Grey Heron

If you want to photograph wild life you will know that you need to move quietly; and that is often best achieved when you are on your own with no one to chatter to.

Yesterday I dropped the car off on the outskirts of Milton Keynes for its annual service and walked the two miles into the city centre. It’s a pleasant walk along cycle ways, around Willen Lake, through parkland, with a short stretch along a canal before the final uphill section through Campbell Park. My plan had been to capture some Spring images in sections of woodland, but the sun was reluctant to put in an appearance. I was having to search hard for something to photograph.

Walking along the canal quietly looking for reflections cast by canal barges I was surprised to spot a Grey Heron standing on the tow path ahead of me next to a couple of barges. Waiting for breakfast to be served? Surely not!

_DS82860The Heron saw me but was in no hurry to move, taking the occasional slow-mo step so characteristic of the bird. I cautiously approached shooting images as I moved. I got surprisingly close, but I could sense that he (she?) was preparing to fly.

The camera was glued to my eye when the Heron finally did take flight and I just shot instinctively, more in hope than certainty. It was only when I got home and downloaded the images that I discovered that I had captured a whole bird. Fluke!

_DS82861The Heron didn’t fly far, just to the opposite bank giving me the opportunity to capture another image.

_DS82862Herons are birds I have occasionally seen, standing motionless on river banks but I’ve never been able to get as close as this to one of these graceful birds. Life is full of surprises. Go prepared.

Posted in Animals and Wild Life | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Apple and Plum

Blossom is one of the delights of Spring, and one that is gone far too soon. Down the bottom of our garden we have Plum and Apple trees. The Plum comes into blossom first and, by previous years, this year it was later than usual.

_DS82810The Apple blossom follows on. First the pin sized specks of Pink, that gradually swell, and then the creamy white petals emerge.

_DS82830The full beauty of the Apple blossom will be revealed in a few days time.

Posted in Garden Plants and Wild Flowers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Surfacing

We returned, as we do often, to Stowe Gardens at the weekend – our first visit of the year. Spring has been making very rapid progress thanks to warm sunny weather in the last week or so. And it has been very dry. There’s a meteorological saying that: ‘April showers bring forth May flowers’. One of the consequences of climate change is that these sayings are not as true as they once were due to the distortion of the seasons. We need rain really, but we don’t really want it.

Amongst all the signs of Spring that I spotted, one aspect caught my attention in particular and that was the ‘surfacing’ of the new year’s crop of Water Lily leaves or pads.

_DS82794Two entirely different views of them. Where the light was soft and I was able to gaze into the water I could see the leaves reaching up to, and finding, the water’s surface.

_DS82788Standing on a bridge over the Octagonal lake I looked towards the sun and caught a glimpse of lily pads, like silver saucers, floating on a corrugated carpet of blue.

Posted in Country Houses & Gardens | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Face the Wall

There are many features in the everyday world that we walk straight past without a second glance. Walls are one of those items that it is so easy to ignore. A wall is a wall – it divides, it supports, it protects. Walls are utilitarian. Not always. Sometimes they are more than that._DS79175

Take this bit of wall that I found at Kenilworth Castle. A place that is definitely worth a visit. The walls are of Cotswold stone – a mellow stone. This was the back wall of the café situated in one of the outbuildings in the castle grounds, built no doubt some long time ago. My eyes picked out this little detail. Much of the wall was laid in courses, as walls usually are, but not this small fragment. A bit of artistic licence by the Stone Mason? Maybe there was a debate: ‘what shall we do with this odd-shaped bit of stone’? Whatever the reason, it adds interest, it’s a feature. So easily missed.

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Lilac unfurls

One of the features of Spring that still holds me in thrall after all these years is how leaves unfurl and grow. We have a couple of Lilac trees in our garden – one white and one pink. And every year I watch this process happen and marvel at it.

DSC_5312The shapes created are a delight to my eye, as shown here. Isn’t nature miraculous?

Posted in Garden Plants and Wild Flowers | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

The Cover Shot

Last week, photographs were taken of our house by a professional for the sale brochure: interior shots of the main rooms and an exterior shot of the frontage for the cover.

The interior images were fine, but the cover image wasn’t. It was over-exposed by at least half a stop, and the viewpoint chosen was poor. The agent wasn’t happy and neither was I.

So, as I like to think of myself as a reasonably capable photographer, I thought I would see what I could achieve. After all, having lived here for over thirty years I do have some ideas on the subject. The sun obliged by putting in an appearance. I perched on a step-ladder and took a few images and sent them off to the agent to show what was possible.

_DS82777The agent was pleased, so pleased in fact, that one of my images (the one you see in this post) will now be the cover shot for the sale brochure when the time comes for the house to go on the market – which isn’t actually imminent. Job done.

Posted in Country Houses & Gardens | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Rails

I seem to have taken very few images in the last few weeks. Life is a bit of a ‘blur’ with a series of tasks connected with a potential house move sometime in the months ahead. Yesterday a photographer came to take the photos for the Sale Brochure. The house had to be prepared, rooms tidied, objects removed, furniture moved around. There has been painting and gardening daily. And a lot more that I won’t bore you with

I’ve only recently discovered WP’s weekly photo challenge (and no, I don’t know why it took me so long!) and so instead of scratching my head and wondering what to post, I thought I would participate in this week’s challenge – which is ‘Blur’. Somehow that seemed rather appropriate.

IMG_5286

For me, any journey is an opportunity for an image. Even when taking the train to London I try to sit next to the window and have a camera ready. Have you ever looked out of the window of the train and seen the rails whiz by in a blur? I do frequently.

Posted in Eclectica | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments