Fool’s Gold….But I like it!

Gold is beautiful, gold is desirable and gold is currency. For millennia gold has been sought after and coverted by almost every civilisation as far back as we have observed. Wars have been fought over it and traders still battle to secure the metal to guarantee wealth and status. For most of us mere mortals our wealth extends to a small quantity of gold in the form of jewellery, however we are lucky that we can walk into a shop and purchase it without too much effort (credit card at the ready!). In the past, people mined for the metal, sometimes in appalling conditions and with very little reward and sadly some were fooled in to believing they had struck gold when in fact they had unearthed Pyrite, an iron sulphide that with it’s shimmering brassy hue closely resembles gold, hence the name fools gold. Sometimes in life we believe we have ‘struck gold’ with relationships or jobs only to find we have been hoodwinked and left with a feeling of dismay. I can only imagine the reaction of those miners who for a while believed that they were rich beyond their wildest dreams, already spending the proceeds on their hearts desires…. whooping it up and celebrating their success! To then be brought back to reality and told that they were fools must have hurt…..just goes to show that all that glitters is not always gold……..

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Generalist, Specialist or Opportunist….which one am I?

You may wonder what has an image of 2 birds on a birdfeeder got to do with the title of this post, well yes I agree it may be a little tentative but let me see if I can explain my thought process….

So today I was sat at my desk considering job titles, roles and responsibilities and the necessary skills that fulfil them. What is it that leads us to believe that one person may be a better fit for a role than another? In the acting world people audition for roles, in the business world people interview for roles, so what is the difference between an audition and an interview? Stay with me here….in my opinion they are one and the same, to some degree we all act out the part that we think others want us to be. During an interview the candidate will behave in a certain manner, provide answers that they assume are what the interviewer wants to hear. In an audition you do the same, you play the part in a manner that you believe fits the character, only in an audition it is a little easier to distinguish between the actor and the character. In an interview the lines are more blurred.

Back to the title of this post, the question is during an interview are you seeing the generalist, specialist or opportunist at work and how do you ultimately make a decision? Does the person define the role or does the role define the person that you inevitably choose? Do you go with the individual who has all the skills on paper but who may lack the right personality, the person with the personality that fits the environment but who has less experience, the specialist who knows much about less or the generalist who knows little about much? It’s a tricky question and one that can lead to a bad decision.

My own preference would be to go with the generalist, someone who has a little knowledge about many areas as I believe that these individuals display a talent to absorb and utilise in a broader spectrum, with the ability to diversify and build on their knowledge. Of course it depends upon the role, but there is never a perfect fit and like the birds in the image, one may be the perfect build for birdfeeder,agile and fast, the other a perfect fit for the woodland environment camouflaged and stealthy, but as these 2 demonstrate, a willingness to learn new skills from another and adaptability are the key to success!

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Insignificance

Have you ever had the feeling that you are insignificant? A small fish in a very large pond? No matter how you try you make no impact upon the world around you? Well just think of this little fella, pretty insignificant on a scale of 1 to 10, small, not especially eye catching to you and me. if I wasn’t aiming a lens at the flower I probably wouldn’t even have noticed him. But, think a little more and you realise that he is important and very significant. Without him the chap up the food chain may go hungry, and the chap above him would also go hungry and so on and so on and in the very worst case scenario a whole eco system could fail…all reliant upon this little guy. For however long he lives he is important, he has many jobs to do and others rely upon him. Alone he has significance and in numbers their worth is multiplied. So put that into context. You alone support many around and above you, you together with other ‘small fish’ provide the foundations for the larger fish in this pond of life. Without your contribution others would not succeed, they ultimately need you regardless of their own abilities. So the next time you start to feel insignificant, just think of this little moth and remember that you are the foundation of something bigger, you are significant.

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New Beginnings (and old habits….which way is up? )

It’s strange but I find that the more you try to change your life the more it remains the same. For some odd reason all the things that you have always done, continue to be done regardless of how much you try to stop!

For example, I have now decided to try to get fit, something I have dabbled with may times before, but this time I am determined….and so I am removing all temptation from my cupboards and draws in preparation for my attempt. I really should not use the word attempt, as that denotes that I will fail! I am signing up to a new gym, and have even contemplated setting myself new goals to work alongside the whole get fit thing in the hope that they all combine to actually work this time!

There are other areas of my life that I am also determined to change for the better, such as my mental wellbeing. For some years now I have been driven to succeed in my job, however after 3 years I feel I have been somewhat misguided in my efforts and have taken a long hard and very critical look at my life and more especially applied the word ‘why’ to all the things that I have been doing. This blog to some degree will change from being purely about photography (still a love of mine) and become more about how I see what I see but also document my journey from here on in.

I was 41 when I started this blog, as you may have read in my intro.

I am now 46, a whole 5 years down the track to wherever and yet I still feel no sense of purpose or direction.

This blog may help to unravel some of the situations I may find myself in, it may not, but I hope that by sharing with anyone who may be out there, I may find I am not alone in this feeling of ‘why’!

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Faithful Friend

A tiny kitten pressed tight against  his brother, both dishevelled and a little scared. Uprooted from the comfort of the stable where they had spent their first few months, accompanied by a Shetland pony and the farms population of mice. Maybe that’s where they both learned the art of the pounce practiced so precisely on my duvet protected toes! Slipper, my slightly tubby tabby cat is the softy of the duo, his brother Finlay being the more feisty of the pair. As a kitten Slipper would hide behind his smaller brother and gaze up at me from soft green eyes, a hint of panic and the urge to flee suddenly quelled by the desire to be loved and fussed, which rapidly grew into an obsession. I call him my stripy tiger, his fur plush and dense, pale blonde mixed with every shade of brown form the most perfect of tabby markings, his eyes defined by dark sweeping lines giving him the look of Cleopatra, far too pretty to be a male everyone says. Patiently and somewhat regally he waits for my return from a long day at the office,  always ready at the door with a cry of excitement and a well rehearsed ballet as he dances on his toes in and around my feet. No sooner have I sat down then he is there, face pressed against mine, whiskers tickling and he nuzzles in as close as he can, claws stretched in pure delight and deployed to ensure I do not escape from his embrace. Slipper is 8yrs old now, yet still retains his kitten-like appeal, trusting and loveable, always accepting of attention but completely unselfish in his desire to love and be loved, a truly beautiful cat inside and out.

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Resigned Misconception

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.

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On A Wing and A Prayer

Last Sunday I was treated to lunch at my parents house which thankfully is only a few miles up the road from where I live. They have a beautiful garden with many mature trees and shrubs, but the most magical shrub is the Buddleia or to use its more common name Butterfly Bush. On first glance it looks to be the most unruly of plants, growing upwards in excess of 15ft and spreading sideways regardless of fences or sheds, with a somewhat bedraggled appearance as the weight of the flower heads lowers the branches towards the lawn. But you only have to look for a few seconds to realise it’s real beauty, it is a magnet for butterflies, bees and flies of all shapes and sizes, offering a one stop shop for nectar and pollen and a source of endless entertainment to the onlooker. Against the sunlight the butterflies appear like silhouettes, rising and falling onto the many flower heads, busy and energetic, some remaining still for a short respite, others fighting over territory and even the odd brief love affair in midair. After only a few moments my eyes were drawn to an unusual colour resting on flower head of pale purple, a much brighter visitor, almost yellow from a distance, not the dark brownish red of the Admiral or spotted giveaway that is the Peacock butterfly, no this was much brighter……approaching calmly towards the plant, phone camera at the ready, I realised that this was a Comma, the telltale shape of the wings, almost bat-like in design. After a few moments it took flight over my head and landed directly behind me on the twisted Hazel tree, without wanting to scare it away i managed to take several quick shots before it took to the air once again to return to the Buddleia where it was joined by another Comma. having never seen these at close range before I was overjoyed, Mum and Dad also really suprised to see them in their garden. A few seconds later we were treated to a second visitor, a beautiful Brown Speckled Wood butterfly which landed again right in front of me offering another opportunity for a photo shoot at close range! Both of these butterflies are making a slight recovery after years of being in serious decline, so it really was a treat to be able to get close to them. As they took to their wings once again lets hope that they continue to thrive, if you can plant a Buddleia bush, you will be helping these beauties to survive and will be entertained for hours.

My Favourite Insect of All

The humble bumble bee, threatened from every angle, lack of habitat and mites that destroy hives this little miracle of the insect world is struggling to survive. But have you ever watched a bumble bee going about it’s business? it really is a feat of nature’s engineering as when you look at the design of a bumble bee it really shouldnt be able to fly at all! With its large rounded body and tiny wings in comparison to its body size its a wonder they even get off the ground. But look a little closer and you will see that their wings don’t actually flap up and down for lift, they move backwards and forwards, creating a small vortex of pressure that enables them to keep airborne. I watch the bees working on the lavender bushes at my parents house, they work tirelessly collecting the pollen to take back to the hive, but to also feed their energy levels, no wonder when they have to put so much energy into simply remaining mobile. When you see a bee on the ground it probably one of two things, it is either exhausted and in need of nectar, or in the case of the bumble bee’s working on the lavender they are drunk! Many times I have seen them falling over trying to extract as much nectar as they can, dropping to the grass and rolling around for a few seconds before getting back on their feet and catching their breath, only to fly in a less than perfect line back to the flowers, and resume their feast! Simply fabulous!

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Barley A Breeze

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.

Red on Grey

Red on grey? I hear you say…..well the reason is simple, its a really grey and drizzly day here and so looking at some photos taken earlier I just loved this cheery bright red flower shot taken at a garden centre. I think the flower is from the Crocosmia family, a stunning perennial flower from the iris family and perfect for growing in even the worst soils, completely perfect for my garden then! The garden centre is a wonderland for flowers and is was difficult photographing this one as it was covered in bees and each time I got close to the flower head the bee would crawl out and fly directly at the lens! So if the weather is anything less than cheery where you are I hope that this almost infrared flower will brighten your day!

 

A splash of red on an otherwise grey day

A splash of red on an otherwise grey day