When I think of ‘nature photography’, I tend to think of wildlife on a big scale – photos from an african safari or pictures of birds taken by people with super long lenses. Looking through my photos to pick seven, I don’t have many of those. I’m a happy amateur who has standard lenses and doesn’t see much big, rare wildlife (although I will end with Ethiopian wildlife).
But nature is everywhere. Weeds grow in the cracks of concrete paving slabs, birds twitter in the street and cats prowl – everywhere, toomuchwhere!
I think it’s a minor miracle that even in an urban space, we still see bees. This photo was taken in the rooftop garden of the Queen Elizabeth Hall of London’s South Bank. I was so chuffed that I managed to get it in focus (ish!) with it’s tongue in the flower.
How often do you look back over the photos you’ve taken in a year? Do you look at them more because they’re on your computer than you would if you only had print outs? Does anyone out there find that creating photo books makes you look at your pictures in a different way?
There are five weeks (and two days) until the end of the year, so I’ve decided to review my pictures from the year because I was lucky enough to go on three trips abroad – Marrakech, San Francisco and Tuscany. And in between I’ve taken odds and sods here and there. So for the next five weeks I’ll be posting two or three times a week with what I think are the best of this year’s crop.
I went on a walking weekend to the Isle of Wight in January. By the Sunday I was a bit ‘grouped out’ and rather than joining the hike, I decided to hang back and enjoy the garden of the beautiful place we were staying in. The weather was glorious that morning: clear and crisp. My eye caught the delicate skeleton of these plants and I spent ages trying to the ‘just right’ shot. I really like the result.
There was work in photoshop – I blurred out the background so that the delicate tracery of veins could be more visible. I played with black and white/sepia but in the end a reduced hue and a darkened background as well as the blurring really worked.
Back in January, I trooped off to the Isle of Wight with a bunch of strangers for a walking weekend. Today I am remembering that mild, sunny weekend with great fondness, as sit in my living room wearing a huge jumper, with a woolly scarf wrapped around my neck. For here in Britain, as we head toward the end of March, it is a shudder-inducing 0ºC outside.
I had only ever been to Cowes before, in the height of summer, sailing for the day with friends who own a lovely boat. I wasn’t expecting much; I didn’t think the Isle of Wight would wow me given I’m from Scotland and have been many times to the Peaks and Cumbria.
I recommend this lovely pocket island for a weekend visit. The walking was superb – strenuous but across chalky clifftops with big wide skies.
We were all delighted by the sheep dogs who leapt up onto the back of a quad bike to hitch a ride rather than run:
The sun was glorious – it looks cold here but it was beautiful.
We spotted a red squirrel who stayed still for ages but even so it was hard to get a decent photo among the spikey branches.
And I loved the cattle; reminded me of being in Scotland.
I like this view for its perspective and the feeling of the unknown waiting behind the crest of the ridge.
At the end of the first day’s walk, we passed by a crazy little garden. It’s a bizarre way to try and raise money for lifeboats!
We stayed in a FANTASTIC manor house; Northcourt Manor. Our group was so large that we rented out the entire house but it’s possible to stay as an individual as a B&B guest. I will be returning, as it was a little haven.
After a Burns’ Night Supper and Ceilidh on Saturday night, I was well and truly ‘grouped out’ by Sunday morning. Rather than going on another walk, I decided to explore the garden in the crisp winter sun. It was so warm that after I had taken enough photos to fill a book, I sat in a sunny spot, coat and jumper flung to one side.
The garden was full of contrasts – the remnants of winter mixed with the promise of spring.
What other little pockets of secret loveliness can people recommend in the UK?