what lies beneath. But just sometimes it serves us well, it was right all along, that gut instinct, that strange ominous feeling rising from within. Our brain may control function and fact but there is more to us than anyone knows, an inner guide that just sometimes we need to pay more attention to, from here on in I will listen.
It has been a quiet sort of day here today, the morning was misty and cool but the sun soon broke through to bring a glorious late summer afternoon. The breeze of yesterday has given way to the calm of today, the flowers stand motionless in the garden and the tree as still as a statue. Yesterday was quite different, the breeze grew stronger as the day lengthened and the fields of barley across the way from where i live were like a turbulent sea, bending and twisting at the will of the wind. The heavy ears full of grains acting like sails tied to the slender masts, the butterflies were having a difficult time trying to bask in the sun and the odd field mouse scurried along the ground, rather than clamber up the skinny stalks to the ripe larder cupboard at the top. Capturing the motion was difficult, trying to freeze motion without losing sharpness is a challenge, so i think here is a combo of the two, a slight blur from the softer edges of focus and a nice sharp capture of the movement, barely a breeze today but breezy barley yesterday.
I have just returned from a Landscape photography course held in Malham, Yorkshire and the overwhelming feeling I have as I sit here and look at my images from the day is that the more I learn the less I seem to know about this hobby of mine, photography! It all started out so simple, a camera body and lens and a stout pair of walking boots, that was about 6 years ago…..now I have the same boots, but a new camera and 2 lenses but this overriding sensation that I’m out of my depth and that I seem to have chosen possibly one of the most expensive & complex hobbies possible! (after owning a horse which I did many years ago!) There is the desire to purchase more lenses but the small issue of funding them, a lens for macro work, a lens for landscapes oh and a lens that fits the middle ground would be nice too! Then there’s the accessories, several batteries as 2 was definitely not enough for 9hrs on Live View mode….filters which now seem a necessity rather than an nice addition if your going to achieve those magazine quality images…oh my poor bank account, its empty at the best of times, but this hobby is like funding the debt of a small European country! The two courses I have participated in recently have been amazing and yes i do believe that I have absorbed some of the hints and tips given, but I also fear that I have up until now been what they might call a ‘lucky photographer’ because when I try to apply the knowledge from the course it all seems to go to pot! The saying ‘ a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ is oh so true, the more I learn the more I need to learn…and the small issue of having the right kit for the job….I really must go and buy that lottery ticket!!
For over a year now I have been photographing the ordinary and the not so ordinary, the aim well to try to improve my photographic skills, to see new things that I never noticed before and to share then with the blogging community out there and hopefully make you smile now and again. I have also learned much from reading your blogs, and very much enjoy taking a peak into your worlds for a few minutes each day. Time is a huge factor in life and I have begun to feel like having too many social networking projects on the go is just not the way forward. So, I have decided to shut down my other pages on facebook etc and concentrate on my blog. I also want to change the direction of the blog just a little, it will still be about my photography journey, only I want it to reflect more about the places, people and wildlife that I find along the way. At some point i would like to change the format but I need to study how to do that before I dive in! So, a big thank you for all of you who like and comment on my blog and I look forward to continuing the journey with you all….
Or should that be blooming butterflies?? After quite some time in sweltering heat, yes British Summertime seems to have arrived, I walked back down the lane toward my car somewhat frustrated. I haven’t actually spent much time trying to photograph butterflies so didn’t appreciate just how difficult it is. Garden varieties seem much more at home in front of the camera, more interested in the nectar that lies within the flower they land upon, but the field varieties seem much more nervous, edgy almost frantic and definitely more challenging as they don’t appear to ever pause for breath or land for any more than a nano second. Here are a couple of subjects, please accept my apologies in advance for the slight blur, but hand holding a rather heavy 35-350mm lens whilst focusing on these acrobats proved to be a lesson in weight management and spur of the moment focusing!!
How often do you stand still and take a good look around you? Maybe not on your way to the office, probably never on your way to the supermarket, definitely not whilst driving your car! But just sometimes you are stopped dead in your tracks, time grabs you by the arm and holds you still, just long enough for you to really open your eyes and absorb what lies in front of you. For some it could mean the second you recognise someone you haven’t seen in years, or the moment you see your newborn baby for the first time, or the terrible scene after traffic accident. But for me that moment came when I first visited the Lakes and drove high into the fells, stepping out of the car and across the meadows, beckoned to the scene like a bee drawn to the flower, moving forward towards it yet feeling like my feet were not in touch with the ground….until you are rooted to the spot, in awe at the scenery that inspires you yet intimidates you at the same time. That is when time stops for me, my eyes drink in the beauty and the mundane disappears, my achievements and struggles insignificant, my life fleeting, I am humbled in the presence of greatness….
I don’t think for one minute I will be able to afford a holiday this year, maybe a short break at some point but a short break never satisfies my appetite for the Lake District. I have visited the Lakes for several years now and although I can say I know my way round, there are so many places I would like to visit, and places Id like to re-visit. It is an ever-changing place, no two visits are ever the same and there in lies the attraction, especially to a photographer like me because no matter how many times you photograph a place or an area in the Lakes it never looks the same! Even in a visit lasting an hour you can capture so many variations in light that it amazes you! So today I am bringing back some memories, I have revisited some photos from my last visit, in the hope that I can feel like I am back there once more, until the next time…..