I have a new lens. It is a manual one but attaches to my normal, automated camera. I am still figuring it out… It does not record normal camera data, such as aperture etc, which feels strange, because unless you write it down, you will never know what combination of settings you used for a particular shot! However, you do have to set the ISO on the camera beforehand. I experimented with it yesterday in the countryside after a rain storm and also in a garden. I think it helps you to visualise using manual settings and what they can do, more so than just moving a small dial on the camera, it is more clunky and solid.
I have an old camera which uses film and I am hoping that it will improve my understanding of that. I must also remember to use my tripod with it for extra sharpness! How funny that photography is taking me in a backward direction with old technology.
In terms of post-processing, there was very little to do, other than perhaps resize images.
Today there was an article in the Guardian that said only 3% of the world’s natural ecosystems remain intact. That is quite a scary prospect.
This leads me to some pictures I took recently of some wildflowers and plants. In recent years in the UK there has been a small movement to not spray grass verges with chemicals, or to have a small patch of land where it can be left fallow, or to grow ‘insect friendly’ or indeed wildflowers in your garden to encourage more biodiversity.
In lockdown, I noticed lots of little plants that I had not really taken much notice of before. Although still considered ‘weeds,’ they are quite beautiful if you stop and look at them closely. Here are some I took with a macro lens.
Many wildflowers, plants and lichens have been used historically to treat various ailments and some hold the key to unlocking future medicines such as antibiotics. Which is why it is so important to hang on them!
NB Some of the plants are quite difficult to identify and I am still learning their names, so they may not be all correct!
In early February, the ‘Beast from the Baltic’ roared in and we had a lot of snow and cold temperatures, so much so, that the snow lay on the ground for 7 days. After the rain washed the snow away, it felt like Spring was finally here. That dismal, grey cloud that just seems to hang around this time of year was suddenly replaced by bright, sunny days and warmer temperatures.
Nature is emerging. In gardens, there are daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and primroses. Carpets of snowdrops have appeared in woodland and next to the roadside. Buttercup yellow celandines are growing, as are little green shoots of cow parsley on the verge of the roads.
There is still time for a blast of Arctic air and for the landscape to disappear under a layer of snow and ice, but the days are gradually pulling out and there are early signs of Spring. Already, I have spotted carpets of snowdrops and clumps of primroses. Catkins are in abundance and the daffodils are not far off flowering.
When the cold winds subside and the sun appears in the sky, the birds come out from their hiding places and sing.
It won’t be long until the leaves start to unfurl from the buds on the branches.
At this time of year, plants and flowers are a bit thin on the ground. So, I have abandoned my trusty macro lens and have been experimenting with my zoom lens.
From the trees and hedgerows, I have notice little rustlings and tweets. As the trees are bare, some wildlife has been a lot easier to spot. Here are a few birds I have spied recently. I hope you enjoy them.
Another heatwave and 6 days of high temperaturesand an opportunity to capture an unnatural evening glow in the still heat.
Sweltering Summer days are sometimes referred to as the ‘dog days of Summer.’ This comes from the Roman phrase ‘dies caniculares.’ It was noted by the Romans, that the star Sirius (also called the Dog Star) began to rise in the sky before the sun towards the end of July. The star was so bright that they believed it gave extra heat to the sun and was responsible for the hot days of Summer.
The rising hot air and moisture provide perfect conditions for thunder and lightning. At 30,000 degrees celsius, lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
A single thundercloud is more powerful than any nuclear power plant on earth. It has been calculated at approximately 1 billion volts.