Archive for the ‘Natural history’ Category

“What a great camera you must have!”

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

“What a great camera you must have!”
This is something people sometimes say to a photographer when they see great pictures. Isn’t it a weird thing to say though…
if you met a surgeon who got good results would you say “what a great scalpel you must have!” or to an author “what a great pen you must have”

yesterday on Brooklands Radio’s Just Women programme we discussed the fact that everyone takes pictures all the time and explaining the difference a professional can make isn’t always easy. So now I’m going to undermine that completely.

It really isn’t about the equipment beyond a certain point. I used to take very average pictures with my good cameras before I was trained as professional, whereas now I am more critical of my pictures than most people and I think they are often quite good (and modest with it!) at least the people pictures.

One area I am usually useless at is landscape, but on a recent walk in Yorkshire there was a landscape image that grabbed my attention. I don’t carry my big heavy cameras when I go walking as it is just a nuisance to other people, so I thought I’d just see what the iPhone could do.

Imagine my amazement when it turned out a fairly interesting, sharp focus image that I’m not ashamed to show you.

This is a natural fresh water lake, one of only 2 in the Yorkshire Dales.

It has quite a mysterious feel to it and the water level rises and falls markedly.

As you can see the structure slightly left of centre ought to be recognisable as a sort of pier or landing stage and it should be on the beach.

Well what an amazing camera iPhone must have!!!!!

semer water 2ad2w

It’s been a funny week!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Early one morning I glimpsed a flash of blue out of the kitchen window. To my great surprise when I looked again there was a peacock on the patio.
Of course I rushed upstairs to get my camera and came back down ready to capture his glory – well there was no sign of him anywhere.
Disappointed I put the camera down and opened the back door, to find him standing just outside.
Close up peacocks are a bit spooky so I closed the door quickly, not wanting to be too friendly!
So the next thing was to find a way to get a good shot of him with an unfussy background. It took a little while because he seemed intent on coming into the house, so for the next couple of hours we stalked each other. Eventually I got this shot.

Later on I heard that he had walked into the Bowls Club recently – right into the Clubhouse! I’m glad I kept him at bay!

Frozen Planet

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

whale divingI love watching David Attenborough’s programmes and last night’s episode of the Frozen Planet series, as usual, provided me with a new bit of information that seems so simple and yet is a surprise.
It never occurred to me that a dorsal fin is an impediment to winter in the arctic, but you can see looking at the dorsal fin of an orca (killer whale) how tall it is and this immediately makes sense.
By contrast the Sperm whale has a much less pronounced dorsal fin, and as I learned last night the Bowhead whale has no dorsal fin.
In New Zealand I saw both Orcas and Sperm whales and they are so impressive. Once again it is a privilege to see such massive, graceful creatures so close up.
I am not a specialist nature photographer and so the pictures are a bonus for me to look back on, even if they are not my usual subject matter.

Sea Eagles

Monday, December 5th, 2011

While in the Arctic I went on a sea eagle safari.
These magnificent birds are so fast and elegant it’s a tremendous privilege to watch them.
From soaring high above to sweeping down takes seconds and the capture of a fish in their claws is the work of a moment.
Unbelievable grace, speed and accuracy, and a breathtaking performance.

Just back from….

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The arctic.
A wonderful sunrise, but it didn’t last long as within an hour of first seeing the light it had disappeared behind cloud. The amazing effects of the sun’s rays as it creeps over the mountain took my eye.

Calabria’s reputation

Friday, May 27th, 2011

If, like me, you read crime novels you’ll think of Calabria as a dangerous place.
Nothing could have seemed further from the truth last week as we walked through the glorious countryside. So empty of people, andĀ full of wild flowers.

The locals were realy friendly any time we spoke to them trying out our feeblest Italian phrases.

Glorious views and as we walked higher the colours of the flowers intensified. Is that physicis or evolution I wonder?

Wild orchids in Calabria

Friday, May 27th, 2011

I’m just back from Calabria where we saw many wild orchids as we walked in the countryside.
Here are a few for your interest.


Polesden Lacey

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Easter Saturday saw Polesden Lacey busy with families doing the Easter Egg hunt.


Small children are so cute about finding the clues and trying to write things down on the hand out sheets they’ve been given.

And the tulips are out of this world. Marvellous colours, lots of different varieties.

Go and see them before it’s too late. The hot weather has brought them out so early, but the tulip festival is tomorrow April 26th

Shapes in nature

Monday, January 31st, 2011

In the winter the shapes of dry fruits and flowers can be seen more easily. How on earth did this thistle like shape develop, what is its evolutionary advantage?

Signs of Spring

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

It’s scary how fast the year is going by, but I noticed the snowdrops are coming out now, and that always lifts the heart and make me hopeful for the coming springtime.
Groups of snowdrops at the foot of a tree always makes me feel optimistic. It’s amazing how different types of snowdrops look so different. There are huge ones like Elwesii and small ones like Flore Pleno, multiple ones and single ones. So many different shapes.
I think they are a bit later than usual this year.