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.

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I heard cathedral bells tripping down the alleyways as I walked on

So who guessed this was Simon and Garfunkel, For Emily?  They say the devil has all the best music, which seems odd since I do not really see most rappers as particularly religious, based on their lyrics.  But the other side definitely wins out on architecture.  So after spending £5 on my photographers permit, I spent a very relaxed and silent couple of hours in Southwell Minster.

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The intent was to capture some of the architecture, and the light in the building.  So I was a little disappointed when a very helpful steward nabbed me and decided to explain various features, whilst I watched the light from a stained glass window disappear from the pillar it had been illuminating.  Once gone it was not to return, but there were other opportunities, which I hope to have captured adequately, both of the architecture itself, and of the fascinating play of light and shadow as the sun progressed.

But before all of this, Southwell is also the home of the Bramley apple.  The original tree is still in the village, and the Minster has a window dedicated to the Bramley

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So with no further delays – I introduce you to “Southwell Minster – Architecture and Light”.  Remember to click on the image for a full view

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We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

So happy to have changed the rules so I can use Nick Cave lyrics.  Fifteen feet is an exaggeration.  So is fifteen inches, and fifteen centimetres.  We had a little and that is the important thing.  So of course we needed to go out for a walk with the camera.  With the weather-sealed Olympus camera and lens that is, so the snow would not be a problem.

We walked to Wollaton Park (home of Wayne Manor, as you know) with the intention of getting some snowy deer.  When we arrived there was a sign on the gate advising the park was closed for routine maintenance for four days of the week for two weeks.  You may ask what type of maintenance needs an entire park closing?  Let us just say the Squire needs his venison for Christmas.  Needless to say we did not easily find any deer in the park. After a week of being shot at they were hiding in the woods, trying to rub off the bullseye targets! However the trees looked good, so it was more of a landscape day than wildlife.

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Snow is falling, all around us

Who would have thought Shakin’ Stevens would make it to the title of my blog.  However we did have snow yesterday, and more is forecast for this afternoon and tomorrow. I am hoping to get some decent wintry shots later, but in the meantime here is one from our Arctic trip in January, and a little haiku to go with it. The guy on the right is not me, it is the husky driver, just so you know…

Feeling a little husky

After the husky drive, -24C

When I hear your laugh

as the snow lands on your face

I fill up with love

If you like haiku, and I am not so good at it, you should check out Lize Bard

 

 

 

Blackroof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.

Well changing the rules has certainly made life a little easier.  Though the logic behind the title is a little disappointing.  I went out to photograph a starling murmuration.  Who would not want to capture something with a name like “murmuration”?

According to confidential sources (Okay, the Attenborough Nature Reserve facebook page if you must know. Cannot believe I cracked that easily) they had been seen the previous evening at the reed beds of delta pond.  An imaginative name for a pond, don’t you think?  So I parked up, walked two miles to the place where they were spotted, and waited.  And waited.  Had I missed them? According to another couple, they had already been waiting half an hour and seen nothing. So I waited. And waited. Nothing.

So with another two mile walk back to the car I had to try and make sure it was not totally wasted.  The sunset colours looked amazing on the lakes and then two swans appeared, just to add a little contrast.  Not totally a wasted evening then.

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And just to keep the evening theme, I tried a shot of the supermoon with the 400mm lens.  Not totally sharp but that is more to do with some high level mistiness with the cold air.

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Those who follow the simple instructions to click on an image to see it larger will notice a change.  It now goes to Flickr. I never realised you could do that, but I am overjoyed because it means I am not wasting my resource allowance by saving images to WordPress, nor wasting disk space having to save the images to my laptop.

 

So tell me grey seal, how does it feel

Big announcement.  The rules have changed.  To date I have been using a lyric from Pink Floyd as the title for the blog post, but to be honest it is not always easy to find something relevant. to the extent that I have used the same line twice without realising it.  So I am throwing off the shackles of single band loyalties, and casting my net wider into the realms of popular music culture, in this instance Sir Elton John.

I am tempted to confound you now by posting photographs of sheep, for which there is a perfectly adequate Pink Floyd song, but seals it is.

This week I decided to make more use of the 100-400 lens, bought specifically for wildlife, and take a drive out to Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast for the annual event where the seals come ashore for a few weeks to give birth to their pups.  The fact they do this on the site of an RAF firing range seems pretty dumb, but I guess seals were not copied in on the memo.  On the way my wife phoned to say there was a very rare black seal pup this year, and I was not to return until I had a worthwhile shot.  At the weekend the seal count was; Bulls 724, Cows 1,596 and Pups 1,692.  Needle meet haystack I thought, it could be a cold night in the car.

But the photography gods were on my side. A friendly (and they are all friendly) warden just happened to know where it had been sighted that afternoon.

I tried so hard not to feel smug as I stood with all my 800mm equivalent extended and handheld, whilst the Nikon and Canon fraternity struggled with their scaffolding to stop their 600mm lenses from shaking or breaking their arms.  So happy I changed…  and 800mm handheld is not a euphemism.

Most of the seals and the newborn were just lying around sleeping and being bored with the people staring at them, but every now and then there was a dispute over territory or just general bad feeling and there would be fight.  When they fight they move pretty fast for a large mammal.

Most of them were just lying there looking photogenic though, including the last one below who had only been born the previous evening and still had a few inches of umbilical cord in place.

The water flowing… The endless river Forever and ever

It felt a long time since I had taken any pictures, so whilst my better (according to her) half went up to shop at Meadowhall I went back to Padley Gorge.  This time I decided to park at the top, make my way to the cafe at the bottom, and then walk back.  Mistake.

The problem is that it is nearly winter, it is wet, and the path is both slippery and muddy.  It is also quite frequently a lot higher than the river. So to get the shot means scrambling down the banks of the gorge and then climbing back up.  Padley Gorge was overwhelming, such that it was difficult for me to isolate something to photograph. After one particular image a young guy bounded down the gorge and shouted “Is this place to take a photo from, then?”. I looked at him. First – how did he manage to bound down the gorge so effortlessly when I had slipped on my backside several times to get to my position?  Second – the “best” place? I told him why I was taking the photo there, and reaffirmed there were at least a hundred “best places” in the area.  so he got out his phone to take the photo and bounded back up the gorge.

the end result was that by the time I reached the cafe I was knackered, and I had to go back uphill! A planned diversion introduced a vertical climb I was willing to accept.  Getting lost introduced a further climb I was not expecting.  End result was the final half hour was survival rather than photography. I was never more grateful to reach the car.

Was it worth it? Not sure. but I do know I have revised my plans on how to tackle Padley Gorge next time!