A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers

This is becoming a string of “almost there” titles. Green fields is okay, but it was more a lake than a river. Well it was a a lake. Absolutely a lake. Not ‘more a lake’ at all.

Do you have those periods in your life when you feel like you are waiting for something? Restless and uneasy, but you have no idea what you are waiting for? The solution for me seems to be to get off my lazy backside and out with the camera. The deer are calving around now, so I set off for Wayne Manor to see if the local herds were co-operating.  Of course they aren’t. Then again, giving birth is possibly a little private, so maybe they go off somewhere quiet. Even so, no sign of any fawns.

However, the fallow deer, who are normally quite timid, and off in a corner somewhere, were a lot braver, and quite close to where the public walk.

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The red deer are also looking good, and it seems some of them are starting to show signs of the velvet splitting off. However, despite the 10 foot banners in the park telling people to keep 50 metres from the deer, some either cannot read, or choose to ignore the signs.  Just hoping that particular gene pool is dried up.

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You know how very young children play hide and seek, and cover their faces; on the basis that if they can’t see you then you can’t see them? Well…

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And to complete this little “tour of Wollaton Park aka Wayne Manor gardens in order to get out and do something positive”, have you ever seen a coot chick? I had not, but they are amazing. Bearing in mind the coot is a “boring apart from the funny nose shield” black and white bird, the chicks are fiery.  So enjoy these amazing youngsters, until next time.

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Summer evenin’ birds are calling

Again I mislead you, but for some reason Pink Floyd did not compose a lyric where the spring birds are calling in the late morning, probably because they were waiting for lunch. I know, you are as surprised as I am, right?

This last week (this last? Does that even make sense? It sounded right in my head, but not so much so when I see it written. But I digress…) we were up at our static caravan on the East coast, and took the chance to call in at the RSPB site at Bempton Cliffs looking for birds to shoot… with my camera.  Now Bempton is run and maintained by the RSPB, which costs money. So they charge an entry fee unless you are a member.  BUT the perimeter is not secure. You can park up the road and walk along the coast path and enter for free, or you can walk from Flamborough Head – as long as you remember you then have to walk back again. We joined the RSPB so we count as good people, but it does seem a little remiss to not secure the borders. Now if Donald Trump was Chairman of the RSPB he would have a wall up in no time, and cauldrons of boiling oil to pour down on anyone foolish enough to try and scale the cliffs.  Then you would see the revenues climb, especially if he got the Mexicans to pay for the wall, so the RSPB didn’t have to. I guess the boiling oil could come out of the entrance fees. Actually, scrap the oil. I just realised it is slightly counter to the RSPB mission if we start polluting the sea with oil. Just a wall then.  Not that The Donald cares about polluting the water, but we do. Right?

So getting back to the point, we managed to see quite a few puffins, kittiwakes, seagulls, gannets, and jackdaws. And cows, but they don’t count as they have no wings. These puffins are hardy Yorkshire puffins. Normally they nest in burrows, dug out from the soil, as on the Farne Islands and Skomer. These at Bempton manage to find crevices in the limestone cliff to make their nests – just to make life difficult. I have come across this before though, Yorkshire people are very pro-Yorkshire. I can hear the puffins saying ” I am a Yorkshire puffin and I am going to nest in a Yorkshire nest on a Yorkshire cliff, not like these softies who burrow in soil. That is just for wimps”.

But, getting to the point, again, some images from the day for your delectation and delight:

Have the paparazzi gone?

Gone Fishing

Catching the rays

Togetherness

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We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl

First an apology, though you probably didn’t notice. I thought I would post around the 3rd, and it is a little late. Although the title is a little watery, the subject is more open seas than bowls.

A few weeks a go I saw a post on Facebook ( I know, I am down with the kids) asking for people to apply for  a reader shootout challenge with Digital Camera magazine at Swanage pier. Being retired, as you could guess, and free (or very reasonably priced) I sent off an email.  Twenty minutes later it was on. Clearly Swanage was not popular with the readers of Digital Camera magazine.  There were supposed to be two of us, but the other one had obviously seen my blog and Instagram, and realised from the outset that she stood no chance. So an hour before dawn on the scheduled day there was just me waiting for the magazine team to arrive. I was early, but hey, once you are awake you might as well get going.

Needless to say I won every challenge, though I take no credit for that bearing in mind the aforementioned lack of competition. But I had a great day, and I am thinking of changing my name so I can do it again. A few shots from the day, some published and some not.

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I was staring straight into the shining sun

This is another of those posts where I regret pinning my hopes on Pink Floyd to provide a suitable lyric.  Luckily there is a photo taken straight into the shining sun, but I would have been happier with a more obvious fairground reference. No turning back now though, no reflecting “on the turning away” from the decision made in haste and in a moment of madness.

Once again it has been a long while since the last post, but there will be another after May 3rd, I promise. The Easter weekend brought two separate funfairs to the area. One that included a donut stall, and thereby automatically my favourite, and one that was “traditional”.  Evidently donuts are not traditional, so this one only had candy floss. The clincher was that the traditional option was based at Wollaton Park, so as well as the fair itself there were several other options for things to do and places to eat.

No traditional fairground is complete without a Punch and Judy show (apparently)

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But I did mention the fair was in the grounds of Wollaton Hall, otherwise known as Wayne Manor? This photo was whilst they were setting up – there was no tape round the rides on the day. Just in case you thought Health and Safety had gone mad. Again.

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I bow to political correctness here. My wife does not like having her photo shown, and my grandson is very young, so should not have his image on social media (give me strength!). Fortunately I like contre jour, and I did promise it in the title of the blog post

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To avoid burning my eyeballs out, I also took a couple of images with more traditional lighting. It was a Traditional fair after all, for traditional people… That is if you can call a grandson in a fox mask traditional?

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As usual, all these images are on Flickr in full resolution.  Until next time, when hopefully I can find a suitable lyric, or change my mind about the theming process. have fun.

Dragged by the force of some inner tide

In this case the tide was very much out there.  I am not going to claim to be unique in feeling happier by the sea, I think we all have that in us. However, there is something about a raging stormy sea that reminds us of how fragile we are.
Last weekend in Scarborough saw a few high waves, and saw me getting soaked trying to capture them.  There is a photo taken by my hysterically amused wife as I catch a wave, but as this is not her blog I am not sharing it.

This young lad seemed to be in training to be a second Canute:

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But was he successful? Well you can decide for yourself

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Not really. More importantly, was he bothered? Not at all.

Aside from laughing at other people’s pain, and getting damp myself, it was a magnificent evening of high seas, and a good excuse for a warming drink when we got back to our caravan.  The warning signs seemed a little redundant, but at least they gave some context.  As usual, click on the image to see a larger version in Flickr.

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You raise the blade, you make the change, you re-arrange me ’til I’m sane

A long title, and totally irrelevant to what is to follow, but I really like the lyric. If you know a Pink Floyd lyric that references New Zealand please let me know, because I am lost. In a zen-like way. Comfortable to be lost, and enjoying the journey.  Anyway, I thought I would treat you to some poetry for a change:

Here in Rotorua
with young Maori warriors
teaching me to dance.

There you go – Haiku on the Haka.  You don’t get many of those to the pound. Even better, it is (or was) the truth.

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For those who do not know me, I am the handsome one in the white shirt doing it correctly.

After Australia, New Zealand was a step upwards. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Australia. But New Zealand seems more relaxed, and in the South Island it is overwhelming, and the scenery is amazing. We started in Auckland, travelled to Rotorua, then Christchurch, over the mountains on the Trans-Alpine railway to Franz Josef, and on down to Queenstown, before flying home. Each stop had its own magic, and whilst in Queenstown we visited Milford Sound, which is absolutely majestic. How to describe that in a single blog? Impossible.  So I will share a few highlights, though of course now you have seen my Haka will be less impressive. I must learn to save the best till last… First – please click on each image to see it full sized. 

Auckland was excellent, though when doing long exposure night photography I need to remember to check the image stabilisation is turned on. Still quite a pleasing effect I think.

Rororua, as well as being where I learned, or failed to learn, the Haka sits in a volcanic caldera, and is renowned for its smell (sulphur) and geothermal springs and mud pools.

Christchurch has a number of examples of street art, together with a memorial to those who died during the earthquake a few years ago. You may have seen on the news there are now pairs of white-painted shoes to represent those who lost their lives in the recent terrorist attack on the Mosque. To mark the earthquake there are 185 chairs, one for each life lost, and all similarly pained white. It is a very touching memorial, especially as it includes high chairs, and baby carriers, and it is one where you are encouraged to let a seat choose you, and then sit and contemplate.

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The Trans-Alpine train was our first glimpse of the mountains to come. I was really lucky to get anything like a composition from the moving carriage and through the window.

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Franz Josef was all about the glacier. Our American travel companions had no idea what I was talking about until I pronounced it glaycier. What is wrong with these people?

Past Mirror Lakes and some lovely waterfalls on the way to Queenstown.

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Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, and home of the very first Bungee jumping site. This guy was amazing. It is easy to see why it is so many young people find it difficult to leave the area.

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And on to Milford Sound, which is stunning.

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A truly remarkable holiday.  Now to get taking some more photos, and planning where to go next…

Is there anybody in there…?

What happens to the time? I know I have been away for three weeks, but I have been back just as long, and I have done nothing for the blog. Part of the problem has been trying to sort through the 2500 photos I took. Seriously I do not know how people can take 10000 photos on a fortnight holiday. I was not sparing the memory card but even 2500 felt excessive. And then people post proudly of their scattergun approach to photography as if they should be applauded for it.  I remember feeling indulgent when I used to take 5 rolls of film on holiday with me. That would have gone in a couple of hours on Milford Sound.

The sad thing is that since returning, and editing till my mouse hand/fingers are suffering with repetitive strain injury, I have taken close to zero photographs and feel like I really need a mojo injection. So back to the holiday; Australia and New Zealand were beyond expectations. Photograhically there are disadvantages in being on a tour which is not specifically for photographers, watching beautiful compositions roll by at 60 mph, or turning up at midday to photograph a spot that really needs early morning light to make it pop. But, it is what it is, and it was still excellent. (Am I allowed to mix tenses like that in one sentence?)

Harsh sunlight at the Australian Open worked in my favour, and I managed a few shots that the pros would not get from the sidelines

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We were in Australia as Chinese New Year was approaching, and there is a huge Asian influence in the country.  The local casino in Melbourne was all ready

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Add that to the Twelve Apostles, Koalas, and the Blue Mountains with the Three Sisters, and of course the iconic Sydney Opera House

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I bet you cannot wait for the next blog post to see what New Zealand had to offer?  With luck it should not take 2 months to appear, and with luck I will have worked on my mojo for some new stuff…