Wildflowers in the spotlight

There are fields behind our house. I took a walk one day last week between downpours, and found many more wildflowers than I’d expected. The land appears to be just grazing meadow, so meadow flowers abound, and I thought it would be a crying shame not to do something with them. Hence the camera and my enthusiasm came out. It’s a pity the light didn’t. Even with a light conservatory, it was difficult to get enough light through the lens for my macro lens and tubes. In the end, I settled for my standard lens and the macro tubes to get the details I wanted as I didn’t want to resort to artificial light.

Bush Vetch

Wild Comfrey

Hawksbit

Black Meddick

I wanted to capture the beauty others miss. Either they wouldn’t even notice the flowers, as some of them are tiny, or they wouldn’t stop to look.  Maybe some of these photos will make you look twice next time you take a walk with the dog? If you click on the photos you can see them much larger and in more detail. I’m planning a set of wildflower photos in macro for my website, and therefore for sale, quite soon. I’m not sure if these are going to be the shots. Probably not. I’ll need better light to get the top quality shots I want, and time is important, as these flowers will only be around for a short while.

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Macro Photography Magic

Macro photography is wonderful, mysterious and fascinating. I was the kid with a microscope, peeking into unknown worlds, many years ago. Now I can do it with a camera, macro lens and macro extensions. Today no gardening, we’re rained off. My partner brought me flowers yesterday, so out came the camera and macro kit.

I’m always looking for  a new, fresh way to present flowers. After all, they are probably the most photographed subject apart from people. People don’t look good in macro and won’t stay still, so I prefer to work with nature, and flowers in particular.

So, today’s shots have been fun to do. Light levels were not brilliant as it’s raining, so I used a white reflector behind the flowers, raised the blinds in the conservatory and adjusted the exposure a little once I got the shots into the computer. Much has been said about photography and computers, and fierce debates continue, but I’m all in favour of any tool or paintbox an artist can utilise. Minor adjustments to improve photos can only be a good thing, in my book, and allow more flexibility to the ‘artist’.

Anyway, here are the results of todays fun. I hope you like them!

macro photo white dahlia

white dahlia macro

Perfect petals macro

Perfect petals macro

macro petals

Macro petals photo

vision-in-white

vision in white gypsophilla

Wild Flower Poster Hits the Press

I’ve been very busy with wild flowers lately. I’ve always been a conservationist, and now have the skills and marketplace to spread the word. So I spent several hours putting together a wild flower poster for Zazzle that I think everyone will love. It would work in the classroom as a teaching aid or as a pretty poster at home. It would even look good on the office wall and maybe encourage others to grow wild flowers in their gardens, thus helping our native wildlife and conserving our plants for the future. I know I havent been blogging as much lately, but without pictures there are no blogs, and without pictures there isn’t even money for internet access, so I’m afraid I’ve had to spend time elsewhere. But my friends on here have not been forgotten. I will try to catch up with you all soon.  Here’s the poster.

Happy gardening!

Have You Had Your Daily Dose Of Beauty?

beauty abounds

It’s about time. There is so much horrible stuff going on in the world I thought a timely reminder that there is free beauty out there we can all share just might be welcome. It’s easy to get caught up in all the war and nastiness, the economic doom and gloom and walk around with clouds around our heads. But if we blow the cobwebs away, perhaps with a short walk or drive into the countryside, perhaps just a stroll round the garden and open our eyes, beauty is all around us. My garden has been adopted by a baby blackbird who obviously left the nest a few days early. He sits listening to me when I go out to throw him some mealworms and apple to feed him up, then dives straight onto the food. He is gorgeous! I can’t show you, because the danger of me taking the camera out there is that he’ll panic and end up food for a local cat.

Calendula beauty. Pure sunshine in a flower

But flowers don’t get frightened! So today’s pictures are here as testimonial to the wonderful world we live in, even if us humans do make a mess of it, the beauty still abounds, and we should hang onto it with all our might. Some of these shots were taken before I bought my trusty Nikon, but nonetheless remind me of lovely times of gorgeousness that helped me switch my brain into a more positive mode. I hope they do the same for you.

Mint. Beautiful flavour, beautiful flowers

Spring has brought me inspiration. I’ve been taking photos, seeing friends (it was a long, lonely winter) and working on new projects. I discovered a couple of weeks ago a site called Squidoo. What fun! And it’s somewhere I can showcase my work with photography and with Zazzle. Having started with WordPress last year as a reluctant technophobe, I appear to be well and truly hooked on computer wizardry. I’ve been so wrapped up in all of this I hadn’t realised I’d been neglecting my blog. oops! Finding the time to do everything is getting more difficult, but I can’t complain. At least all of this keeps me busy and making lots of new cyberfriends. In case you’re interested, Squidoo is a great site for doing very tightly focussed ‘lenses’ that deal with one subject and really go into detail about it, usually with accompanying links to relevant sites and helpful hints and tips, plus where to buy relevant stuff. It’s quite easy to get lost in it for hours – much like on WordPress. I’ve so far made eight of these lenses, some of which are photography and flower ones. It gives me the opportunity to write about subjects that wouldn’t really fit under a general photography blog like this one, so I feel the two compliment each other. You might want to take a peek at my Grow Hellebores in Your Garden  lens or Spirals or even wild flower garden one.

Happy Spring!

Spring’s Spectacular Displays

Tulip Tarda Macro

Hyacinth Macro

Primula Denticulata close-up

Fritillaria Milleagris

Bee Fly

Spring Finally arrived, bringing colour and life into my garden. Hooray! It’s hard NOT to be dazzled by the sheer exuberance of spring flowers. They shine out even on the gloomiest of days, announcing their wares to the insect world. While taking my photos of these glorious blooms something caught my eye. I thought at first it was a busy bee. I tried to capture its image on a hyacinth, but it didn’t stay put long enough and I chased it around the flowers until it landed where I feed the birds. Here it sat, grooming itself as I watched it through my Zoom macro lens. I found out later it’s a bee fly. They sip nectar as adults, but lay their eggs in solitary bees nests, where the grubs hatch out and feed on the bee grubs. Gruesome yet fascinating. Everything seems to have parasites, once you look closely enough.

Anyway, it hasn’t deterred my enthusiasm for spring. I wish I had the energy to jump up and down about it. Writing and taking photos and smiling like a Cheshire cat will have to do. Happy spring, folks everywhere. What’s blooming in your garden?

Photographer Filtering out Distractions

 

Rubbish

 

I had a bit of an accident yesterday and scalded my wrist. This pretty much knocked me for six and all my plans from thereon in were scuppered. We had to spend nearly two hours at the Walk-in Centre but they soon sorted me out. So my partner lost two hours work, I ended up further behind than I should have been and really should just have slowed down. It would have saved pain AND time. Time I really needed to get on with photo processing and new images.

 

Primrose

 

It made me think, though, about filtering out distractions. The scald was done in the first place because I was trying to do too many things at once, reached over the kettle and caught the blast of steam on my wrist. I’m old enough to know better, but was NOT filtering out distractions. I seem to be much better at that with a camera in my hand. Filters on cameras, of course, can filter out unwanted flare etc, framing filters out unwanted objects that might distract the viewer and Photoshop filters can be used to remove distracting elements either by calming their colours or blending them into the composition better.

 

My neighbour's front garden

 

In life, we are constantly distracted. Advertising, yet another human catastrophe, noisy neighbours, a TV show, phone calls. What stops you concentrating? My pet problems are

1/ Noise-unfortunately I live in quite a noisy area. People shout when they could walk and talk, their dogs bark incessantly, their children scream.

2/They throw rubbish around and let their kids run riot.

3/Terrible human tragedies

4/Phone calls.

5/Housework

I cope with number one by wearing headphones and playing myself music when trying to write or process images. The music depends on what I’m writing/doing. Today it’s Anastacia. I need cheering up and some extra energy.

The rubbish? I try to concentrate on the beauty around me. Today’s photos are by way of antidote, but there’s one shot of the stuff that could depress me if I allowed it to. Spring is here! Flowers, greenery, new life. We have to celebrate the positives in life or we’d truly go mad. I do my garden, make my bit of the planet as rich in wildlife as I can, grow beautiful things to surround myself with.

Tragedies? All any of us can do is sympathise, contribute to relief efforts financially and refer to our spiritual beliefs for comfort. Then go back to putting beauty and joy back into the world. How else would there be any balance and how else do we stay sane in a mad world?

Phone calls? Can’t hear them with headphones on. That helps. But if stuff has to be dealt with then do it as soon as possible then get back to work!

Housework? Do it as quickly as possible without scalding or maiming myself, and try not to let it distract me if there’s stuff left to be done.

 

Grape hyacinth. Small but a welcome distraction!

On the subject of filters, I’ve recently been given by my father and a friend, some new filters for my camera, and some extra ones for Photoshop. So I’ve definitely got plenty to do learning how to use them and finding out what I can make them do. I’ll keep you posted as I hopefully make progress. I’ll try to filter out the distractions that slow me down. What do you need to filter out?

 

My Parent’s Garden. Photos at last

Well, my sister has done me proud. I asked her to capture some shots of my parent’s garden having spent three days in the rain working on it for them, only to finish as it was going dark. Today was lovely up in northern England, as it was here, so she popped down and has emailed me some shots I’m sure she won’t mind sharing with you. She is a singer and singing teacher, but has talent with photography too! Thanks, Pam.

 

Parent's garden in February. Photo by Pamela James

Parents Garden in Feb. Photo by Pamela James

In addition, I’d like to thank everyone for being so supportive with all your lovely comments and congratulations this week. It was exciting to be on Freshly Pressed, as well as an honour, and I hope the  people I’ve been visited by continue to visit and communicate with me. Your views and perspectives are always welcome.

 

 

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