The view from Devil’s Dyke

_ds86039Another image from our recent trip to Devil’s Dyke on the South Downs. This was the scene that greeted us on arrival at the nightmarishly early time of lunch time (getting on for 1pm). We are not early risers!

The north slopes of the downs were still deep in frost and shadow and there was a film of low lying mist which in the distance had a definite yellow tinge to it – clearly visible to the right of the image – and that is pollution.

We enjoyed lunch and the scene had barely changed. Many times, people like us who don’t really ‘do’ early starts, lose out; but on this occasions we didn’t. We were very fortunate.

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Gossamer Threads

_ds86052Here’s something you don’t see very often, if at all. Gossamer threads at ground level. This image was taken on our short walk on the South Downs as seen in the previous post – click here to view.

My wife spotted these first – credit where credit’s due. Turning to look towards the sun, which was low in the sky, she spotted that the rough grass was covered in gossamer threads – hundreds upon hundreds of them. They appeared at right angles to the sun’s path, but probably were in many directions; but it was only when looking towards the sun that they were illuminated.

I don’t recall seeing this phenomenon before. I’m aware that spiders have the capacity to  ‘balloon’ or ‘kite’ through the air trailing threads between one bush and another;  and while  out walking in the early morning I have felt gossamer threads brush against my face or exposed arms as I have broken their trails. And I have seen the densely meshed carpets that spiders can weave  on shrubs and plants – commonly seen on dewy mornings. But I don’t recall threads just above ground level in this profusion, and in such cold weather.

A remarkable sight. Have you seen this phenomenon?

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On the South Downs Way

_ds86068Yesterday we visited Devil’s Dyke again, where earlier in the year I captured an image of a fallen tree: click here to visit that post. Today the view is of one of the extensive panoramas  from half a mile away along the route of the South Downs Way that passes through Devil’s Dyke.

It was a stunning day. Frosty overnight with a clear blue sky during the day. We have now had four days like that in a row. The sun of course is low in the sky at this time of year and the shadows are long and I was drawn to this landscape of rolling intersecting hills, so clearly delineated by the light.

A winter’s day in the UK doesn’t get much better than this. More images to follow. Meanwhile remember to click on the image  – you will see a sharper and bigger picture.


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_ds85960_sqAnd now for something completely different. My car got splattered with pale mud on an outing – cue picture. The mud wasn’t quite as white as it looks now, but processing made it chalk-white. And, nothing reflects the world around you quite as well as a black car does.

The downside, of course, is that a black car also looks dirty very quickly.

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About Turn

_ds85913This is my fourth and last post about Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters. Click here to read the first post in this series.

Having taken the classic view, stared at the sand under my feet, and raised my eyes slightly toward the sun out beyond the sea, I finally turned to look back up the beach behind me.

The sand was wet and where the water had pooled there were reflections. In the first image, a sufficiently large pool of water produced an attractive reflection of the Seven Sisters themselves.

But as I moved around, and found the places where sand and water were interwoven, the reflections became abstract and beautifully layered.

_ds85895And there were places where the effect was like liquid gold coursing across the sand.

_ds85906I don’t think I have ever seen scenes quite like this before.

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Looking down

_ds85886Continuing the theme of ‘Under Foot‘, today I’m posting another pair of images from Birling Gap. The Sun shone brilliantly that day, and where there is the combination of sun, sea, sand and low tide there is one view that must not be forgotten – look towards the sun. And if you are fortunate, and a light breeze has wrinkled the sand, it’s very likely that you will find images like these. In fact you may well be spoilt for choice, as I was.

_ds85889I spent quite a few minutes, strolling slowly, capturing the glistening wet sand and shallow puddles of salt water.

I came across a quote by Yann Arthus-Bertrand – a French Photographer and Environmentalist – last week, which I feel is so apt in situations like this, when we are blessed with such delights. He said: “The Earth is Art. The photographer is only a witness”. Ten words that say so much about our relationship with our planet.

Did you see the face in the second image?

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Autumn Colours

_ds86031Earlier this week we made a brief visit to Polesden Lacey, a National Trust property not far from Guildford. This image was taken from the Terrace looking across to an expanse of woodland. What an unexpected treat for the eyes – such a broad palette of colours.

Polesden Lacey was home to Margaret Greville at the beginning of the 20th century, an Edwardian Socialite well-known for her extravagant weekend parties for the rich and powerful, both at this house, and also at her London home. Guests included the Duke and Duchess of York – later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the parents of our current Queen) – and several Maharajas from India. The estate encompasses superb landscaped gardens (which we have yet to see) and 1400 acres with some of the finest views in the Surrey Hills.

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