Water Lily and Leaves

Water Lily leaves and their flowers are a common feature of ponds and lakes in the UK. The leaves may be green, but sometimes they are purplish-red. The water may be brown, as in this image. But sometimes it is clear, revealing the stems deep in the water; and on other occasions the water reflects the sky. In short, no two findings are ever the same. And that is what I find so appealing.

The plants create their own compositions, and I now have a growing number of images collected over the years of these adornments of still water. This example comes from Hever Castle on our most recent visit. You will find other images here and here and here.

Posted in Country Houses & Gardens, Garden Plants and Wild Flowers | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Seat Vacant

Taken at Ralph Vaughan Williams’ former House – Leith Hill Place yesterday. Perhaps it hints at the parlous state of British Politics after our very recent election.

Posted in Black & White | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Stonework

On the day after a UK General Election when there has been an unexpected political upheaval, something solid and dependable merits attention.

So, I submit this stone pillar – or the detail thereof – as something that has weathered time and remains dependable. This shot was taken at Hever Castle, a place we have visited a number of times in the last year, most notably for our daughter’s wedding last July – how time flies.

I must have stood and looked at these pillars that support the roof over the outdoor area where our daughter was wed many times. But never before had I paid so much attention to them as on our most recent visit. The veining and colours in the individual stones are remarkable and I took a series of images. I now need to return again and refine the ideas that are forming in my head.

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Hostas

A clump of Hostas is a remarkable sight, and I’ve seen two images on the Internet in recent weeks that inspired me to get out and take a picture of the Hostas in our own garden.

When you take over a garden – along with a house – in winter as we did back in 2015, then the first Spring is always going to be a surprise. Bare twigs sprout leaves and then flowers, and bare earth erupts. I remember walking round the garden regularly in that first Spring as I worked to clear weeds and prepare ground for new shrubs to be planted. On one particular day I noted a circle of small black spikes piercing the soil. What could that be? Fungi of some sort?

The spikes grew longer – they looked rather un-wordly: they looked a bit like charred asparagus tips. And then the spikes grew taller and started to unfurl into leaves and finally it dawned – we had Hostas!

So far they look in good shape, but slugs like Hostas and over time these leaves will be nibbled and become ‘holed’ and like all things horticultural, the freshness will be lost.

Hostas look good in colour but I rather liked the monochromic version of them.

 

Posted in Garden Plants and Wild Flowers | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Getting Acquainted

In my last Post I reported that my faithful (and familiar) Camera G10 had died and I was seeking a replacement. Now I have one: Panasonic Lumix LX100. I read a number of reviews, all of which were very favourable. Thanks to readers who offered advice on a choice of replacement. Click the link to read a comprehensive review in DPReview.

Replacing a camera that has been a part of one’s life for a good few years is never easy. The G10 had been my go-anywhere camera. Good on the streets of London, but just as good skiing in the Alps. It felt solid, never once let me down, but it was getting old and at ISO 400 and above there was obtrusive noise. Sometimes you need a kick to be forced to face up to the facts that something needs replacing.

I wanted a camera that was pocketable, with a viewfinder, and one that at the very least had a layout of dials that shared some features with the G10. Ergonomics were important. That narrowed the field down.

I knew there would be a steep learning curve whatever I bought, but some carry-over of the main features would provide some continuity. I’m not going to go into great detail about my choice but those were the important ones.

The dials on the top plate of the LX100 are similar to the G10, the viewfinder is bright and has a dioptre dial. I need that. It’s pocketable – just. The viewfinder projects a bit out from the back of the main body which adds to the overall depth and that concerns me a little but it feels solid. It fits in the chest pocket of my Goretex jacket – very important for skiing and walking. One significant benefit is the option to shoot in a variety of formats from square to 16:9.

On the downside the lens does not retract when the camera is shut down, but a lens cap and a tether for it are supplied – not ideal. Thankfully an auto lens cap is available separately and I will be getting one of those asap.

The menu is more complicated – there are a lot more features (good) and a lot to learn, and I don’t find the small written manual very helpful. There’s a more detailed version on CD which I will print out. I’ve lost the longer reach of the G10 (out to 140mm), but I’ve gained a wider lens on the Panasonic: it stretches from 24-72mm. I’ve always been a lover of wide-angle images, and I think I can cope with the loss at the telephoto end.

So far it has worked well on three brief occasions. The last shot above was taken in our back garden shot directly into the sun – always a good test of a camera’s competence.

Earlier this week Melinda Green Harvey dropped in to see us – many of you will know her for her excellent B&W work in decaying environments; if you don’t yet, click on the link. Melinda had with her a Leica  D-lux (Typ 109). I took a quick look at it and thought: that looks familiar. In fact, comparing the two cameras side by side they appeared to be identical, and in fact they are identical except for one or two marginal differences and a price hike for the Leica badged one. What a small world we live in!

I will keep you posted with how I get on with this new toy. Below is a gallery of just six images from the through-put so far. Click on any image to see an enlargement.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Hornbeam

This image is about a month late reaching the screen, overtaken by more pressing images. Hornbeam – Carpinus Betulus – is a beautiful deciduous tree but it is also commonly planted for hedging. The leaves are distinctive, similar in size to Beech leaves, but with toothed edges and deeply furrowed. Backlit they are one of my favourite leaves.

Posted in Garden Plants and Wild Flowers | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Window Light

Windows are canvases on which light paints an interpretation of the surroundings. Sometimes the interpretation is accurate, sometimes it is closer to Cubism than reality.

Posted in Reflection | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments